I have a degree in English and Journalism, but I worked as a technical writer with a local company for a few years, and later as an independent contractor before starting my company. I made the decision to form my business while working as an independent contractor.
I wanted to look and feel like a real company and to separate my company and personal assets. So I took the dive. Another thing that motivated me to start my own company was my past experience working for large companies. I knew I hated company politics —the meetings about meetings, the undermining by co-workers of other co-workers, all those types of situations that go on in large companies.
At that time, a friend of mine was working as a technical writer in New York. We had been sending copy back and forth to each other for editing before giving the final versions to our clients. Since we were already helping each other, I proposed we start a company together. We worked as partners for about five years before going our separate ways due to family issues. My partner now had a new baby and needed to devote more of her time to family. So at first, I had to put in some pretty long weeks — sometimes 80 hours — to keep up with the demands.
After I incorporated the business, I spent the next eight years working from my home office. And, even companies that do have such a department may not have the tools, the expertise, or the resources to complete a project on time and within budget.
This is when a technical-writing company like ours can fill that need. Managers and CEOs are appreciative when you help them meet a deadline and stay within budget.
Technical writing has changed and will continue to do so according to client needs. Anyone starting a technical-writing company will need to realize this and remain flexible enough to keep up with current trends. This includes keeping your staff well-trained in the newest software and in the latest practices.
Years ago, a tech writer was a tech writer. Now a tech writer must also be a graphic designer, an editor, a proofreader, a content modeler, and must really work to stay on the cutting edge. The team I have currently assembled are high-level experts at software documentation, but we have recently moved into single sourcing and content management.
In the past, most of our clients just needed user manuals, Quick Reference Guides, and online help. Now, in addition to needing written documentation, they are seeing the value in content management tools as a way to organize their vast amounts of information and allow them to produce more deliverables with less effort and expense. Single sourcing is one way to write the information once and use it for many different documents and media types.
This saves time and money and helps them get products to market on time. Content management helps put all the pieces of content in a database for easier retrieval, and keeps all content consistent throughout the organization. Public companies are now being required to document almost everything they do and how they do it. An additional expense may include starting your own website, which many technical writers use to display their work and market their business. Depending on how much work you can take on, you can potentially make a considerable amount of money as a technical writer.
In addition, if you have specific skills that are sought out by companies, your income can increase substantially. Other than the cost of your Internet service, you will have nearly no monthly expenses as a technical writer. Considering the low, monthly expenses associated with a part-time technical writer business, you have a great chance at breaking even almost immediately. As a technical writer, you must consistently meet deadlines for your clients, which can prove to be quite stressful at times.
You must also be able to juggle several jobs at one time and constantly market yourself and search for your next job. Marketing Plan Template - Download this free template to create a detailed marketing strategy for your business. Includes sample text, charts and tables. Friday, September 14, A technical writing education and related experience. How to Evaluate Potential Business Opportunities. Starting Your Own Business:
Caution: In a technical writing course, treat a business-plan project as a writing project, not as a real-world business plan. This chapter should not be viewed as a .
Many technical writers work on a freelance basis, and many writers work from home. Given today’s soft economy, many companies are turning to freelance technical writers to save on the costs of full-time employees. As a result, the technical writer who works from .
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