B2B Writers International

How Best to Design Your First Year as a B2B Writer

5 minute read

Are you thinking about starting a B2B writing business? Or perhaps you have just started…

Like many writers, you may have a good idea about what you would like to achieve, and you’ve put together some SMART goals. Like, for example, “I would like to have two retainer clients by the end of the year.” This is specific but the implementation steps may be unclear.

You could work hard at writing down a detailed plan of how to get there. But since your experience in getting clients is still limited, you may struggle to nail down all the steps.

This is not a problem, says Michael Hyatt, author of Your Best Year Ever. As a matter of fact, he says, “detailed planning easily becomes a fancy way to procrastinate.” The reason? It is much harder to take action than it is to plan.

The good news? You don’t need a detailed plan. You only need clarity to take the next step. This advice is particularly helpful for new writers, who must deal with a lot of unknowns.

In this article, we’ll look what ‘best next steps’ you could take as a new B2B writer, depending on where you’re starting from.

You Have Written Some SMART Goals, Now What?

First, if you’re not sure how to set SMART goals, you may want to check this article, Be Smart in Setting Your B2B Copywriting Business Goals.

Here are some recommendations on how to best design the ‘ideal next step.’

#1. Plan Only the Next Step

Sometimes when we’re planning, we feel like we’re doing the thing — taking the action. We’re not. You don’t need a detailed plan: all you need is enough information to take action on your next best step. Experimenting is hugely important at the beginning of a venture as the path to success is not a straight road.

Planning only the next step allows you to avoid analysis paralysis and/or decision fatigue.

If you’re not sure about that first step, try something. Almost anything will do as long as you get moving.

Remember what Martin Luther King Jr. said, “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”  

#2. Make That Next Step as Simple as Possible

A simple step is a step that is both easy and small. What is the minimum step that you must undertake to get the job done? How easy can you make it?

If you’re like most writers, your marketing SMART goal probably takes you out of your comfort zone. To get the job done, you must ensure your next step is in your comfort zone. Later we will look at to make those steps extremely small to avoid any resistance.

#3. Take That Step Now

Take the first step quickly. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get some clarification about how to proceed later. There is no reason to wait to explore, experiment, and clarify whether you’re on the right path. Why?

Most actions are reversible. For example, if you spent time doing some form of copywriting that you later find out you don’t enjoy, you will have gained experience and insight and can switch to something you’ll like better.

Now, let’s say one of your SMART goals is to get two retainer clients by the end of the year. There are several steps you could take to achieve that.

Maybe you decide the first step is to research what kinds of projects typically lead to retainer clients and focus your marketing on those projects.

Let’s say you find e-newsletters and blogging make great retainer projects. So you focus your marketing outreach on finding clients in your niche who might be willing to hire you to write blogs and a newsletter for them.

And you start sending out cold emails to potential prospects — maybe starting with two per day.

What Are Possible Next Steps for Your New Business?

You must take the next step that is specific to your situation, B2B writer. Here are some examples based on three common profiles of new writers.

1. You’re a writer, but you’ve never trained as a copywriter.

You can write but you have no copywriting skills yet. While copywriting is not difficult, there are a certain number of rules to follow.

If you come from fiction, you will soon realize that copywriting uses different ‘writing muscles.’

Preparing to write. In fiction, you must stop thinking to be able to write, because fiction writing comes from the imagination. “WORK. RELAX. DON’T THINK!” wrote Ray Bradbury in Zen in the Art of Writing. As a copywriter, you will need to think and research a lot before writing the first word of copy.

Writing. When it comes to writing fiction, you must free your imagination to be creative. When you write copy or content, your best ideas and creativity will come from peering closely at all the research you have accumulated (Eugene Schwartz).

>>> Your best next step is to take a copywriting course and practice as much as possible.

2. You’re building a writing business and you have at least one copywriting skill.

You have acquired one copywriting skill (e.g., writing blog posts). You’re in good shape. There is no need to wait any longer to start marketing your services.

>>> Your next best step is to start looking for clients that need that skill. A LinkedIn profile is sufficient to get started. A search for “LinkedIn” on B2B Writers International will yield several articles on how to use the platform to look for clients.

3. You’re building a writing business, and you have too many copywriting skills.

If you find yourself taking class after class, and you’re not looking for clients, you may be procrastinating. This is quite common, but it’s time to tackle whatever internal resistance (usually fear) you may be experiencing. Check this article about the fears that may hold you back.

Because if you want to be a paid writer, you need to start marketing yourself.

>>> Here are a couple of preliminary steps to help you get unstuck.

Make the commitment to your business.

AWAI Chief Success Officer Ted Capshaw suggests that, to get the ball rolling, you should register yourself as a business owner, then go the bank and open a business account.

This is what I did, even though I had no money to put in that account — and no client in sight.

But this step (a leap of faith in some ways) created a shift in my mind. As a new business owner, I had no choice but to get on with marketing. Also, the idea of an empty bank account one year later was simply not an option. Avoiding self-embarrassment is a powerful motivator. Add an accountability partner, and you’re flying.

“The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”  ~ W. H. Murray

Make your next steps very, very small.

This is where BJ Fogg’s Tiny Habits method comes into play. The idea is to make the steps so small there is no resistance possible. Check this article about the tiny steps you could use to get on with various aspects of your business: marketing, writing, and skill building.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Tiny Habits method, you may want to start with my article here.

The path to success is not always clear, and experimenting in the first year of your business is more important than trying to pin down a detailed plan.

As Michael Hyatt stresses in his book, “Proceed without all the answers.”