The Proofreader's Parlour
A blog for editors, proofreaders and writers
Life is too complicated not to be orderly. – Martha Stewart
In this series of three posts I address key features of business planning that new entrants to the field might wish to consider. Each section offers an action, objective, summary and some related reading.
In Developing a Business Plan I, sections focused on (1) what a business plan is and why should you create one and (2) getting yourself ready for market with training. Part II addressed (3) client focus, (4) getting experience and (5) financial assessment. This final part considers (6) thinking about your marketing strategy, (7) networking and (8) the practicalities (hardware, software, tools for the job).
Section 6: Think about your marketing strategy
Once you have identified your training needs, your core client type and how you are going to get some experience and testimonials, you will be ready to think about how you will access your market, how you will present yourself and any deals/offers you want to make. The strategies may be determined by your choice of client type.
Getting in contact
Presentation of core elements
Think also about how you are going to present yourself to make yourself attractive to prospective clients. Key features that you may wish to consider are:
When you’ve got a complete summary of the above, you can use this to develop and adapt the information to suit your website, covering letter/email, promotional brochure, LinkedIn profile, business page, or Twitter side-bar.
Section 7: Networking
Networking is an important part of your business strategy. It allows you to share with and learn from other people who are already doing the job. Online social media networks such as Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Facebook are all incredibly useful forums. Use your business plan to keep a note of these, and, as you investigate each one, decide which ones work best for you.
Identifying your national or regional editing/proofreading association will also be useful. The society may have regular local chapter meetings, an annual conference, workshops, seminars and webinars, mentoring opportunities, and discussion lists that you can join. Many have online job boards where you may be able to pick up work, and most have online membership directories that are searched by individuals/organizations looking for editorial freelancers.
Section 8: Practicalities/tools
Finally, make sure you're clear about what kit you'll need for your home office. Set-up costs for editorial freelancing are lower than for many businesses, but you'll still need desk space, a comfortable chair, a computer, a phone, an internet connection, various reference books (online or in print), appropriate stationery, and relevant software for working on Word files and PDFs.
Some of these you'll already have, some you'll have to buy, and some are available for free. Take a look at Editorial Tools, Macros and Add-ins, and Free Stuff archives for useful resources. Planning ahead will mean you can also work out what you need immediately and what you can save up for if money is tight.
Wrapping up …
This series of articles reflects the business plan I developed when I began my journey into freelance proofreading in 2005. Yours may look very different, but the important thing is to have one. Taking the time to think strategically about your experience, strengths, target market and learning opportunities will clarify your purpose, prevent time wastage, and focus your mind on what needs to be done, how you are going to do it, the objectives behind your choices, and the outcomes you aim to achieve.
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