“Learn to see the big picture. Often times we get tunnel vision and lose sight of the big picture and what we’re really trying to accomplish.”
~ Robert Cheeke
It’s mid-September and it’s precisely this time of year, as we near the end of quarter 3 and the start of 4, that I like to check in with my life and business to see if I’m on track to have the year I set out to have and more importantly to make sure that I am living the life, I want to live.
There are a few reasons I like to do this now. Firstly, the back-to-school vibe that’s in the air gives me renewed energy and excitement for the season ahead and also let’s be honest, trying to do our reviewing and planning in December (along with the holidays and all the stress that can bring) is sort of bonkers.
Instead, starting in September, I like to take my time and spend an hour, here and there, looking at the big picture of my life and business with plenty of time before holiday season hits. That way, when the year ends, writing up my goals and business plan for the year ahead is a pretty quick and simple task.
As I do this work, I thought it might be helpful to share with you what I’ve been up to.
Reviewing my offerings
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been mapping out some new products and services for 2020. I’m super excited about this because this year, I intentionally didn’t create anything new because I wanted to go deep on what I already had, in order to simplify my life and business.
To make space for these, I will also be retiring some of my existing products and services, which is equally exciting but also a little nerve-wracking as I know that as a result of this I may lose some current customers along the way.
What has informed my thinking here is looking at my business model to figure out what makes most sense from a sustainability point of view. That means looking at my offerings from the point of view of how much time and effort they take versus the income they bring. If the former greatly exceeds the latter, I know that it’s time to make a change.
Getting up to date with my finances
I’m not someone who is on top of my finances on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis. But I am someone who believes that spending and income must be tracked and reviewed if we are to see those finances grow over time. Like anything, our finances thrive when we give them our loving attention and whither when we bury our head in the sand and pretend like they don’t exist.
So every few months or so (at least quarterly) I sit down with my calculator (iPhone) open up my Paypal, Bank Account, Credit Card Account, Stripe Account and my online accounting software, Freshbooks (affiliate link) and I do the work to figure how much I’ve made and how much I’ve spent. This helps me to set future financial goals that are rooted in reality rather than setting pie in the sky targets that I inevitably never reach.
I’ve also been doing the math to figure out what I want to make next year and how many of each of my products and services I would need to sell to make that happen.
Planning my maternity leave
Because I’ll be giving birth to my second son in December, I’ve also been considering when I’ll stop working this year, what my priorities are for the next few months before that happens, how I’ll cover my maternity leave without dropping my clients and my audience and when I’ll start back to work in the New Year.
Having gone through this before in 2016/17, I do feel somewhat prepared although with different circumstances this time around (my partner doesn’t currently work from home, like he did with our first born), I do have to figure out how to manage both motherhood and the running of my business next year. Once this plan is complete you’ll be the first to know, I promise!
Loosely thinking about my vision and goals for 2020
I’ve also been giving myself permission to tap into my goals and dreams for 2020. Not just business but generally. Asking myself questions like: where do I see myself and my family next year? What are my priorities? What didn’t work this year that I would like to change? At the same time as this, me and my love have been having some long and deep conversations about where we see ourselves in 1-3 years time and discussing what our individual and joint priorities need to be in order to get there.
And so far that’s it. I love doing this kind of thinking, nothing gets me more excited than a fresh page in a note book and the intention to make new plans. I do know, however, that not everyone shares my same passion for planning.
With this in mind, if you are someone who typically avoids planning, I would encourage you at the very least to spend some time tapping into what isn’t working for you right now and what needs to change as well as what has worked well over the course of the year and how you can best make the most of that going forward.
Above all I would suggest that you give yourself permission to dream. I truly believe that we are all powerful creators and that when we put our minds to whatever it is that we want to create, magic happens.
Would you love to start next year with your business foundations firmly in place?
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