Failure to plan is planning to fail.– Benjamin Franklin
I am a huge fan of this saying and really take it to heart.
If you have been following my blog for a while now you know that I LOVE to plan. I would plan all day if I could. But there is no point to all this planning if you do not follow through. After all, actions speak louder than words. Another favourite saying of mine.
Here is a simple way to hash out plans for your business to launch you as a successful freelance writer. And don’t forget the most important part: putting these plans into action.
There are many aspects to a successful writing business, other than stringing a coherent sentence together. What you need is a plan of action. A To-Do list that steps out the exact tasks you will take to launch your business and keep it running smoothly.
Write your business plan.
Now don’t roll your eyes and groan until you hear me out. You do not need to write a long and involved business plan. It can be very simple.
Open up a new word document and answer the following questions:
- What is your business name?
- Decide on your business brand? (Tag line, colours, logo).
- What are the values of your business?
- Will you have a niche or speciality writing?
- What type of writing? (blog posts, white pages, speeches, grant proposals, website content, eBooks and so much more)!
See how simple that is? And now you have a clear plan of what your business will look like and how you will structure it.
Brent Galloway has written this fantastic post on business planning – “Want to freelance successfully? Write a business plan!” He has even included a sample. If you want to learn more about planning make sure you check it out.
Write your marketing plan
Again, this does not have to be a lengthy project. It is a simple way to help you clarify HOW you will get your business visible and market your business.
So, once more, open up a new word document (or tack it onto the bottom of your business plan document) and answer the following questions:
- How will you find clients?
- What type of marketing will you do to get your business out there?
You do not need to pay for expensive add campaigns or billboards. Developing a marketing strategy can be as simple as building a website and staying active on social media accounts. Or in other words, creating a solid writers platform.
You can use these tools to launch your business and gain traction, to give your potential clients a place to find and contact you and to display your writing. You can step out how you will develop your website, a blog content strategy and social media campaigns as part of your marketing plan.
Create your financial plan.
Not another plan! Yep, another one. A financial plan helps you to budget for your business and gives you a tangible goal to work towards. Simply answer the following questions:
- How much money do I need to make?
- What will you charge? How will you charge?
- What are your expenses?
These questions will underpin everything you do in your freelance writing business. We are, after all, in the business of making money from our writing.
To work out how much money you need to make you need to know your monthly expenses.
If you are reliant on your freelance writing income, then these expenses need to take into account EVERYTHING!
Bills, groceries, petrol, rent or mortgage repayments, loans, health insurance, car insurance and registration, hair cuts. Did I miss anything?
You will also need to know your business expenses. Lucky for us, as freelance writers, there is not a huge outlay to run a freelance writing business. The cost of your computer, Internet usage, website hosting, domain name, business registration, accounting software, to name a few.
Add all these expenses together and work out a monthly total of expenses you need to cover with your business income. This is the bare minimum you need to aim for in a month and will give you an idea of how much you should be charging for your services.
I use Rounded, which is an Australian online accounting system. Rounded helps me keep track of all my business expenses and allows me to set a monthly target. This helps keep me accountable and aware of my financial goals.
Set your goals!
Setting goals is an amazing way to keep your business moving forward, maintain your motivation and give you something to work towards.
I like to set quarterly goals, and break those big quarterly goals down into smaller monthly and weekly tasks.
For example, my first quarter goal was to onboard two more regular paying clients. I then broke this big goal down into how I would do that. For example, running a social media campaign to attract new customers, offering a limited time discount, participating in a cold pitching challenge and approaching old clients about new prospects. And it paid off! I achieved my goal (woo hoo!)
Elna Cain has this amazing post, “Goal Setting for New Freelance Writers” that gives the best advice.
Develop your schedule.
Finally, the last step in planning your freelance writing attack, but by no means the least important, is to schedule! This is one of my favourite parts of planning!
Developing a schedule is super important to the success of your business. You need to know HOW much you can work each week, therefore it will guide how much you can earn and when you will work. It will help you to create a plan of attack for your day, week, month and year and will have you kicking goals in no time!
On a Sunday evening, I sit down with my diary and plan out everything. I look at when I will be working nursing shifts, what appointments we have, what events and prior social commitments we have. Once they are all entered into my diary I use batching to manage my freelance writing projects and blogging. If you have not jumped on the batching for time management bandwagon, you are missing out! It is a fantastic tool, especially for work at home parents, to boost productivity and get all the things ticked off your to-do list.