Do freelance writers need business plans?

Plenty of freelance writers write business plans as a source of income, but very few have put together a business plan for their own writing business. That’s unfortunate, though: business plans are a great way of making sure you have all your ducks in a row. The marketing section of your business plan, for instance, should be your first reference when you’re marketing yourself to clients — it’s a chance for you to write out all of your arguments for why you’re the best in your niche, as well as decide which forms of marketing will serve you well.

A business plan can be extremely simple, too. There are really only six sections, and you don’t need to formally write out a plan for each. As a freelance writer, you could even just make notes — the key is knowing ahead of time how you will run your business and where you can grow it.

The six sections are:

  1. The Executive Summary — You’ll want to write this section last, because it’s essentially your conclusion. If you’re handing out copies of your business plan, though, the summary goes first.
  2. The Description of Your Company —  What exactly will you be doing? What niches will you be targeting? What services will you sell?
  3. The Market Analysis — Who is your competition? Are they doing the same thing and, more importantly, how much are they charging? Can you get more, or will you need to settle for less?
  4. The Organization Plan — How will you manage your business? Most freelance writers don’t have employees, but you might hire an accountant or other professional for some tasks? Who will you hire? How much money do you need to get setup?
  5. The Marketing Plan — How will you market yourself? Where will you promote yourself? Do you need to create any promotional materials, like business cards?
  6. Future Plans — Do you have any plans for expansion? Any goals?

I’d like to suggest that you take ten minutes (even if you’ve been freelancing for a while) and think about what you might put in each of those sections. Treat it like a brainstorming session and see what you might need to grow your business. Take notes! You never know what you might come up with.

2 Comments

  1. Maria Marsala   •  

    Most freelancers think that since they don’t usually need funding to start or grow their businesses that creating a plan is a waste of time. And I’d agree that a 20-50 page plan is just that.

    However, I’ve found that the more time you spend planning “something” the better chances of catching mistakes. And by creating a plan you’ll have a document that will help you make better decision.

    What I tell my freelance clients to do is exactly what helped me when I found it — create a One Page Business Plan(r). Basic parts that works.

  2. Pingback: Incurable Disease of Writing » Blog Archive » Just Write BlogCarnival for March 21, 2008

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