I imagine only a small percentage of people really want to write a business plan or feel like writing a business plan. But as I tell my 7-year-old, everybody has to do things they don’t like sometimes. For a kid, that thing might be going to school or brushing your teeth, but for the grown-ups, it could be writing a business plan or making that marketing call. Freelancing is definitely not the path of least resistance, so that’s what I want to focus on: resistance.
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There is a phenomenon that works against us when we define that “thing” we need to do. In this case, it’s the need for to write a business plan, but resistance comes into play with anything you know is important, you know you need to do, you may even want to do, but you just can’t seem to get it done (or even started). Steven Pressfield calls this opposing force resistance. Here is a quote from his book about resistance:
“It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.”
And from Anne Lamott:
“You try to sit down at approximately the same time every day. This is how you train your unconscious to kick in for you creatively. So you sit down at, say, nine every morning, or ten every night. You put a piece of paper in the typewriter, or you turn on the computer and bring up the right file. And then you stare at it for an hour or so. You begin rocking…You look at the ceiling, and over at the clock, yawn, and stare at the paper again. Then, with your fingers poised on the keyboard, you squint at an image that is forming in your mind — a scene, a locale, a character, whatever — and you try to quiet your mind so you can hear what that landscape or character has to say above the other voices in your mind.”
― Anne Lamott,
I have to agree with Anne Lamott that writing is hard work, and forcing yourself to sit down to start writing is often the hardest part. Writing a business plan would certainly not make my “Top 10 Things I Want to Do in My Free Time” list, but it is essential in giving you direction and focus as you grow your freelance business.
Ryan Oakes suggests:
“Don’t sweat out writing a business plan, because it’ll most likely evolve as your business grows. Unless you are looking for a loan or investors, no one’s ever going to even see it. But that’s not an excuse not to write one!
“It’s a vital tool you’ll use to visualize your goals and focus your business efforts as you navigate your plans for growth.
“That said, if you don’t have a business plan, chances are you aren’t doing much planning for growth. And if you’re not planning for growth, chances are your business is stagnating, or even worse, deteriorating. Hey, if the shoe fits…” (link to full article)
A webinar and 5 free downloads
This past weekend I came across a how-to post at byREGINA.com specifically geared toward helping freelancers write a business plan. She has a helpful video of her webinar on this topic, including 5 free downloads to get you started.
One thing she emphasizes in the video is revisiting and updating your business plan often! It is meant as a tool to help you and to evolve along with your business.
For more information…
If you need more information, the U.S. Small Business Administration website is a good place to start.
Have you found any good blogs or books that have helped you in writing your business plan?