Ready for a Small Business Planning Guide?
At the beginning of last month, back in episode 087, I shared exactly how I determine my yearly goals for my business. Today, I’m back to share about the next step in the yearly prep process – yearly planning.
When it comes to planning out our year in business, I often see students wanting to plop down their promos and launches and work their way around those. OR, even worse, I see students decide on a month by month basis what kind of promos they’ll be having.
This kind of planning leads to burnout, overwhelm, longer working hours, content that isn’t cohesive, and a life that revolves around your business. But you and I? We started a business to enjoy a life of freedom and flexibility. For me, that means lots of time spent at Disney and traveling, daily naps, and the ability to work when I’m most productive and not being stuck with busy work to fill time. For you, it likely means something different. But it all comes back to freedom. And when your life revolves around your business? There’s no freedom there.
So today I’m sharing the 6 steps I take for planning out my year in business – and planning out a business that supports the life I want to live and not the other way around.
You’re listening to episode 092 of the Chasing Simple podcast, and I’m your host – Amanda Warfield. Let’s dive in.
Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Check out the two upcoming summits I’m a part of: the Blogger Breakthrough Summit and the Profitable Podcast Summit
- This week’s action step: Set aside a day or two to plan out your year for 2022. Want someone to walk you step by step through it? Grab my A Year in Preview Workshop!
- This week’s book recommendation: Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield Thomas
- Find me on Instagram and tell me you completed this week’s action step: @mrsamandawarfield
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Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!
*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.
At the beginning of last month, back in episode 87, I shared exactly how I determined my yearly goals for my business. Today, I’m back to sharing about the next step in the yearly prep process, yearly planning. When it comes to planning out your year in business, I often see students wanting to plop down their promos and launches and work their way around those. Or even worse, I see students decide on a month by month basis. What kind of promos they’ll be having. This kind of planning leads to burnout, overwhelm, longer working hours, content that isn’t cohesive and a life that revolves around your business. But you and I, we started a business to enjoy a life of freedom and flexibility.
For me, that means a lots of times spent at Disney and traveling daily naps and the ability to work when I’m most productive and not being stuck with busy work, just to fill time. For you, it likely means something different, but it all comes back to freedom. And when your life revolves around your business, There is no freedom in that. So today I’m sharing the six steps I take for planning out my year in business and planning out a business that supports the life I want to live. And not the other way around. You’re listening to Episode 92 of The Chasing Simple Podcasts. And I’m your host, Amanda Warfield. Let’s dive in.
So when it comes to planning your year in business, we actually need to start by looking at your year as a whole for your life. Because what we don’t want is to plan our life around our business. We want our business planned around our life because we want our business to support the dream life that we want to live. Right? So many of us start our businesses so that we have more freedom, more flexibility to be there for our families and just to have for ourselves. And then we start planning our life around our business and our business takes over and we ended up working way more than we ever did. I know we’ve all seen those reels and tick talks about. Not wanting to work a nine to five and instead end up working 24/7 instead. We don’t want that. We don’t truly want that. And the way that we avoid that is by planning for our life before we plan for our business. So we plan our business around our life so that our business can support our life. So when you’re looking at your year in advance, you’ve pulled your calendar out for the next year.
The first thing you want to do is mark off all the time off that you want to take, whether that’s because you’re going on vacation, because you want to take a sabbatical, because you want to make sure that you have a slower period leading up to your child’s birthday, so that you can take time off for your anniversary, whatever that may look like for you personally, start by marking off time off for yourself. Mark that off before you add anything else to your calendar for the next year. And then once you’ve marked off all of that time off, and maybe, maybe that time off means that, okay, I know that in may, I really like may to be a slower month because it’s the last month of school or maybe you want the summer to be slower. So you intentionally plan for time off in the summer. Those are the things I want you to think about when you do that. Once you’ve marked off your time off and your time to kind of slope down and step back, maybe that means you mark off. Thursdays and Fridays, so you’re not working, whatever that looks like for you.
Once you’ve done that, then I want you to mark off time to step back in your business, time to be the CEO in your business and time to be heads down, focused on solely your business. So for me, that would maybe look like batch weeks. I make sure I mark batch weeks off first thing inside of the year, because after I’ve done all of the life stuff, I make sure I mark off batch weeks because that’s time that I’m setting aside for my business, so that my client work doesn’t take up all my time so that I make sure I have the time to do that. You also might want to set aside time for, you know, a business retreat for yourself, or time to step back for planning for the next quarter, time to step back, whatever you need to be the CEO in your business. Make sure you set that aside next. Because we start with our life. But then we also need to set our business as a priority. So often we get wrapped up in spending all of our time on our clients that we don’t take the time to grow our own business. You’ve got to make sure you’ve got that time set aside for that.
Then I want you to take your yearly goals that you’ve planned for your business. If you haven’t planned for your yearly goals and business, do that before you start planning your year so that you know what you’re working towards when you come to create the plan. Then you want to determine what your focus for each quarter will be. Now, when it comes to creating a plan for the year, having a plan is extremely important for making sure that you are steering your business and the direction you want to go. But I also don’t want you to feel like whatever you write on your yearly calendar right now is permanent. I don’t want you to feel like you can’t change anything, that whatever you’re doing is set in stone.
When you come back to your plan each quarter. Reevaluate. Absolutely be flexible with yourself. Don’t let shiny object syndrome come in, but allow for flexibility. So that’s my little side note. My little soap box. You have to have a plan, but you also have to be flexible with the plan you create because let’s face it. If you’re creating your plan now in January. You never know what opportunities are going to come up by July. What you may have already accomplished by July, or maybe you’re behind on your goals either way is fine. You will need to be flexible and you might need to make some changes and that’s okay. But after you’ve got your time off marked off, you’ve got your CEO time marked off.
Then I want you to choose what your focus is going to be for each quarter. Take the goals that you’ve set for this year and break that down into quarterly focuses. Personally, and what I recommend for all my clients, is to choose a marketing focus, a behind the scenes focus, and then a goal focus. So have one specific goal you’re working towards each quarter. Maybe that’s filling spaces in your one-to-one spot. Maybe that’s filling spaces in your membership. Maybe that’s having a certain number of downloads on a freebie you’ve created, whatever that goal is for you break down your yearly goals and determine what each goal will be for the quarter.
Then your marketing goal. What is your marketing focus that will help you achieve that goal? So if your goal is to get downloads of your freebie. Well, your marketing focus needs to be all about that freebie and how that freebie helps and what hurdles that freebie helps your people overcome. Right? Your marketing focus needs to be that topic.
Then you’re behind the scenes. Focus is going to be whatever it is you’re working on behind the scenes in your business, whether that’s copy, website, setting up your new one-to-one service, creating new freebies, whatever that is. What is your behind the scenes focus? So those three things behind the scenes, focus, marketing focus, and a goal focus for each quarter.
After that, I want you to put things like promos and launches and affiliate launches, put all of that stuff on the calendar. If you don’t have exact dates, that’s okay. Just put a sticky note on a month if you know. Okay. I want to make sure I launch in August. I don’t know the exact dates yet, but I’m going to put a sticky note on my August calendar. So I know, okay, this is when this is happening. This is when this is happening. If you can put specific dates down even better, but at least put down a general map and a general idea of when you want to do different launches and different promos.
Then, I want you to start looking at your quarter. So we’ve done the yearly planning. First, you marked off time off. Then you marked off CEO time. Then you determined what your different focuses were for each quarter. And then you wrote down when your promos were going to be throughout the year. So you’ve got your year mapped.
Then I want you to focus very specifically on this quarter or the upcoming quarter, whenever you’re doing this and say, okay, what are my long form content topics going to be? This isn’t written in blood. It’s not written in stone. It’s just written in pencil. What are the different topics I’m going to talk about for this upcoming quarter? You don’t have to outline it. You just got to come up with the topics. And you want to base your topics around your promo periods to make sure that you’re doing enough, pre-launch copy and they’ll have pre-launch work to get your people ready for whatever you’re selling. So create those long form content topics.
Then, you’ve got all that done. Then on a monthly basis, you’re going to move into the batch week process, right? You’re going to double-check, whatever dates you have coming up in the next month You’re going to confirm those long form content topics you’ve already got the whole quarter written out. Then you’re gonna look at this specific month and say, okay, do these still work? Do they still fit? Has anything changed? Do I have a better topic or a better idea? Has someone asked specifically for a topic, a blog post, an episode, whatever. Confirm those, and then move into outlining your long form content and then writing your emails for the month and writing your social media captions for the month and scheduling it all out, creating all that content.
And then the next month you do the same thing. And the next month you go back to, okay, it’s a new quarter, let me map out. What’s my quarterly content. What are my topics for the whole next quarter? And then each month you go back into batching and creating. You’ve worked from planning to make sure that your, your business supports your life. You’ve planned out your CEO time. And then you work your way down into these specific, these, the social media captions. They are geared towards the goals that I have for my business. So I hope that helps.
So your action step for this week’s episode is to set aside or day or two to plan out your year for 2022. Even if maybe you’ve already planned it out, take some time to step back and think through “Did I make sure that I fit my business into my life versus fading my life into my business? Did I make sure that I set up my goal so that I could align my content around them? Did I set myself up for success for creating strong content throughout this year so that I am supporting my goals, which will support my life?” And if you want someone to walk you step-by-step through this process with lots of more detail and a ton of tips, go ahead and grab my A Year In Preview Workshop. It is a two hour workshop that will walk you through my entire yearly planning process. At the end of the two hour, you will have your entire 2022 calendar planned out and mapped out for you.
And this week’s book recommendation is Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas. I am not a super woo person, but I recognize the power of mindset, and this book really dives into money mindset and different ways that you can support your money mindset, that you can change your money mindset. And it gave me a lot to think about, about the way I think about money. In the way we spend money and save money in a plan for using our money. So if you’re someone who knows that you need some money mindset, highly recommend this book cannot recommend it enough. Get Rich, Lucky Bitch by Denise Duffield-Thomas. I will put a link in the show notes if you want to check it out. And until next time, I hope that you will go out and uncomplicate your life in biz.