Happy new you, v2.0

January 8th, 2007

Since the blogosphere probably won’t crumble under the weight of one more tipster-ish new year’s post, here’s what I’d like to propose all the entrepreneurs, creative types, and hopeful cubicle expats reading this site do in preparation for the remaining 357 days of the new year:

Write an informal business plan. Really. Even if you’re artistically inclined, gainfully employed, or doing pretty dang well in your current business. Even if you’re just fantasizing about changing careers or starting your own business.

Why? As Rhonda Abrams, a business plan guru I interviewed for an article a couple weeks ago, says, putting your M.O. in writing frees you from feeling like you have to leap at every thrilling opportunity that comes your way. Sure, volunteering to help put on a high-profile fundraiser for the symphony may sound sweet, but if there’s no way the gig will benefit that fledgling clothing line you’re trying to get off the ground in your spare ten hours a week, is it really worth your time?

Besides, everyone knows putting your goals in writing and breaking them into digestible nuggets is the first step toward moving from this fuzzy mindset:

Someday I will write an award-winning novel / get a job I like / start my own business on the side…

to this one:

Well, I ain’t getting any younger, so it’s time I started meeting that infamous “someday” head on. And here are the steps I’m going to take to get there…

I used to be a serious “someday” kind of gal. Then I turned thirty and realized I suddenly had a lot less somedays left than I used to. If I kept drifting along at my current state of aimlessness, I’d be forty before I knew it, and still not writing or published to my satisfaction, then fifty, sixty, seventy, and then quite possibly, dead. That scary realization catapulted me straight into goal world, where I made my master plan for world domination, which I revisit and refine each new year.*

A business plan doesn’t have to be a formal thirty-page tome (unless you’re looking for bank or investor financing). It can just be a page that says what you want to accomplish and what steps you’ll take to get there. The wise women at The Renegade Writer offer this priceless advice on creating a writer’s business plan, which I think will serve any creative, alterna-career type well. And if you get hives just saying the words “business plan,” call it a Reality Check Plan, as I do in my book.

*Lest you think I never share anything with you, I’ll give you one hit off my 2007 Reality Check Plan, which by the way, is all of 300 words long:

Goal #4: Apply for more writing residencies like this one.

Steps: By March, pinpoint three to five 2008 residencies I can apply to. Start working on applications in spring/summer, so that they’re ready to submit by summer/fall.

Entry Filed under: She's the boss,This freelance life,Toolbox

10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Janna Cawrse  |  January 9th, 2007 at 11:45 am

    I knew there was a reason I checked into your site today. This is exactly the kick in the pants I needed. And I just ordered your book from my local bookstore. Yippeeeee!

  • 2. Michelle Goodman  |  January 9th, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    hey janna, good deal. thanks, and thanks for stopping by. hope your holidays were great.

  • 3. Amanda Wang  |  January 9th, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    Just what i needed! I’m starting to make the plan of how-can-i-afford to-live-the-life-i-want-without-my-meaningless-day-job and become a freelance designer. it’s a slow start, but i’m sure these links will help pave the way. thanks and what great site! it’s nice to know i’m not alone in my decision to conquer the world! hee hee…

  • 4. Michelle Goodman  |  January 9th, 2007 at 7:28 pm

    hey amanda, good for you. and… watch out world! (btw, i know a hot-off-the-presses book that can help set you down that self-employed path: http://www.anti9to5guide.com/book/

  • 5. Amanda Wang  |  January 13th, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    just got it off of BN!! keep up the good work and i’ll keep checking in on your great advice!

  • 6. Michelle Goodman  |  January 13th, 2007 at 6:24 pm

    thanks, amanda. enjoy!

  • 7. When to Work for Free - S&hellip  |  November 9th, 2008 at 6:52 pm

    [...] in the form of new clients and paid speaking gigs. Be sure to build such unpaid work into your annual promotional plan (which can be all of two paragraphs) so you don’t give away too much time each [...]

  • 8. The Anti 9-to-5 Guide &ra&hellip  |  December 20th, 2008 at 8:42 am

    [...] if you are happy with your clients and workload, it’s important to revisit your freelancing goals – income, creative milestones, client wish list, and so on — at least once a year. [...]

  • 9. Dexter  |  October 2nd, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    Great advice Michelle. I am currently writing a book that aims to provide people with step by step strategies to find the perfect job. I am six months down the line with my intention, have it almost written but just can’t seem to get it done.

    Any advice on how to folow through and get it finished?

  • 10. Michelle Goodman  |  October 3rd, 2009 at 11:49 am

    Put one word in front of the other. :) Having a daily word count (500, 1000, whatever works for you) helps. You need a schedule. Waiting for inspiration doesn’t work. You need to write whether you feel like it or not.

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Who I am

Hi, my name's Michelle Goodman and I've been freelancing since 1992. I'm author of My So-Called Freelance Life and The Anti 9-to-5 Guide. Read my full bio here.

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