Lesson 2 – Who is my ideal client?

I know who my ideal client is:  other technical writers.  However, that is too broad.  I really have to narrow down what type of techincal writer would be ideal.

Definition

Most people don’t know what a technical writer does.  This is a quick definition:

technical writer is a professional writer who produces technical documentation that helps people understand and use a product or service. This documentation includes online help, manuals (system, end-user, training), white papers, design specifications, project plans, test plans, business correspondence, etc. With the rise of e-learning, technical writers are also charged with creating online training for their audience of learners. Technical writers explain technologies, processes, and products in many formats, including print, online, and other electronic means.

Men and/or Women

My immediate target demographic is women only.  Men in this field can be very hard and fast, stubborn, and resistant to change.  They would be the ones challenging everything in the program such as the specifics for the pricing model mainly because it’s never been done.  With that said, there is a woman who has been in the position for 20 years and she is always resistant to change – even small things such as changing a font (oh brother).

For decades, this was primarily a male dominated profession.  This changed when software migrated from a black screen with a line of code into Windows and graphical interfaces.

In my current job of 20 writers there are only 3 men.  Of these 3 men, 2 have been working in their positions at this company for over 20 years.  One cannot stand his job and the other is very laid back.  The reason they stay is because of the benefits.  I’m not sure how long the other has been with the company, nor do I know enough about his work situation as he works in another state.  However, he is a man that I would consider for the program.

Employee status only

Somewhat related to the reason I mentioned above about the men who have been with the company forever, I think long-term, permanent, full-time employees will think this is too risky.  On the other hand, I think people who have been contractors/freelancers previously are more inclined to like this idea for two reasons:

  • Contractors/freelancers make more money, but are aware that $15-30 per hour is added on top of their hourly rate and charged to the company.  That’s one reason why I decided to work on my own – NOT through an agency.  I could make $75-150 per hour on my own. Granted, my program moves away from the “hourly” model into a “pay by the project” model.
  • They will understand that instability and ups/downs of the job market.

Age

As I was writing this post, I realized that age is probably a factor – but I’m on the fence about this.   Most 55+ people (not just technical writers) seem very resistant to change – especially if they’ve been in their same job for the same employer a long time.  It’s the “it’s not broke and doesn’t need to be fixed” mentality.  On the other hand, many of them may be looking for a way out if they have another source of income.