2017 is right around the corner! I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe Christmas is 4 days away. One thing is for sure: It’s difficult to prioritize planning for the future when you’re extremely busy finishing up end of year projects. However, one of the most rewarding parts of year for me are self-evaluations, setting goals, looking forward, and refining the way I work in order to be that much more successful the following year. If you have three or four hours, you can make a kick-butt plan for 2017 that will save you headaches, money and time later on. This is the process I followed in order to ensure consistent blog posts each Wednesday and to launch products in 2017:

Set goals: 

I wrote down:

  1. Weekly goals
  2. Monthly goals
  3. Quarterly goals
  4. Milestone goals (product launches, website reveals, important meetings)
  5. Where I would be January 1 of 2018
  6. Where I would be in 3 years
  7. Where I would be in 5 years

I kept them in an easy to find location, because thinking often off where I want to be in a week, month or year makes me inspired to work harder now! Hot tip: Don’t write down where you anticipate you’ll be, or what’s reasonable. Set lofty goals! Pick a goal that will make you happy and proud to accomplish, not just something that seems possible to achieve.

Schedule blog posts:

  1. Write out Dates of blog posts
  2. Make a list of blog post ideas. A few broad ideas:
    • Problems you can solve
    • Unique perspectives you have
    • Things you can teach
    • People who inspire you (favorite tweeters/bloggers/podcasters/artists/business owners)
    • Experiences you can describe
    • Items you can advertise
    • Lists you can compile
    • Ways you’ve found to save money or time
  3. Determine Travel or Holiday days when you’ll be unable to work
  4. Assign each blog idea to a date in a way that makes sense. You can spread out one topic into a series over several weeks, if there’s enough instruction or helpful hints sure to still provide value in each post
  5. Make a Blog Map: Which posts will link to which other related posts in order to keep people on your site longer.
  6. Decide your writing schedule and be consistent.
    • Which day(s)?
    • What time of day?
    • How far in advance do you want the post written before blog post goes live?
    • How will you keep yourself on track? Perhaps it’s time to buy a kitchen timer and find that “offline mode on your computer and phone.
  7. What aspects can you incorporate this year in order to make your posts more engaging? Take a look back at your most popular posts and see if there are any unique aspects that may have contributed to its shareability.
    • More photos or graphics?
    • More color?
    • Better formatting?
    • More bullets?
    • Better post title?

Create Social Media schedule:

  1. Hashtags to use (save these so you can copy and paste into instagram): A few ones that show 100k results (instead of millions), a few local, a few niche,
  2. Perhaps Schedule certain types of posts on certain days (blog post Monday, Behind the scenes photo Tuesday, Inspiration Wednesday, etc). In general, a plan for consistent posting is extremely helpful.
  3. Don’t forget to share archived blog posts/articles/TBT photos throughout the year.
  4. Are there any social media platforms that haven’t performed well for you in the past year, or any new platforms you would like to investigate?

Develop your budget and marketing schedule:

  1. What meets-ups will you attend? When’s the deadline to register?
  2. Will you sell your goods or advertise your services in collaboration with anyone else? When’s the deadline and what’s the fee?
  3. Which digital marketing avenues will you choose? Creating a chart of cost and reach can making comparison simple later on, plus you can record RIO in real time.
  4. Do you feel comfortable with your budgeting software or have you outgrown your system in the last year? I feel this is one area that shouldn’t be ignored- it’s hard to catch up if you’re not keeping accurate records or if bills are surprising you when they arrive in your mailbox.

Evaluate overall work flow and productivity:

  1. Plan when you’ll be extra productive due to no other distractions. For me, this means National Holidays when I get vacation from my 9-5 on a weekday.
  2. Determine which hours you’ll put aside each day of the week to work on your business. I find these must absolutely be consistent each week, or I never get anything done. Also, it allows me to schedule fun activities without guilt because I know immediately when I’m free and when I’m not. I have to make my personal business just as important as my 9-5 or else I’ll show up late (or skip a shift altogether).
  3. Experiment with different focusing techniques and evaluate what’s worked well this past year.
  4. Is it time to get a Client Management System?
  5. Evaluate 2-3 things that has caused confusion for customers in the past that should be streamlined

As your business expands, making year end plans may become more time-consuming. However, it’s always a worthwhile investment, in my opinion. Let me know how it goes!

Thank You Kindly LLC

 

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