writing for a 1-person business
Micro businesses are defined as businesses with one to six employees. They juggle all the workings of that business, keeping nearly all roles interchangeable - CEO can also be the dishwasher while the public face of the company can also be tech support, not to mention juggling finances. For these businesses, it is nearly impossible to be good at everything, wear every hat, be everywhere and be everyone for the same company. All of this even more difficult for a one-person business, a true micro-business: this individual may have no one to brainstorm with or team meetings to schedule – especially since no ones' thought processes can truly align with their own business model or goal.
Writing affects all aspects of business development. Juggling a website or two, writing for ones’ blogs, managing six kinds of social media channels, maintaining branding, pursuing new business development, keeping up with old business maintenance, developing PR pieces - all of it requires brain time to dedicate towards developing an idea and physical time dedicated to writing it down. All this must be accomplished in addition to actually doing the work your business has set out to do! As most micro businesses will attest, there are seldom any discretionary funds to outsource any task; making any kind of writing daunting, nearly impossible. With only 24 hrs before the clock hits a reset, it may seem like an impossible task.
So, how can one build the business and maintain a healthy work life balance?
Here are three tricks I use often to get the ball rolling and make it all happen.
Define: Just like developing a mission statement for a business, it is necessary to identify the goal of writing. Is it to educate, brag (yes, you are allowed that), market, share knowledge or ideas, take a stand, or project a particular brand image? Not every write-up will do all of the above and it is not advisable to have only one or two goals all the time. A smart business will create a healthy balance of engagement with its audience without losing their interest - by routinely sharing content of value.
Learn: Subscribe to news magazines in your general business world but expand your reading interests. In your down time, skim what your audience is reading, interested in, alongside topics that interest you. Talk to friends and neighbors about whatever is foremost in their minds; ask them about their favorite, most recent business article or something cool or fun they’ve read, seen or done recently. These extra eyes and ears will give you a pulse of what is going on around you. Over a short period of time, there will be a pattern of readership, and although this may deviate a little - a smart business will be able to pick up what is applicable to them. For instance, with the new algorithm of Facebook, only those who interact with you most – will show up in your news feed first - like picking favorites. Businesses will need to inspire unique and true conversation, not rely on article generators or software that create content with little or no substance. Instead, read in between the lines of the metrics for social media and your website to learn how to separate an evolving new standard from a short-lived trend. As Dr. Verghese says in his TED talk: stay in touch. All these facets of your life will give you fodder to develop relevant, interesting and long lasting content to engage your audience.
Write: Use your gut instinct to develop content that stays true to your brand. Some of your writing may be timeless; others may be applicable to present day. Some of it may be for fun. Use the time you spend with family to brainstorm the most current ideas. This is your safest space for honest dialog and perspective. It is helpful to let all members of your family hear and interact what goes through your mind each day. Some businesses like scheduling their deadlines; others remain inspired by daily events and use them to develop content. For instance, if there was a rainstorm on the previous night and you have a roofing company - write about it. If you've already written about it, refresh the post or re-post the content with updates. Find the style and content that works best for the rhythms of your audience and your business. Keep the headlines catchy but not trendy, the content relevant and the tone at an even keel with your business mission.
Writing for one’s own company or brand regularly can be a complex task but it mainly requires being creative with ones’ time and available resources. As you build your business, you will define and refine your methods of creating a dialog with your readers.
And until you hire your first writing intern, or even pay your middle schooler to do a simple word-processing task that you've procrastinated (like I recently did), you will need to have the faith that juggling it all - is truly possible.
This blog was originally shared as a LinkedIn Post on April 22, 2015. Connect with me on LinkedIn.
PS: It may amuse you to know that the inspiration for this write-up came after skimming through an article about common blogger-mistakes on LinkedIn, watching Dr. Verghese's TED talk - which was shared with me by a cousin, a health-care professional, and was finalized while reading about the changing social media sharing policies for Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, all via different news articles. All these events happened during the course of one week; I wrote down a chunk of this piece in one hour while waiting for a business appointment.