How to Create an Action Plan for Your Freelance Writing Business (That You’ll Actually Use)

Freelance Business Action Plan

I know what you’re thinking.

Another plan? Enough of those already!

A business plan, a marketing plan, and now an action plan.

Not only do they take a ton of time but they’re often based on a bunch of assumptions you pulled out of thin air.

Any plan you make is doomed to fail from the start.

You should know, because that plan you made in your first year of freelancing? It’s busy collecting dust.

Most business plans are abstract, inflexible, and quite honestly – pretentious.

They might be a good idea for bigger businesses that know what they’re doing. But for the average freelancer like you, they just don’t work. Heck, most of us start freelancing to “see where this goes” before getting serious about it.

The good news is, you aren’t an anomaly – you’re the norm. So if you’ve been blaming a document for your lack of success, I’m here to tell you that’s not why you haven’t succeeded yet.

The bad news is, you’re what’s keeping yourself from succeeding.

You might not need a business plan but if you hope to make a success of your freelance writing business, you do need a plan. An action plan, to be exact.

An action plan is the road-map to reaching all your goals.

It’s what’s going to take you from point A to B and beyond… all the way to the finish line.

And the best part? It’s not hard to create. In fact, creating an action plan is as easy as making a list.

Step 1: Make a list of your freelance business goals.

Now don’t go off on a tangent and write lofty goals like “Earn $100k”. That’s just going to depress and overwhelm you. Instead, think of goals closer to home. Goals you know you can achieve if someone just told you what to do. Or at the very least, pointed you in the right direction.

Maybe you want more clients than you have right now.

Maybe you want to leave your low-paying clients behind.

Or maybe, you want manage a team of writers instead of writing yourself.

Get as specific about your goals as you can. This time next year, what needs to have happened for you to feel like your business has moved forward?

Once you’ve figured out your goals, list them down — but limit them to 5. Any more and you’re just setting yourself up for failure.

Here’s what my list of goals for 2014 consisted of:

  1. Find better paying clients than I have right now.
  2. Get published on Copyblogger.
  3. Start a new blog – the right way.
  4. Create, maintain, and grow an email list.
  5. Save enough to spend summer in the US.

Guess how many of those I accomplished?

All of them.

Do you want to know how I did that? By dividing each goal into actionable steps.

Which brings us to our next and final step. (Yes, this is just a two-step process.)

Step 2: Divide each goal into actionable steps

Take each goal and ask yourself “How am I going to achieve this?”

What actions can you take to get things moving? When I wrote “Find better paying clients” in my action plan, I didn’t know how I was going to do that.

So I asked myself: How am I going to find better paying clients?

The answer that came was simple: Marketing. I was going to market my freelance writing business.

How was I going to do that?

By guest posting on blogs my prospective clients were reading.  (There were of course several marketing tactics that I listed but I picked one to focus all my energies on.)

How was I going to pitch those blogs?

By getting to know their editors and pitching them guest post ideas they couldn’t refuse.

See how this works? You just need to keep asking yourself “How?” and an action plan will take shape.

Bottom line: It’s not about planning. It’s about taking action.

Things might not always happen the way you plan them, but when you start taking action, they do happen.

My action plan had me pitching Copyblogger a guest post idea through the Guest Blogging course run by Jon Morrow. But instead, I received an invitation to pitch them ideas in an Authority Q&A call.

Don’t let yourself get distracted by business plans, goals or even New Year resolutions. They just show you the end result – not the steps you need to take in order to get that result.

Creating an action plan for your freelance writing business

Use the upcoming holiday season to reflect on your freelance writing business. Figure out where you want your freelance writing business to go and then create an action plan that’s going to help you do just that.

Remember, it’s as easy as making a list.

And if you get stuck, I’m just a comment or an email away.

21 Marketing Tips for Freelancers From The Most Successful Women in the Industry

21 Marketing Tips For Freelancers
If you’re anything like me, the idea of marketing your freelance business makes you break out in a cold sweat.

On your good days, you push the idea of marketing at the back of your mind. You convince yourself you’re too busy to market. That you don’t even need to right now because hey, business is good.

But on your bad days – when you have no choice but to market your freelance business, you feel like someone’s holding a gun to your head.

And if you’re just starting out as a freelancer and need to market your business from scratch – God help you.

But whether you’ve been freelancing for a while or are just starting out, the absolutely worst part is not knowing how to market your freelance business.

Where do you start? Who do you talk to? What do you do?

It’s all so overwhelming!

Which is why I asked 21 successful female entrepreneurs in the industry to share their most actionable marketing tips. These are women I’ve admired for a long time for their business acumen and marketing smarts.

They’ve taught me most of what I know about running an online business and they’ve all helped my business in one way or the other. Some by giving excellent advice on their blogs and newsletters, and others by giving me advice or an opportunity when I needed them most.

Below, these amazing women have shared marketing tactics that worked for them and did wonder for their respective businesses.
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10 Step Guide To Setting Up Your Freelance Writing Business For Success (From Day One)

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Freelance writing seems like the ultimate dream come true, doesn’t it?

You get the freedom to work for yourself, write what you want – when you want and choose who you work with.

You have complete control over your life. The only rules are the ones you make.

What could be better than that?

A step-by-step guide to setting up your freelance writing business for success, that’s what.

Before I explain what I mean, let’s talk about what usually happens.

Once you realize how awesome freelancing is, you jump in feet first. You start looking for work… and find clients who aren’t willing to pay more than $5 for 500 words.

For a while, you work long and hard. You’re convinced this is just a rite of passage that you need to cross before finding the really good gigs. Maybe once you have more writing samples,clients will pay more.

Of course, that doesn’t happen. The more you work for low pay, the more you attract low paying work.

It’s as if you’ve hit a glass ceiling you can’t break through.

That’s when you start getting disillusioned. Maybe there just isn’t any better paying work out there. You can’t spend your life working for low pay. You’re already struggling to make ends meet!

You start wishing for a do-over. A step-by-step guide that shows you:

  • what to do to,
  • when to do it and
  • what sequence to do it in.

I know I did.

This is the part where I tell you that you made a fundamental mistake when you started freelancing. That you didn’t stop to think before making the jump. That you saw the shiny, attractive side of being a freelance writer and naively thought that was all there was to it.

But, here what I’m really going to say:

Screw it.

Businesses are built on mistakes. Successful businesses are built on lessons learned from those mistakes.

Which is why, I’ve created this comprehensive guide for setting up your freelance writing business. If you’re just starting out, this is your lucky day.

If you’ve been freelancing for a while, use this guide to learn from your mistakes and make changes to fix whatever’s not working in your business.

Ready? Let’s get started!

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An Open Letter To Budding Freelance Writers Everywhere

Dear budding freelance writer,

When I first came up with the idea of this blog, I almost talked myself out of it.

Another freelancing blog? Kill me already!

Almost every freelancer out there is blogging about freelancing. What could I possibly have to say that hasn’t already been said before?

Then I took James Chartrand’s Damn Fine Words course and used the idea for this blog to do the exercises. It only took the first three lessons for me to figure out that I did have a lot to say.

In fact, it wasn’t what I had to say as much as what I didn’t.

Confused? Let me explain.

Conventional Freelancing Advice No Longer Applies

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Over the years, I’ve followed a LOT of freelancing blogs. Many of them offer excellent advice. But every single one of them says the same thing to freelancers.

Don’t work for low pay. Don’t write for content mills. Don’t sell yourself short. Don’t get stuck in a rut.

Don’t, don’t, don’t.

Just don’t.

As a budding freelance writer, I can’t tell you how inadequate that made me feel. I was stuck writing for content mills, couldn’t find better paying work and every successful freelancer I came across was telling me that writing for content mills was killing my career.

Talk about feeling incompetent!

I was convinced I’d never be successful. Thank god, I proved myself wrong, huh?

Which is why I always say:

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

Do whatever you have to do (as long as it’s ethical).

If that means writing for low pay to get your foot in the door then so be it.

If low paying work is all you can find, then write for low pay.

It’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Everyone Starts From Somewhere

Countless of us started from where you are right now. As long as you use it as a stepping stone, it doesn’t matter how low you start.

Just start, move forward and don’t look back.

But Know This: You Won’t Succeed Unless You’re Ready To Succeed.

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You have the answers right here.

My free report “10 Unexpected Places to Find Freelance Writing Clients” shows you where to find clients  and how to approach them. It even gives you examples of freelancers who successfully used those places to land clients.

The best part? None of these places is a job board, content mill, or bidding site.

But here’s the thing: the report won’t do a thing for you until you decide to take matters in your own hand.

No one will magically do your search for you or reach out to clients on your behalf. You have to do it yourself.

You have to decide to be successful.

And then you have to go out and do whatever you need to do to be successful.

Remember, There’s No Room For Excuses

Don’t waste your breath on excuses. Freelancing is a business. It’s NOT a hobby.

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This isn’t something you do on the side.

Like any other business, it requires discipline and hard work. Every. Single. Day.

It requires you to do things that scare you – like finding clients and pitching them your writing services.

You can’t sit back and think “Oh, I can’t do that” or “I don’t have a portfolio” or “There aren’t any well-paying jobs out there” or even “I don’t earn enough to invest in my business”.

Those are lame-ass excuses and as long as you cling to them, you’ll never succeed.

There’s No Better Time To Succeed As A Freelance Writer Than Now

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With Google getting smarter every day, online (quality) content has never been more in demand . From solopreneurs to Fortune 500 companies – everyone needs content and most of them don’t have the time, knowledge, or skills to write it themselves.

Which is where you come in. You have what all those businesses want – the ability to write quality content. And they’re willing to pay good money for it. You just have to find them.

The good news is you already have 10 places to find freelance writing clients.

So what’s it going to be?

Freelance writing success or remaining stuck (and poor) in a sea of mediocrity?

If you’re at the tipping point where you’ve decided to make a success of your freelance business no matter what – welcome to Freelance Flyer.

Here we treat both your freelancing and writing as a business – and not a hobby!

Looking forward to helping you succeed (and doling out tough love when required).

– Samar Owais

P.S: Don’t forget to download your copy of 10 Unexpected Places to Find Freelance Writing Clients!