‘Tis the season for setting business goals. In order to start 2017 right, I’m devoting the last week of 2016 to planning and goal setting (and hanging out with family, of course). If you can do the same, it will really help you achieve your goals over the next year, so here are a few tips to point you in the right direction.
Schedule planning time
The thing about planning and goal setting is we sometimes assume it will just happen. It doesn’t. We need to schedule it in, and devote some quality time to it, on a regular basis. I’ve worked hard in December to finish client work ahead of schedule, get my Freelance Writer’s Success Kit launched AND schedule promotion of the New Year, New You, New Business Bundle (which includes a copy of the Freelance Writer’s Success Kit – so exciting).
That was so I could devote the last week of 2016 to planning out 2017. Yep, that’s right. No client work. No pitching. No product making or content creation (although definitely lots of planning my future products and content). I plan in three month increments, but I will be aiming for an overview of the whole year in advance.
Then I’ll be scheduling in regular weekly, monthly and quarterly planning sessions. What gets planned is what gets achieved, I’ve found. So taking the time to plan out what you want to achieve is perhaps your most important job, and certainly the first step in goal setting.
Set a big picture goal
Most coaches and entrepreneurs call this ‘finding your why?’or something similar. Why are you doing this? What do you really want to achieve? Wealth? Fame? Impact? Freedom? A combination of these? How much freedom do you want? Do you want to be able to travel the world, working out of your laptop bag, or do you just want to be able to make it to all your kids’ school plays and sports matches this year? I want the freedom to travel, enjoy my family and live life to the fullest, while still enjoying financial security (untold riches don’t motivate me, financial security does).
Identify what you really need
What would enable you to live your big picture goal? It may not be what you think. In my case I want income and freedom, so what I really need is passive income (and low overheads). I don’t want to run a big business with employees and offices and restrictions. Far from it.
For most people who want money and freedom, passive income is the answer (or at least one of them), so don’t go focusing all your energy on developing services that rely on you trading time for dollars, or aiming for growth (in terms things like employees and office space) if what you really need is multiple passive income streams and low overheads.
Plan what you have to plan
In order to start setting goals, you need to know roughly which areas to set them in.
For example, I’ll be setting goals (and planning how to reach them) in the areas of:
- Products and services offered
- Blog content
- Sales funnels
- Email marketing
- Social media marketing
I’ll be planning in that order and then tying everything together. Once I know what products and services I’ll be offering and when, I can plan blog content to promote and compliment them, allowing me to schedule ideas into my editorial calendar. I’ll be able to think through my sales funnels, plan my freebies and upsells, and think about my email marketing strategies (and the type of content I want to include in my monthly newsletters). Then I’ll have a good idea of what sort of content I’ll want to schedule for my social media platforms each month as well.
Triple D everything
Once everything is planned, it’s time to triple D it. The three Ds stand for Do, Delegate, or Ditch. When it comes to setting goals, you can’t, of course, do it all now, but you can schedule in what you have to do and when, schedule in what you have to delegate (and decide who to collaborate with or outsource to) AND you can now look at your plan and decide what you DON’T need to do at all.
Is there anything in your plan that doesn’t fire you up, doesn’t tie in with your other goals or projects, or doesn’t contribute to your big picture goal? If so, what’s it doing there? Ditch it. Put your energy into what you really want to achieve.Make 2017 the year you finally say no to everything that’s not a ‘Hell yeah’. Click To Tweet
Look at the gaps you need to fill
So you know what you’re doing this year now. What do you need to get it done? The main areas I look at here are education and outsourcing.
What do I need to learn to achieve everything I want to? This year I need to learn more about sales funnels, creating and launching info products, and branding. That’s why I’m so stoked about The New Year, New You, New Business Bundle. It’s a package of 16 courses, info products and coaching sessions that would usually cost about $1,200, but it’s currently on sale for $99. I get six months to access everything (more for a few things as they’re digital products I can keep forever). I just know that I have a lot of the resources here that I’ll need to achieve my goals in 2017. I’ll see where I am in six months and then plan my education for the second half of the year.
I also plan what I need to outsource, when, and who I’ll turn to. Outsourcing is probably the single thing that has helped me increase my income over time, while working less rather than more. Want some affordable wisdom on the outsourcing process? Consider grabbing a copy of The Savvy Solopreneur’s Guide to Outsourcing.
Get it on paper
I happen to think you really need a physical overview of your goals and the plan that’s going to help you achieve them, but it really doesn’t have to be complicated. I love the Biz Plan Book, but any planner with enough room for you to plan out all your business goals, and schedule your content, is fine. I use a combination of a month-at-a-glance calendar, and a day-to-a-page planner, to help me see how my month is scheduled and easily organize my daily tasks.
Solopreneurs may work alone, but we all need some support. Facebook groups, blog networks and other online communities are great places to find support and like-minded people. It’s even better if you can find a local group within your own community where you can meet with other entrepreneurs, interact in real life (and drink real coffee together). Take a look at Meetup.com to find a local group (or start one).
Get accountability in place
Use your real life support group or one of your online communities to find an accountability buddy. Many Facebook groups have a weekly thread where you can ask for help, including an accountability partner. If you’re not a member of an online business focused Facebook group yet, you might like to join one of the ones I participate in, such as Blog & Biz BFFs or The Intentional Blogging Project.
Review and refine
One very important aspect of goal setting is to keep reviewing and refining your goals. You don’t have to be able to predict the future perfectly. It’s fine to review and refine your goals as you go along. Maybe you’ve lost interest in one particular goal or your clients have let you know of a product they’d love from you, that you didn’t even think of, when putting your original plan together. Goals are meant to be pruned and adjusted, so make a review session part of each regular planning session.
Happy goal setting, and I wish you all an excellent holiday season.
Interested in that bundle of products I mentioned? You can check it out here.