Thursday, December 18, 2008

30-Day Biz Planning Challenge: 2009 Modules Part 2

This is the fourth in a series of modules you can choose from to start making a business plan as you go. The first post laid out modules for your values and mission. The second laid out modules for assessing 2008. The third laid out your financial goals for 2009. And now, we start with the modules that will help you meet those goals.

So if the last post scared you, this one will start giving you answers. Let's get to it!

Remember: You can start anywhere. I've suggested an order, but please don't let it stop you. Pick one, do it, and go back to work.

Where You'll Get the Money
For me, this is the fun part. There are lots of ways to do this. Some freelancers, like Katrina Ramser, come up with exactly how much money they expect each client to give them in 2009 and where she has holes to fill to meet those goals.

I do it a little differently.

I play around with the work types I do and their average pay (department: $1600; short: $300; feature: $3000; etc.) to come up with five or six different scenarios that will help me make my goal.

It's similar to the way novelist and writing instructor Elizabeth Stark describes putting together a piece of fiction. She says, "Putting chunks together is exactly how to build a story." I would say that putting together pieces of income is how you make a living as a freelancer. She goes on to say:
A story was usually about at least two things, two unexpectedly juxtaposed things, out of which a third–call it meaning [ed. note: for our purposes, we'll call it self-sufficiency]–emerged. The tension in story comes where the crosscurrents create suction, movement, a whirlpool.

Try laying out your cards. Shuffle the deck and try it another way. Card by card, lay out the story, until it’s one you’ve never heard before but which you know to be true.

It's the same for coming up with how you'll make your income goal. Lay out the different types of work you do one by one and put them together: two features a month will get you your income goal, perhaps. Or maybe two shorts, a department and a feature. Or some other combination.

Come up with a bunch of these and you'll have the combinations in your head as you query and put together your work for a month. Will it help you meet your financial goals? Now you'll know. This flexibility shows me that there are lots of ways to meet my financial goals.

You may find that none of the work you do will get you to your income goal. Or you may find that one feature client isn't enough an you'll need more. That's okay. I have been there. The next post will show you how to find clients that will get you to your income goals.

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