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Money Making Stories & Lessons for Creatives: Fiction Writer, Buki Bassey Shares Lessons

A couple of weeks ago, in order to better understand the needs of everyone in our community we sent out a survey/form for people to pinpoint areas they need help with – so we could tailor content, training and resources towards those areas of needs. When the results of the survey came in, we found out that almost everyone had a Money need – whether it was making money, keeping money coming, getting clients/opportunities or managing their money/finances.
So many creative women are in that state where they can’t seem to figure out how to start making money, or manage money. As a community of creative and courageous women, building one another up through training, stories, mentorship, opportunities and much more, we asked people who are figuring it out/who have figured it out to share their money making stories with our amazing tribe of women and creatives.

So this season we are asking creative women to share their Money Making stories and lessons so that we can learn from one another.
How did you start making money? How did you get your first freelance gig? What lessons have you learned about making money and keeping it coming? What mistakes do you see people making that you’d like to point out?
Encourage a sister by sharing your experience!
And yes, every money making story/lesson or struggle is needed, regardless of your current career stage- because we know that it all counts!

Today, our Nigerian sister, Buki Bassey shares her story with the community: Adebukola Buki Bassey - Editor - Money Making Stories & Lessons for Creatives

I’m Buki (short for Adebukola ;)) I help businesses and independent authors clarify and perfect their writings and ideas. I write fiction and recently started off on a non-fiction project bound to help freelancers like me succeed in the business. I also offer writer-coaching services to select independent authors.
I started writing fiction in senior secondary school. My first love was poetry but I have had better success with prose. I can cook up short stories even in my waking moment. I had an excellent Literature-in-English teacher who brought words to life in our classes. I can never forget how she explained the scenes in “Sizwe Bansi is Dead” and “Nightfall in Soweto” to us in class. I separated a notebook for scribbles that very day and since then, there has never been a time I don’t have a notebook or two with me everywhere I go. My phone’s Google Keep App is just as important to me today.
Being an editor can actually be a drawback in writing as there is always the temptation to “edit as you go.” That’s a sure way to cut off the idea stream so what I do is to imagine myself removing my editing cap and putting on my writing cap while reassuring myself it is perfectly okay to have typos in my drafts.

First steps after figuring out she wanted to an Editor and Writer
The first thing I did was to get a laptop to dedicate to the business and then put the word out among family and friends that I was resigning from FCMB to pick up my freelance editing full-time. I also re-arranged my social media accounts because I started to post about my business immediately, especially Twitter. I also started to read more blogs on editing and proofreading, signed up for marketing classes and made sure to post about editing on social media daily.

How she started monetizing
The beautiful thing about providing services is that you start to make money immediately. And if you don’t cost it right, you start to feel like the 100% is profit even though it isn’t. I got my first set of jobs from friends and bosses who knew I had always done editing jobs.
I started with a very low price point to have an edge on the competition, though freelance editors are hard to come by, I know they are out there. So I priced per page and gave some discounts, then I started to increase my prices gradually as I got more positive reviews. I still give discounts but I price right.

Difficulties and Challenges faced
Converting inquiries into jobs can seem daunting sometimes, especially with independent authors because the knowledge of the book industry in Nigeria is low. Even among editors and proofreaders working in publishing houses.
I also count the lack of a strong body for training and accrediting book editors in Nigeria a challenge even though that is not personal.

2. I had tried to start editing as a second job in 2009 but I quit because the jobs were few and far between. I actually just forgot I was supposed to be moonlighting as an editor and focused more on my day job. This time around, I left my day job to focus on freelancing and even though I went back to work with another company as Operations Manager, I had learnt much more about running a business and also had more confidence so I was running both alongside until I left the company.  

How she gets Clients + interesting client experience
Now, I get clients mostly from referrals but initially, it was from adverts on social media. My peculiar client experience is with someone who contacted me on Twitter and wanted me to do the final stage proofreading for his book, Soul Ties. I was so eager to convert him from prospect to client that I was the one who offered to give a discount since it was a whole book. I also did not ask for an initial deposit. However, when the job was done and I sent in my invoice, he paid the total amount and even rounded up to the nearest thousand. It was nice to experience that.

Income growth since the first paying gig
Yes, my income has grown. I have learnt that you can’t ever stop putting the word out there about what you do. To keep money coming, keep talking about your business via free ads, paid ads, whatever you can do, and always give your best service because referrals are a great way to keep earning.

Money management advice to our fellow sisters on how to use money wisely.
Money really needs to be managed and I have found that advance planning helps with minimizing the risks of mismanagement. Keep your startup “bootstrapped,” keep your costs down as much as you can and keep your clients interested in working with you.
If clients are not coming in regularly, you will go broke. If you are spending too much of what you earn, you will be frustrated. And if you are not showing a profit, speak to a professional business coach. You will always profit from improving your business processes, expanding in the right directions and improving your marketing strategies.

We’d love for you to share lessons and tips that you’ve learnt about money making with our community of creative women. Please reach out to us here to start sharing.


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