Freelance writing used to be an exchange of time for money. In the days before the Internet, although secondary sales were possible, most of our effort went into producing products for which we later received a paycheck.

All that has changed, but some writers still approach their work with the time-for-money mentality. Angela Booth’s 100 Day Writing Challenge teaches a different perspective, one that requires the ability to think like an entrepreneur.

Think of your writing as if it were any other business. You could certainly make money, and perhaps even make a living, by exchanging time for money. Write an article, collect a fee, repeat. If you can write quickly and have enough time to devote to the work, the dollars will add up.

Here’s the catch. Each of us only has so many hours in the day. That means there is a limit to how much you can earn using this approach. You’re on par with, for example, a worker in a widget factory who puts in overtime to increase his income. You’ll see some gains, of course, but it won’t be easy, and you’re limited by the number of hours in a day.

The owner of that factory takes a different approach. While the product itself is important, both in terms of quality and quantity produced, making widgets is only one part of his focus. His time is a resource, and he invests it in areas that increase his return. He researches his market so when a need arises for a new kind of widget, he has foreseen the need and is already prepared to fill it. He invests in product development and in more profitable ways to market those products. Further, he invests in getting the word out about the benefits of his widgets, ensuring that the news is presented in the right way to the right people. The widget man is the ultimate multitasker.

We, as writers, can become more successful and our work more profitable, by structuring our business day the way the widget man does. Writing is important, yes, but with the Worldwide Web as a platform, creating the product is only one piece of our function. Like the widget man, we must be entrepreneurs as well as writers, keeping our eyes open for needs we might fill, products we might produce, markets we might capture. 

The product itself – the writing – is essential. But we must think like entrepreneurs and always keep in mind that often, the process itself is the product. By looking for and creating new opportunities, we can gain more than just money in exchange for our time. We can earn success, comfort, and the security of knowing that we’re not limited by the number of hours in the day, but only by the boundaries of our imagination.