I have tried to write this about three times now so hopefully third time is the charm.
In a nutshell.
At the end of August I will be stepping back from my business and closing it down for an indeterminate amount of time so that I can follow my passions to a career that I truly love.
(If you don’t want the long story but would like to learn about what this change means for you (i.e. super discounts) skip down to the last section.)
Surprise! It’s a party!
(I love surprise parties…nudge nudge…wink wink)
I’m turning the big 3-0 today and instead of expecting lots of pomp and circumstance for me I wanted to celebrate YOU!
This has been a big transition year again (I know, don’t give me that face…) but I know that I’m on the right track to finding what is really important to me and my business. 30 is going to be the best year yet!
This year to celebrate you and give something back for all of your support over the past three years, I’m going to be offering a 30% discount on my ebook, The Chocolate Banana Workbook !Read More
Happy 2012 everyone!
In case you haven’t heard, this is your year to shine and be awesome and create amazing awesomeness (at least that’s what my Facebook and Twitter feeds are telling me…)
This year I’m doing something a bit different from my previous years (check out my posts for 2010 and 2011 here and here) and focus more on organizing my goal follow through. I’ve done really well at following through with my goals for each year but I have a lot of specific things I want to get done by specific times this year so I thought a more organized approach might be helpful.
This year instead of a shiny new planner or a fancy task list app, I created a Goal Binder from scratch with paper and markers!
Today we’re continuing our planning discussion. You should have gotten your Chocolate Banana, your Chocolate Banana’s Vision and Researched your Banana’s competition all from our previous posts, so what’s next?
“The nerve of those Whos. Inviting me down there – on such short notice! Even if I wanted to go my schedule wouldn’t allow it. 4:00, wallow in self pity; 4:30, stare into the abyss; 5:00, solve world hunger, tell no one; 5:30, jazzercize; 6:30, dinner with me – I can’t cancel that again; 7:00, wrestle with my self-loathing… I’m booked. Of course, if I bump the loathing to 9, I could still be done in time to lay in bed, stare at the ceiling and slip slowly into madness. But what would I wear? ”
- The Grinch, “How the Grinch Stole Christmas”
Budgeting is more than just money.
When I started planning for my business I had the money flow all set up to see what I needed to make, what I wanted to make and how much work I needed to bring in to make that number happen. This is a step that i think a lot of people miss because it takes a lot of time and energy to put it together if you don’t have a good relationship with your calculator. There are a lot of great websites and templates out there that can help you make sense of all the numbers. SCORE.org is a great resource for new small business owners and they have great templates and worksheets to help you figure out a money flow for your project. Mint.com is another cool site that lets you organize all of the money you have now and track how you’re spending money and how you can start saving some money as well.
From my experience though, budgeting your time is just as important as budgeting your money.
I had all the money taking care of, for the most part, but what I didn’t account for was the time it was going to take to make all my caviar dreams come true.
When my daughter was teeny tiny, I could count on her sleeping most of the day, or if not sleeping at least laying somewhere and not moving… Now that she’s almost three years old, there is no way that she is going to sit still to eat let alone give mommy a chance to finish writing an article or tweaking a newsletter for a client! Now that her schedule has changed, mine had to change as well.
She goes to the baby sitter 2-3 times a week to give me some time to focus on my work and it’s amazing how much more work I get done in and on my business when I don’t have to worry about what she’d doing or why it’s so quiet upstairs!
I always eat lunch with her even on the days when she doesn’t want to eat anything. We sit at the table and play with her cars or read stories and I try to get her to eat at least a piece of turkey before she goes back to playing with her trains in the living room.
I plan my day out in the morning so that i don’t have any surprises during the day. I do still get urgent emails and have to tweak my schedule once in awhile but for the most part, even just having a plan of attack is super important to a happy Sara.
I shut down at 6.00pm EST everyday. I’ve talked about my worked schedule before but this is a really important one for me because it gives me enough time to get work done during the day but then gives me the time to put food together and spend some time together in the evenings before she has to go to bed.
I try to work with her now and make sure that she’s always the priority. She’s the reason I stayed home to work so what’s the point of working my butt off if I can’t play princess with her when she really needs me to?!
What’s your view of Budgeting?
- Have you ever done any budgeting; money and/or time?
- How did your system work out? Did you end up tweaking it along the way?
- If you are a WAHM, how do you manage your time to make sure you have a peaceful household and a booming business?
Research is one of those planning steps that you either LOVE to do or you would rather stick your face if a pile of spaghetti.
Finding out all you can about your Chocolate Banana can save you hours, weeks and sometimes years of work because what if the novel you want to write has already been written? What if the cupcake business you want to start has already been started? Neither one of these questions are dead ends because you can always tweak the story of a novel slightly or offer something completely different with your business that the other guy just can’t offer.
When I started my business as a virtual assistant I did loads of research into what a virtual assistant was, where did they work, were there any in my area, how did they charge, what services did they offer? Once I had those questions answered I asked myself,
“Now, what can I do better/different than all of these people?”
In my case, the answer ended up being my awesome quirky personality. For you it might be your awesome way with telling a story that the other authors just can’t match. Maybe your cupcakes are designed to go with your passion for science fiction and comic books instead of the normal pink and white frosting that the other shops are selling.
Homework for today:
- Take your Chocolate Banana and figure out your research questions. If you are starting a business your questions will be different that if you are starting a creative venture like creating art to sell on Etsy or writing a novel.
- Do your research and then take it a step farther to find out how you can bring your own special “something” to your Chocolate Banana. (Sprinkles are always welcome.)
Today we are going to start up a series focused on planning. I’ve written about planning before but now we’re going to delve a bit deeper into each ingredient in anticipation for my project, “Creating your Chocolate Banana“. (Yes, I said Chocolate Banana.)
Why focus on planning you ask? Well, because if you don’t have a plan, then you’re planning to fail.
It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a business, writing a book or getting artwork together for a gallery opening, if you don’t have a plan you’ll never get to the end result – the delicious, delicious end result.
Ok so what the heck does a Chocolate Banana have to do with planning you ask. Your Chocolate Banana is your one fabulous idea, business, product or adventure that you want to make happen in your life all rolled up in a nice neat delicious package!
Do you have a Vision for your Chocolate Banana? A focal point? A perfect outcome?
When I started my business my Vision was very simple. I basically said “I want to make enough money working as a virtual assistant to pay for my personal bills each month (student loans, credit cards, fun money)”
Very simple. Too simple in fact. I didn’t take into effect how I wanted to feel about the business, how I wanted my family to be effected by me having a business and what I wanted to really do with my business. I was too focused on the money aspect and not so much on the human side of the business.
Let’s talk to all you authors out there today because I know you all have a hard time with this whole planning ordeal. (Yes I’m talking to you!)
So you want to write a novel. Awesome. Your novel is your Chocolate Banana.
- What’s the ultimate goal for your novel?
- Do you want to go through a major publishing house or self publish?
- How many pages/words/chapters will it be?
- What will it look like?
- How do you want the reader to feel when they read it?
- How do you want to feel when you are finished?
Take some time to really delve into what those questions mean for you. If you’re not an author think about the questions in relation to your Chocolate Banana and spend some time on them. Creating a tangible vision for your Chocolate Banana is SO important because it gives you a starting point to build upon as you construct your plan.
Meet me in the comments and let me know what your Chocolate Banana is and how you are finding your Vision for it!
Are you ready to start working on your Chocolate Banana? Sign up here to be the first to hear about my upcoming products and events focused entirely on helping you create a recipe for your Chocolate Banana!