It wasn’t too long ago that a business plan was always a huge document full of financial projections, references to studies, biographies and who knows what, all aimed at getting financing for a startup or other company. Those companies were either large with many employees or hoping to get that way.
Fortunately a good business doesn’t have to be a complex, lengthy document to be effective for freelance writers. It can, in fact, be a one page business plan.
Why do you need a one page business plan?
Often freelance writers don’t think much about business planning. We know we’re creative types and many of us would rather create than worry about making money. In truth many of us are only interested in money because we must be in order to survive. Which is exactly why a bit of business planning can be a real help.
The biggest advantage to a one page business plan is that it helps freelance writers understand they are in business for themselves.
A simple business plan can be an effective way to take a high level view of what you want to accomplish.
Another issue is that a freelance writing business is often a one-person-band. That seeming simplicity makes it seem business planning is unnecessary. The truth is that a one page business plan can actually help you realize your business isn’t simple at all. It acts as an aid to help you make good decisions and keep track of what must be done.
One way to state the goal of a good one page business plan is to say it will help you think differently about your business so you can set up systems that make your life easier. With some planning it becomes much easier to figure out what’s working, what’s not, and what you need to change. It can help you take the action that will move you in the direction you want to go.
What should your one page business plan include?
You’ll find more than a few one page business plans online. Here is what I’ve found most helpful to include:
What are you going to sell? Obviously, writing, but spell out the details a bit.
How will your writing help the client? Write a few words about how you’ll be of service.
Who is your ideal customer? Not their names, but their type – need website content, want a book written – that sort of thing.
How will you charge? Hourly? Flat fee? Some combination?
How much will your charge? See above but put real numbers in this time.
How will you get paid? My list is cash, Paypal, Dwolla, check, Western Union.
What other ways might you make money? Multiple sources of income, particularly passive income are a great idea.
How will customers find you? This is your marketing and you might want to create a marketing plan or list here or on it’s own sheet. Pick several you think you’ll do and systemize them.
Whats will you do to get referrals? Start with a list of ideas, then systemize it.
How will you define success? Most likely your annual income goals.
What are your obstacles and how will you solve them? It’s helpful to come up with a solution of any sort – tends to help you find more.
Here you can download a Word™ copy of my one page business plan template. It’s in Word so you can edit it to work for you. You might, for example, delete the instructions, or put it in a table.
If you Google one page business plan you’ll find many of them. One I like almost as much as mine is by Jenn Mattern at http://allindiewriters.com/one-page-business-plan-template/
One final note. Business plans, particularly one page business plans can be done with every product or service you offer. They also are not meant to be permanent. You could do worse then review yours monthly, making adjustments as needed. Oh, and if it gets longer than one page that’s okay too. Use the amount of detail that works for you.
Write well and often,