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 thinking of 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.
There’ll be no blog post next week, as I’ll be away celebrating my two years in business! Instead, why not catch up with my previous posts, or head over to my medium.com page for something a little more light-hearted?