Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Formulate a Plan

After I retired from a long, long career with the IRS. I wanted a change of pace. I still wanted to utilize skills and experience garnered over the thirty-four years I worked for the IRS as an Appeals Officer. Yet I wanted to go in a new direction, and make money doing it!

Like you, I’d dreamed of making my expression activities profitable. I had a long almost-written novel under my belt that my critiquing group seemed to like..My short stories had won a writing competition or two. I’d had some things published in the newspaper. Up until then, though, I'd been dabbling, puttering around, dreaming big—like most of you. Writing had been my hobby. Okay, how did I transform it into a business?

I can imagine you shouting at me: “Walt, after working that long for the federal government, especially for the IRS, your judgment and work ethic must be shot. Surely you can’t be serious about making money by writing. I advise you to buy a lottery ticket, sit back and relax with a cold drink, and forget writing to make a profit. It’s a pipe dream.”

Perhaps you’re right . . . about the lottery ticket. By now you should know I believe in true grit. So let’s move on.

First, I made my plan. Mine started as follows:


“Make expression less taxing” was my mission statement . . . at first. It changed as my business progressed. At the time it gave clarity to my plan while leaving room for imagination. Eventually I planned it would become “Make expression very profitable.”

This was a start-up. I’d begin when I retired from the IRS. I’d write books and articles to self-publish and them market myself, or sell them through conventional methods—utilizing agents, editors, publishers, etc. I’d participate in local writing societies and critiquing groups, hoping to gain feedback from those who read and write in order to hone my craft.

I’d write from home or wherever I happen to be in the course of my expression activity or my personal life. My business would entail travel and entertainment.

My primary marketing tool to begin with was to be a self-help book about making expression activities less taxing, thus paying less to the IRS and related state and local income tax authorities. I’d speak publicly. The value of my presentation would command the cost of travel and a speaker’s fee. I’d utilize speaking engagements and the sponsoring platforms to market my books.

I'd also do professional representations of taxpayers engaged in expression activities who have problems with the IRS.

Since my retirement pension would be less than my salary was when employed, my goal would be to profit from this new business sufficiently to make up the difference. After that I’d aim to net an amount equal to my pre-retirement wages. Subsequently, I’d steadily increase revenues, hoping eventually to make a generous income and gain a solid reputation that could command respect and attention in the publishing world.

Initial sources of revenue would be the sale of my book, Making Expression Less Taxing, and fees for speaking on the relationship of expression activities and taxation. I’d augment this revenue by representing clients with federal tax problems relevant to expression activities with the IRS.

I suggest you start formulating your own business plan like I did.

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