Now that you know you want to start something new and that you’ve already decided what that “something” is… You need a business plan!
Sure, you could do this happy-hippie waiting for inspiration to come, but freelancing is all about business. Not about lying on the beach, unless you find someone who would give you money to lie on the beach – In that case, please feel free to give him/her my e-mail address 😉
Jokes aside, if you want your fresh new life to last, you’d better take it seriously and start making a plan. Does it sound boring to you? It doesn’t have to be a traditional old boring business plan. You don’t have to deliver it to any boss to approve it. Those times are gone for you. You’re the boss now! Or will be. Very soon.
What does that mean, you ask? That you could be making a perfectly valid business plan on a piece of paper with beautiful colors. Or using an online app to simplify your life. Or an Excel file. Pdf file. Google doc… YOU name it. Repeat after me:
I am the Boss
Steps to writing your business plan
First, let’s have a look at the questions you should be asking yourself to create your first plan draft:
♥ What services or products are you going to offer? ⇒ Are you selling physical products? Online services? Online courses?
♥ Who is your target market? ⇒ Who is your ideal client? Try to go as deep as possible with details.
♥ What does your ideal client need? ⇒ Which problem are you going to solve? What value are you offering?
♥ How are you going to reach them? ⇒ Where do your ideal clients usually spend their time? Do they read blogs? Which ones? Do they use social media? Which one?
♥ How are you going to monetize your services? ⇒ Have you thought of money yet? Well, you should start doing it 😉
♥ How does your competence look like? ⇒ Do you know any company which offers similar products/services?
♥ In that case, how are you going to stand out? ⇒ What makes you better than your competence?
♥ And the fun question which can become a real headache ⇒ Which great business name are you going to choose? This is a fun one, but don’t let the searching for the best name ever stop you from going forward. If you don’t come up with a name right now, just use your name. You could use something like “YOUR NAME’s Blog” or “YOUR NAME’s Food” – if you’re going to be catering, for instance. Or, if you’re going to sell products online, “YOUR NAME’s Shop.” Just use the first name which comes to your mind. You can change it later.
♥ If you are stuck and don’t come with any idea, there are many apps which can give you some ideas for your name. I love NameMesh. It helps you find a business name and searches automatically for available domains. You don’t want a company name without the same domain name, right?
Tools which will help you write your business plan
Second, here you are a couple of tools you could use for your business plan:
♥ Piece of paper and pen
If you are like me and you like sketching with different color pens before typing on the PC, go ahead and do it.
You just have to write down the questions and answers which come to your mind in the most visual possible way.
You could fill out this interactive business plan template I created for you. We do want to have it as easy and quick as possible, right?
♥ Excel file / Google Sheet
Would you rather have a digital file? Why not try something as easy as Excel? Or you can also create your plan on Google Sheet, which allows you to access your file from any digital device.
♥ Lean Canvas Tool
Do you know Ash Mayura? He’s the author of Running Lean and the creator of the Lean Canvas, an easier version of Business Model Canvas by Alexander Osterwalder. In his website http://www.leancanvas.com, Ash Mayura offers free training to complete the lean canvas template, either online or on a pdf you can download and print to work on it.
I find his book Running Lean slightly more advanced, but I highly recommend both this book and his free training. The first half of the book is enlightening thanks to the many examples he offers. The second one is a bit more complicated – in my opinion. If you think the second half is too much – and we wanted it easy, right? -, jump on to his free online training.
And now that I’m ready, what’s next?
Last but not least, now that you have your business plan all set to go, get ready for the action plan!!! But don’t worry, you don’t have to do it now. I would recommend going out for a walk, drinking a nice cup of coffee or tea, or even wait until tomorrow. Then, look again at your business plan. Would you like to change or add – or delete – something? Repeat as many times as you need.
When you’re ready, I’m sure you are going to feel proud of yourself, and you should be!!! This is the first step to freedom. And you want to plan the steps accurately to one of the biggest changes in your life, right? You got this!!
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