As I look back over the last 12+ years of my writing business, I see ebbs and flows. There were big projects and small ones. There were good clients and not-so-good clients. With each experience, I came further along the learning curve of being a business owner. It was in 2022 when I was physically, mentally, and spiritually well enough to take big chances. There were signs and people who I met that fundamentally changed me, and the business, in good ways. As I reviewed the year, I realized I grew my writing business by 40% in one year! Here’s what I did.
Clearly Identified My Target Clients
For many years, I said that I wanted to collaborate with good people with good businesses. While that is still true, it was time to focus on identifying my target clients. I took time to think about:
- Who were my best or favorite clients? What specifically did I like about working with them?
- Which opportunities could I take advantage of while working on the business and with current clients?
- Which writing project do I love the most? Do I dip my toe back into social media management which I did 10 years ago? Do I focus on blogging exclusively?
I thought about these questions, all while saying yes, and no, to projects along the way, taking mental notes of how I felt and what resonated with me. The conclusion is that I love blogging and website copywriting for small businesses and nonprofits. I like working with the owner or founder of the organization to get what’s in their head onto their website in a way that connects their mission to their target audience.
The biggest push was when my appearances on The Nonprofit Podcast as a Thought Leader rendered new clients in the nonprofit world. They are all passionate about their mission and needed a writer to take their ideas and get them on their website. After completing a few nonprofit projects, I realized I have a heart for these leaders and have added nonprofits to my target market.
Worked with Business Coaches = Grew My Business
As I was networking online, I met Deirdre and Carmen, the coaches at Encore Empire. They are focused on supporting women business owners who are 40+ years old. I completed the Encore Business Incubator (affiliate link) with a renewed spirit about my business. When I started the program, I identified goals and broke them down into manageable steps. As we reviewed monthly, quarterly, and at the end of the year, it was uplifting to see all that I had accomplished with their support.
- Clearly identified a target market.
- Created a list of topics on which to create content for my target.
- Embraced the idea of video + written content.
- Created a YouTube channel.
- Initiated website design/development partnerships.
- Added Website Maintenance service for my own website.
- Hired Virtual Assistants (VA) for administrative tasks.
- Tried hiring another writer and realized I don’t like managing. Instead, I created a boutique writing agency.
- Updated my prices and packages to align with today’s economy, my years of experience, and my passion for writing and lack of interest in managing.
- Hired an accountant.
Each of these took small steps to get to where I am today. There may have even been a bit of kicking and screaming, and a few tears shed, but at the heart of it, I knew change was good for me and my business.
My coaches and I built a strong business relationship. They invited me to appear on the Encore Empire Podcast as a guest to talk about Search Engine Optimization, what it’s like being a business owner who is over 40 years old, and managing life with a chronic illness.
Hired an Accountant
Every single year I hold up our family tax submission because I need to take care of my business bookkeeping. Until 2022, I had never operated knowing real month-to-month numbers, only a guesstimate. Let me tell you that hiring an accountant has been life-changing.
I don’t have the stress of doing months of bookkeeping and wondering if it is up to today’s standards. Until I hired an accountant, I was working from QuickBooks which was set up for me nearly a decade ago. Now my numbers are categorized the right way for today’s standards.
We also have a monthly meeting to review the previous month’s income and expenses and compare that to the budget. As a freelancer, income changes all the time. One month is a feast and the next is famine, or at least it can look that way. I can now compare months and quarters; as a results-oriented person, I love to see the growth and averages. It’s inspiring. The best part is that I don’t have to do the bookkeeping!
If you’re looking for ways to grow your business, I highly recommend business coaches who work with your niche, hire an accountant, and clearly identify your target market. All of these combined grew my business by 40% in one year!