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Exercise: Business Plan

We can ponder about our business plan all day long - let's not. Let's execute by laying something down right now, and building on it. You've learned what's in a business plan, now let's put something - ANYTHING in writing and commit ourselves to this vision.

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Now that you’ve seen how to create a business plan - do it! I’ve attached a template here for you to use, but (as always) I’m not a lawyer blah blah blah.

I know I know! You’re probably making a mental note right now thinking “when I’m ready I’ll get to this”… but that’s not going to cut it. One of the things we need to get used to doing is executing.

That means that you, right now, need to crack open a document somewhere and start writing.

Here’s a tip if you don’t know what do right now… open up a document in Dropbox Paper. This, to me, is a perfect writing space and one that gets out of your way quickly. You can use Markdown and a bunch of other fun things (like pasting code). So… just do it. If you’re a Google Docs fan FINE just open the dang thing and paste this:

## Summary
[COMPANY] will launch on [DATE] and will consist of one person: me. It will provide consultancy services to clients of varying size, with the possibility of selling digital good in the next 3 to 5 years.

## Industry Overview
Think about the niche you're going after and why you're going after it. Write that here, try to make it a solid sentence.

## Products and Services
What are you going to sell? Your time? How? Products? What?

## Market Analysis
Something made you pick this market - what was it and why? Did you see a need for valuable [AWS/Azure/GCP] Cloud Consultants? Maybe you thought people could really use your SQL skills. Just write it down here, no matter how small.

## Marketing Plan
You have to let people know at some point what you're doing so you can get money for it. Is your plan Twitter? Blog? Word of mouth? Write it here.

## Financial Plan
It's going to take a while to make money, so what are you going to do in the mean time? If you give yourself a month to get a contract and get paid, that's an investment. Write that down here: "Investing $2500 initially to get going". From that point, how much do you need to survive each month? What's your bankroll (the amount on hand you have to have) amount to?

## Exit Strategy
This is going to end at some point... either with the sale of the company, you purposely folding it because you wanted to work with other people, or maybe your kids take it over. SPELL IT OUT and think about what that might mean. Again: just a few paragraphs here can make a giant difference in your thinking.

International Concerns

I live in the USA so I have, of course, a bias. You might need to translate this a bit based on what your country allows. Either way: business is business and these things in this plan carry through no matter where you’re from.

  • Becoming a Solo Contractor

    Hello and welcome! Let's kick things off by getting our heads in the right place and understanding what we're getting ourselves into. This could be a life-changing moment for you and having a plan is essential! So let's take a minute and wrap our heads around this.

  • Is The Contract Programmer Thing Right For You?

    Going out on your own is, essentially, turning up the volume on your career. The good parts get better: freedom to choose what you do and when you do it. The bad parts get worse: you will be the worst boss you’ve ever had, and a simple mistake can greatly affect your income.

  • Exercise: Get Organized!

    Everyone has their scheme and their way to get things done and if you're that kind of person hooray! I'm actually talking about something a bit different than a personal To-Do list - we need a methodology and a way that we can ensure that we can execute our vision.

  • Creating Your Business Plan

    We’ll take a look at how a business plan can help solidify what it is we want to do when we go out on our own. We’ll use a simple template, choose a business name and detail the market that we’re about to enter. Finally, we’ll consider where we want this business to end up.

  • Exercise: Business Plan

    We can ponder about our business plan all day long - let's not. Let's execute by laying something down right now, and building on it. You've learned what's in a business plan, now let's put something - ANYTHING in writing and commit ourselves to this vision.

  • Exercise: Business Name

    Naming things is hard and you will either spend way too long on this or way to little. Let's give it a reasonable amount of time and then move on. I'll help you (I hope) by sharing with you how I came up with various business names of my own... then we'll buy a domain.

  • Exercise: Marketing Plan

    At some point you'll need to let people know what you do, that you're good, and that you're worth paying. This is tough stuff, but if you don't do it you won't last long

  • Setting Up Professional Services for Your Contracting Gig

    Trying to run a business on your own is a sure way to burn yourself out. You have to delegate certain duties to online services and third parties. It might seem like an expensive thing to do, but it’s really not.

  • Setting Up Your Finances as a Solo Contractor

    In this section we turn our attention to your new company’s finances. It may seem intimidating, but tracking your income and expenses can be quite easy with simple to use online services.

  • Sample Contracts

    At some point you'll need to let people know what you do, that you're good, and that you're worth paying. This is tough stuff, but if you don't do it you won't last long

  • Growing Your Professional Network

    In this section we’ll look at ways to find your most important client: the very first one! We’ll get out and meet other developers, creating a legitimate network of peers. Finally, the best work is repeat work, so we’ll look at things you can do to make sure you are your client’s go to person.

  • Branding Your Solo Contracting Business

    You need to stand out and make your virtual self look sharp and competent. This isn't about physical looks, it's about how you present yourself to others and the care you take in making an impression. These things matter a lot and they don't take a whole lot of effort.

  • Good Luck!

    We’ve covered a lot of ground in the last 90 minutes, and I hope you’ve seen that this process is not that intimidating. Yes, it does take a bit longer then jumping right in, but that investment of your time will hopefully result in good things later on in your career.

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