How I Started Writing For Forbes

by | Nov 9, 2022

People ask me all the time how I started writing for online magazines. 

I’ve had articles published on ForbesInc.Entrepreneur, and many others over the years.

We’ve actually written over 1,000 articles, and yes, that’s over 1 million words!

First of all, know that I’m not a writer. I barely passed the second grade, and because of my dyslexia, have difficulty spelling.

I remember when AllBusiness.com first reached out and asked me to write for them. At the time, they had no one writing about product licensing for them.

I was sitting at our kitchen counter in Modesto with my wife, Janice, and my eldest daughter Madeleine, who was home for Thanksgiving.

I told them I didn’t think it was going to be possible. 

Then Madeleine said, “Just record the content and send it to me.” 

At the time, she was a freshman at Berkeley, so I began providing her with content for my articles.

After writing for AllBusiness for many years, we reached out to Entrepreneur.com. Someone was already writing about inventing, so we had to wait a little while.

When their current writer left, they contacted me, and we began writing for them.

It’s a very small world.

One of the people we worked with at Entrepreneur.com was now working at Inc.com. So we pitched them our ideas and were accepted as a contributor.

We had to change the content up, so we weren’t writing about the same topic for multiple publications.

Then I wanted to write for Forbes.

So I reached out to an editor and pitched a few ideas. He got back to me fairly quickly and said no.

He told me the content I was writing about wasn’t new.

So, I took my own advice and studied the marketplace.

I needed a new angle. I needed a point of difference.

Just like any inventor, when you’re pitching a product, it needs to be “new.”

After reviewing the articles about intellectual property from other writers, I found a point of difference.

Writing about intellectual property from a “business perspective,” not a legal one.

I pitched three articles from that perspective to the editor, who told me I was in.

This is what I’ve learned: 

  1. You have to start at the beginning. It takes practice. 
  2. You need to take one step at a time. Don’t be in a hurry! Writing for Forbes did not happen overnight. It took about 10 years. 
  3. Never burn a bridge. 

There have been many times when I wanted to stop writing for one of these online magazines. Dealing with editors at times hasn’t been easy. But it’s important to have a good attitude and play the long game.

If you don’t like someone, just wait a little while — they will likely move on. 

I’ll never forget what Madeleine said after we had been writing for AllBusiness for a while. “I don’t think there’s anything new we could possibly write about,” she said. .

That was over 15 years ago. We both discovered we’d just begun. 

I could not have done this without the help of my daughter Madeleine and I cannot thank her enough. Thanks for making me look so good!

She now has her own byline on Inc. and is starting to write her own content. I’m a very proud father! 

Thanks for reading,

Stephen Key

inventRight CoFounder