If you intend to make a living out of freelancing, a simple business plan will help you stay focused and prepare for development.
When you hear “business plan,” you might imagine a lengthy document that a startup would use to entice investors. However, freelancers can also benefit significantly from business strategies as well.
When you put a business plan in place, it acts as a compass, pointing your company in the right direction and assisting you in meeting your objectives.
Because your company is one-of-a-kind, your business plan will be as well. However, it can be difficult to know where to begin if you’ve never developed one before. This article discusses some of the aspects your freelancer business plan should contain, as well as presenting suggestions for what to include and how to proceed.
Why should independent contractors make a business plan?
It takes time to put together a business strategy, but the results are well worth it.
Here are some reasons why freelancers should invest time in developing a business plan:
It will help you to set realistic objectives
It’s easy to lose sight of the broader picture when you’re engrossed in the specifics of running your own business. A business plan assists you in establishing long-term objectives and breaking them down into manageable phases.
More plan, less chaos
There are many moving pieces in a freelance firm. A plan will help you organise your thoughts and set your priorities. It’s easy to identify where you should focus your efforts and what areas of your business need to be cleaned up.
It will help you hone your personal brand
To be successful, you must have a distinct brand that is memorable and distinguishes you from the competition. Your business plan will assist you in developing and evolving this identity over time.
You will save both time and money
Writing a business strategy takes work, but it will save you time in the long run.
You won’t waste time on things that don’t help you achieve your objectives if you have a plan in place. The strategy will also assist you in determining where you should reinvest money in order to maximise profits and avoid wasting revenue.
Your Business Strategy
Here’s a broad outline you can use to create your own business plan.
Remember that this is just a suggestion; you can make some sections shorter or longer or omit sections entirely.
Brief description of the company
- A high-level overview of your company. Consider how you would explain your company to a new acquaintance.
- Company name.
- Products and services overview.
- When did you start your company?
- What have been your company’s key achievements thus far?
- Who is your competition?
- Have you begun to provide new services?
- Have you hired any new employees?
- Have you met a financial target?
This is the type of information you’ll commonly share with clients, and it may even become the About part of your freelancer website. It’s also a good idea to check over this data every six months or so to keep it current and reflect on your success.
Statement of vision and mission
Describe your company’s core mission in a few words, as well as where you plan to take it in the long run.
- What value does your company provide to its clients?
- What distinguishes your company?
- What changes do you anticipate making to the company in the coming year?
- What can you do with this information?
You’re essentially defining your unique selling proposition, or USP, in this part.
This statement, also known as a value proposition, explains how you differ from your competition and will form the foundation of your marketing plan.
Your business structure and services
Examine the specifics of your company’s operations and revenue streams.
- A short description of each service
- A summary of your pricing strategy
- Current revenue streams are broken down
- Is there anyone else on staff than yourself?
- Do you have any plans to add new services or hire additional employees in the near future?
It’s critical that you understand your services and how they affect your overall revenue.
This information can assist you in determining where to concentrate your marketing efforts and where you might be able to enhance revenue over time. You can also make a rate card out of this information or put it on your website.
A quick note:
Working as a sole trader, whether as a freelance management consultant, educator, or architect, entails risk as well as profit. Accidents happen, but if something goes wrong at your hands as a freelancer, you may face a compensation claim from a customer. Business insurance can help shield you from the financial consequences of a client complaining about your work or protect you from allegations that you have damaged someone else’s property or injured a third party. Learn more: Small Business insurance.
Overview of the target consumer
Make a profile of your ideal customers, including information on what distinguishes them as members of your target market.
- Make a basic demographic list.
- Age (average)
- Gender distribution (if relevant)
- Income brackets/job titles
- What are some of your consumers’ pet peeves?
- What are the most common concerns/anxieties among your customers?
- How do buyers find your company?
- What do your clients hope to get out of your service?
A good marketing strategy begins with a thorough understanding of your target market.
You may use any marketing approach to target your consumers’ individual worries and anxieties and show them how you can assist them to solve their problems, once you know who they are and what inspires them. You can use this area of your business plan to personalise your messaging to the segments of your audience you want to target whenever you’re promoting your business.
The market and your rivals/collaborators
Describe the present state of your industry and how your company fits within it.
- Brief summaries of your main competitors.
- Make a list of the things that inspire you about them.
- Examine what makes your company unique.
- How do you want to set yourself out from the competition?
- In your “ecosystem,” what additional firms are there?
- Are there any other types of businesses that you could partner with?
- Are there any firms that are comparable to yours and overlap?
While you should never duplicate someone else’s style or technique, you can get ideas from your competitors’ marketing strategies, price structures, and positioning.
Furthermore, identifying other firms in your ecosystem allows you to form collaborations, which is a great way to expand your network, locate new clients, and develop your business.
Business expenses and costs
A glance into your company’s finances, highlighting where your money should be reinvested.
- What is your monthly/annual revenue right now?
- What are your primary company expenses?
- Marketing expenses
- Equipment or supplies
- Expenses for travel
- Office costs at home
- Payments to contractors/employees
It is your responsibility as a business owner to keep track of how much money comes in and goes out. If you don’t keep track of your costs, you may find yourself in a difficult situation.
You can also utilise the information in this part to save as much money as possible on freelancer taxes, which is one of the most profitable tactics.
Growth/evolution strategy and marketing
This section delves deeper into the future of your company and the steps you’ll take to attain your objectives.
- Where do you envision your company being in one year’s time?
- Where do you envision your company being in five years’ time?
- What steps will you need to take to you achieve this target?
- What are your existing marketing strategies?
- What is their effectiveness?
- What are your plans for advancing your business this year?
Answering the questions above can assist you in developing a growth strategy for your company. Once you’ve established definite goals, you can break them down into smaller, more manageable tasks. If you want to get ten new clients by the end of the year, for example, you can make a strategy to get 2 to 3 new clients per quarter and decide which marketing methods you’ll use each week to get them.
What to do when you’ve completed your business plan
Writing a business plan should have given you a better knowledge of your company and how you plan to move forward.
Consider showing it to a friend, coworker, or mentor once you’ve finished it to get a second opinion. They might be able to spot areas that need improvement or recommend ways to improve what you already have.
Return to the business strategy in a few days or weeks and reread it. You might have come up with some fresh ideas or topics to explore. You can also go through and include screenshots from your freelancing websites or portfolio to give your work some visual context.
Beyond that, your business plan will assist you in moving your company forward—when completed, you’ll have a clear vision of where you want to go with your company and the particular measures you’ll take to get there.
Return to your company strategy every few months and make any necessary changes.
The plan will evolve in tandem with your business over time.