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A Quick Way to Create a Business Plan (For Writers) by Rochelle Melander

My daughter and I at Branson Landing.

My daughter and I getting ready to shop at Branson Landing.


Dear Writers,

The New Year got off to a slow start at my house. After returning from our holiday trip to Branson, Missouri (I’ll be telling you some of those stories soon), we came home and got hit by the polar vortex. School was cancelled for two days, and none of us wanted to leave the house and risk frostbite. Once school started up again, my daughter came home with a stomach virus. Yikes! So I’m spending this week doing what I’d hoped to do last week: plan for the New Year.

If you’re in the same boat, take a look at my article below: A Quick Way to Create a Business Plan (For Writers). Believe me, I’ve made it easy and painless for you to figure out how to earn money writing!

Happy New Year!  Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach


money_saving3A Quick Way to Create a Business Plan (For Writers)

by Rochelle Melander

If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail! —Benjamin Franklin

At ASJA’s Content Connections conference this past November, Jodi Helmer talked about her New Year’s Day habit: creating a business plan. I’m a rock star planner, but when I hear the phrase business plan, I want to run and hide. My inner artist screams, “I’m a creative! I don’t make money, I make art!”

Well, it turns out that making money can be a good thing. You gotta eat, people. You cannot pay your food bill or your rent with Facebook likes, Twitter retweets or blog comments. (No! Say it ain’t so!)

Thankfully, Jodi Helmer made the idea of doing a business plan sound easy and somewhat fun. She gave me hope that I could create a business plan for the year—and help you do the same. So, here’s my really short, fun tool for creating a writing business plan. Use it or not. It’s up to you!

1. Review your vision. Remember all that dreaming and planning we did last year? Get it out and look for the answer to this question: Do you hope to make money from writing this year? Do you hope to work full time as a writer in the future? (If you answered yes and yes, move on to #2. If you answered no to either or both questions, read on anyway–you might change your mind.)

2. Get real about money. How much do you need to earn to support your life? That’s your writing income goal (WIG). Write down that number. For most of us, writing is a hobby that we hope to turn into a profession. So in our day jobs, we’re teachers, lawyers, day care workers, ministers, and doctors, hoping that someday we’ll be able to give it all up and live the dream of writing full time. If you want this to happen, you’re going to have to figure out how to earn your WIG!

3. Do the math. Okay, writing rock stars: if you want to become a full time freelance writer in five years, you need to start earning a portion of your writing income goal (WIG) right now. Let’s say your yearly WIG is $50,000 with a goal of working 50 weeks a year, five days a week, then you’ll need to earn $200 a day. If you’re currently working a day job, build your freelance writing business by working one day a week with the goal of earning $200 a week.

4. Find your cash cow (or several). When I took a part time editing gig 13 years ago, I never thought it’d turn out to be my cash cow—the stable base of my writing income. That job makes it possible for me to spend some of my time on projects that pay nothing but delight me. When it comes to launching your writing business, realize that you may not earn full time income from writing novels (though some do). But you can make a living writing if you open up your idea of what you’re willing to write. Determine what you can write that will provide you with a reliable income: articles, blog posts, business content, press releases, etc. (On Thursdays this year, I’ll be featuring articles in my Writers@Work series that teach you how to earn money writing.)

5. Schedule writing time and deadlines. Schedule time to find, query and write for your cash cow. But also schedule time for your passion projects. You need to do both. Give yourself deadlines to work towards until you get real deadlines from editors.

Finally, set time right now to revaluate your plan. Ask:

+Are you making progress on your passion project?

+Are you moving forward on your money-making projects?

+Are you on track for making your Writing Income Goal?

+If not, what do you need to tweak?

+If you are on track, is it time to consider adding more writing time?

If you need more help with your personal writing business plan, email me for a complimentary consultation. And check out my favorite business plan book: The Right Brain Business Plan: A Creative, Visual Map for Success by Jennifer Lee.

Your turn:

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