2016 was a weird year for many. Times are changing in the creative business world! The things we have always known to be true about our businesses and about how the world makes their purchasing decisions are giving way to new truths. Those that previously relied on Facebook for organic content most likely began to divert their focus to Instagram & Pinterest or paid Facebook ads. You might have found yourself between different markets and struggling to maintain your brand voice amidst new challenges. Others experienced new, unfamiliar booking trends with potential clients.
Needless to say, many entrepreneurs finished the year feeling stuck.
So what do we do when there's uncertainty in the air? We dream. We brainstorm and focus on big picture milestones and say "I got this".
While vision-boarding and resolution-making can give you the "why" and "what", they don't come close to establishing the "how" or "when".
FACT: Goals without an action plan or deadline are just dreams.
To make your planning truly productive and to tackle any feelings of being "stuck" this year, you'll need these six tips and action steps:
1. GIVE YOURSELF A YEAR END EVALUATION
This one is no easy feat, people. Think about what worked for your business this year. Where did your bookings come from? What helped you grow as a person and entrepreneur? What fostered a productive environment?
Next, write out everything that didn't work for you. Did you invest in advertising that led to zero returns? What elements of your client experience do you need to work on? What barriers did you face for your productivity? Did you take on too many clients for you to handle? Did you offer a product or service that felt inauthentic to your brand?
Be brutally honest. It might be the best thing you do for your business all year.
2. MAKE A LESS/MORE LIST
Write out everything you need to dump this year, and everything you want more of. It can be personal or professional (or both)! For example:
3. SCHEDULE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
My batch scheduling technique is a future blog post waiting to happen (I seriously could not survive running two businesses without it), but here's the gist:
Your business has tasks that can be easily grouped together and certainly don't have to be completed daily. Social media, for example, can easily be batched (instead of being sucked in on a daily basis). Blog post research, content production, bookkeeping, and more can all be batched bi-weekly or monthly instead of adding it to your schedule when you feel like you need to catch up.
Pre-schedule your batch days and pre-schedule your scheduling time. I don't like planning these too far in advance, so I'll book in a scheduling hour at the beginning of each month to fit everything into my existing schedule.
The more you know your process, the more you can group repeated tasks together. The more you learn to anticipate tasks, the less you'll have spontaneous task overload, the less you'll feel overwhelmed and anxious about work. It's a win, win, folks!!
4. REDISCOVER YOUR PURPOSE
Sometimes the biggest kick in the pants is taking some "self-discovery" time and rediscovering your purpose.
Why do you do what you do? Do you want to be able to spend more time with your family? Do you want to wake up every day getting paid to do something you love?
How do you envision your life one year from now? Three years? Five?
If you've never gone through this kind of discovery and feel stuck, this is where a coach can come in! If this part is easy for you... mad props.
Get grounded and remind yourself why you started. Structure your actions and goals around your "why". New ideas & inspired hype will then come naturally.
5. LET GO OF YOUR FEAR OF FAILURE
I know this sounds a lot like some self-help book BS, but hear me out. How many of us can actually say that we don't let fear control our lives at all? One of most paralyzing things for our success is the fear of failure or anxiety surrounding something not succeeding as envisioned.
This doesn't necessarily have to affect us on a grand scale either. Most of the time, we tend to procrastinate on the tasks that have the possibility of failing, such as smaller projects that are above our heads or things we've never achieved before. We say "later" or "someday" when an idea seems out of reach.
When I catch myself pumping the brakes on a task or creating barriers for myself, I ask these questions:
- How can I focus on the solutions rather than the problems? If I must visualize the problem, I must also visualize myself moving forward from that problem.
- What's the worst thing that could happen if I fail? Is that worth giving up the possibility of it succeeding?
- Are the reasons behind my fear perceived or real?
- If I do fail (or have failed), what can I do to learn from this?
MANTRA: Done is better than perfect. Progress is better than static. Repeat.
6. CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO CONSISTENCY
Consistency is a hugely valuable asset as an entrepreneurs.
Your consistent effort and "showing up" for yourself and your business not only speaks volumes about your integrity, but it also turns your actions into habit and results.
Anyone that tells you that massive growth is possible overnight is lying. Anyone that promises a quick and easy success formula is full of shit. "Quick and easy" doesn't exist.
What is possible is intentional perseverance and CONSISTENCY! Consistently learning from your mistakes and developing new, better habits is something that will take you places. Consistently being present in your market and following through on growth strategies will help you succeed.
If you're ready to be a more consistent business owner this year, join our FREE 21 DAY BIZ CONSISTENCY CHALLENGE.
JOIN THE 21 DAY BIZ CONSISTENCY CHALLENGE!
Why 21 Days? According to a study on changing behaviours, it takes about 21 days to form a habit! Let consistency be your new habit in less than a month. 100% free and for your benefit.
Here's to slaying our businesses this year and getting "unstuck"!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Thanks for dropping by! I'm Caileigh and I create killer brand identities and offer coaching for creative entrepreneurs with gumption. When I'm not helping people build profitable businesses, I document love stories as a fine art film photographer.