Thursday, November 18, 2010
Planning for Later
So when one blogger at Problogger said he followed the advice of his multimillionaire uncle, I leaned forward in my chair. "You must always have a short-term source of income that pays the bills, two medium-term projects that supplement the income, and one long-term project that’s a year away from fruition. Always."
As much as I'd love to plagiarize that idea as my own, I didn't. However, over two decades as a loan/grant/financial person with the Feds reminded me that every business has short term, mid term and long term goals, which includes various methods of bringing in a dollar. It's called diversification.
"Don't put all your eggs in one basket" is a very elementary way of looking at it, but there's a creative message in here, too. That long term project is your heart. Just because you have to write tech pieces, columns, interviews, book reviews and features to pay the rent, doesn't mean you toss your dreams.
Personally, my example of this lesson would be:
-SHORT TERM- Write articles and editorials for immediate income.
-MID TERM - Seek larger markets for my income, expand my brand, write a nonfiction book or sequel to The Shy Writer: An Introvert's Guide to Writing Success
-LONG TERM - Publish my mystery novels.
Your goals might include non-writing ones:
-SHORT TERM - Work job and save ten percent for later, when you hope to jump ship and become a fulltime writer. Develop a blog. Take a creative writingn class at the university. Attend a conference.
-MID TERM - Publish in two markets a month. Blog five times a week. Write the first novel.
-LONG TERM - Quit the job. Earn $ xx per month. Publish the novel.
If you operated a business, you'd have goals for this month, this year, two years and five years from now. You are a business if someone pays you for your words. And diversity is key to being a viable business. With diligence, your mid term goals start becoming your short term, and your long term goal becomes more achieveable. You create more goals to fill in after those you accomplished. Oh my gosh, you realize you've become a writer with an honest-to-goodness income, a solid foundation, and a brand.
And it all started with a plan.