Start a professional speech writing business by following these 10 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your professional speech writing business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a professional speech writing business?
Most speech writers only need a computer and a fast internet connection to do any type of research they may need.
What are the ongoing expenses for a professional speech writing business?
Ongoing expenses for a speech writing business will usually remain low, but can include office rental space, marketing costs, and employee salaries.
Who is the target market?
The target market is anyone who may need to speak in public. This is not limited to leaders in companies, non-profits, or activists. A speech writer can work with anyone at any level — even a nervous best man who has to give the toast at his friend’s wedding.
How does a professional speech writing business make money?
Most speech writers start on a freelance basis and make money based on the length or word count of the speech. Writers will vary their price ranges based on the effort it takes to compose the speech. A highly researched, industry specific speech to high profile business executives may cost several times more than a general motivational talk to a high school.
How much can you charge customers?
The median income for a speechwriter in a full-time position is about $75,000 – $121,000 (depending on the source you check), so people are willing to pay big bucks for a good speech. When first getting started though, you may want to work at a lower hourly rate. Based on your current obligations and demand, calculate how much you want to make per hour. Whether you’re charging per word or per project, estimate how much time the speech will take you from beginning to end before quoting a dollar amount to a client.
How much profit can a professional speech writing business make?
Profits can be substantial, especially considering how low the upfront and ongoing costs can be. If a speechwriter charges an average of $200 a speech with an average of 10 clients a month, they may only need to deduct the direct costs of their monthly internet bill for a total profit of around $1,950.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Speechwriters may want to consider branching out to coaching up-and-coming writers or ambitious executives who want to write their own speeches. Offer ‘polishing’ services where you alter someone else’s content rather than creating it on your own.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Professional Speech Writing Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your professional speech writing business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Open net-30 accounts
When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.
Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.
Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.
Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a professional speech writing business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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How to promote & market a professional speech writing business
Start to develop relationships with both community leaders and business executives. Networking events can be a great way to get a handle on the immediate needs around you. Leave your business cards at major organizations who may need speech writers for any number of occasions. Also, invest in your website so you can branch out to other locations. A solid web presence will increase your exposure to people far outside your community.
How to keep customers coming back
People will come back if they feel they've made an impression on their audience with your help. This is one of the reasons why speechwriters have to be exceptionally thorough before they start putting their speeches together. An audience of professors will likely respond better to formal language while an audience of auto executives may want something more a little more laid back. All speeches will need to be specific enough to keep people interested without overwhelming the audience with a flood of new information or facts.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
STEP 10: Set up your business phone system
Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.
There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.
Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.
Start A Professional Speech Writing Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
This business is excellent for someone who loves inspiring people with words. It’s a niche form of writing that is far more dependent on choice of vocabulary and syntax than it is on technical writing skills (e.g., formal grammar, etc).
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a professional speech writing business?
Speech writers may participate in the following daily activities:
- Marketing to new clients
- Researching industries/markets
- Composing speeches according to client specifications
- Giving feedback to clients
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful professional speech writing business?
Most people who jump into this business are already writers. Experienced writers already understand how to link ideas in a logical manner, which can make getting started much easier. However, what really matters is the ability to inspire. Some people are naturally able to convey their thoughts and ideas in such a way that makes people want to listen. In that case, they may not need any kind of formal training to transfer their passion to paper. And while formal education may not be a requirement, many clients will be looking for someone with at least a bachelor's (if not a masters) degree.
What is the growth potential for a professional speech writing business?
This is a highly specific skill that is not necessarily translatable across all writers, so the growth potential is high. Like any type of creative writing, there’s a lot of leeway for a writer when it comes to how they structure their speeches to achieve the most impassioned reaction. Those who hit the right combination will find themselves in high demand.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a professional speech writing business?
If you’re already a freelance writer, consider marketing your new skill to existing clients. After all, you probably have some insider knowledge about their company. Mention that you’re available if they’re looking for someone to craft an in-depth speech that really speaks to their audience. In the same vein, may also want to give some thought to specializing in a particular niche for speech writing. Focusing on one market (e.g., CEO-level speeches only, etc.) can make it easier to develop your brand.
A speech can go a long way to instilling values in a crowd. Your goal is to show people why your words coupled with the speaker’s enthusiasm can be just the driving force a client needs to turn things around. Not only should you have excellent sample speeches available, but also video footage of how the speeches come to life at the podium. (If you’re just starting out, you can video the speeches yourself.)
You can also start offering your services for free to community organizations who may want to promote certain causes in any given area. Public groups such as Toastmasters will give you a chance to both write and deliver your speeches, so you can learn what people respond to and why. Analyze famous speeches to see why they succeeded where others failed. Read relevant books and develop a relationship with a speech writing mentor in an effort to get a better foundation.
How and when to build a team
Once you reach a point where you can no longer handle the demand on your own, you may want to hire an assistant to help you research your speeches or even to rough out the first draft. Look for people who understand how to make a crowd connect with an idea.