A Totally Different Planning Post for 2018

I’ve been planning for my business for years now.

You’d probably expect me to have a fine-tuned system down.

In my mind, it would involve champagne, a butler, some sort of high tea, and my entire team high-fiving ourselves saying something like “Cheerio, another year perfectly planned. Thanks old chap!”

(I’ve been watching WAAY TO MANY period British Dramas over my holiday break).

But honestly, each year I do it differently.

Why?

Well, each year I try and learn from my mistakes, and try new things.

So this year is no exception.

(If you want to compare, here’s how I did it last year).

Last year I had a big wedding happening, which meant a very tight timeline. All of last year ended up being incredibly tightly planned, which was both good and bad.

I had started with my money and program goals for the year, and then backed up everything in detail to show how I was going to hit my targets.

It worked in that I did all I wanted and hit some big milestones and goals, but it didn’t work because my year wasn’t as balanced as I wanted. The wedding, of course, was a very unusual event that won’t be repeated, so that takes a huge part of last year’s stress away, but to also learn and a grow and evolve, I’m changing how I plan this year.

Note: Feel free to plan along with me as you read this post!

This year I’m doing something different: I’m starting with feelings.

If you read my round up of lessons from 2017, you’ll know learned a lot, and there are some things I’d rather do differently this year.

I want this year to feel as simple, and focused, as possible.

I want to feel relaxed and easy.

That’s it. That’s my guiding force.

As I plan for the rest of 2018, I’ll be coming back to simple, focused, relaxed, and easy as a mantra when I make decisions.

How do you want to feel in 2018?

So, to that end, my next step is to set my simple and focused goal for the year.

And honestly, it’s going to be the same as last year: To help 150 new coaching businesses get off the ground through my Build a REAL Business program.

We came close last year – while I was still focused heavily on the Revolutionary Club and not giving Coach Pony my full attention – and I hope to well exceed our target this year (of course!) as I laser my focus. The old me would have set a target of 800 people completing BARB in 2018, and making their coaching business dreams a reality.

But given the new mantra, the new me is reigning the old me in. I’m sticking to 150 new coaching businesses because it’s both simple and focused.

Hitting this goal would make me incredibly happy. It’s important to me because this is one of the most amazing, challenging, fulfilling things you can do with your life – be a coach/entrepreneur, that is – and I want more people to succeed.

I think we can change the world together.  

(By the way, to that end a HUGE announcement is coming re: BARB in a couple of weeks, so if you are interested, sign up for more information here).

What is your big goal for 2018? Why is it important to you? 

My third step is planning out my first quarter, asking “What would help me achieve 33% of my goal in the next three months?” (I’m always at my best in the beginning of the year, so I shoot a little higher than 25% :)).

This is where I start planning out how I’m going to hit my profit targets each month – i.e., how to build those 6 figure months.

To switch things up, I’ve actually invested in a cool real-person agenda, i.e., something NOT online (GASP).

I wanted something tangible and pretty to hold in my hands. While I’ve had a big white-boardy one in the past, this year I wanted something I could sit with and touch.

So voila: Meet my 2018 planner from sugar paper.

I’m using it, and Asana, to help me map out my plans for the next three months.

Though, spoiler: I always start planning in October at the latest for the next year, so I’ve been thinking about all of this for months. Making a lot of money requires a lot of thought :).

But right now we are getting into the nitty-gritty details of the fine print, things like: The emails that need to be written, the campaigns to be created in my system, the programs on offer, how to make each of them the most valuable and helpful for students in terms of any new additions, and the little things that must happen before we can welcome new students, all the way down to what to say in our welcome emails.

That means that I’m literally going through each day of January, mapping out what needs to happen when, and building my launch plan with my Online Awesome Manager (hi Ruth!) so we hit all of our targets. Our time break down includes general marketing, program marketing, community service (to this community!), and of course, content delivery. That’s just this month!

This is why my calendar is so important ;).

Have you planned your first quarter out yet? You can start from anywhere (i.e. no business) to big business like mine, it doesn’t matter. But a detailed plan can make all the difference.

My 4th Step is to figure out what will happen in the remaining 3/4 of the year to hit my goal and maintain how I want to feel

So I used to plan all my launches out in advance, so I knew exactly what was launching when during the year.

Now, I do broad strokes, to allow for more flexibility and ease.

So, I’ll be doing a big event for BARB later in the year, and I’ve made an estimate for how many people we need to enroll to hit my goal of 150 for the year, and therefore what needs to happen beforehand to get there. Things like:

Building the community – what marketing must I do for Coach Pony to continue to grow this amazing community?

Teaching all spring – what free blogs or webinars will be most helpful to you?

Getting the right support – who else do I need to add to the team to help us reach our goals and also help me keep things simple and focused?

Partners – who else should I be working with? (I’ve had some really big news on the partner front recently, actually, more to come later this spring when all can be revealed!).

How have you mapped out your 2018? 

My 5th Step is to look at what’s missing. What learning or additional support do I myself need?

This is where I set aside a budget for learning for the year, and learning includes books, conferences, and courses.

Yes, I still take plenty of courses myself, because I believe in constant learning and investment. Last year I took programs on relationship communication, Pinterest, writing, podcasting and cheese-making (whohooo!). This year I’ll be doing some on coaching mastery and leadership, and whatever else interests me 🙂 .

I’ll probably set aside around $4000 for conferences and simple courses (and already have my first one on the books), with another $25,000 for a high-level mastermind. NOTE: DO NOT INVEST IN ONE OF THESE WHEN YOU ARE JUST STARTING OUT.

Why? At the very beginning of your business journey, they are a waste of money because you don’t know what you don’t know. So instead of putting all your money down up front, prove your business, build your foundation, and make sure you are really into this coaching thing, and then invest in an expensive mastermind when you hit 6 figures, not before.

I recommend spending $2,000-$3,000 on your business learning at the beginning, and another $1,000 on tools and resources (like your website or scheduler). That’s it. You *should* spend something, but don’t break the bank.

Does that seem like a lot? Did it trigger you at all?

We all have money triggers, and you might have just said “I CAN’T SPEND $3,000- $4,000 ON MY BUSINESS IN THE BEGINNING. YOU ARE CRAZY.” But hear me out: Keep the big picture in mind.  Business learning is different from other learning because it has a clear return on investment. If you spend time and money learning how to get coaching clients once, that knowledge will be with your forever and is insanely scaleable. In the big picture you will be able to make back your investment in your business learning with just 2-3 private clients (but you can apply that same learning to hundreds of clients), and if you are serious it’s money well worth spending.

If you are looking for business help and support, I’ve got to point you here: This is the program I’ve created just for you.

What is your budget for learning for the year? 

My 6th Step is to plan some vacation!

I talked about the importance of taking vacation as an entrepreneur at length in this post, and the universe is funny because when you put something out there you just seem to get it back times ten. 🙂

I’ve been invited on like 4 different vacations now, over and above the few I already had planned, so now I have to say no to vacation instead of wishing for more. It’s a ridiculously nice first-world problem to have.

But long story short, I’ll be going to London and Paris in March (yay!), Utah in May (yay!), Mexico in either Feb or November (yay!), Wine Country this summer (yay!), and somewhere in the middle of the country in August, TBD.

That of course, does not count my travel for business. Whew!

Have you set aside your vacation time for the year? 

My 7th Step is to think about giving back

I want to make sure I’m always mindful of my privilege and helping those who need it beyond what I do in my business.

Last year I tried to give back to the community here and also places around the world in personal ways – I also did write some big checks and hold a few small competitions in our BARB
program to encourage the writing of checks – and I made donations just on my own – but this year I want to figure out a more structured way to donate time and money.

This is the least clear to me right now in terms of what I want that to look like and so I’m doing research and putting it out in the world that I want some ideas.

More to come on that, but feel free to contact us if you’ve got some!

My 8th Step is to plan my health

Oh man, I’m on day 4 of a sugar cleanse…and I’m trying to stick to it until February 28th when I leave for London.

That seems like a tremendously long time.

Especially given how much I love dessert.

But, I want to be at my most healthy this year, and it’s time to take it as seriously as possible.

Why? Because my business depends on it.

Everything derives from me feeling good and capable and able to work.

So to that end I started working with a personal trainer in October, and I’ll be doing more formal classes this year.

But…we all know we are what we eat so – no bread, pasta, or dessert for me. I’m not giving up fruit or my morning tea with stevia and milk (a ritual I started in an effort to keep warm many years ago when I lived in the UK), but…sigh.

Keep your fingers crossed for me! 😉

What are you doing for your health this year?

And congrats! You’ve just planned out your 2018 – YAY. To celebrate all of this effort, here are some happy puppies 🙂

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