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A Simple Approach to Creating a Writer's Business Plan

By Edited Feb 28, 2016 0 0

A simple business plan to begin your freelance writing career

 

 

The freelance writing lifestyle is attractive for many reasons. More flexibility, the opportunity to earn passive income and the freedom to live and work from home are all great benefits. These appealing lifestyle benefits also feed a growing number of web-based micro-businesses that offer new writers guidance on how to establish themselves and develop a freelance writing career. The courses and ebooks available to help you become a high-earning writer are certainly useful, but don't replace a solid business plan. The freelance writing life may be flexible but successful writers understand that they are running a business nonetheless.

A businesses plan doesn't have to be formatted traditionally. It can simply be a well articulated plan of action to work by. Here's a hint: if you've been meaning to put together a business plan for a while but the very sound of it is intimidating or sounds like what you left your day job to avoid doing, simply think of it as a very detailed plan of action; a catch-all for your day-to-day executions and success. A good business plan will be your map, your motivation and a great organization tool.

Here are some of the essential elements that a freelance writer's business plan should include:

  • Describe your services: this is as much about deciding what you don't want to offer as it is about what you do want to offer. Setting limits, understanding your niche and deciding on a specialty will make life far easier than trying to cover everything. This section can be created by simply making a list with items such as “SEO writing for small B2B projects,” “web copy for alternative health and nutrition companies,” or “SEO-optimized article writing for emerging start ups,” etc. The key here is to detail what this does and does not include, so that you can clearly plan how to develop your business and accurately communicate to clients what your services include. In this section of your businesses plan you should also include how your skills and approach benefit clients. For example, your ten years of experience as an archeologist makes you an ideal ghost blogger for museums, non-profits and charities you specialize in archeology and preserving world heritage.

  • Next, you need to describe the clients that you will be targeting. What industries will you focus on? What size of company? Will you be helping clients communicate to their own staff? Other businesses? Their customers? All require a different approach – what's your specialty?

  • Describe your financial objectives, and how you plan to meet them. If you plan to earn $100,000 per year, you need to make on average $400 per day. If you are currently earning $100 per day, how will you quadruple your income? Does your plan include earning money from passive income, and if so, how? What return do you expect to gain on any investments that you will be making? What are the key expenditures you will face, and how will that leave your budget balanced? You can also make a note of short, mid and long-term objectives.

  • You now need to describe how you will operate your business. This will be the biggest section of all:

    • It should include a detailed section for your marketing plan, which should describe in detail how you plan to market you services. This needs to include how you will describe your services, what you will use, and what your rationale is behind your approach. For example, you may decide that you will target small, emerging business in your local area by cold calling them to benefit from direct contact to make maximum impact and let them know that you're local, because you already know of several local business who prefer to work with local service providers.

    • This section also needs a description of your workflow. Depending on preferences and how you will be working day to day, it can be very helpful to create a workflow diagram for yourself that you can reference later. This can be complex or a simple doodle of what happens when. When a client shows interest in taking you on as a contractor, what are you next steps? What tasks will you always perform and in what order? For example, will you always send your clients a brief questionnaire at the end of the project for any feedback they can offer you?

    • This section also needs a communication plan. How will you ensure that you fully understand each client's requirements? Will you have a standard template for yourself with a list of questions? How frequently will you check in with the client? What steps can you take to make sure that you communicate well and avoid misunderstandings?

    • Include a description of how you will set your rates, and how you will negotiate. Also make a note here of all points that you must check for on each contract that you consider. How will you bill clients, and how many days will you give them to pay you?

    • Include a brief quality assurance plan. Make a note of things you must always do, say and check before accepting and signing off on a writing project. What quality standards will you always hold yourself to?

    • Describe your work environment. What do you need every day to run your business? This is an important step for a person working from home for the first time, as it helps to formalize and reaffirm that you are running a business with real goals and objectives. You can also include your schedule here. When will you be available to take phone calls? How many hours per day can you dedicate to writing? How many days a week will you work?

If you have all of these steps clearly mapped out in your mind, you are in a good place to begin!

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