How to Write a Business Plan for Creatives (+ a free template!)
HELP! HAAAALP! AN ALIEN IS TRYING TO DO EXPERIMENTS ON ME!!!!
... Did I get your attention?
Good, hehehe. Thankfully, no aliens are trying to do experiments on me- that was just one of my slightly weird and random outbursts!
Today we're not talking about aliens, (we can talk about them later), but about the importance of creating a detailed business plan for your online business!
(And of course, HOW to create one that you will actually follow and use to achieve your goals. Because otherwise what's the point. Right? Right!)
Actually, I prefer to call them ACTION PLANS for that very reason!
As I mentioned in this post, my website traffic grew more in the first 4 months of having a business plan (over 800%), then it did in the FIVE YEARS+ prior!
Holy pink-spotted cow.
And I attribute that rapid growth to finally sitting my butt down to create a detailed action plan for HOW I would grow my online business (and make it profitable!)
And then I actually showed up every day and FOLLOWED said plan, of course. 😊
CONSIDER YOUR BUSINESS PLAN AS THE ROADMAP TO YOUR DREAMS COMPLETE WITH FLUFFY CLOUDS AND RAINBOWS THAT YOU CAN SLIDE DOWN!
(Wouldn’t that be AMAZING if you could actually slide down rainbows?!)
A DETAILED BUSINESS PLAN IS SUPER DUPER IMPORTANT BECAUSE IT WILL:
Help you treat your blog or website like an actual business because that's what you want it to BE right? A BUSINESS.
Give you a clear picture of HOW you will promote and grow your online business to take it to the next level!
Provide you with a clear VISION, which is really important for having FOCUS. (After all ... it's hard to get to somewhere in particular if you don't even know WHERE you're going right?!)
Encourage new and amazing business ideas to flow.
Help guide you through future business-related decisions.
Provide a lovely benchmark to track your progress.
Help you to discover and analyze your growth.
Make you feel super awesome and official.
Give others a reason to see that you're super awesome and official.
Plus let's face it, creating one is super fun and satisfying!
Creating your business plan might seem overwhelming at first, but don't panic!!!!
Take a deep breath. Grab your favorite beverage.
Put on some comfy pants (or if you're like me during the summer, no pants), and create your plan over the course of a few days.
(By the way was admitting to the 'no pants' thing weird? Too much info perhaps? Sorry!)
Alright, now that you are pantsless with your favorite beverage, (ha!) let's get started.
We're gonna break this down into list format because everyone knows that lists are super fun!!!! And we'll create your awesome business plan in 10 easy steps.
1. CREATE A DOCUMENT FOR YOUR BUSINESS PLAN.
You can create a document in your favorite computer program, or write your business plan down in a purdy notebook!
The two main things I'd recommend would be:
Make it so that you can modify it throughout the year. You'll want to view your business plan monthly (at the very least) to track your progress and have the freedom to modify your goals and steps. So if you are writing it down in a notebook, write it in pencil.
Keep it in an easy to view/access place. You don't want to put it somewhere where you'll forget about it- otherwise creating one would be pointless! 😊
2. WRITE DOWN THE HEART OF YOUR BUSINESS.
Now that you've created your business plan document, it's time to fill it in with all of the good and juicy stuff!
Let's start off by getting clear on the HEART of your business. This includes:
Your dream statement. What's the DREAM that you have for your online business? Dream BIG! (Screw the "HOW" for now! That part comes later.) Answer these 3 delightful questions:
What's the purpose of my business?
What difference do I want to make for my audience?
If my business and life could be ANYWHERE 3 years from now, what would that LOOK like?
Your WHY. I mean ... WHY do you even want to grow an online business to begin with? (Hint: you never want to go into business just to make money! Your business needs to be something that you're actually PASSIONATE about!) So what's your WHY? What's going to keep you going when the going gets rough?
Your core VALUES. What do you stand for? What do you believe in? What are the ethics that you'd like to bring into the way that you do business?
3. SUMMARIZE YOUR DREAM CUSTOMER.
How can you create awesome content and paid offers if you're not even sure WHO you'd like to create them for?
Well ... you can't. At least not very well!
You need to discover exactly who you'd like to be creating for so that you know exactly what to create!
And keep this in mind: trying to appeal to everyone = appealing to NO ONE. You want to get as SPECIFIC as possible when it comes to your dream customer!
In a perfect world, who do you want to serve?
Summarize your dream customer as though you're writing about just ONE person!
Answer questions like: how old are they? What's their occupation? Where do they live? What do they love? What annoys them? What specific frustrations do they have that YOU could help them solve?
You want to write down a COMPLETE summary, baby!
Need extra help with this? Watch the short video below! 😊
4. SUMMARIZE YOUR BRAND.
Because yo ... if you've got a business, then you've got a BRAND.
And just WHAT the heck is a BRAND, you might be wondering?
Why, I'm SO glad that you asked! 😛
Your brand is your business identity: it's how your audience THINKS and FEELS about you and your business! It includes your visual brand presence (like your specific colors, fonts, etc.) and it also includes things like your voice, vibe and values.
Your brand is all encompassing!
In other words, your brand is YOU.
And the most successful online businesses all have thoughtful, intentional brands! So. You're going to want to get clear on (and write down) things like ...
Your brand's vibe. What is the FEELING that you'd like to create? How do you want your audience to FEEL when they're browsing your website? Reading your emails? Interacting with you online? Do you want them to feel happy? Inspired? Entertained? For example, I want people to have FUN when they're interacting with my brand! Which is why my brand's colors and photos are bright and my tone is light-hearted and silly.
What makes YOU different? What unique quirks will you show? What personal STORIES can you share with your audience? For example, I share my love of zombies on my about page right here!
5. WRITE DOWN ANY + ALL OF THE PAID OFFERING IDEAS THAT YOU HAVE FOR YOUR BUSINESS.
What are you going to do to bring in the moo-lah?
Writing out how you will make the big bucks will be a huge help when it comes to deciding what type of content you should create! Plus it's kinda fun, let's face it.
Write down any juicy ideas on:
Services. Will you be offering any? What about in the near future? Record any and all ideas! Get creative and don't censor yourself when brainstorming.
Products. Will you be offering any products? Digital things like ebooks, guides, online courses and workbooks? Tangible items? Memberships? Record ALL the goods that you might like to create, yo!
If you want to have a business, then you gotta bring in the dough.
6. WRITE DOWN YOUR FINANCIAL DEETS.
Speaking of making money, you didn't think that I'd skip the importance of actually figuring out HOW you'd make the money did you? Bahhh hahaha!
This will be a great way to not only track your income and expenses, but having this info will be super necessary at tax time.
(Just the words "tax time" sends a shiver down my spine!)
Write down all of the juicy details on:
Your start up expenses. Write'em all down, baby! And I do mean everything. Things like hosting fees, computer software, office supplies, business cards, etc. (Wondering what to invest in for your business first and next? Check out my podcast episode right here!)
Monthly expenses. What are they? If you have an annual expense, simply divide it by 12 to get your monthly average.
Your financial goal for the year. What the heck is it?
Project your monthly income. How many income streams will you have and what is the projected revenue for each of those income streams?
Want more info on how to do all of this?
7. WRITE DOWN YOUR BUSINESS WORK SCHEDULE.
Doesn't that sound official? Hehehe.
(Well it totally is!!!)
You need to come up with a solid work schedule; this creates structure and consistency! (Which is really important if you want to be a savvy business owner.) 😉
Plus, consistency is really important for building trust with your audience!
(And building trust with your audience is ESSENTIAL if you want them to buy anything from you down the line.)
This means showing up every day, being consistent with your chosen social media accounts, being consistent in your content creation schedule (whether you blog, create videos or have a podcast) and it also means consistently showing up in your Facebook group (if you have one!)
So you want to write down things like:
Your work hours. What days will you work? What time?
WHAT you will work on during those days. Will you film videos on Mondays and write blog posts on Tuesdays? Will you do administrative tasks like email on Wednesdays?
When you WON'T work. What days will you take off in order to give your body + brain the ESSENTIAL time off it needs to recharge?
(Want to learn how to plan a productive work schedule? Then be sure to watch the short little video below!)
(Isn't my facial expression SO attractive?)
8. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU WILL DO FOR SOCIAL MEDIA PROMOTION + MARKETING TO GET THE WORD OUT!
I mean ... you can't just create things and expect people to flock to you in large hoards!
(Speaking of hoards, I had a terrible nightmare last night which involved hoards of terrifying zombies coming after me!)
If you're working hard to create awesome content and paid offerings than you NEED to make sure to get the word out. REGULARLY! 😊
Because one thing is absolutely CERTAIN buttercup: if you want to run a successful online business then you MUST learn how to master your marketing.
Love marketing or hate it, it's an essential ingredient for your business's profitability!
(By the way, if you hate marketing then I have en entire podcast episode on how to fall in LOVE with marketing so that you can make more sales right here.)
Write down your specific marketing strategies for:
Social media strategy. What is it? Write down which social media platforms that you'll use and record your strategy for each! For example, for Instagram you could write something like, '"spend 10 minutes a day liking, commenting and interacting on Instagram and post at least 1 awesome image a day."
Your e-mail list plan. If you don't have one, it's time to start growing that list baby! Don't put it off forever like I did. If you want to grow a profitable online business, then you MUST grow that email list and then learn how to use it to build relationships and make sales!
Marketing. What are you gonna do in the next 6-12 months to spread the word about your awesome-ness? Think about both online and offline ideas!
9. WHAT WILL YOU DO TO CONTINUE YOUR EDUCATION?
I don't know about you, but if you truly love something then learning about it is SUPER duper fun!
I could literally spend hours on end learning about something I love.
And not only that, but it's also extremely important for your online business that you keep learning, improving and staying relevant. Plus, investing in something like a high quality course can be a literal GAME changer in cutting the learning curve so that you can grow MUCH faster!
A good course will save you loads of time and enable you to get the results that you want much more quickly.
For example, many years ago when I first started learning about online businesses, I invested $2,000 in Marie Forleo's B School BEFORE I ever made a penny in my online business!
And was it worth it?
HECK YES it was.
Plus, you gotta keep your brain's creative wheels turning, ya know?
With that in mind, write down what you will do over the next 6-12 months to continue your learning! What courses and trainings would you like to take?
Speaking of trainings ...
I have a free masterclass that’ll help you to set the RIGHT goals for your business and strategically plan out your entire year so that you can actually REACH’em!
Congratulations, YOU DID IT. You created a business plan. It feels SO good right?
Almost as good as a back massage would feel right about now.
And a leg massage.
Actually, let's just go with a full body massage.
DID YOU FIND THIS POST HELPFUL? IF SO, MAKE MY DAY BY PINNING IT ON PINTEREST!
I would appreciate that kind gesture a crap ton. 😊
Just hover over the image below and click on the little "P" to pin it on Pinterest.
Yee-haw! :::does funky cowboy dance:::
(Whatever THAT looks like!) 😛
WHAT'S ONE MAIN GOAL THAT YOU HAVE FOR YOUR BUSINESS? SHARE IT IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
I'd genuinely LOVE to hear from you. 😊
And now, it's time to go eat something. I'm kind of ravenous.
ME NEEDS FOOD.