This week I’m going to be talking about writing a business plan for writers and creative entrepreneurs. Now a lot of writers and creatives often think that business plans don’t apply to them. Business plans are for business or big companies, right? Wrong? Whether you’re a writer, blogger or small business owner having a business plan can really help you to stay focused and achieve more. Since I wrote my first business plan a few months ago it’s really helped me to become so much more focused, productive and helped me realise what direction I want to take my business in.
A business plan can help you to:
- Assess your long-term and short-term goals and achieve them
- Define what your business is and what direction you wanted to go in
- Give you a clear picture on how you want to promote your online business
- Help you stay focused and productive
- Help you to break through any fears you may have of starting your business or taking your business to the next level
- Stop you from getting overwhelmed
- Help you to track and analyse your growth as your business grows
The list in this post on the steps may seem very overwhelming at first. Important things to remember to take it one step at a time. Sit back, relax and work on your business plan a little bit each day. It’s easier to do that way than trying to do everything all at once.
The steps to writing your business plan.
- Make sure your business plan is something you can easily access and change as you go along. Business plans don’t say the same, they change and evolve over time.
- Write down your goals and objectives. One of the crucial aspects of writing a business plan is establishing the goals you have for both yourself and your business. The best way to start is to write down your short-term goals first, then work on your long-term goals.
For example, if you want to write your first novel within a few months, how do you break it down into a short time-frame?
If you’re starting a business, how much money do you want to make in the first few months?
Setting your goals
The best way to work on your goals is to write them down in the list. Once you’ve done that break it down into smaller parts.
For example some of your goals could be:
- How many words do I want to write per day?
- How many blog posts do I want to write per month?
- How many clients do I want to get per week?
One of the best ways to track your goals is to write them all down in a spreadsheet and track it to see how you are progressing.
Long-term goals as a writer/creative entrepreneur
While your long-term goals?
How many books do you want to publish per year?
Your goals should help you to:
- Your objectives. I LOVE writing out objectives! Write down at least 5 measurable, achievable objectives for your business for the next 6-12 months. Examples of measurable objectives include: gain at least 20+ new e-mail subscribers a week, publish at least one book every couple of months, increase your website traffic by 10% a month, etc.
- How many books you want to publish over the next 6 to 12 months.
Your dream and mission statements
The next step is to write your dream and mission statement. This reflects who you want to be as a writer.
Many businesses start with a mission statements, but for writers I find it much better to have both a mission statement and a drink statement. They are a summary of your business and he want to be as a writer.
Your dream statement
The dream statement is what you plan on happening in your writing career and what you want to see happening in the future.
Do you want writing to be your primary source of income?
Will you have other sources of income? If so, what will they be? Will you provide writing services to other people? Will you teach workshops or online courses?
Do you see yourself becoming a New York Times bestselling author?
Your mission statement
A mission statement is something that defines what your business is and who your customers are, for a writer this would be your readers.
Here are 5 steps to writing your mission statement:
- What do you do? They just say that you’re a writer although you want to become a published author. Think of the bigger picture. What do you do when you sit down to write? Do you create magical universes? Do you write hot and steamy romances? Or do you write self-help books to help others?
- Who’s your ideal reader? Many authors struggle with finding who their target audiences when I first started publishing I had no idea how to find my target audience or what it really was. The best way of trending your target audiences to look at the type of people who read your books or who are your clients.
- Are they male or female? Or both genders?
- How old are they?
- Are they students, employed or retired?
- Where do they like hang online?
- Why do they read your particular type of book?
- Why do they use your particular type of service?
- Depending on where you write fiction or non-fiction the results may vary.
- Most people read fiction in order to be entertained and escape the boring reality of their everyday lives. The people who read non-fiction usually need an answer to a question.
- How are you different from other writers? This is a question a lot of writers and creative struggle with, after all what makes you different from everyone else?
- Is it your experience?
- Is it your characters?
Where are you going?
Where do you want to go as a writer? This is one of the most important steps of on your plan.
- Do you want to write a series of how-to books?
- Do you want to write and run a profitable blog and turn your posts into a book?
- Do you want to write a book or short story every month?
How are you going to get there?
Once you’ve written down your goals, you need to decide how you’re going to achieve them. Even if you only write down a few general ideas by now you should have a good idea of how the going to complete and achieve your goals.
Your ideal reader
Who’s your ideal reader? This is one thing many writers struggle with and that is identifying your target audience. I had no idea that I needed have a target audience in mind when I first started publishing my own books a few years ago. Every author, whether you’re traditionally or self published, needs to know who their target audiences before they publish any books or try turning their writing into a creative business.
Your author brand
Every author writer needs to have a brand. Although most authors don’t know where to begin when it comes to branding. The main areas of an author brand are brand identity and brand awareness.
There is no point in promoting yourself and your work if you have no idea what your brand is. Simply put your brand is your promise to your audience, it tells them what to expect from you and your work. The brand comes from who you are, who you want to be and how you want people to perceive you.
Why you need a brand:
To enhance your writing and give it greater focus
so you can control how you and your work are perceived by others
so you can make it easier for your readers to identify you and your books
So you can attract new readers with your brand identity
Brand identity and purpose
This is where you put all your visual, written and personal elements together and convey the message that you want to get out to your readers as an author.
There is a difference between brand and genre. There’s no quick or easy way to define yourself or your brand, it requires some self-analysis.
You want to be known as an author? The words or concepts you want your readers to associate with you.
Brand identity checklist:
- What kind of logo or graphic will you have on your website? Most authors usually use a character or logo on their websites to identify themselves.
- What kind of colours resonate with you most? Colours often go by genre. For example, if you’re a romance author pink red and girly colours will resonate with your readers.
- What will your brand tagline be? On my fiction site, my tagline is: creating magic with words.
- Website/blog. Every author needs to have a website or blog as the main hub for their readers to find them on. Facebook pages or other social media channels shouldn’t be used as the main hub. Need to have an area that you have complete control over where you convey your message to your readers.
- Social media accounts. Setup social media accounts on platforms where your readers like to hang out. If they like Facebook, create a Facebook page, if they hang on twitter create a Twitter account.
- Social media graphics and images. Have social media graphics are the same on the different social media platforms. Have the same Facebook cover, Twitter cover and blog post templates that match your brand.
- Have a professional author photo. Either have a professional headshot or a good-looking photo that represents you and your brand. Don’t just add any photo. It needs to look professional.
Services and products
No matter whether you are an author or freelance writer, any business offers services and products. Your books are essentially a product. So you need to decide what kind of products and services you will offer your readers.
- What kind of books will you write?
- Will you write fiction or non-fiction?
- Will books be self or traditionally published?
- What format will you publish your book in? Print? Audiobook? Ebook? PDF?
- Will you turn your non-fiction books into an online course or podcast or video course?
- What other services will you offer?
- Will you run online workshops or in-person workshops?
- Will you offer freelance writing services or editing services?
- Will you become a writing or author coach?
How you will promote your business and services
Any business plan has to include how to market yourself, your business and any services or products you may have.
Your business plan should include:
- How you plan to market, promote and sell your books
- What kind of services you might offer and how you will find your clients
- How you will start an email list
- A social media strategy
Budgeting your time and money
When someone thinks of the word budgeting, money always seems to come to mind. Yes, you have to budget your time for your business and this will help you in the long run but time is also a big factor as well.
- How many words will you write per day for your book?
- How much time per day will you spend marketing your books and business on social media?
- How long will it take to have you book read by editors? How much will it cost?
- How long will cover design take and how much will it cost?
Furthering your education
Any writer or creative entrepreneur should always be learning new ways to improve their craft and learn new ways of promoting their business. How will you do this?
- Through books or online courses?
- By going to workshops or conferences?
I hope you have found this blog post helpful and don’t forget to download the handy template.