Is Your Writing Business a Sinking Ship?

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on December 6, 2011 in Finance
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Whenever I think about sinking ships, I think of the movie Titanic and how so many people stayed onboard the boat and denying its – and their – fate. Don’t ignore the signs that your writing business is sinking. You don’t have to call it quits, but you do need to make changes to ensure your business keeps going.

Has your monthly income been declining unexpectedly for several months?

You need to have a certain amount of money coming in each month to sustain your life. Even if you supplement your decreased earnings from a buffer account, you’ll need to replenish that account or else it will dry up. Some business models may be seasonal and you’ll recognize this after you’ve been in business for a few years. However, if your income is decreasing and seasonal changes aren’t the blame, then something else is.

Are your monthly expenses increasing while your income remains stagnant?

Every year, costs go up. The result is that it takes more money to live than it did in previous years. You may not be able to maintain your current lifestyle on the same income as last year. Evaluate your rates at least once a year, increasing as necessary. Be careful not to let your living expenses outpace your writing income.

Are you relying on just one or two clients?

Relying on a small number of clients is risky. When one of them leaves, they take a large percentage of your monthly income with them. You’ll have to hustle to make up the lost income before your finances start to feel it.

Are you past due on any debt payments?

Catching up is harder than you think. If you’re falling behind on your bills, because you’re not making enough money or because you’re not spending wisely, you’re headed for disaster. Stay ahead of your expenses, especially big payments like taxes, mortgage, and student loans. Falling behind on these can lead to big problems.

Turning the Situation Around

Once the Titanic hit the iceberg it was doomed. The same may not be true for your writing business. If it seems like things are going wrong, take action immediately. For example, you might cut back on some expenses until your cash flow picks up again. In the meantime, do some things to increase your income before it's too late.

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LaToya Irby is a full-time freelance writer and a graduate of the University of Alabama. She primarily writes about personal finance, freelancing, and other self-employment topics.

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3 Comments

  1. Lori December 6, 2011 Reply

    Great post, LaToya. I had taken a business course once in which the final word of advice from the instructor went something like this: Don’t be afraid to walk away from your business if it’s no longer supporting you. That’s not failure – it’s a good business decision.

    Words to live by.

    • Author
      LaToya Irby December 6, 2011 Reply

      Lori that’s definitely great advice. Funny, I had something similar in the closing paragraph. I don’t know why I edited it out.

  2. Allena December 6, 2011 Reply

    I keep an eye on full time communications work in my region. I know at any time who is hiring what and for hhow much and who I know to get me “in.” That being said, I’ve walked away from several office job offers over the last 6 years. No, not several….3. Three in the last six years. Not bad.

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