I believe it is safe to assume that if you are reading this blog, you are an entrepreneur (or an aspiring entrepreneur) who is using the web to sell products and services, promote relationship with your customers and establish your expertise.
But whatever your business is – personal chef, acupuncturist or digital marketer – you know good design alone won’t keep you in business. You also need well-written content to attract your target readers to your site and convert them into clients.
So unless you’re prepared to hire a copy writer who will charge at least 1,000 U.S. dollars to produce a sales page (and that’s just a one time fee), you’ll be ahead of the game if you have strong writing skills. To develop and polish this valuable skill, look into finding a writing coach.
Here are some pointers to help you in looking for a writing coach:
1. Determine what kind of writing project you want to complete
List just one writing project that you wanted to finish for the longest time but for some reason have not done it. It could be an e-book, a script for a video tutorial, a press release or a series of pillar posts for your blog.
You have to stick to one project as writing coaches have different specialization. A writing coach who usually coaches memoirist and novelist may not be the coach that you want to hire if your priority project is to write a high-converting sales page.
2. Read first, decide later
I’m not talking about testimonials here or even their profile page. But instead, read the creative products of that prospective writing coach. Does he or she have a blog or have they published a novel? Perhaps they have articles in print publications that you can find online. Read them and see if you like his or her writing style.
3. Find out if you and the writing coach share the same “vibe”
Choosing a coach is deeply personal. You won’t like being mentored by someone who you neither respect nor admire.
You and your writing coach will work together to finish an important project. So it’s better to know beforehand if the prospective coach is the right fit for you. Invite the coach for coffee and see if the two of you share the same vibe.
Take note: if you both live in the same place and the coach refused to meet you, drop her from your list of prospects. If she can’t spare an hour to meet a client then it’s doubtful he or she will give you the time and attention you need to critique your work or motivate you to complete your project.
If it’s not possible to meet the coach in person due to proximity, then you can talk over Skype, read and comment on his/her blogs or follow his or her tweets. Bottomline: in today’s work environment, you need not live close to your writing coach. With skype, email, blogs, even Twitter, you can check out their vibe and find a connection.
4. Set parameters and writing goals
Once you chose “the one”, both of you need to set the rules on how the two of you will work. What are the goals that you want to accomplish and how will the coach help you in attaining that goal?
Are you looking for a detailed critique or do you need someone to motivate you because you are insecure about your skills?
You also need to work on a schedule that suits both of you. Do you have to contact her every day or is a monthly update enough? Does she have to be in every step of the project (highly recommended for people who tend to procrastinate)? If you’re quite disciplined, you can just contact her if you need to attain a certain milestone.
You also have to determine the mode of communication. Do you meet up in a café once a week, chat over the webcam, or send e-mails with each other? Choose what is the most convenient for both of you. My coach and I chose to communicate with each other via e-mail because of the huge difference in our time zones (she is in Europe and I live in Asia so skyping isn’t feasible ).
5. Be accountable
Learning something is useless if you don’t act on it. Your coach is there so you can be accountable to someone, gently pushing you to apply what you learned. So let’s say you are writing an e-book with ten chapters, you need to write and finish each chapter, and have each chapter critiqued. After getting a critique, be sure to apply what you learned in rewriting that chapter and writing a new chapter. Then let the coach look at both the revised and new chapters. You will then see if you improved as a writer.
As Laura teaches, when it comes to getting things done in your business, you have two choices, hire someone or learn how to do them yourself. Working with a writing coach early in your business will help tremendously with your long term growth.