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Your Business, Your Business Plan: How to Use Planning to Your Advantage

Kaitlyn Meyers

12 February 2019
There are various reasons why you should develop a business plan before actually

starting your freelance business, specifically in editing. Because of the lucrative and competitive

nature of the editing market, as you can read it in any news article or in the novel The Wealthy

Freelancer, the reasons for a business plan are becoming more and more important to each

newcomer to the scene. Creating a business plan, knowing your niche, and knowing how to

market are keys to making a business work for you.

Five Reasons to Create a Business Plan

First, a business plan will prove immensely helpful to you since “you [the editor] will do

it all in your business: finances, sales and marketing, training coordinator, web developing, and

more” (Brenner 2016). This simple quote, by pointing out the numerous facets of a freelancing

business, makes running a business sound daunting. However, the author mitigates this by

saying, “Your business plan maps out how you will accomplish all that and still get the paying

work done” (Brenner 2016).

Secondly, and along that same vein, you—as a freelance editor—are your own boss.

Knowing what you want out of your business is vital to you in order to picture your own success

before starting and even while you are working to reach that success. Also, a business plan will

help market yourself and your services. Each editor seems the same to an unseasoned author;

therefore, you’ll stand apart from all the other editors in the same or similar niche. A description

in your plan of what kinds of projects and authors you are targeting will give you a sense of

direction as you pitch your services and will help you narrow down your target market.

Fourth, who would want to join a company that doesn’t have some form of a plan? A

successful and large business always has a plan of whom they want to hire, how they want to

appear to the public, and what their goals are. Having a business plan as a freelance editor will
give you a boost in the editing industry just as it helped those larger businesses. It keeps your

mind focused on not only what you want, but whom you want as well. If you are just starting, the

business may just be you. But as your business grows, hiring others will be in your best interest

and may be the best option moving forward. But if that’s not incorporated into the business plan

from the very beginning, then it may never come to fruition. Plus, if the business doesn’t have a

plan, prospective editors may not want to join the team.

In the fifth and final vein, business plans are important for getting loans from banks and

for finding investors out in the field. A bank wants to know what you are doing and what you are

going to do, as do investors.

In summary, knowing what you’re doing will help you to map out your business, know

what you want, pitch yourself to clients, and keep yourself accountable. A business plan will also

appeal very strongly to partners, banks, and investors.

Parts of a Business Plan

Some of the most important—and difficult—elements of a business plan are what it

consists of, such as the marketing side of the business. “We must keep our attention on the end

goal,” says Louise Harnby on her blog, The Parlour. She makes a great point by saying that

“visitors, page views, shares, likes, follows, comments, connections etc. are only starting-point

visibility indicators. To be meaningful, they need to be considered over time and evaluated

within the context of, and measured against, business goals: e.g. requests to quote, confirmed

bookings, quality of clients, income, and the length of your wait-list. Otherwise, they’re nothing

more than vanity metrics” (Harnby 2019). Keeping an eye on the prize is key. As an editor, you

must set up parameters for what kind of work you’ll do and make them known through the

business plan. You will want to look through a market analyses, overall market strategies, and
create a basic outline of what you do as a business (your niche). These elements will keep you

and your business on track.

You Are the Niche

“So what exactly do you have to offer? What’s so special about you?” asks Pete Savage

in The Wealthy Freelancer (p. 149). Note the fact that he asks why you are special, not your

business. Your business could be the most basic freelance editing business out there, but if you

are interesting and have a lot to bring to the author’s manuscript, then you will succeed better

than your competitors.

As a native English speaker, I may have a better chance finding international material to

edit in English than an ESL (English as Second Language) person. He or she may be just as

capable, but I would have that innate knowledge that only a native speaker can possess. I am,

personally, looking into doing just that for my freelancing business: I want to live in Germany

and work on English manuscripts being published for an international audience. By knowing my

niche, I suddenly seem more interesting in the business realm. You, as well, can immediately

step forward once you know and integrate your niche.

Know Your Target and Know How to Market

Knowing your target market is also key to having a successful business plan, and thus a

thriving business. I know that I want to market myself specifically to authors who want everyone

to read their novel or document, in either international or American audiences. Whether the

author is well known or not, whether he or she is a seasoned professional or just a beginner, I

don’t think I will mind.

But also, to know your market, you have to know your competitors. The National

Federation of Independent Business Inc. (NFIB) suggests in their market analysis guidelines to
do “detailed evaluations” by “highlighting [your competitors’] strengths and weaknesses” (NFIB

2009). In my scenario, I would evaluate the large publishing firms of Germany and the European

Union, as well as other freelancers in the area where I want to be living. Market strategies

include knowing the ideal client, being the ideal partner, and having the ideal job. The ideal

client is different for everyone; as aforementioned, I don’t really have a current preference of

who my ideal client would be. Being the ideal partner could include being polite and honest

work partners, referring my colleagues, or just being there for the author as a kind of

cheerleader—cheering for success and progress—and becoming an author’s friend not just his or

her editor. Having the ideal job is the tricky part—it’s easy to get it wrong. Develop a business

plan that will help you get to the point in your career where it is no longer a job but a passion.

Conclusion

In conclusion, your business plan is, in essence, your dream written down with all your

expectations and hopes for the future. Your business plan will help you learn what you’re doing

and help you stand out. In the end, knowing how you are different is how businesses like yours

grow. As Winston Churchill once said, “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: it is the courage

to continue that counts.” Keep his words in mind as you ride the ups and downs of starting a

freelance business. Passion is where your business will soar. And isn’t that always the ultimate

goal?
Reference List

Brenner, Erin. “Business Planning and Marketing for Copyeditors.” Posted 23 September 2016.

https://www.copyediting.com/business-planning-and-marketing-for-

copyeditors/#.XE5nGFxKhPY.

Harnby, Louise. “5 Ways to Improve the Way You Run Your Editing Business.” Posted 1

January 2019. https://www.louiseharnbyproofreader.com/blog.

NFIB. “Parts of a Business Plan: 7 Essential Sections.” Posted 24 September 2009.

https://www.nfib.com/content/resources/start-a-business/7-essential-sections-of-a-

business-plan-49946/.

Slaunwhite, Steve; Pete Savage; Ed Gandia. The Wealthy Freelancer: 12 Secrets to a Great

Income and an Enviable Lifestyle. Penguin Group (USA), New York, New York, 2010.