So it’s September. Wait – it’s September! How did that happen!? If you just wondered where the past 9 months have gone, and don’t feel any closer to the business goals you set at the beginning of the year: never fear! This post is all about exactly how to take back control of your business step-by-step, so you can finish the year on a high, proud of your achievements.
Does any of this self-talk sound familiar:
Yikes, all the big goals I set for the year back in January, have totally worn me out or somehow been tossed by the wayside.
How is it already more than halfway through the year? I feel completely overwhelmed and burnt out, my to-do list is spiralling out of control, and I feel stuck — with no idea what the hell to do next.
Geez, I’m struggling to find momentum — somehow even when I am busy I’m not being productive where it really counts.
I felt like a failure. And the whole year is going to be a total waste.
If so, lady this post is for you.
Entrepreneurship is a crazy rollercoaster sometimes. There are moments when illness interrupts our plans, or someone launches the exact same thing we’ve been working on the week before we’re due to launch, or we have one month where clients come pouring in, and another when we’re hearing crickets. If any of this has happened to you this year, please don’t worry. You’re not alone. Everyone experiences curve balls, failures, and unexpected changes in their circumstances, from time to time.
I know September can feel like a big wake-up call for many people with their business goals. So the question is: What’s the best plan of attack when you feel like the sky is falling down around the vision you had for your business this year and like the goals you’d set out to achieve back in January are out of reach?
First: Take a pause, have a glass of water, take a walk around the block for some fresh air and then sit back for a moment babe.
Stressing yourself out like crazy isn’t gonna be the best thing for you, your business, or your clients.
I’ve been exactly where you are, and I’m here to help.
Feeling a bit more comfy now? Let’s roll right on into…
The 10-Step Plan for Taking Back Control of Your Business.
Step 1: Breathe.
Just take a breath, it’s going to be okay. You still have plenty of time to smash your goals this year.
Deeeep breath. In and out.
Does that feel better? Let’s move along.
Step 2: Refocus on your vision, and check in with yourself about what’s lighting you up right now.
One of the reasons why we don’t hit our goals is because they’re not really our goals.
Meaning: They weren’t really exciting to us. It was stuff that we thought would be good, or nice to have. But it didn’t set our hearts on fire. They were more goals we set up because our business besties were doing something similar, or because they sounded good, or because we think we’re expected to do certain things in our business.
So forget the goals you set back in January, and instead ask yourself: “What is really lighting me up right now?”.
If you’re in a state where you feel overwhelmed, burnt out, exhausted, or out of control, I recommend you pick just one big thing you’re excited about focusing on now and would be crazy proud to finish this year.
For example, maybe that’s getting 1,000 more subscribers to your newsletter list, or winning your next ten new clients, or launching the e-course you’ve been thinking about, or writing the book that’s calling you.
Whatever it is, hone in on the thing you feel most enthusiastic about. That’ll be your business North Star for the rest of the year.
Step 3: Once you find that “thing” that lights you up? Set some targets around it.
By targets, I mean specific measurable things that clearly describe exactly what you’re gunning for. For example, 4 new clients worth $1,000 each month for October, November and December, or 1,200 new newsletter subscribers added to my list by 24 December 2017, or final draft of my 60,000-word manuscript completed by 31 December 2017, or my new 6-week ecourse launched by 30 November 2017.
When you’re setting a target, my general rule of thumb is to go for something that feels achievable and exciting. I call this “Realistic + 15% on your goal”. For example, if you want to grow your list and think 1,000 new subscribers is realistic, why not aim for 1,150 or 1,200 instead? If you’d love to get your ecourse out there before the end of the year, why not aim to have everything done the first week in December instead? If you want 10 new clients, why wouldn’t you aim for 12 new clients?
Step 4: Reconfirm your master schedule
Once you’ve set a target and a couple of smaller milestones targets along the way, I recommend reconfirming your master schedule.
Don’t have a master schedule yet? I did a whole blog about them right here, but here’s the gist:
Map out what you want your regular week to look like by scheduling in regular blocks of time for your priorities, including carving out time to work on your specific tasks that will bring you closer to your goal each day/week.
Step 5: Chunk down your targets into 10-15 smaller tasks.
Think through the target you’re gunning for and identify the 10-15 steps or tasks you’ll need to take/complete to achieve it. (I like to take myself off to my local cafe for a chai and brownie for an uninterrupted hour or two to get this done.)
So for example, let’s say that your goal is to add 1,000 subscribers to your newsletter list. Maybe some of the bigger milestones along the way are to create an opt-in gift, create a landing page promoting your opt-in gift, adding opt-in boxes to your website etc.
(BTW hang tight for my upcoming post about the best places to add opt-ins to your website!)
Once you’ve identified all of the tasks that you think feed into your bigger goal, put them in sequential order, check out your master schedule, and SCHEDULE EACH ONE INTO YOUR CALENDAR ACCORDINGLY.
Step 6: Identify what you’ll need help with.
Spending a little time to think through the kind of help I’ll probably need to achieve my goals in advance and then dealing with it upfront helps me stay in momentum and get out of procrastination.
Anytime I don’t do this if I’ve got a project or goal I’m working on, and I get to a bit where I need help, or don’t know what I’m doing? I start to falter. Inaction leads to self-doubt and overwhelm, and I begin to put off the tasks I’d been hoping to get done.
Don’t let this happen to you! Allocate a little time now to brainstorm all the things that you could possibly need help with as you’re on your journey to smashing the targets you’ve set for the rest of the year. Once you’re clear on them, spend a little time coming up with how you’ll be able to easily source that help now. You’ll be so happy you did!
Step 7: Set up an environment of success for yourself.
What do I mean by ‘environment of success’? I’m talking setting up routines and rituals that you can incorporate into your day/week that will stack the deck in your favour. Ask yourself: What would set YOU up to do your best work? And then, incorporate those things into your daily habits.
For example, I find it difficult to do my best work in a cluttered, messy space. So if I want to be my most productive? I tidy up after the end of my workday.
Perhaps setting up your “success environment” involves committing to an energising morning routine, or doing meal prep on Sundays so you’re never without lunch, or checking in with an accountability buddy every day, or using the Self Control app when you’re working, or having a playlist of your favourite songs ready to go when you’re feeling uninspired, or work somewhere you won’t be disturbed for the first hour of your workday.
Step 8: Get on with the doing.
Now’s the time to bring to life everything you’ve planned out. Use your master schedule as a guide, stay focused on your exciting goal, and get to work!
Step 9: Make sure that you keep white space in your day every.single.day.
Free time. Open hours. Moments to daydream. Unstructured spacing out.
This is white space, when you don’t have appointments or plans or commitments, where you can do whatever the hell you want — read a book, have a bath, watch Real Housewives, take a nap…
I can speak from experience: If you’re in a place where you feel overwhelmed and burnt out, that means you probably haven’t had enough white space in your calendar.
I know it’s bloody hard achieve — especially for us Type A personalities! But I’ve come to learn that white space ISN’T wasted time. Instead, it can be a powerful goal-achieving ally! While you’re doing whatever you want, white space gives you space to process, nourish yourself, and get yourself set to be really productive in your work time.
And finally, Step 10: Celebrate how far you’ve come already.
Pop the champagne every Friday if you want to! It’s your world and you’re killing it, girl!
Most entrepreneurs I know do a terrible job of celebrating their successes (me included). But making time to celebrate when you hit key milestones is a powerful way to keep yourself motivated and moving forward!
So: Give yourself a high-five. Look at how far along you are already!
If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed and disheartened recently, I hope these 10 steps help you to take back control of your business. Don’t stress. Everyone faces setbacks and curveballs. There’s still time for you to achieve big things in your business this year!