If you’re like me you sometimes get stuck in place, either by fear or by indecision or lack of inspiration. I’m here to tell you its ok to be flexible, take baby steps, and dream bigger than you think. I’m no expert, I can’t tell you how to become a happy millionaire in 2 weeks, but I can share some of what I’ve learned over the past 6 years of owning my businesses.
- Dream Big! (Your kind of big.)
My first bit of advice, give yourself some time to decide what you want out of your business. Don’t judge yourself for the answer either. Wether your goal is to have a successful side hustle that gives you a creative outlet or if you want to eventually be an international brand with 1,000 employees, both are worthy goals. Sit down with some coffee and a notebook and list out what you want your life and reputation to say. That’s your Dream Big – a great end point, but also remind yourself right now that you have no idea what’s around the next corner. Be willing to look towards the future you want and stay fluid to what God (or the universe if you prefer) has in store for you. It’s what will keep you inspired and moving forward.
2. Plan Small – get into the tangible goals you can put on the calendar.
Next, start working backwards from your goal. Flesh out what that goal means – tangibly. Write figures, name names, take it out of the abstract and make it concrete. If you want to be contributing $10,000 a year in profit to your household in 5 years write that down. If you want to have 20 fully fleshed out products in 2 years, write that down. We are working from big to small here, zooming in.
Now start breaking down that goal year by year and month by month. Give yourself smaller milestones to hit along the way and deadlines for getting them done. I’m a list maker. I love having a clear thought out list of what needs to be accomplished today, this week, and this month. If that’s you, start with the biggest to do’s and then break them down into individual independently accomplishable items.
Remember, you want your biggest goal to be abstract- feelings, reputations, relationships. That is what guides you and how you can check in along the way, but everything after that is something that can be accomplished and checked off.
2. If you don’t bend, you may break.
Your planning can get down to the day to day, but for those of you who like lists too much I encourage you to make sure you are being realistic about your time and remembering to consider your other responsibilities. Time with your friends or family, your health and eating habits, etc.
3. Figure in Financing
Included in these plans will inevitably be a budget. How are you going to accomplish your goals financially? Are you starting with capital? Do you need to apply for a loan? Or are you ok with growing your business organically from scratch? How soon will you need to hire employees? There can be success on every route, but determining the route that is best for your situation and end goal is key.
Finally, set a reminder to check back in along the way. I set an alarm on my phone about every 6 months. This will help you realign and make any changes (yes, changes are allowed) along the way. If you hit 6 months and are on track, but exhausted and unhappy maybe it’s time to rethink your plan. You won’t be happy at the end of 5 years if your bank statement is where you wanted it, but all your hair has fallen out from stress. Your business should serve you, not the other way around.
On the other hand, if at the end of 6 months you’ve had a blast, but are only halfway to your goal maybe you should also rethink. Decide if you need to be working harder, or adjust your timeline. Again, it’s your life, and you should enjoy it.
There’s a third option too that we don’t like to talk about. What if you’ve been working hard on a handmade jewelry business for 6 months, a year, maybe more and upon checking in you have not hit your goals, your jewelry isn’t selling, or you are just finding it hard to continue. Maybe this is the wrong business for you. Maybe there’s something (or someone) closing those doors because you would be better suited elsewhere. It wasn’t a waste. You learned a lot during that time, like how to let go of something you idolized. Take a note from Marie Kondo and be thankful for the opportunity to learn and use that knowledge for your next season.
You may have to start over, but you won’t be starting from scratch.