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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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 runs numerous websites & blogs including All Indie Writers, NakedPR.com, and BizAmmo.com.

Jenn has over 17 years experience writing for others, around 12 years experience in blogging, and about a decade of experience in indie e-book publishing. She is also an Active member of the Horror Writers Association.

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