Freelance Business Plan: 7 Step Guide to Creating a Winning Plan

February 15, 2024
Freelance Business Plan

Quick Summary

  • Freelancers often overlook the importance of a business plan, but it’s crucial for laying the foundation and achieving goals.
  • A well-crafted business plan provides direction, outlines services, identifies target audience, analyses competitors, and sets financial projections.
  • Key steps include defining brand purpose, identifying target audience, listing services, analysing niche competitors, planning marketing strategies, setting goals and timelines, and creating a financial plan.
  •  A solid business plan not only guides operations but also attracts investors and helps anticipate challenges, making it essential for freelance success.

Table of Contents

It is a common misconception that freelancers do not usually require a business plan. The truth is that every entrepreneur from big organisations to freelancers can benefit from a well-laid-out freelance business plan.

The starting months of a business are crucial to set the foundation. This can only be done if you have a freelance business plan in place. Business plans help form your enterprise. They lay out a timeline for you to follow and reach every desired goal.

Before starting, you need to know that creating your freelance business plan is not easy, but it does make the incorporation of your business easier. You would know what your next target is. You would know how to arrange your funds in the best possible way, in order to achieve your goals in the shortest time.

This article has all the information you might need to write your own freelance business plan.

So, let’s read on!

7 Steps To Create A Freelance Business Plan

Starting your new business can seem like a difficult process, but having a business plan helps. It guides you along the path you choose for your business. Having everything written down from the purpose to the estimated annual earnings makes the future clearer. It breaks down the rocky initial months of the business into smaller targets you must achieve one after the other.

The making of freelance business plans is a little tedious, but also worth it. Putting in more time at the start to plan out your business will only benefit you later. It removes ambiguity and doubts by focusing on the final goal at the end of the line.

However, many don’t know where to start when it comes to writing a business plan. That’s why we have put together a list of 7 steps you need to follow to make your freelance business plan.

Steps To Create A Freelance Business Plan

1. Write Down Brand Summary and Purpose

Every brand has a purpose above just profit. Find that purpose for your freelance business. What is your motivation behind the company? Why wake up in the early hours and put in all that time and effort every single day? This will help streamline your ideas and focus on achieving that one sole objective. It also assists you in building your business plan further.

A brand summary, or an executive summary, talks about the entire business plan that is about to follow in a few simple sentences. It should not be more than a few hundred words. The summary gives an outline of the rest of the freelance business plan.

Generally, the executive summary lists the following:

  • Short introduction about the brand; the why and what of the business
  • Products/services being offered
  • USP (unique selling point) of your product; what makes the product different from every other one available in the market
  • Emphasis on the value of your brand; the value it adds to the customers’ lives

The brand summary and purpose is the most important part of your business plan. Most investors might base their entire decision on this one page of information. Be sure to make it concise and noteworthy. It should be able to stand out from the pile of other business plans. A good summary will also enable you to write a good business plan going forward since all your thoughts will be listed on that one page.

So now that you have your starting point, let’s move ahead with the rest of your business!

2. Define Your Target Audience

To build your freelance business plan further, you need to look at your potential clients. They will be your target audience or target market. The target audience is the group of individuals, companies, or communities to whom you will be selling your products/services. They are the ones who will buy most of your offered products.

To decide what your target market is, try to think “Who will buy these products?”. For example, the target audience for fitness watches will be athletes, gym members, and fitness enthusiasts.

Defining your potential customers will allow you to club together similar characteristics that they all show. Putting together all these parts of their personality will give you your buyer persona. A buyer persona is a detailed description of your potential client. It helps in creating marketing tactics and advertisements especially focused on attracting them.

Buyer persona also gives you an insight into the lives of your customers – who they are and what all problems they face – this information can be used to expand your business in the future.

3. List Out Your Services

Listing your services might seem like the easiest step yet, but a lot goes on at the back. You need to see what the customers want and frame your services in a way that solves their problems and adds value to their life.

There are multiple questions to be asked here:

  • Will you offer only one service or multiple?
  • Will the services be on a project basis or packages?
  • What do you include in your offer?
  • What is the scope of your services?
  • What is the entire process of your services from start to finish?

Answering these questions will take some time, but it will reduce the hurdles you might face in the future. This section contains all the products you offer and the whole transaction process. Write and explain your offerings succinctly.

Before coming up with your services, you can take inspiration from the most in-demand freelance services in the market. It is seen that freelancers tend to offer multiple services, not just one. It increases their scope of revenue from the business. You can even start small and expand your products in the future as your business grows.

You can build your freelance business plan on existing services or come up with a new one altogether. There is an abundance of ways you can use to monetise your services. This subset will finalise your decision by defining and explaining the one you choose.

4. Analyse Your Niche Competitors

First, let’s see what niche competitors are. The niche market for a business talks about a defined segment of the market in which the business offers its services. Within this market, all the freelancers, agencies, companies, etc. you compete with, are your niche competitors. Your target audience has the option to choose between your products and your competitors’ products.

It is, thus, crucial to identify these competitors, their business structure, and their services. This is to aid you to make distinctions in your own products and make them more attractive to your customers.

Your business plan needs to specify the following:

  • Your competitors’ businesses; their structure, pricing, services offered, the process of business, and other important details.
  • How your business is different; what additional value your products offer
  • Is your pricing better than the rest of the market?
  • Why would customers go for your products and not your competitors?

Analysing your competitors will help you refine your idea and business. It will give you a structure on which to base your business. You can ascertain your pricing and process by comparing it to the market.

However, the most important part of the competitor analysis is still the difference between your business and theirs. This is the USP of your product. This is what your business plan will focus on at every step of the way.

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5. Marketing and Client Acquisitions

By now you have the basics of your freelance business plan. You have written down the purpose, the summary, the target audience, all the services offered, and your competitors. The next step is to acquire customers. This is where marketing and client acquisitions come in.

Client acquisition refers to the process of getting your potential customers to buy your products – become your client. Good client acquisition will:

  • Attract potential customers
  • Nurture them
  • Convert them into clients

Marketing helps with client acquisition majorly on the first step- attracting potential customers to your brand and your products. This is where the buyer persona from step 2 will help out. The list of characteristics of your potential clients can identify their personality and lifestyle. Marketing campaigns can use these details and reach out to the majority of them.

Some common marketing strategies used by freelancers are:

  • Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and websites/blogs
  • Social media pages
  • Emailing and cold calling
  • Digital marketing like ads on Google, Youtube and more

Under this step, you need to explain these campaigns and how you will be acquiring more and more customers. You can include all these details by expanding on the following two points:

  • How to retain your existing customers
  • How to appeal to new clients and expand your business

Forming and strengthening your relationship with your customers is very important in freelancing. You need to gain the trust of your clients to form a long-term, loyal customer base. Your services must meet and exceed their expectations. This is the best way to acquire and increase your share in the market space.

6. Goals, Targets, and Timelines

Nearing the end of the freelance business plan formation, now you need to define your goals, targets, and timelines. This will give you an idea about the future months of your business.

Start with listing your goals. This can comprise the number of customers you want to acquire in the next three months. Or the estimated revenue generated from the business in the coming quarter, and other agendas you want to put forth. These goals set the long-term blocks for your freelance business.

To meet these three months’ goals, you need to break them into smaller sections and form short-term targets. For example, a plan to reach 100 customers in a quarter can be broken down as follows:

  • Make social media pages for your customer base
  • Frequent posting on all these pages (3 posts a week and 1 blog)
  • Market these posts and blogs using ads on Google and respected social media platforms

This is just an example, you can use your own goals and targets as per your convenience and the nature of your business.

Together the goals and targets will allow you to frame a timeline for the next year of your business. This timeline should mention the deadlines for all the points you make. The goals should be mentioned at the start followed by the short-term targets.

Timelines help a business a lot. It eliminates much of the ambiguity of starting a business by giving it fixed aims to focus on and achieve.

7. Financial Plan

Now that you have your timeline set, we come to the last step – making a financial plan. Financial planning is crucial to give an idea about the revenue you will earn and the expenses you can incur in the first few years.

Using the goals set in the previous step, identify your various income streams. These will help pinpoint your income and estimate your monthly revenue. But keep in mind that this is just the pay you are obtaining, not your profit. Most businesses don’t make a profit in their first year due to all the expenses incurred while setting it up.

Under this step, you must include the following:

  • Start-up costs: Costs incurred before starting your business
  • Estimated monthly revenue and expenses for the first year
  • Estimated annual/quarterly revenue and expenses for the next 3 years
  • Break-even analysis: The point at which your income equals your expenses is called the break-even point. After this point, you start earning a profit from your business. The analysis tells when and at what value this point will occur.

The budget will help you allot the right amount of resources for every aspect like advertising, hiring, maintenance costs, etc. It will steer your business in the right direction. Budgets also allow you to compare and see if you are gaining in proportion to your expenditure. If not, you can always make changes and follow a better plan of action.

Recommended read:

  1. A Beginner’s Guide on How to Become a Freelancer
  2. 20 Best Freelancing Sites in India
  3. The Ultimate Online Business Ideas in India

Benefits of Freelance Business Plan

Now that you have covered all the points to build your freelance business plan, let’s see how it will help you start your business in the future!

A business plan has many benefits and will definitely yield a high return on all the time spent on making it.

1. Clear Structure

A business plan lays down all the goals, ideas and targets in a proper timeline along with the budget required for them. This gives the entrepreneur immense clarity about their business’ future. They can work towards one target at a time and accomplish it. A clear structure means attentiveness and focuses on the important areas without any diversions.

An entrepreneur needs to be organised, especially when starting a new business, and a plan ensures just that.

2. Identify Competitors

One of the steps was competitor analysis. This gives an idea about the market and the companies in it. Knowing your competitors is really important to make your product and pricing better. Your business plan will guide you through the market and make your presence felt.

3. Anticipate Potential Challenges

Your business plan has all the information about the market, competitors, and finances and can thus list the potential hurdles you can face. These challenges are something every business faces, the only difference is how they deal with them. Planning can tell you in advance about these problems so that you can have solutions and plan B’s in place. This will guarantee the business’ survival through all the obstacles.

4. Future Costs and Incomes

Business plans can be used to calculate and show the business’ estimated incomes and expenses. It gives a date and a value to the earnings and can tell when a business will start making a profit.

5. Get Investors Interested in Your Business

To start a business you require funds. You can either bootstrap, which is to fund the entire business yourself, or you can go to investors. These investors go through the business plans of numerous companies, but only invest in some of them.

A business plan must have all the required details, but also stand out from the crowd. Most of the investors only read the first page which has the summary and purpose, so make sure that it’s interesting! Business plans can, thus, help you acquire funds for your business as well.

Also, read: Angel Investors: What Is Angel Investing & How Does It Work?

Start Planning for Your Freelancing Gig

Business plans are time-consuming and high on effort, but they do have numerous benefits. Every business, from big corporations to freelancers, needs a structure in place. Business plans can provide this structure. They are rigid yet flexible. They give the business a direction to follow, but also keep space for changes and additions.

A good business plan has information on the business purpose, competitors, products and services, financial details and client acquisition. Follow the 7 steps written above and build your own freelance business plan!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best freelance business?

There is no best freelance business, only good business plans to follow through your business with. However, some popular choices for freelance businesses are:

1. Content Writing
2. Graphic Designing
3. Photography
4. Videography
5. Freelance Project Manager
6. Search Engine Optimisation Expert
7. Emailing Specialist

Can freelancing be considered a business?

Yes, freelancing is a business. It involves business transactions and can earn the entrepreneur an income. From a legal perspective, depending on the business, freelancing can be categorised as a sole proprietorship or a small business.

What are the steps to start freelancing?

The article talks about all the steps to build a freelance business plan in detail. The 7 steps required to start freelancing are:

1. Write Down Brand Summary and Purpose
2. Define Your Target Audience
3. List Out Your Services
4. Analyse Your Niche Competitors
5. Marketing and Client Acquisitions
6. Goals, Targets and Timelines
7. Financial Plan

Is it profitable to be a freelancer?

Many people in recent years have started turning their passion into a business. The easiest way to achieve that is by freelancing. There are millions of freelancers in India who are earning their entire income by freelancing only. If done right, freelancing can be profitable. To reach that position, it is important to have a business plan that can help you along the way.

Do freelancers pay taxes in India?

Freelancers do pay taxes in India. As per the regulations, their income is susceptible to tax rates according to the range under which they come.

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