How To: Plan An Amazing 2017 For Your Business
I love this time of year and not just for Xmas or the holidays. I love the feel of a new year, new goals, new possibilities. Yep, it’s the possibilities and the potential that are really exciting.
At this time every year, I do my goals. I write down - yes, on a piece of paper! - at least 10 aspirational goals that I want to achieve and a couple of dot points on how I’ll achieve them.
The thing about goals is that you need to have a good idea of how you’re going to achieve them, or they’ll get abandoned along the way like stale bread because they’re just too damn hard.
My goals aren’t hugely pie in the sky goals - because I only have 12 months to achieve them but they’re still ambitious enough to be inspiring.
Have you thought about your business goals for 2017? You can download my free business planner here to help map out your goals and steps.
You know, one thing that people don’t realise, people who aren’t freelancers and don’t own their own businesses, is how much self-motivation, self-belief and downright drive it takes to run your own show. There’s little structure, you’re making up a lot of things as you go, it’s risky and uncertain, there’s a never-ending tonne of stuff to learn and do, and half of that is weird-what’s-that stuff like accounts and marketing, there’s never enough hours in the day, and you’re often doing the whole thing on your lonesome.
So, that fact that you can start a business, power through all those things and still be standing on the other side is a massive achievement in itself.
Woohoo for you! Champagne all round. In fact, go ahead and make that Goal #1 on your business goals for 2017.
Here are some other goal ideas to make your 2017 a kickass year for your business!
1. Get through a whole bloody year of running your own biz and still be super keen for 2018
Check. We got that one in the bag.
2. Double your income or make $X
This is a big one, isn’t it? Because much as we love and feel inspired by our businesses, at the end of the day, we need to make moolah. If money were no issue, you’d probably spend your days sipping mojitos on the deck of your yacht in the south of France. And waving to your neighbour (me) on the yacht moored next door…
So, pick a figure and decide - write it down! - that you’re going to make it in 2017. Visualisation is the first step to success. Then comes the how…
3. Focus on your niche and cut the crap
I don’t know about you but as an INFJ and a writer (we're a sensitive bunch), I tend to form emotional attachments to my work and ideas and sometimes have trouble letting go. Which is why I have several different facets to my business - web and content design, business content writing, feature writing, blogging, etc. But as a small business owner, I need to be ruthless about focusing on my most reliable income streams. It’s just smart business thinking.
So, I’ve decided that for me this means web design, content and online sales. The problem is that to do this successfully, I need to clear the decks of low-paying, non-paying or voluntary work that takes time away from my primary income. Like food and travel feature writing for magazines, something I love and have worked hard for. It will be a wrench but it’s a good business decision.
Take an honest look at what makes the most financial sense for your business. What can you cull in order to strengthen your niche and grow a stronger business in 2017?
4. Gain X number of new clients/customers/editors/whoever you’d love to work with
This one is pretty aspirational but that’s one of the fun things about goals. You gotta dream about all the people and projects you’d love to do and then figure out a way to make that happen! Just be sure it’s a higher number than you’re currently doing.
I’ve decided that I’m doubling my current number of web and content clients. That means a lot of extra work and I’ll also have to figure out a more reliable marketing system but I already have great systems and a strong referral system. So, I feel that it’s perfectly possible. And exciting!
5. Take a leap with 1 pie in the sky thing you’ve wanted to do for ages
You need at least one goal that pushes you outside your comfort zone. It’s embracing the risk-taking part of running your own business. Whether that’s starting a podcast or launching an online course, going freelance full time or expanding your current product line, pick one idea that you know - if you can pull it off - will do wonders for your business.
For me, that means my first online sales project. I’m hoping to launch it early next year. You’ll hear all about it very soon!
6. Remember yourself!
We all know that a big part of any successful freelance business is taking time out to de-stress, relax and recharge. Also whether that means deciding to get a weekly massage, read X number of books a month, see friends for dinner every Tuesday; go for a run 3 times a week, or whatever, make it official and make it a goal!
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So tell me, what are some of your amazing business goals? Are you going to kick 2017 out of the park?
About the author: Lilani Goonesena is an Australian freelance writer, Squarespace web designer and blogger currently based in Vientiane, Laos. She loves helping freelancers and small businesses get online with web design and content, blogging and her awesome weekly newsletter on digital marketing, social media, content, SEO, web design and "all that online stuff". She also writes food and travel articles for businesses and magazines, and blogs at the delectable Eat Drink Laos, just for fun.