Business Overview

A technical writer works with technical information to fulfill a number of company objectives. Their job may include writing manuals, official documentation, or how-to guides. They may work for technical companies and write for technical audiences, or they may work with everyday businesses and write for lay people.

Who is this business right for?

Technical writers should be excited to explain complicated concepts to readers quickly without patronizing them. They should be able to boil down a lot of information into a helpful document that a reader will retain. Ideally, it’s for someone who has an interest in engineering or technology who craves flexibility beyond a standard 9 to 5 and a touch of creativity.

What happens during a typical day at a technical writing business?

Technical writers won’t necessarily spend the whole day writing and may actually put more time into researching their topics and organizing their ideas. Additional activities may include invoicing clients, advertising their services, or estimating the amount of time needed for each assignment. As technology changes, writers may also need to get continuing education to ensure they continue to meet company objectives.

What is the target market?

Most companies need some type of technical writer to document official processes, which makes the target market fairly wide. Even a non-profit may hire a technical writer to create reference resources for employees. This could be anything from simple SOPs (standard operating procedures) to complex style guides to instruction manuals for using a robot. Technical writers may work as an independent entity for one company, but most will freelance their services across different companies.

How does a technical writing business make money?

Technical writers will either charge by the word based on the amount of research necessary or by flat rate for a document. Highly specialized technical writers (e.g., those who write solely for PHP developers) may charge a flat rate per word based on their level of expertise.

What is the growth potential for a technical writing business?

There isn’t a lot of competition for technical writers, as most writers prefer to do something on the more creative side. People who are able to grasp high-level technical information will either choose real-world applications for their skills or do independent consulting for a living. Someone who loves to write and can easily adapt and conform to a company’s style can have unlimited growth potential.