• Sofiya Pasternack

Do You Need an Author Business Plan?

Yes.


Okay thanks for stopping by!


Just kidding. Let’s talk about business plans: what are they, and why you should make one!

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Having ADHD means I get distracted pretty easily. Before I was diagnosed, I honestly thought I had some sort of compulsive disorder (obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, to be specific), because I kept very detailed planners and created complex schedules and always wrote down what I did. People would see my planners and say stuff like, "Oh wow! You're so organized!"


But the truth was, I wasn't really that organized. I had to force myself to be that organized because if I didn't, I was a pretty useless. I'd lose track of pretty much everything. As it is right now, I have a workable method of keeping track of stuff I'm supposed to do, but if I lose connection with my Google Calendar, for example, then my entire life is erased. I have no idea what's going on. And it sucks.


So for me, a business plan is pretty important. Any plan is pretty important. Because I'll 100% go off the rails if I'm allowed to, and instead of doing business things, I'll be spinning in circles playing "Paint It Black" on a kazoo. And you might not be that bad, but having a good, solid plan in place is pretty important no matter who you are!


In this post, we'll go through these things:

Goal Setting

Financials

The Plan Itself

Goal Setting

Goals are important. There‘s a quote I really like that goes:

A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes reality.

And I know we’ve all got plenty of dreams. Oh golly we have dreams coming out of our ears! Dreams like you can’t even believe! SO MANY DREAMS!

But you can’t eat dreams. Probably. So what can you do with dreams? Well, you write them down. You add a date. You break them into steps. You take action. And then... then you get to live them.


Or eat them.


Please email me if you figure out a way to eat dreams.


Anyway, in order to make your dreams tangible, you need goals. In my blog post about motivation, I linked a PDF that had a goal-setting method in it: the SMART method. It’s a pretty standard way to set goals, but I made some neat worksheets, plus added in my own ADHD-centric piece of it: INTEREST! That turns it into the SMARTI method. Go check that out!

Financials


Ugh, boring! Financials? Do I mean bookkeeping? Accounting? Taxes??


I do indeed. But it’s pretty important for goal setting, especially if any of your goals involve spending (or saving) money. You need to know where you’re starting so after you've done a bunch of stuff, you can look back and know how far you've come!

So, I'm not a tax professional by any stretch of the imagination. But I totally think getting familiar with your own taxes is essential!


This is the IRS instructions for Self-Employed (Schedule C) businesses, which is what authors count as! This lays out all the things you can deduct from your taxes (and what you CANNOT deduct). For example, did you know that buying books counts as Professional Development? If you have a DropBox subscription to store your manuscripts, that's deductible! Your laptop that you write your books on needed repairs... and those are deductible as a business expense too!


So get familiar with what exactly you can save money on this year, and keep good records of them! You can pay monthly for something like QuickBooks, or you can just keep an Excel or Google Sheets record. Save your receipts!


Something that's pretty important when we're talking about finances is setting a budget. Take a look at the last year and what your author-related spending was like. Are you happy with that spending? How could you improve it?


One of my goals for the 2021 year is to decrease my spending by 25%. In order to do that, I have to know how much I'm spending already, and then identify places I can cut back.

The Plan Itself


In my usual style, I made an interactive PDF for a business plan!!


I know, I know. You're very surprised.


In a nutshell, my business plan looks like this:


  • Goal 1:

  • Goal Statement:

  • Measurement Methods:

  • Specific Step 1:

  • Specific Step 2:

  • Specific Step 3:


  • Goal 2:

  • Goal Statement:

  • Measurement Methods:

  • Specific Step 1:

  • Specific Step 2:

  • Specific Step 3:


  • Goal 3:

  • Goal Statement:

  • Measurement Methods:

  • Specific Step 1:

  • Specific Step 2:

  • Specific Step 3:


And I like breaking down my goals and steps from yearly into quarterly! It really helps me to give myself small milestone goals along the way. I find that I'm way more likely to meet multiple smaller goals than stick it through to one big goal!

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meet sofiya!

Sofiya Pasternack is a mental health professional, the highly-distractible author of Jewish MG and YA fantasy, and prone to oversharing gross medical stories.

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