Are You a Writer Who Doesn’t Plan?

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By Rohi Shetty

“A plan is a dream with a deadline.” ~Napoleon Hill

Do you intend to make a living off your writing and quit your day job? Then you need to think of yourself not only as a professional writer but also as a creative entrepreneur.

What’s the first step in transforming your freelance writing efforts into a business?

A business plan.

Most writers either don’t have a business plan in place or spend too much time creating an elaborate business plan, which is neither practicable nor actionable.

Your first business plan should be short and easy to implement. And most important, it should be flexible, so that you can adapt it to changes in your circumstances, interests, or goals.

Here’s the template for a basic business plan that you can complete within 30 minutes. Don’t procrastinate on this. Schedule 30 minutes today, set your timer, and fill in this template.

Even if you have a business plan already, this template will help to clarify your vision for your writing career and help you to act with greater focus. (And if you want a 3-year plan, check out Mridu Khullar’s blog post in the resources below.)

Business plan template for writers:

  1. Ideal Reader / Client Who is your ideal reader? (Who do you want to serve?) What are his / her defining qualities?
  2. Channels Where does your ideal reader hang out? How will you find him / her? How will he / she find you?
  3. Problem What are your ideal reader’s biggest problems? What are your ideal reader’s biggest desires?
  4. Solution How will you solve this problem or satisfy this desire? What is your unique selling point (USP)?
  5. Revenue What will you sell to your ideal reader? a. Services (article-writing, blogging, copywriting, editing, ghostwriting) b. Products (e-books, online courses, membership sites, etc.)
  6. Business Strengths What are your biggest business strengths? (List your skills, relationships, experience, etc.)
  7. Expenses What costs will you need to build this business? (Equipment, software, web hosting, email provider, advertising, etc.)
  8. Personal Fit Define what it means to be happy with your writing career. What kind of lifestyle do you want? How are you going to create space for both love and money in your writing life?
  9. Elevator Pitch Combine your problem, audience, solution and USP to create your elevator pitch. (Write at least 20 versions and select the one that appeals to you the most.)

Action this day!

Please do this today.

Write at least one line for each question. You can add more details later.

Business Plan Follow up

Look at your business plan regularly, preferably once a day.

Set specific weekly goals based on your business goals:

      • Writing Goals
      • Pitching / Submission / Publication Goals
      • Marketing Goals (including social media)

Resources:

The Freelance Writing Three-Year Plan by Mridu Khullar
Year 1: Build a Foundation
Year 2: Increase Your Income
Year 3: Build Relationships

The 7-Step Business Plan for Writers
A simpler version by Jane Friedman

Introducing the Business Plan for Writers Worksheet
Includes a downloadable worksheet by Jami Gold

Reinvent Your Writing Career ($198)
Check out this six-week audio course by Mridu Khullar to fix your writing career and transform it into something you love.

Join the conversation:

Did you write your business plan?

Which part did you find the most challenging?

Let us know in the comments below.

(22 June 2016)


Rohi Shetty has published nine Kindle books and blogs about writing and digital publication at rohishetty.com. You can download all his books for free here.


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