I love sitting down to plan and with the year coming to a close so quickly, I thought now would be the perfect time to share a few ways to prepare for the new year.
I like to start planning the new year in November. I know some people don’t want to rush the year and start their planning process so early, but as the holiday season ramps up it gets harder to make time for it.
I have found in previous years that by the time January rolls around if I didn’t have a plan in place, it would take me weeks to get on track. The post-holiday slump is real. So a few years ago, I started putting my plan together before the holiday season kicked off. It has made all of the difference.
So I’m going to be sharing four ways to plan and prepare for the next year in your creative business.
STEP 1. REVIEW THE YEAR
Before you can start looking ahead, you have to look back. So the first thing that I suggest you do is to review your year.
1. Recap the year – What happened this year? What were the highs and lows?
2. Pull all the important metrics for your biz and analyze the data. A few things you should take a look at:
- Money in/ out
- Website visitors
- Email list growth
- Social media followers
- Podcast downloads
Look for patterns. Where do the numbers look really good? Ask yourself how you can do more of that?
3. Think about what’s working and what’s not in your business. Are there things that are no longer getting the results that they once did? Are there areas where you can improve?
4. Celebrate your wins from the year. Take a stroll back down memory lane and celebrate all of the things you managed to accomplish.
STEP 2. SET MONEY GOALS
The second area that I want you to look at is your money. It’s time to think about and set some money goals for the year.
This is where you have to be realistic about your business. There’s no time to be afraid of the numbers. When you run a creative business you need to know your numbers.
You need to be really clear about what’s generating revenue and what’s not. Because if you’re not making money, you don’t have a business, you have a hobby. And if you’re investing in a lot of tools and other things like that, you have an expensive hobby.
1. Review the current year’s revenue numbers.
- Did you meet your goal? And if you didn’t, how much did you fall short?
- What product or service generated the most money for your business?
2. Choose a revenue goal for next year.
- How much money do you want to generate?
- Try creating a good, better and a best goal using Megan Hale’s GBB method.
3. Break down the goal quarterly and monthly.
- How much revenue do you need to generate quarterly? Monthly?
4. Look at your pricing.
- How many products or services do you need to sell next year to hit those numbers?
- Does that seem manageable?
- Do you need to raise your prices? By how much?
- Do you need to create new offers?
STEP 3. DETERMINE YOUR CONTENT NEEDS
Your content is going to drive your audience to your offers and to your products. So you really want to be thinking about creating content that is sending people to your products, landing pages or getting them on your email list.
1. Content platforms + Frequency.
- What’s your main content platform? Which supporting platforms are you going to use?
- How often will you create and post content on them?
- Do you need to adjust your schedule?
2. Theme your content by month.
- Experiment with using a monthly theme as the basis of all your content.
3. Decide how your content will support you in promoting your offers?
- Your content is a discovery tool for your ideal audience. What types of content will you create to help your audience know, like and trust you?
- What specific content do you need to create to communicate to your audience that you have solutions for their problems?
STEP 4. PLAN YOUR FIRST 90-DAYS
Now it’s time to put it all together and plan out your first 90 days. Bonus points if you start doing some of the content creation before the New Year hits or at least have a system in place for getting it done.
1. Choose your sales focus.
- What is the main thing you’re going to promote during the first 90-days?
2. Create your content plan.
- Plan out your content strategy to support your sales focus.
- How will you promote your offer?
- Do you have your the deadlines scheduled in your planner or project manager?
2. Decide on the projects you’ll be working on.
- What projects are you focusing on?
- What new things do you want to create?
- Do they have plans with deadlines attached?
3. Personal Development.
- How do you want to grow in the first 90-days of this year?
- What do you need or want to learn?
- What resources do you need?
- What investments do you need to make?
Whew! I know that was a lot. But if you take nothing else from this episode, start thinking about your plans for next year now.
They don’t need to be as detailed as what I laid out here. Even a sheet of paper with just a bunch of ideas written on it is better than nothing.
Hopefully, this will be helpful because I want you to be great. I want you to have an amazing year. So start planning for it now.