One of the topics I often discuss with freelancers is how to grow. And at the Creative Freelancer Business Conference, there is always at least one session on “options for growth” — because there are many, many options. (This year’s session is on Reinvention with Alina Wheeler. Details here: http://bit.ly/1eNEI0v)
One tool for growth no matter which option you choose is a plan. Over at the Freelancers Union blog, there’s a post by freelance magician Ryan Oakes, (who is giving a workshop in NY on 2/18 on Planning for Growth) about that planning process, especially for freelancers. Here’s an excerpt:
At what point are you no longer a “freelancer” but a “business”? There are a number of ways to answer this question; perhaps you think you’ve become a business once you are incorporated, or once you begin to hire sub-contractors or employees, or when you rent office space, or when you start selling physical products. All those would be true of a business, however I believe you are a business the moment you begin to even freelance. You are in business with yourself, and consequently, that business needs a business plan.
There are plenty of excellent resources online on how to write a simple business plan, my favorite being the SBA’s guide found here. It doesn’t have to be some fancy shmancy multi-page document written in legalese; in fact, it can just be a one page conversational letter explaining what you do and how you expect to get paid for it. In its most elementary form, however, a thorough business plan should define your services (along with your strengths/weaknesses), define your client base, outline your connections and marketing ideas to the client base, outline the financial side of your business (start-up costs, potential income, etc), and finally, set realistic sales targets (measured by dollars, number of clients, etc).
Read the rest here….and if your’e freelancing in New York, you can learn more about building your business from Ryan at Planning for Growth: Building a Successful Freelance Future, held on February 18 from 6:30 – 8:30. RSVP today.