Business Plans For Freelance Writers
Whether your dream is for full-time writing to replace your day job, you already reached this goal and are building your business, or you’re well into freelance writing and need guidance, today we discuss business plans.
Writing is, by nature, a creative process. Storytelling relies on great stories (surprise), told in an engaging manner and with quality writing. If writing is a hobby, you can stick to the creative side without thinking about business, taxes, or an elaborate plan for your writing hustle.
However, if you want to make money writing, work as a freelance, and want to succeed, it’s essential to discuss business plans. In this article, we elaborate on the business side of writing via business plans:
Yes, you are a creative, and that part of your personality is extremely important to your career. For sake of longevity and a career that can take over your day job, let’s dive into what business plans are.
What is a Business Plan
Business plans for freelance writers are simply documents of your goals for the upcoming years (usually 3-5). These goals should encompass your financial goals, and projections, and include practical business dreams.
Because your business plan is a roadmap for how you will achieve your goals, specifics are crucial. Business plans help take you from ideation to execution and provide the necessary steps in between.
Just because your plan focuses on long-term goals and practical projections, don’t forget the importance of pushing expectations and working toward lofty goals. Failure is part of the growth process—fail responsibly, grow steadily.
How To Write One
The quickest way to write your business plans as a freelance writer is to use a business plan template or software. You can also start from scratch, but it’s important to follow several steps when creating your plan. You will want to include:
An Executive Summary:
Think of this as your business elevator pitch and include: What your business is, your business name, your products or services, how you are the solution to clients’ pain points, projected expenses, and income, etc.
Your Description Of Your Business:
Think of this as your business synopsis and include your qualifications, what type of business you are (sole proprietorship, LLC, S Corp, corporation), target client (think of this as your book’s target audience), etc.
Do you work alone or hire work out? Do you only have subcontractors or do you have full-time employees?
Dive deeper into your ideal client, research competitors, including pricing, etc.
Determine your marketing budget and list ways you plan to market, such as social media advertising, newsletter, referral system, etc.
Will you need to budget for startup costs such as a computer, office materials, or certifications? What are your estimated profits and losses, and how do you plan to break even and grow revenue over the next several years? Project the monthly profit and loss for the first 12 months.
Benefits Of Doing So
There are many benefits to creating a business plan, one of which is increased clarity. When you can see your three to five year plan on paper in front of you, it’s much easier to follow the steps to a successful, thriving business.
Start-up businesses take so much time and investment upfront that it’s easy to slack with marketing as you handle all the other aspects of your business. Creating a business plan includes brainstorming and articulating a marketing plan.
When you find yourself in the trenches of your business, responding to emails, sending follow-up invoices, and documenting tax write-offs, it will help you to have a previously established plan of action.
Your business plan also creates a structure that is difficult to find without a hard copy of what you are doing and plan to accomplish. Structure reinforces credibility and will help you track your progress. If you need to make hires further down the road, you will have a plan to refer to and know exactly what spots you need to fill.
Pitfalls Of Not Doing One
The pitfalls of not creating a viable business plan can be summed up as the negative side of the above list. However, not building a business plan can also contribute to Imposter Syndrome.
Creatives often struggle with the business side of writing because they are trained so much in the creative side. If writers already experience feelings of inadequacy in their lane of talent, how much more will they as they make their creative talent a business venture?
It may seem like several sheets of paper, but giving yourself the opportunity to reference a hard (or digital) copy of what you are accomplishing and working toward helps fight doubts.
Not everyone has the persistence to dream up a business, let alone start one and carry it through to full-time execution. Reference your plan to make sure you stay on track and don’t let discouragement creep in.
How To Think Like A Business Owner
You know how to think like a writer, and actually, thinking like a business owner is quite similar.
When you think like a writer, you likely follow similar steps to this list:
- Get your idea
- Flesh out your idea
- Plan your idea
- If you are a pantser, you will spend much less time on this point
- Create a schedule and way to execute writing your book
- Build time into your schedule to write
- Stick to your daily word count or page count goals
- Use weekends to make up lost time
When it’s time to think like a business owner, you should:
- Decide you want to start a freelance writing business
- Flesh out your business plan
- Plan the scaffolding of your business
- What are the specific steps you need to take?
- Create a working schedule
- Build time into your schedule to hit your goals
- Stick to your daily tasks
- Use weekends to make up lost time
Educating yourself with books on business, freelance writing, and how to maintain daily habits can go a long way in providing structure and resources. You do not need a business degree to start a business (although it can be helpful).
Start Your Freelance Career Today
So many freelancers got their start without a degree in various fields. You can too—just remember it takes a lot of work. The magic word to becoming a freelance writer is consistency. Don’t forget that every step takes you closer to your goals.
You will likely fail, but fail with intention and fail toward growth.
To help get you started, here is a list of resources:
(*Self-Publishing School is not paid to endorse these resources, nor does SPS benefit if you engage with these resources.)
- Atomic Habits, James Clear
- Marketing Made Simple, Donald Miller
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey
- Powered, Abu Fofanah
- Business Made Simple, Donald Miller
You now have the tools, the resources, and the steps to build your business plan. All that’s left is to execute what you learned. We wish you the best as you progress in your freelance writing career!
Start today, and you’ll likely be surprised where you find yourself a month, a year, and even five years from now. We can’t wait to see it!