With the new year around the corner, you’re probably doing what most smart business owners do: planning the new year.
You’re looking at your goals, your action steps, your marketing plan, and your financial aspirations.
And if you’re like the business owners I work with, you’re a little uncertain about your plan. You think you know what you want to do, but the ideas also come with a mega dose of uncertainty and a long list of questions.
I hear you!
When you’re a new business owner, planning for the coming year can be challenging. This is exactly why I’ve been spending time with all of my clients making plans for the new year.
This is also why today, together, we’re going to create your action plan for the new year. Because when you have a clear plan, you’re more likely to follow through like a pro. Tweet that!
I’ve even included a free download from the multi-talented and mega-generous Mayi Carles. Each year I use her month-at-a-glance planner when planning the coming year for my business. Since I always use it, I asked her if I could give a free copy to you. Since she’s so super awesome, of course she said yes! (Keep reading to get your free copy, no tricks or opt-ins required.)
Shall we dive in?
Always Start Here
Whenever I’m making plans, helping my clients make plans, or assisting mastermind buddies on crafting their plans, I always start with the same question:
What’s your priority?
This question applies whether you’re making a big plan for the new year, making a small action plan for the coming month, or a plan to try something new.
Getting clear on what’s most important to you is the essential first step for making a good plan.
Maybe you want to make a certain amount of money. Maybe you want to learn something new. Maybe you want to have more fun.
Your priority is unique to you. Don’t worry what so-and-so is doing; focus on what you want. There is no “right” priority except whatever is true for you.
Having this kind of clarity is important because it will inform your next steps. You see, if money is more important than fun, you’ll be taking actions steps that are targeted at making money. If having fun is most important, then you might sacrifice a little dough to make something that much more gleeful.
The small details of your execution will shift depending on what your top priority is, so make sure you’re specific and clear!
Determine Your Goals
Once you know what your priorities are, it’s time to set some goals.
First, there are the big goals that are quantifiable. They’re things like money, subscribers, and number of clients.
But that’s not enough! You also need to know how to make those goals actually happen. More importantly, this is where most entrepreneurs fall short when they’re not careful (but you won’t since you’re reading this!).
This is why I want you to create action-based goals.
Action-based goals are not the same as your big goal (1000 subscribers, $10k/month, or a full client roster). Instead, action-based goals are the micro steps required to reach your big goals. (This is something we talk about quite a bit it my program, Make It Work Online, where I help business owners learn to make their online businesses actually work.)
These micro steps are the tasks you must complete to hit your goal. For building your list, for example, those steps might be spending 30 min/day on social media being of service, pitching two guest posts each month, and holding a free call every other month. You can’t control how many people sign up for your list, but you can control the actions you take that will help you reach your goal. This is why action-based goals are so powerful.
You need to determine your action steps so you know exactly what you’ll be doing to reach your big goals. (I actually suggest you do this RIGHT NOW.)
My personal recommendation for you: Your Online Business Success Formula.
Map Out Your Plan
Once you have your priorities clear, big goals set, and action-based goals created, it’s time to make your plan! (This is where Mayi’s generous, free download will make the process more fun — and pretty!)
First, Map Out Your Week
Start by looking at your average work week. How many hours do you want to work? How do you want to allocate those hours?
Many people overestimate how much they can get done in a day, a week, or a month. This is why I have my clients map out a schedule for the week. You don’t have to rigidly follow it, but it will help you see how much you can actually accomplish!
Here’s how I want you to do this:
1. Determine and schedule your negotiable tasks and appointments.
These are things that you will do every week no matter what.
For me, the non-negotiables are sending my Wednesday email newsletter and showing up 100% for my clients. Everything else is secondary.
Make sure you have time every week to do the non-negotiables. How? Schedule it in your calendar. (I’m totally serious. Do this now.)
Mark down on your daily/weekly schedule when you will do the non-negotiables. If you’re not sure how long each item will take to complete, make your best guess then double it. (Yes, I’m serious; double it. It’s always better to have extra time than to run out.)
2. Plan for your #1 big goal by mapping out when you’ll follow through on the action-based goals necessary to achieve your big goal.
Let’s say that your top priority is to build your list to 1000 by June. You set your action-based goals and have three actions you want to complete every week to hit that goal.
On your calendar, I now want you to mark out when you will follow through and take action on those things. Yes, I want you to mark it on your calendar.
I realize that a part of you probably wants to revolt right now, but stick with me on this because it has the power to change your business forever!
If you want to hit your big goals, you need to follow through on the corresponding tasks. To follow through on the tasks, you need to make sure you set aside the time to do it. To set aside the time, you need to put it in your calendar.
It really is that straightforward. Know what you need to do, write it down, commit to doing it, do it, and then *voila* you’re that much closer to hitting your big goal!
3. Repeat for big goals #2 and #3.
Depending on where you are with your business and how much time you have to dedicate to building your business, you may or may not have time to work on more than one goal.
And it’s okay if you don’t have time to work more than one goal! Sometimes I, too, only focus on one goal at a time.
Please don’t over-commit yourself. Nothing is worse than a stressed-out, over-committed, amazing woman who is exhausted with nothing left to give to her business. Only commit to what you can realistically give. If that’s one goal, great. Two goals, great.
If you do have time to work on a second goal, repeat step 2 above for the additional goal you have. Determine the action steps and set the exact times during the week to follow through. Then do it!
You now have a sense of what your weeks will look like. You don’t need to follow that schedule exactly. However, by completing the assignment, you’re more likely to follow through because you know you have enough time each week to do the tasks and you’ve made a commitment to yourself to do it!
My personal recommendation for you: Steal This! My Rock-Solid System for Getting It All Done (& Having a Life).
Second, Map Out Your Months and Year
The next thing I want you to do is map out your plans for all 12 months of the coming year.
Mark down travel plans, time you want to take off, launch dates, coaching days, and anything else that you know you have planned.
I personally love spreading out all 12 months, side-by-side, on my kitchen counter, to get an overview of the full year.
Here’s my first draft of the coming year’s plan, which I began mapping out this past August. (The image at the top, very similar, is a photo of my previous year’s planning process.)
Using the month-at-a-glance planner (download link below), map out your plans for the coming year.
As you do so, consider some of these things…
1. Did you mark off vacation time?
2. Are you selling new things (launches) to your list too close together?
3. Are you trying to do too much in the year?
4. Does your plan look fun? Yes, fun!
Planning is an art as much as a science, especially when it comes to planning for our heart-based, soul-centered businesses. Have fun with planning and see what feels good to create and act on.
Set Yourself Up For Success
Alrighty superhero, you’re on your way to making the new year a success. Want to amp it up even more?
If you need accountability and business brainstorming support, consider starting a mastermind group. It might take a little hunting to find your right combo of women, but the hunt is worth it!
Or, if you want a ready-made mastermind group with expert coaching support, I recently opened spots for new clients in my Make It Work Online coaching program. It’s a three-month coaching intensive designed specifically for women who are ready to step up and finally make their online businesses work. It might be just the thing to get your business really moving!
Whatever you decide, be sure you’re not trying to do it alone. Camaraderie and support can go a long way in helping you succeed.
My personal recommendation for you: The 3 A’s of Success: Increase Your Chance of Succeeding at Anything.
Are you ready to make this year a success?
Now, I want to hear from you!
Are you ready to set your big goals, plan your action-based goals, map out your daily and weekly schedules, and plan your year?
What are the next three steps you need to take to set yourself up for success?
What do you most want to accomplish in the new year?
I can’t wait to hear about it in the comments below!
Now, Your Download Link
Now, for the incredible free download from the awesome artist Mayi Carles.
P.S. The Life Is Messy month-at-a-glance download from Mayi is free to you, and please enjoy it! It’s also just one cute download in a mega set included in her Life Is Messy planners. I love these planners! You can check out the other planners and life and business-wrangling tools here.
P.P.S. If you wish to check out the full set of planners or join her Life Is Messy Bootcamp, you can learn more here. Although this is an affiliate link, I’m more interested in letting you know about her great stuff (because she really is *that* awesome).
P.P.P.S. Don’t miss the coupon code for the planners and the bootcamp on the first page of the download.