With COVID-19, working from home is suddenly the norm. Yet, there's been a large interest in work from home businesses since, well, practically forever...definitely longer than the existence of the internet. At the very least, people had home offices. Think about times when people primarily farmed out an existence and were involved in trading other things they made with others to get what they needed. We may not think of it as what we would now consider a bustling empire, but it was, indeed a home business built out of necessity. It was the way things worked until the industrial revolution.
Now with more technology, we have more work from home business options. So, are five year plans necessary for work from home businesses? The answer is: it depends. If you love the thought of a heavily drawn out five year plan, by all means, do one...knock yourself out.
How Do You Interpret Five Year Plans?
I have a general idea of what I want to do five years from now. I have goals I'd like to meet. I have them written in a notebook. They are fairly detailed because I like to know what it will take for me to meet those goals. With that being said, I also tend to pay attention to what my target markets are doing and their needs. What will lawyers, colleges, and businesses need five years from now? I can't say with 100% certainty that I know.
Will they need my services? Without a doubt, I can say yes. They will need what I do more than ever. COVID-19 has taught me that.
How will they consume what I offer? I don't have a full picture for five years from now. COVID-19 made working from home essential for so many and some "I need you for this small, one time thing so I'll pay your full fee" people turned into "Holy shit this is great and now all of a sudden I need you for everything because COVID" that I honestly don't know. America wasn't prepared for a pandemic. In fact, it was trending on Twitter not long ago that GW Bush stated that we should plan for panedemics before they happen because otherwise...well... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. I was a 22 year old mom of a newborn and a 2 year old when he was first elected. I'm 41 as of April 2020. I am someone who tends not to get political despite being a professional writer who, out of all professions, can probably get away with it... He wasn't considered the brightest world leader (that isn't me expressing my opinion; that is me expressing a bevy of opinions on the internet). It appears he was the voice of reason. And it has gone ignored...and look what happened. Anyway....my point being that while a plan of what I'd like to do professionally in five years, I am flexible enough to roll with the punches, because there's no true way to tell the future. No one can truly prepare (professionally or personally, apparently) for a pandemic.
I can tell you this much, though.
Make It Your Five Year Plan to Always Run Lean
From a business financial perspective, always run lean. Do not take out more loans than you can handle if your business begins to suffer. Had my clients began to put projects on hold, that would have sucked because I enjoy staying busy...but financially, I would have been fine. Compared to the businesses you're reading about who are heavily leveraged by loans, my business is fine. Granted, I don't have employees. It's just me. I have my taxes. I have my business expenses. I keep it simple. And you should, too. Keep it lean. Don't make it complicated. Note I did not say bootstrap for five years. I said lean. If there are things you need, I understand that. Equipment needs to be replaced. Depending on what you do, you may need software or inventory. Grow based on affordable steps. Be wise.