In my previous post here on AFW, I covered 6 alternative jobs that might interest freelance writers. There were some questions about starting an article idea/blog post idea generation business, so here are some tips and steps for getting started.
What is a Micro-Service?
Before I tell you how to start, let's talk about micro-services. Idea generation is what I call a micro-service, i.e., a service that is cheap, quick, and easy to do. These are the kinds of services you'll see on places like fiverr and gigbucks. However, you don't have to limit yourself to those venues when creating a micro-service. I consider banner design and per-article editing (like 250 words) a micro-service. Basically, this is a service that everyone needs and that's hard to screw up.
Price per Idea & Set Minimums
Generating article ideas (e.g. How to Write a Great Article) is a micro-service. People will be coming to you to get multiple unique and well thought-out ideas at once. Since you aren't actually writing the article, pricing on the same scheme you would an article doesn't really make sense.
Namely, nobody's really going to pay $0.50/word for 6 words. Your customers are probably going to be hiring a writer (maybe you!) to write the ideas into full articles, so try to keep base prices (just the price of a title) as reasonable as possible. My suggested price is $0.99/article. If you're creative, that's pretty much a dollar a minute.
The key to running a successful micro-service like blog post idea generation is setting a minimum amount. You don't want to kill yourself promoting one-off orders. A good place to start is 25 ideas.
Take Money Upfront
The problem with lower-end services is that people will walk off without paying if you aren't careful. There's no real way to trademark something like a headline, so collect payment upfront before you start thinking up ideas.
Automate as Much as Possible
Micro-services can become complicated very quickly if you don't stay on top of things. My suggestion is to automate as much as possible. Use a plugin like Gravity Forms to have clients submit all of their information and pay upfront. That way all you need to do is confirm payment and deliver the finished product via email.
Speaking of the finished product, use templates to make the process faster. Have a document saved with 25 bullet points already setup or create an excel file with the columns pre-defined. The more of the administrative stuff you can get out of the way, the better.
Set Work Hours
The temptation to do an order when it comes in will lead you down the path of burnout. Set aside some time each day for completing ideas, then sit down and plug n' chug through as many orders as you can before your time runs out. The great thing about these services is that it's nearly impossible to deliver a low quality order, so speed is a key factor.
Are you interested in starting an idea generation business? What other questions do you have about micro-services?