How to create a freelance writing business plan.
Most businesses begin with a dream and some inspiration but go no further. Some of the most original companies have failed because they had no focused timeline or reliable action plan in place from the beginning.
While mistakes pave the road to success, no one wants to fail right outside the gate.
Creating a freelance writing business plan is critical to the success of your business. Plans are like a road map of sorts that shows you where you’re going and what you need to do to get there.
Unfortunately, most people starting their businesses never develop a plan, and thus, they have nothing to guide them through the process.
I have to admit I was one of those people when I first started my freelancing business.
There are several benefits to making a professional business action plan and focused timeline. A timeline keeps so on track for growing and scaling your business. It also keeps you accountable, which every business owner needs.
When you implement a plan of action and follow it consistently, you’ll guide your business towards success. Continue focusing on your timeline, and your new business will run smoothly for your customers and your employees.
But most people who have a business idea or start a business don’t create a plan of action. They’re either scared to because they think creating a business plan will be hard or they simply don’t know they need one.
But, the business planning process doesn’t have to be stressful if you follow these tips.
Tips to Create a Freelance Writing Business Plan of Action
Streamline Your Business Path
Streamlining the processes in your business and creating a defined timeline are two of the best tips for creating a professional business plan.
Having a specific vision and dream for your business is fabulous. Translate those elements into the perfect business strategy that will allow you to grow your business consistently over time.
You should know where your business is heading in the future. So, it’s essential to concentrate on a streamlined path when starting your business.
Without a clear plan, your business will likely be unorganized with no clear path to follow to reach your goals. Where do you expect your business to be in three, six, or even 12 months?
The land of chaos is not where you want your business to reside. When I started my business, I completely skipped the planning stage.
When my workload suddenly exploded and didn’t have systems in place to streamline the workflow, it was complete chaos! I didn’t know which side was up.
Before sitting down to write your business plan, you need to research your market, competition, product, and objective expertise. Ideally, thorough research should take double the time you spend on writing a professional business plan.
You must unequivocally know your product, company, market, and competition. Get to know your audience and learn all you can about your specific industry.
Put Your Professional Business Plan in Writing
You can run a successful business with an action plan that’s only in your head. That’s why it’s critical to put a plan of action in writing.
If you run your business without this puzzle piece, things will go downhill rapidly. With the action plan in it’s difficult to get team members to understand it and not as efficient as writing it down. Simply verbalizing it won’t help either.
Consistently Measure Your Goals
Re-evaluate your goals frequently. By making your goals measurable, you consistently connect those goals to where you are at that moment in your business. If your goals aren’t aligned where they need to be, then you should reexamine your goals.
Don’t be afraid to adjust your professional business plan because your business will evolve over time and so should your plan for scaling your business and streamlining processes.
Break Down Large Projects into Smaller Ones
When you develop your business plan, make sure to break up larger projects into steps that are manageable. This way, you’ll be able to finish the entire job done without feeling overwhelmed.
Ruth Soukup over at Living Well Spending Less has the perfect system for breaking down large goals into smaller actionable steps in her free Crushing It Mini-Course. She encourages people to think on a grandiose scale and plan small to crush your goals.
I use the Living Well Spending Less Planner and it’s the first paper planner that I actually use regularly. Yeah, I’m one of those people who falls in love with the idea of using a cute planner and doesn’t follow through. But I use this one every day.
I personally love her system because I tend to become overwhelmed with huge goals and can’t wrap my mind around the most successful course of action. When you break big goals into smaller steps, you create a manageable plan to achieve even your loftiest goals.
Do not be afraid to delegate some of the tasks in your action plan. There’s no way you can do everything on your own. All those balls you’re juggling in the air will eventually come down.
Document Every Single Aspect of Your Business
Documenting your process, systems, setup, cash flow, and everything else not only helps you with outsourcing and delegating tasks later, but it also shows investors that your business is well-organized and can make money.
The Essential Elements of a Professional Business Plan
1. Executive Summary
Your summary describes what you want your business to accomplish in general and highlights the rest of your business plan.
This is a section written more for other people if you plan on using this business plan to get funding for your business. It’s best if you write it last so you can write it based on the whole plan. It’s almost an extension of the business plan.
2. Business Narrative
In this section, you’ll describe all the important information about who your target customer or target market is, your business goals, and other key information.
This is also where you can unveil your mission statement too or you can make it a section itself.
Explain why your company stands out from your competitors and list your strengths because, in the next section, you’ll provide evidence of those strengths.
This section is also a good place to lay out the advantages that give you the edge that will make you a success where perhaps other businesses haven’t.
You’ll also want to add a section about your business branding. How do you want people to feel when they think about your brand? What is your messaging? Do you have any polarizing passion statement that sets you apart?
The answers to some of these questions can help you fill in this section.
3. Services and Products
Here you should talk about your freelance services and products. You want to provide a full description of your product and services and how they will meet the current demand.
That means you’ll also mention suppliers and other vital information about the cost of making your products as well as prices and how much you hope to make.
It’s also a good idea to record all data relevant to copyright and patent concerns.
4. Market Analysis and SWOT
In the Market Analysis section of your business plan, you’ll want to showcase that you’re an expert in your niche or learning it.
You’ve probably heard the anagram SWOT before. It stands for strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats or challenges. This is where you provide the evidence I mentioned in the previous section.
5. Marketing Plan
Many businesses create a separate marketing plan that defines your money and business goals, and how you will market your business to achieve them. You can link to it or summarize it in this section.
Your marketing plan is where you go more in-depth into who your ideal client avatar is – how much they make, what services and products they need and want, their buying habits, etc. All this evidence backs up how your business will be successful and what makes it better than your competitors.
You should also include how you’ll find customers and your promotion strategies. I also have my social media strategy here too. Explain who will handle your sales and other promotions and as a freelancer, you likely wear all of these hats!
6. Analysis of Your Competition
You should include a competitive analysis that identifies your competition and how you stand up to them. This section can even be included as part of your separate marketing plan, but you would also want to summarize it in your business plan. It’s usually included in the Market Analysis section.
Part of a competitive analysis is listing possible barriers that you may have to overcome. For me it was brand awareness and lacking the skills of actually starting a business.
Someone helped with my business plan several years ago and they requested that I add in how I would combat changes in technology, the economy, and my industry. And it makes sense because these changes are dynamic so they’re always changing.
7. Organization and Management
In this section, you’ll describe your business structure. For most of us, this is simply because we are solopreneurs.
But, this might not always be the case. Even if you’re only hiring someone to manage your WordPress backend, that’s still outsourcing. Or you may hire an editor.
Mention who will operate the business even if it’s you and how the business responsibilities will be delegated. You even want to describe your incentive and promotion structures. Many businesses use graphs and charts for a visual representation.
8. Financial Forecast or Projections
This last section breaks down all your financial goals and the expectations you described in your market research.
You can add spreadsheets here that forecast your earnings for at least the next three years. Don’t worry because these are just estimations. Just make sure they are realistic projections.
You can search for a sample business plan online as an example, but I have something to make your life much easier! And that’s a free business plan template. It’s just a simple plan to get you started.
*Note – This business plan is geared more towards freelancers and not someone forming a business where they need to use their business plan as part of their request to acquire funds.
To do this you would want to add a request for funding section that discusses how much money you need to start your business and how you plan to use the money in your business.
Tips for Creating a Freelance Writing Business Plan
Develop a Timeline for Each of Your Tasks
It’s vital to make a timeline for each task. A timeline is necessary for success. Creating a focused timeline helps you manage business and time. And time management strategies are critical to your success just like a professional business plan is.
Trust me. I’m the queen of being laid back and chill. I HATE planning and timelines, but I saw a massive difference in how quickly I prioritized tasks and finished them.
I refuse to get up early in the morning, though, no matter what anyone says. ? Yeah, I’m a bit of a rebel with some things.
Make Time Frame Firm but Not Unrealistic
A timeline assigns a manageable date for each task. If you pick a timeline goal that’s too soon, then you’re setting yourself up for failure. Set your business up for success by setting realistic time frames.
At the same time, you can’t set one too far out, or you’ll give yourself an excuse to lollygag around, and that’s not the way to run a business. I always want to set goals way far out, but it doesn’t push me enough to meet my goals and scale my business.
In other words, it keeps you in your comfort zone and to grow in your business, and personally, you must step out of your comfort zone.
Differentiate Short-term Tasks from Long-term Tasks
Make sure to differentiate any short-term tasks from long-term tasks. For example, a short-term task would be to hire a VA within three months, and a long-term task would be to grow your social media following.
You’ll also likely have long-term projects and short-term projects. A long-term project would be writing an e-book while a short-term project would be writing a blog article.
No Matter What Happens, Don’t Stray from Your Timeline
It’s up to you to police yourself in this area and have integrity. You can’t achieve success if you don’t stick to your timeline. The only time you should adjust anything on the timeline is if you’ve created to tight of a deadline to meet.
Everyone runs into roadblocks, or unexpected events threaten to derail every timeline. My best advice is to plan what you’ll do when something unexpected comes up.
Are you going to get up earlier for several days? That’s certainly enough to make me stay on any timeline! Perhaps you’ll put in some hours on the weekend.
It is quite easy to let tasks slide because life gets in the way. Learning how to remain focused regardless of the distractions and diversions is key. Stick the timeline you develop. Review your progress as you go.
I’m one of those people that can write with a television on in the background and continue rolling through my work. Not everyone works that way, and you have to do whatever it takes to say focused on the end goal. Keep your eye on the prize.
What is the prize? Why did you want to start a business working from home? Was it to spend more time with the family or have a better work/life balance?
Everyone has a why, and for those days, it’s hard to stay focused to finish your task and progress your business, remember the end goal and you’re why.
Motivation is critical for when the going gets rough. Being goal-oriented takes you along the way, but sometimes you need to call on that motivation to help you push through obstacles.
Think of how proud your family will be when you double your income. How much better will their lives be?
Final Thoughts on a Freelance Writing Business Plan
Creating a professional business plan and focused timeline is a critical part of that process. Research your industry, product, and the market so that you become an expert in all things related to your business.
Document every element of your business and learn how to delegate or outsource to free up more of your time to focus on the tasks that make you more money.
Set clear, manageable goals and break them down into actionable steps and then create a focused timeline to help get you to the finish line.
Execute your plan and bring those creative visions to life. It’s well worth the process to see something you’ve created make a difference in someone’s life.