7 High-Paying Business Ideas for Entrepreneurial Writers
Updated: Jan 16
Good writing is a powerful business skill. Companies rely on writing every day to market their services, foster collaboration across their team, and make their products more user friendly.
As you might guess, businesses regularly hire writers to fill these needs and beyond. But is writing valuable enough to be the foundation for a business? Can you launch an entrepreneurial venture based purely on writing?
I launched my freelance copywriting and ghostwriting business over five years ago. It’s been the highest-compensated work of my life. Over the years, I’ve come to believe that writing businesses are some of the best one-person ventures you can start. After all, writing businesses tend to operate on high profit margins, provide you almost full control of your daily work schedule, allow you to work from anywhere, and require almost zero startup costs.
In this article, I’m going to show you the seven of the most lucrative (and realistic) business ideas for writers. Let’s dive in.
Do you have to be a good writer to launch a writing business?
Some bloggers and podcasters say you don’t have to be a good writer to be a successful copywriter or blogger. I get where they’re coming from, but the statement is a bit misleading.
Writing online has very little in common with writing college essays or contributing to literary magazines. If your definition for “good writing” means spinning complex prose, with long words and winding sentences, then sure, you don’t have to be a good writer to start a writing business.
But if your definition for good writing is that you can write clearly and simply, while holding a reader’s attention, then yes, you must be a good writer to be successful in this field. Does that clear things up?
I’ll put it this way: The most likely people to succeed in a writing business are those with an ear (and passion) for great writing. Along with that, a desire to learn and a knack for marketing go a long way as well. Writing businesses are about more than simply pouring words onto a page, after all. The better you are in all three of those areas, the more likely you are to succeed in a writing business.
Great writers earn high fees for their ability to motivate, entertain, persuade, and move people to take action. All of that starts with good writing.
(Also read: How to start a writing side hustle.)
Writing as a service
Perhaps the most common form of writing business is a category I’ll call writing as a service. More often, people just call it freelancing. The following examples are when you’re getting paid to write on behalf of other people and businesses.
Here are some of the most lucrative forms of freelance writing.
Copywriting changed my life. It fell into my lap seemingly by accident. My first copywriting projects were a result of my friends entering the workforce. As we all ventured into our first jobs, employers began asking if any of them could write — or if they knew anyone who could. I became the go-to writing recommendation for multiple friends.
I was writing copy before I even knew the term “copywriting.” Eventually I turned the whole writing thing into my full-time gig.
Now, I earn a good living as a freelance copywriter for SaaS companies. Copywriting is like working in sales. Except, instead of being a smooth talker, you must be a good writer, and leverage your writing skills to improve the bottom line for a business.
Copywriting is all around us. It’s on the billboards you see on the interstate, the Facebook ads you scroll past on social media, and the business websites you see all over the web. Someone had to write all those words. And that somebody is called a copywriter.
Copywriters can work in-house for an organization or work on a freelance basis. Freelance rates range anywhere from minimum wage to millions of dollars per year, depending on your skill, demand, and fees.
J.R. Moehringer, the ghostwriter behind Andre Aggasi’s book Open and Phil Knight’s Nike memoir, Shoe Dog, is said to have been paid $1M to ghos