Skills Believe it or not, you’re more than just a writer. You have other skills, too. You might not even be aware of them.

Some of those skills relate to writing. Others, you’ve developed as part of your career.

One way you can diversify your career is do something with those skills. Like what? Read on to find a few suggestions.


I can’t think of any aspiring writer, or even experienced one, who doesn’t need a bit of coaching. What do I mean by coaching? Helping other writers strengthen their weak points, giving them a sounding board for ideas, or just teaching them new techniques.

Or, you could offer coaching in other areas. In my case, I spent years being the go-to guy when friends, family, and co-workers had problems with their technology. I decided to turn that into a sideline by offering technology coaching services.

Coaching isn’t as easy as it may seem. You need to work closely with your clients — getting to know their strengths and their weaknesses, and learning how to address both. You’ll also need to do a lot of research and planning.

But all that’s worth it, especially when you see the skills and abilities of your clients grow.

I’ll be talking about coaching in a bit more depth in an upcoming post.

Corporate writing

That can be anything from writing documentation to corporate communication. These types of gigs can be quite lucrative. But they can also be difficult to land. Why? They require you to have a certain skill set and a certain level of experience.

If you’ve worked as a corporate writer in any capacity in the recent past, landing a gig will be easier for you than it will be for, say, a new grad or someone who’s focused solely on fiction.

That’s not to say it’s a piece of cake. You’ll need a portfolio and a resume.

With the portfolio, gather your best samples. Where applicable, mix in articles and blog posts that you’ve written.

With the resume, think about creating a separate on that focuses solely on your corporate writing. But don’t forget to mention your other writing experience. Doing that can set you apart.

Paid blogging

If you blog, why not get someone to pay you to do it? Paid blogging can be a good sideline. Some blogs and companies pay well — anywhere from $50 to $100 per post.

But that’s not the norm. You’ll make half that (or less). But if you can write quickly and well on a topic or two, then doing some paid blogging can be worth your time. If nothing else, you can earn enough money to pay your web hosting fees.

When looking for paid blogging gigs, try to avoid ones that require you to write three posts per day for a low per post fee. Not only is doing that not worth the money, you’ll be spending an inordinate amount of time working on those posts. Time that’s better spent on other writing.


By that I mean a course or one-time session of some kind. That course or session could cover writing, blogging, social media, or a topic with which you have some experience.

The best thing about teaching is that it doesn’t need to be in person. Sure, you can teach a course at a local college or continuing education department at a university. But those slots are hard to come by.

You can also teach online. Either with a live webinar or via an email course.

If you’re thinking of teaching a course, whether in person or online, approach it systematically. Create a detailed outline and use that to pitch the course. Then, flesh the outline out into individual lessons with exercises and homework. Once you’ve done that, treat the course (whether it’s a multi-week course, a single seminar, or a webinar) like a presentation. Practice. Polish your delivery. Get comfortable with the material and with presenting it.


This is an interesting one. Not just because many writers (myself included) are introverts and have a bit of trepidation about speaking in public, but getting a paid speaking gig can be difficult. It’s nigh impossible if you don’t have any experience.

While I’ve given a number of presentations, I’ve only been paid to speak two or three times. Having said that, getting paid to speak was never my goal when I started presenting.

That goal was to teach and to learn. By learning, I mean not just learning about the topic I was presenting, but also how to write an effective presentation script and how to create slides. I’m not sure how successful I’ve been, but it’s been interesting.

On top of that, speaking can be a good opportunity to meet new people and to expand your network. Something might come out of a talk — in the form of a referral, a new client, or a chance to collaborate.

Regardless, speaking every so often is worth doing. If, like me, you’re an introvert then it can help push you outside your boundaries.

Photo credit: nmoroder via PhotoRee