As a small business owner, I turned to writing three years ago as a way to vent my frustrations, at nobody in particular. And yet, as I improved my writing skills, it’s since transformed into a valuable asset, lead source, and potential career.
Having my name appear in places like Business Insider and other top-tier publications has turned me into a credible voice in the entrepreneurial space. That, in turn, has positively impacted my business.
The benefits of writing are almost endless. It improves your communication skills, helps you process your thoughts with clarity, and grows your self-confidence. And with the current climate of remote work and the impending death of the workplace, what better way to connect with customers, clients and people you admire, than writing?
The world is full of writing advice. But in my experience, here are the top 6 that you can’t skip.
1. Pay an editor
Like most things in life, you won’t get many second chances to make a good first impression. Nothing will lessen your credibility faster than poorly presented writing.
Josh Steimle puts it best, “As a business owner, your word is both your bond and a reflection of your reliability. Don’t undermine yourself with sloppy writing.”
In the early days, if you find yourself struggling, save yourself some time, and pay someone who knows what good writing looks like. The investment of even a few hours will pay you tenfold over the span of your career.
2. Make friends with writers
If you ignored point one, your initial attempts at writing might have turned out pretty rough.
Worse, they might have sucked.
I did the same — trying to go it alone — and if I could change anything, it would be to develop a group of writing friends right away. I fell in with a mastermind group after a couple of years, and now have a few trusted people I turn to for critique. I know that, no matter how harsh their responses are, they only have my best interests at heart. It’s done wonders for my work.
I’d encourage you to start building this network right away, and seek feedback on your drafts from people you trust to give it you it straight up, even if it hurts. Take their comments on the chin, embrace them, and implement them.
3. Share your personal story
I know you’ve heard this before. But that’s for a good reason — you can’t skip this one.
The not-so-secret secret to quality writing is to be authentically you. The world doesn’t need another person telling them how it is. We need more people to show us how it is. Go behind the scenes of your business. Let your audience see the highs and the lows, and understand what you go through on a daily basis. It’s a super-effective way to get your audience engaged and connected to you on a more human level.
And once your audience is connected to you, they are more likely to reach out to you.
4. You’re the expert (or at least act like it)
I used to struggle with the thought of calling myself an expert on writing about entrepreneurship. Sure, I’d walked the walk, but there were many far more successful entrepreneurs out there than me.
I was comfortable and confident talking about my business in the real world, but when it came to putting those thoughts into words, I immediately lost my bottle.
It wasn’t until someone once referred to me as ‘the startup guy on Medium,’ that I realized I was becoming a “thought leader” in the entrepreneurial space, whether I liked it or not. When I overcame that mental barrier, my work was injected with confidence, and the quality improved immediately.
If you’re an expert in what you do, act like it.
If you’re not, at least try and pretend to be.
5. Consistency is king
Another well-repeated line sure, but what person got better at anything without working really fucking hard for it? The only way to improve as a writer is to do it as much as possible. It’s just like any other skill — it takes commitment to master it.
When you start writing as an entrepreneur, it can be easy to find excuses like you’re too busy and put it off time and time again. If you don’t start today, you sure as hell won’t start tomorrow.
Set a target, but don’t overstretch. Start with the commitment to write once a week, and keep at this till it becomes the norm. As you find your feet, and as you build momentum, gradually increase this until you’re at a stage when putting out content becomes part of your daily schedule.
6. Do it for influence, not your wallet
Sure, we all desire to make money. But, here’s the kicker — money may never appear as a result of your writing. Even if it does, you should consider it as a bonus.
I’d encourage you to shoot for bigger goals than a paycheck. Set out to become the voice in your space. Aim to teach people. Focus on delivering high-value content that can impact people’s lives. Writing is a powerful tool. Your words could change someone’s life, influence society, and culture, or make a reader motivated to do better, or better themselves.
That’s the real reward of being a writer.
I’ve said repeatedly, and I’ll say it again — write to expand your influence, not your wallet.
Writing could take your entrepreneurial career to the next level, while also opening new doors and expanding your influence. And better yet, it will cost you nothing but time.
As David Perell says, “A well-written article can change your life because the internet rewards people who think well.”
Start writing today and change your tomorrow.
Originally published at Entrepreneur’s Handbook.