Ugh: Business Plans.
I know I’m not the only one who dreads that topic.
A lot of us choose the life of the freelancer so we can be just that: free of processes and systems and guidelines. I left public administration for this career — you can bet I didn’t want to have a thing to do with another procedure defined by a lifeless Mission Statement.
Lately though, I’ve changed my tune.
That’s because it’s all in how you look at it. Sure, a business plan can absolutely be dull and limiting and lifeless. Or it can guide you safely down an exciting path that results in you achieving everything you want.
First: Make It YOURS
Heather Robson wrote a great article for today’s issue of the Wealthy Web Writer — it’s all about writing a business plan that not only guides you but also excites you.
She makes an excellent point early on in her article: “Your business plan isn’t something you’re going to present for a big loan, so you can make it as long or as short as you want and need it to be.”
In the past, I’ve tried to make business plans, but one of the things that always slowed (and ultimately halted) my progress was that it didn’t look right. Sounds silly, but I got too caught up in trying to make it look like an official document. I’d go all out with formatting and style. I’d even throw in some high-falutin’ language to make it sound fancy. Ultimately, I focused more on the presentation than on the meat of the document.
Clearly, I had the misconception that the look of my business plan would dictate the success of my business. But, as Heather points out, nobody else needs to see your business plan — so presentation be hanged!
In fact, Jack Dorsey, the creator of Twitter, first sketched out a blueprint for the now $7.8 billion service with pen and scribbles on a simple notepad. The original business plan for Groupon was on the back of a napkin.
I’ve even heard of some venture capitalists who are less impressed by a detailed, 100-page business plan than by a plan that can be summed up on the back of a napkin.
The bottom line is this: It doesn’t matter what you write, how you write it, or what it looks like. You just have to do it and make sure it’s something that represents what you want and how you want to get it.
Second: Chuck Your Resistance
Heather’s article makes another key point where she talks about how debilitating resistance can be to us web writers. As she puts it, “Resistance is one of the biggest productivity inhibitors you’ll ever encounter.” She goes on to point out that uncertainty is what makes us resistant to a lot of the work we want to do.
So true! How many times have you sat down at your computer, knowing you want to start a project or put together your web page or land a client, but not knowing HOW to go about it?
I’ve done that, too many times to count.
It’s fascinating to me, then, that a business plan might be able to help with this problem.
You see, I’ve always thought of a business plan as a broad statement about where you want your business to be within a certain time period.
It is, but Heather breaks it down further. Though she makes it clear that your business plan can be short and sweet, she also highlights a lot of the things you should address as a web writer. Things like “prospect inquiries” and “project process” and “billing procedure.”
Brilliant. Her breakdown is absolutely brilliant, because it shows you how to define virtually every step that waylays the average web writer.
Clarifying each of these steps takes away your uncertainty, which ultimately dissolves your resistance.
One more tip: incorporate the Wealth Creation Plan I talked about Friday as part of your billing procedure.
When I get back from maternity leave, creating a new business plan will be one of the first things I tackle. I’ll work on it in conjunction with my reputation sheet, which I talked about in this blog. Surely the combination of the two will set me up for a fabulous comeback! Besides, I’m hankering for a fresh perspective and a better way to work … this looks like a good place to start. Are you with me?
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