January 31, 2007
Plan Your Writing Success With A Business Plan By Pamela White | printable version
Recently, while looking over my budget and knowing that college bills would come all too soon for my three children, I had to get serious about my writing business. I knew I needed to turn my part time writing in to a full time career.
It was time to write a business plan.
1 - Description of Business: What will you do? How will you do it? Where will you do it?
Plan where you will submit your work, whether you choose corporate clients, magazines, newspapers, or book publishers. List where, when and how you will increase your writing. Whether you set regular working hours, have a room with a door to shut out the world, or plan to research and write six hours a day in between orthodontist visits and overseeing homework, write it down. Set your intention to write and sell a certain amount each month.
2 - Market Analysis: What are your financial projections? What and where is the market for your business? What trends and changes will affect your market?
Don't forget that your business will have its own expenses. When projecting your desired income, add in probable expenses so you can still meet your income goals. Don't forget printer cartridges, internet connection, second phone line, website, and subscriptions.
And your market? It's global. Your writing can be published all over the world, or you can choose to stay local with your writing. Keeping track of periodical start-ups and closures will make your head spin but it's part of the writing biz (See http://www.mediabistro.com's Revolving Door); benefits include getting your articles seen by editors before their publication has hit the newsstands.
Trends to watch could include the changing ways businesses find their customers and developments in technology.
3 - Clients: Know your audience.
Have a narrow focus? Maybe your audience is pre-teen female wrestling fanatics for your youth novel series "Smackdown Sitters Club" or it might be parents with children under 10. You can build a pre-teen friendly site, do readings at bookstores, and sign that contract for the Smackdown Sitters Club Movie. If you are writing for adults, you can reach them through parenting magazines or books on pregnancy, potty training and the danger of sleep deprivation
In any case, we all need to find a way to set ourselves apart from the competition, be it with websites, blogs, personality, TV appearances, better service, or meeting deadlines.
3 - Competition: Who else is after your audience?
Writers compete against each other, it's true, but they also find support, information and a sense of belonging with each other. The true competition might be television, movies, computers, and video games. Keep in fighting shape by staying up-to-date on arts and culture, and fill the needs of your readers by providing the stimulation, information and entertainment they crave.
4 - Sales and Marketing: Grow your income by growing your markets.
As you build up writing credits, let go of the lower paying markets. Think about the time you invest in writing multiple low-paying articles. Flip that to how great you'll feel writing one article for several hundred dollars, and being able to use each one as a stepping stone to better pay and larger markets. Open up space in your life for your growing business.
Or add in new products like books, movie scripts, websites, or television commercials.
While you don't have to incorporate or hold annual meetings, you can still run your writing as a business, and, as a result, watch your business, and your income, grow.
Pamela White is the publisher of two ezines for writers, at http://www.thewritingparent.net and http://www.food-writing.com . Her writing and food articles have appeared in Writer's Digest, ByLine Magazine, Home Cooking, Back Home, and Low Carb Energy. She is the author of Make Money as a Food Writer in Six Lessons, available at Amazon.com, and as an ebook at Booklocker.com.