A business plan…. many creative people I know shy away from those two words….
First, they’ll tell me, their craft isn’t a business.
Second, they’re overly in love with the term “winging it.”
Yet, if you talk to top artists in nearly any field, they have a workmanlike precision to their art. They seem to be in the right place at the right time. How do they do it?
After studying successful people, I’ve found they all have one thing in common…. One thing that they may not all admit to, but that I’d refer to as a “business plan.”
A business plan is something that helps you focus your thoughts. It helps you decide where your opportunities are in life, so you can manage your time most effectively.
Sound like something you want for yourself and your craft?
Great! Then let’s help you climb to the top, shall we?
The most important part of a business plan
Your plan needs to marry your personal life and your professional life. By knowing where each stands, you’re more likely to do a great job of coming up with the right strategies.
Like the Cheshire Cat said to Alice, if you don’t know where you’re going then any road’ll get you there.
First, we want to choose a road. To do that, we need to know where you’re going.
List out your personal dreams. Give yourself permission to dream big. What do you want?
When I work with someone, I’ll often use what I think of as the “deli counter” approach. When someone tells me their goals, I’ll ask, “What else?” The reason for this is simple: the first three or four goals are the ones you think you’re supposed to have. The next few are the real goals. We want to work with the real ones, not the ones that we think everyone else expects us to chase.
What Does The Goal Cost?
Now that you know what the goals are, it’s going to be a simple matter of plugging in numbers to see what it’ll take to make the goal a reality.
There are many calculators out there to help you find the numbers you’re looking for….but to boil it down you just need to know what you need to do every month in your craft and jobs to make those a reality.
Now You Know The Goals….Let’s Go On The Attack
This is my favorite part of planning. Michelangelo said that the biggest problem with goal setting wasn’t in setting the bar too high….it was in setting the bar too low and easily reaching it. By starting out with the big, fat awesome goals, we’ve set the bar really, really high.
….and that’s when your imagination takes over.
Suddenly the fountain of inspiration comes. You begin designing ways to create, to operate, and to market your craft. Write down as many of these as possible. No idea is silly or stupid. You’re working hard to envision a new reality for your craft, and to do that, it’s going to mean trusting your ability to just throw out great…and not so great ideas.
Organize These Ideas
Once you have a list of ideas, now it’s time to focus them into a coherent framework.
- First, look at which ideas are “low hanging fruit”
- Second, group ideas together that are similar. You may be able to tackle several of these at once.
- Third, ask yourself what each of these ideas brings to the table as a step toward your goal. Which action should be taken first to get what you want?
- Fourth, take out your calendar and create a model week. This will organize your life so that you can stay focused on those ideas that will drive you most closely toward your goal.
- Fifth, automate the financial aspects of your goal setting, so that you can stay focused on your craft. As you earn money, you’ll want that to automatically go to the right account.
Imagine that you have this “business plan” in place. Not only would you know what your priorities are each day, but you’d know how much closer you’re getting to your end goals!
How much anxiety would that eliminate? (I’m guessing it’s a ton.)
How much faster can you create the life you really want? (I’m guessing MUCH faster.)
It’s not hard to set this up. Carve out time this week and jump on it while you’re excited. Write to me if you have problems setting up your plan. I’m happy to help!