This time two years ago, I spent my last day working in HR. I had handed in my notice three months previously, determined to set up my own freelance writing business.
At that moment in time I had three clients ready and waiting, with nothing but blind hope that I would find more as time went on. Some people called me brave; some stupid. One told me I’d be claiming benefits within six months.
While those early days were incredibly tough, so far my bank account remains state benefit-free, and I’ll be toasting two years in business this weekend.
I’m not very good with long ‘to-do’ lists or detailed, minute-by-minute plans. So to help me out in the very beginning, I put together an unconventional day-to-day business plan that resembled a human body. For my business to function well, I would just try to think of it as a living, breathing person that needs regular nourishment to survive.
This was how it looked (in words, because I can’t do graphic design):
My Business Body
Skeleton – Finance and Admin
- Business planning
- Bank account reconciliation
- List of incomings/outgoings
Muscles and Blood – Meeting people and developing relationships
- Networking groups/meetings
- Developing client relationships
- Seeking out useful contacts and making a direct approach
Brain – Developing knowledge
- Staying in touch with the news
- Updating myself on competitors/peers/useful companies to know about
Skin – Content and Marketing
- Blog posts
- Social media presence
- Finding new clients
Heart – The work!
- Client work
- Promotional writing
- Writing pieces and articles to pitch and sell
Then I created two simple, daily ‘health missions’. One was to achieve at least one task related to each body part (such as attending a networking meeting, writing a blog post, making a phone call, checking my bank account etc.), and the second was to do with my actual body. Go out and get some exercise every day, even if it’s just a walk round the block.
My health missions have served me well so far, and apart from a slight limp every now and again, my business body is in good working order!
If you’re venturing out on your own, straying from conventional business plans (for the day-to-day at least) can work really well. Thinking up something different and easy to remember can help you through those early days, adding a bit of creativity to boring business routines.
And if I can help you out with some writing along the way…well, why not get in touch?