Business plans may not seem like something that you necessarily need as a freelancer - presumably you're accomplished in your field and that's how you started getting freelance work.
However, I believe that everyone who runs their own business needs a plan - and today I'm going to share why.
Summarise your mission statement
Creating your very own business plan will help you to get clarity on what your business is all about, who you want to help and what makes you stand out from your competition.
This will give you your mission statement - which comes in really handy at networking events when someone asks what you do, as you can say this instead of panicking and giving a really long-winded, rambly explanation (yes, this happened to me before).
Specify the services you offer
It can be so easy to say yes to everything as a freelancer, especially when you're just starting out.
However, this can be counterproductive and keep you from doing what you actually want to do with your skills. Instead, you'll be busy doing work that you aren't passionate about for clients you don't want to work for which gets really old, really fast.
So by getting specific about the services you want to offer, you can avoid this, because if someone asks whether you offer a certain service and you don't, you can just say no!
Set goals for your business
Freelancers often rely on recommendations to keep their business floating along. And that's fine. Recommendations are important to showcase how awesome you are.
But by relying on recommendations only, your business isn't likely to grow.
What works better to grow your business is setting clear, specific goals for your business's future. You don't have to hit them all or be deemed a failure forever - it's your business after all - but it's good to have an idea of where you want your business to be in a few months or even years from now.
Size up the competition
This may be frowned upon, but I think it's important to be aware of who else is out there doing what you're doing or working with your dream client.
Have a look at your competitors and make a note of what they're doing well, how much they're charging for their services and their weaknesses - or what you can do better.
It isn't about copying them, or trying to poach their clients - that's never going to work out well for you - but simply being aware of what else is out there and what you can improve on.
Get to know your customer
Okay, so you know who your dream client is - but how will you know what they want? Market research, that's how.
It's really easy...all you need to do is ask your potential clients!
And the great thing is, you're most likely already in touch with them. Social media, previous clients, your email list...there are so many ways to reach people.
I would suggest either putting together a simple survey on MailChimp or directly asking your social media followers what they'd like to see from you.
Then once you have your answers, you can add a brief summary to your business plan and look at the current services you offer, or are planning to offer, to see if these match up with what your audience want.
So hopefully, this post has shown you how creating a business plan can help you to grow your freelance business and offer services your clients really want!
If you're a freelancer, do you have a business plan? Why/why not?
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