Whether you earn most of your writing income as a freelance writer, blogger, author, or anything else, it's important to have a business plan. Your business plan not only helps you evaluate your goals, but it helps you figure out how you're going to achieve them. It, combined with your marketing plan, lets you figure out your competitive advantage, map out marketing over the course of the year, and work it all into your budget. It helps you schedule all of your projects so you can diversify your revenue streams. It's practically your best friend in business.
And to help you come up with bare bones business, marketing, and project plans, I've even developed free one-page versions you can use:
But coming up with a business plan isn't enough. It's not something that's meant to be filed away. It's not a static document. It's a living, breathing part of your business. And that means it occasionally needs to be tweaked, or even completely overhauled.
3 Reasons to Update Your Business Plan Now
Here are some signs that your business plan is due for an update.
- Your goals are out of whack. -- This could mean that you've set unrealistic goals because you never come close to meeting them. Or it could mean that your goals haven't been ambitious enough because you meet every one of them a little too early or easily.
- Your available budget has changed. -- If something's changed and you no longer have the budget for the marketing tactics you've planned for, it's time to overhaul those aspects of your business plan and marketing plan. On the other hand, your available budget might also increase. If that happens, you might want to rethink more advanced marketing strategies and tactics that you previously couldn't afford.
- Your competition is ahead of the game. -- When you came up with your business plan, you accounted for your competition at the time. But the competition changes. For example, maybe you planned to write a book on a topic only to have a competitor come out with a similar and popular title shortly before your release. Your publishing or promotional strategy might need to be updated accordingly.
These are some unscheduled times when you might want to re-evaluate and overhaul your writing business plan. But it's also a good idea to review it once or twice a year for routine follow-up and more minor tweaking where needed.
When do you update your business plan or completely start over? For me, it starts tomorrow. I'm more than a little bit overdue.
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Jennifer Mattern is a professional blogger, freelance business writer, and indie author. She began writing for clients in 1999 and started her first blog in 2004.
She owns 3 Beat Media -- a publishing and client services company which operates All Indie Writers as well as several other websites and blogs including The Busy Author's Guide and BizAmmo. Jenn comes from a background in online PR and social media consulting, having owned a small PR firm for several years before choosing to pursue a full-time writing and publishing career.
Jenn also writes fiction under multiple pen names in the areas of children's fiction, mysteries, and horror fiction. Jenn is an active member of the Horror Writers Association (HWA) and currently serves as the organization's Assistant Coordinator of Promotions and Social Media.
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