Time for Step 2 of the “Beginner’s Medical Writing” series – a step-by-step guide to getting yourself started in freelance medical writing. Remember – this is not a “get rich quick” guide, but merely an extremely basic guide for those of you who are pondering branching into medical writing, but don’t quite know how to make the first moves.
A couple of days ago, I suggested in Step 1 that it would be a good idea to start right from scratch – literally just trying to decide which area of medical writing you wanted to focus on initially. So hopefully you now know whether you are going to venture into the scientific or the non-scientific/marketing side.
Step 2: Get Yourself Out There
Now that you know you want to branch into freelance work, it’s time to put yourself out there. Let’s face it, if you don’t tell the world where you are & what you can do, it can’t find you!
So you need an online presence. There are numerous ways for you to accomplish this – you can set up a website or a blog yourself – free or paid – or you can pay someone to set you up with either one, with all the bells & whistles that a web designer can throw your way. If you are a procrastinator, you could spend weeks or more, just pondering on how to do this perfectly. During this time, you might lose time that could be spent working on your first project, & earning your first $100.
So why procrastinate? Obviously if you’re extremely organized & focused & know exactly what you want, then go for it in however which way you prefer. But if you’re hesitating because you’re still not sure what you ultimately want your site to look like, & if you’re living in a world of “what ifs” then my advice is this:
Just sign up for a free blog now!
But What If….?
I know, you probably can’t make up your mind about what to name your business. Maybe you’ll even want to change its name later? And what if you don’t like the blog in 3 months? Maybe you’ll change your writing focus at a later date too?
None of these things matter – your business will be forever evolving. The most important thing right now is that you get started. If you’re not even sure what to call your business right now, just register the blog under your name initially. You’ll be able to change the header of the blog page any time you like – it could start off as your name & progress to a business name at a later date. Likely you’ll be more tech-savvy than I am too, so if I can cope with an online presence, then so can you!
Should I Buy My Own Domain?
Many business-related sites advise just buying your own domain from the start – go for it if this is what you want, but if you’re still wondering where the freelance world might take you, then starting out with a free blog gives the advantage of zero financial risk for you. If you decide that this isn’t for you in a year’s time, then you’ve lost nothing financially. If your business takes off, however, you can break into your own domain whenever you feel comfortable. There are plenty of talented web designers around who can help you convert your current free blog over to your new domain if necessary (and if you’re lucky, you may even have a friend in the business to help!).
Back To The Free Blog
Probably the two main, free blog-hosting sites are WordPress.com (which I use for this blog) and Blogger.com, although there are other options available too (do a Google search so you can be sure you’ve covered all bases). I’ve used both of these options, and have found pros and cons with both. Overall though, I do prefer the cleaner, crisper look that the WordPress themes seem to offer. You can easily do some shopping around though and check out the free themes that the blog hosting sites offer – this will help you decide which site to choose initially. And again, you can still swap sites whenever you choose, so all is not lost if you have second thoughts somewhere down the line.
My Blog Is Set Up – What Now?
Very basically, to get you started you’ll want to at least add the following:
- Title header (your business name, or just your name)
- Descriptive subtitle (be as descriptive as you like, but write something so that when visitors land there, they immediately see exactly what your blog is about
- About Me (tell visitors who you are, what you do, any relevant qualifications, & how to contact you)
OK, so now you’re moving! Next up is your homework assignment. I’m going to ask you to decide on titles for three posts (maybe around 500-1000 words each) – then plan an outline for each of them, and lastly, get started writing them.
If you are stuck for ideas to get you started, why not make your first post an introduction to who you are, and what kind of medical writing you are offering? Other ideas include choosing to write about a couple of medical conditions that interest you, or maybe a condition that’s prominent in the news right now.
Step 3 will follow soon, but in the meantime, get your thinking caps on & enjoy writing……..