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How Many Hats Do You Wear?



“He wears more hats than his Aunt Luella!”

This quote was once part of the bio of  James N. (Jim) Watkins, popular conference speaker, author, editor, and I almost forgot—writer. Watkins makes his living as a full-time freelancer, but he doesn’t limit himself to one skill.

How about you? Would you like to quit your day job and write full-time? Are you getting some writing published but need a new way to build your platform and bring in more income? Consider trying on some different types  of hats. Perhaps there’s another skill you have or can acquire to help get your writing career off the ground.

Speaker Hat

Do you have a knack for public speaking? If you write nonfiction, you can turn your area of expertise into a series of lectures or motivational speeches. For more information, there are several organizations for speakers who write:

Editor Hat

Do you have special training in grammar and style? Or does it just come naturally for you? Consider offering editing and/or critique services to other writers. The Christian PEN (Proofreaders and Editors Network) offers training and online groups to help you explore this option.

Photographer Hat

Are you a photographer? Many magazines like their writers to submit photos with their articles. If you are skilled enough, you might freelance your photos separate from your writing. If you know a professional photographer, check with him or her about how to get started. I’ve found these online resources.

Techie Hat

Have you acquired web design or social media skills? Do you have the gift of teaching or mentoring? You can offer web design packages to writers or coaching packages to other writers and speakers. Perhaps you could offer mentoring services, teach online classes, or create e-books on your subject to sell on your website.

How many hats do you think you can wear? Maybe not as many as Jim’s Aunt Luella. But, if the writer hat doesn’t suit all your needs, try on some others.

Readers, please share your many talents with us. Tell us how you’ve expanded your reach and your income with skills that compliment your writing.  If you have a website, please include a link in your comment. Newsletter subscribers, please click to my site from the post title. Then, comment on the post by scrolling down to Leave a Reply.

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8 Responses to How Many Hats Do You Wear?

  1. JEANNE DOYON May 28, 2016 at 9:48 am #

    It’s good for me to think about this because I think I underestimate the hats I wear.
    Techie (blogging and other computer skills)
    Editing (part of two critique groups)
    Leading (workshops for women in leadership)
    Reviewer (movies and books)

    But, I do need to learn how to market these skills so I can contribute to our financial budget. So often I do what I do out of kindness. Not that I want to make it all about income (that is so low on my radar)
    Will you pray for God’s wisdom about this with me??

  2. Paula May 28, 2016 at 10:01 am #

    As a writer and editor, I appreciate this post especially. I have recently decided to work more diligently as a speaker. Not all writers are naturally good speakers and we would do well to consider how speaking comes into play in our writing career. When my non-fiction book is finally published, I want to be able to effectively publicize it through speaking and book signings.

    I joined Toastmasters so that I could hone my speaking skills and get valuable feedback in a fun and safe environment. Being a toastmaster has helped me to see through the eyes of others when my thoughts aren’t organized, when I use unnecessary words or jargon and when my ideas aren’t clear.

    Being in a group for writers and authors, I get valuable feedback as well. However, Toastmasters is a good way to get your feet wet with speaking before you have to go out and publicize that “work in progress” which will one day be sitting on the bookstore shelves!

  3. Cecelia Lester May 28, 2016 at 10:47 am #

    Emily: I have directed some plays and skits at church. I also review books. But, I haven’t made an income at any of these- writer, director, reviewer.

  4. Emily Akin May 28, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

    Yes, it’s hard to earn income in those roles. I earn more from ad sales for a magazine than for my writing.

  5. Emily Akin May 28, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

    I think you’re on the right track, Paula. If you could get a gig as conference workshop teacher, that would be a place to start. Women’s conferences, retreats, etc. Many writer/speakers sell their books at their speaking events. If you have published articles or devotionals, that gives you credibility as a workshop leader. So many ideas. So little time.

  6. Emily Akin May 28, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

    Are there any writing conferences in your area where you could apply to teach workshops? If you are leaning toward editing, do look into The Christian PEN. You can take courses that will help you feel more confident in that role. I will pray for God to lead you to the right combination of “hats.”

  7. Tracy Crump May 28, 2016 at 9:26 pm #

    If anyone had told me in high school that I would be looking for opportunities to speak in front of large groups, I would have laughed. Now I love leading workshops and webinars on writing. And like you and your ad sales, Emily, I make more money from that than from my writing. At our Memphis conference in March, I received an invitation to speak at another conference later this year.

    I also took on an editing job recently—something my husband has been trying to convince me to do because he thinks it’s one of my strengths. I have to admit, I’m enjoying working with a delightful author.

    There’s nothing wrong with being paid to do what we do well. The Bible says, “The laborer is worthy of his hire” (Luke 10:7). Besides, the IRS kind of expects us to get paid. Otherwise, it’s all just a hobby.

  8. Emily Akin May 29, 2016 at 7:23 am #

    I see a theme in the comments on this post. There is a concern about making money writing. On one hand, people would like to be paid. On the other, they feel guilty about being paid. Your comment addressed that concern. Thanks.

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