182. Part 2: Annual Business Plan (Setting Business Goals for 2024)

Part 2 Annual Business Plan setting business goals for 2024

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Welcome to a fresh perspective on business planning and goal setting. As we look ahead to 2024, it’s crucial to reflect on our past successes and challenges, setting the stage for a year of growth and fulfillment. Whether you’re a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting, today I’ll share insights on crafting a plan that aligns with your personal and professional aspirations. Let’s dive into how to set achievable goals, embrace new ideas, and build a business that truly resonates with you.

In this episode, you’ll hear… 

  • Insights into setting focused and achievable goals for the year ahead
  • How to stay open to change and new ideas in your business journey
  • Understanding the value of KPIs in guiding your business decisions
  • The significance of creating a business that resonates with your personal aspirations
  • Balancing business development with personal satisfaction and growth

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Listen to episode 182, follow along so you never miss an episode, and leave a review to help introduce the show to more online business owners just like you!

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The Art of Goal Setting for Success

When it comes to setting goals for the year ahead, it’s essential to focus on what truly matters. I recommend selecting three to five major objectives, whether they’re about boosting sales, expanding your audience, personal development, or launching new projects. Remember, it’s not just about the number of goals, but their quality and alignment with your long-term vision. By concentrating on a few significant targets, you can channel your energy more effectively and avoid the pitfalls of spreading yourself too thin.

Embracing Change and New Opportunities

In the dynamic world of business, staying open to new ideas and areas where we need support is vital. This year, challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone and explore uncharted territories. Whether it’s adopting a new marketing strategy or delegating tasks to focus on your strengths, embracing change can lead to remarkable growth. Keep an eye on your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) like revenue, email subscribers, and customer engagement to stay on track and make informed decisions.

Building a Business That Resonates With You

Beyond the numbers and strategies, building a business that aligns with your values is crucial. This year, let’s focus on creating something we’re truly proud of, regardless of external metrics like revenue or subscriber count. It’s about striking a balance between personal satisfaction and professional achievement. Remember, the most successful businesses are those that reflect the authenticity and passion of their owners.

As we gear up for 2024, remember that effective business planning is a blend of strategic goal setting, embracing new ideas, and staying true to your values. I encourage you to share your journey with our community, and let’s support each other in building businesses that not only succeed but also bring us joy and fulfillment. Here’s to a year of intentional growth and success, on your terms!

Download Episode Transcript

Sam Vander Wielen:
Hey, and welcome back to the second part of my Annual Business Plan series. This is where I help you learn how to both reflect on the past year and plan the next for ultimate business success. If you haven’t already, make sure you head to the link in my show notes to get your free Annual Planning Guide from me. Although, you don’t absolutely have to have it to follow along in today’s episode, it’s going to be really helpful. Plus, it’s literally a free guide for you to walk through to plan your business year. So, I don’t know why you wouldn’t grab it. Just go down in the show notes and grab your free Annual Planning Guide from me.

So, I am really excited to chat with you today about planning your year because I used to go into every single year without a plan and that was the worst decision ever. It was really, really bad, just take it from me. And I can just tell you that my business has gotten so much more successful as I’ve planned more, been a little bit more strategic with actually setting actionable, achievable goals, and really knowing what my goals are so that I can be focused when I’m working, so I can be focused when I go to create new projects or go run with something.

I assume if you have your own business, you’re a little bit like me and you might be like, you know, one of those people that thinks about a lot of different ideas. Every single time I go into a business, every time I go into a restaurant, I’m like, "Oh. I could do this" or "They could do that." And this is something I can think about, like I think about some story related to copy that I can write. I’m just always thinking about ideas. On the one hand, I think that’s a blessing. On the flip side, it’s a bit of a curse when you’re somebody who doesn’t have a plan because what that’s going to do is send you in all different directions. You know, what do we call that? Shiny squirrel syndrome? So, it’s going to send you in all different directions, chasing down things that may or may not be a good idea, we don’t know. So, we want to go into 2024 with a plan.

On the personal side, before we jump in to today’s episode, I will just tell you that I have been writing all day. I’ve been working really hard on my book. In case you’re new here, I’m writing a book. I got a book deal. It’s supposed to come out late next year. I’m really, really excited. I’m so excited to bring you this book. But right now I’m working on a chapter that’s mostly about money and budgeting, so my goal really with this chapter is to talk more about responsibly transitioning, either transitioning from a job into starting your own business or just starting your own business if you’re not coming from another 9:00 to 5:00 or something.

And, also, for those of you who already have a business, to talk more about budgeting for your business, how much your business really should make, how you actually pay yourself from your business. I think so many people go into starting their own business thinking that it’s going to instantly or very quickly pay their personal expenses. And then, people are really surprised when it takes longer than they thought. So, I wanted to give people a more realistic view of how you actually get started, what are smart ways to reinvest in your business, and then start paying yourself and all that good stuff. So, you’ll read all about it when you get the book next year.

It’s sort of crunch time though right now with the book. My editor takes the book in third, so my next big chunk is due to her pretty soon. And so, I’ve been in the mode of pruning and canceling life things and being like, "I can’t go there. I can’t go on that trip. I can’t do this.
I got to stay home. I have to write." So, I’ve been doing that and setting Pomodoro Timers like crazy. So, that’s what’s going on over here.

Okay. Are you ready to plan 2024? I was so excited to do this. I did this back at the end of October, but I could talk about planning all the time, so let’s get into it. All right. Okay.

And like I said, if you have my free Annual Planning Guide, which you can get in the link in the show notes, it’s going to be way more impactful. This episode is going to be more impactful for you. But you can follow along and you could even pause this episode and fill things in.

But the very first thing that I encourage you to look at when you’re planning your year next year is how you want to feel in the business, how you want to feel in your day-to-day, how do you want to feel as a business owner. I know some people get weird about calling themselves CEOs, but you are the owner, business owner. So, how do you want to feel?

So, I love visualization exercises and I always recommend my mindset coach, Jen Diaz’s membership program called the Java Method. Because inside the Java Method, she has these incredible visualizations that she walks you through. And I really enjoy doing those because you have to really drop into it. And this is something that I want you to let come up without judgment. So, maybe you see yourself, like when you really think about how you want to feel, how you want to show up, appear, act, all that kind of stuff, maybe that looks really different than where you’re at right now. And I would love for you to let that happen, let that visualization fully develop without you starting to add on all the stories of "I can’t. That’s too far away. Who do I think I am to do that? That’s egotistical, blah, blah, blah." We all have our stories. That’s very normal.

But as my therapist says, let’s just ask that part to step aside and let’s just focus on what your true desire is before all the fear and all the muck comes up for us. So, I really want to know how you want to feel. And we’re just focusing on this next year how do you want to feel in your business.

So, this is my seventh year in business, so for me, this was more about feeling calm and steady and confident and slowing down in a good way, slowing down but being more impactful with the things. That was coming up for me a lot, it was like I want to do less that’s more impactful. So, I’m somebody who puts out a lot of content, has two podcast episodes a week, two emails per week, lots of social posts. I want to produce less that’s better. And so then, how that translates into how I feel is the calmer, steadier, slower, more intentional person. That’s more of how I want to feel in the business.

I also want to feel more confident and start to own certain parts of what I’ve done when I’m about to do, especially when it comes to the book. Because for me, I think releasing this book is going to be really interesting, really symbolic. And it’s pushing me already in a million different ways because this book is not about legal stuff. It’s going to have a little legal tidbits or tips here and there, but the book is part personal narrative, it’s telling you my story but it’s also about building a business, how to build a successful online business. And it’s going to be different for me. And it’s something that I really want. It’s something I really want to be seen as more than a lawyer. I kind of hate and resent when people only think of me as a lawyer or when people will give feedback like, "Just give me legal tips. I don’t want to hear anything else." I’m not one dimensional. I’m not a robot.

So, I want to talk about other stuff and that’s part of how I want to feel in 2024, is I want to feel more expansive in that way. I want to feel creative and inspired because talking about the same exact legal topics for seven years, you know, it gets old after a while. And it’s not that I’m ditching it at all. I will still be talking about that and selling that and all that kind of stuff. I just want to integrate things that excite me and things that I’ve learned along the way, and I have the street cred to do that at this point and that’s more of what I want to own. And even just me saying that makes me want to throw up and slap myself to be like, "Who do you think you are to say that?" But this is what I’m talking about, I want to feel like I can say that kind of thing without being a prick, because I know I’m not trying to be, and because I know I have the street cred to say it. So, I want to feel more confident in that respect. I want to feel more resolved. I’d like to feel more expansive.

I’d really like to soak up what’s about to happen, I think, with this book. So, you can kind of play with this question and see how it comes up for you, what comes up for you. But really dreaming of what kind of person do you look like as a business owner. I don’t know, I hate to use the phrase, but what’s your vibe? So, that’s what I would think about.

The second thing I want you to think about is what kind of impact do you want to make this year. So, that could be your impact on your community, on your clients. Well, when I said community the first time, I meant local in-person community, and then I’m also thinking about your online community, your audience. Whether you have 50 people hanging around listening to what you have to say or you have 500 people, they are all super important and they grow over time. And by continuing to speak to them is how we continue to grow our audience. So, what kind of impact do you want to make regardless of what your numbers are right now?

I want you to think about the kind of impact you can make with your work, with your words, even with the way that you show up and present yourself in the world. But depending on what you just answered to the first question, I could see how that would make an impact to others. Like when you’ll start a health journey or something like that and you start sharing about it, usually your family and friends are inspired to do something similar. So, the impact that you can make is even just making a shift in your own life. But think about the kind of impact you want to make.

Now, after you think about the impact you want to make, I want you to think about in order to make that impact, I have to show up like what? What do you have to show up like in order to make that impact? I think equally as important is asking yourself, what do I not have to show up like in order to make that impact?

So, for example, when I was just talking about owning more of what I’ve done, allowing myself to talk about other topics like marketing, email marketing, evergreen funnels, that kind of stuff, the stuff that I really love, if I showed up in a way that was confident to talk about what I did, the impact I would want to have is that I would want to inspire you to, let’s say, do better with your email list so that you actually started making more sales, which made your business more successful, which improved your life, and in turn impacts your clients’ lives too.

In order to make that kind of impact, though, I have to show up like somebody who has built a multi-seven figure business year after year after year. I’ve done this multiple years. It’s not a one hit wonder. It wasn’t a one time I made something in a month and now I’m claiming I’m a millionaire, anything like that. I have literally built a multi-seven figure business. Now for four years in a row, I have 27,000 people on my email list. I can own that. I have the ability to stand here and give you some email list tips. So, I have to show up like somebody who knows what I’m talking about because I do. And I have to not show up like somebody who’s self-deprecating, which is one of my more favorite ways of talking about myself, which is not always the most helpful. I have to not show up like somebody who doesn’t belong, who doesn’t deserve to be in the room. I have to kind of act like I deserve to be in the room in order to be invited into the room or for people to start accepting me there.

I think that’s a good example of I want to show up more as a thought leader in this area, in our space and I have to own my success and I have to expand what I talk about. In order to make that impact, I have to actually talk about that stuff so I can’t be afraid to talk about it. And I can’t be afraid that some people might be pissed and some people might say, "I only ever want you to talk about legal stuff. And if you don’t talk about legal stuff, I’m out of here," that’s okay. That’s just not the direction I’m headed in.

Now, if you have a team, if you have anybody work for you, a VA, anyone who works for you, I also want you to ask yourself I want my team to show up like blank in order for me to have this impact or in order for the business to have the impact that you’re hoping for.

Okay. So, now we get into setting a couple of concrete goals. I really like this part of the planning journey. So, when we think about 2024, I want you just off the bat to think about three to five big goals that you want to achieve this year. And for this question and the next several questions, you might have a number of times that things repeat. Actually, I would really love for you when you look back on answering all these questions to make sure that you do, because I think 2016, 2017 Sam would have had different goals and different things in every single answer to this question or into all these questions. But what I’m really happy about now actually is when I answer the three to five big goals that I want to achieve this year, I then see those goals show up in the next couple of questions that I’m about to ask you.

So, the reason I’m saying that is because if we have too many goals and too many things we’re focused on, then it’s going to lessen, obviously, our chances of achieving those goals because we’re not going to be super focused. So, I want you to spend a good chunk of time here on this question. What are three to five big goals that you want to achieve this year? Because I want you to really hone in on those and then those really are going to be our focus for the majority of the year.

So, these goals could be goals like I want to work with five clients per quarter, or I want to sell five digital products per month, or something like that, they could be kind of sales related goals. I would recommend having different categories or at least diversifying the kind of goals that you have. So, I typically like to have, you know, one or two goals that are related more to my sales, one or two goals that are related more to audience building, kind of the more numbers, vanity numbers behind the scenes, and then maybe one or two goals that are more related to how I want to show up or something I want to add to the business, a new product I want to create, somebody I really want to hire this year, the type of role or something like that. So, I like to kind of diversify so you don’t have, like, five goals that are all related to vanity metrics.

So, three or five big goals might be, like I said, those goals about the sales, it could also be the goals of I want to increase my open rate 5 percent on my emails. I want to increase the click through rate by 2 percent. I want to add 5,000 people to my email list. You could have things like that as well. So, I think any goal, obviously, that you come up with is a great one. I know for me, I really wanted to continue to increase my email list subscribers. These don’t always have to be new goals, by the way. This could be the same goals you had last year. It doesn’t have to be something completely novel. But I always want to increase my email list subscribers and it’s always a top priority to me. So, don’t take for granted your meat and potatoes – as my dad would say, your meat and potatoes – of what really makes your marketing strategy work. So, my email list is always top priority for me.

It’s okay for it to be a big goal. It doesn’t have to be like, "Oh, well. Yeah. I always am focused on email list growth, so let me make my goals something else." No. Email list growth is number one for me, so it’s going to be on my top five of my goals. So, increasing my email list subscribers, increasing my click through rate, that’s the number of people who click on links in my email. My open rate is extremely high, but I always want to increase that, if not, obviously, maintain it. But my goal is to bump that up a little bit this year, but really increasing that click through rate.

Just as a side note for my email marketing friends out there, it has gotten a little bit more difficult to track click through rate in the last couple of years because of an iOS update, an Apple update, that doesn’t exactly allow us to track people’s clicking or email behavior, behavior of them clicking on things in emails. And so, because of that, our data has gotten really skewed, and so I went from having a really high click through rate, meaning people clicked on a lot of links in my emails, to having a much lower click through rate, but it’s not accurate. Then, we can tell that through other means and other tracking methods. But working with what I have, not being able to change like the Apple gods or whatever, I want to increase the click through rate that we can track on ConvertKit.

I use ConvertKit, by the way, for managing my email list. So, you’ll hear me talk a lot about email goals and having all the access to these metrics in these data, and that’s because companies like ConvertKit do an awesome job with email marketing. This is not sponsored. I just really, really love ConvertKit. I’ve been a customer for, like, seven years. And I do have a link down in the show notes for a free trial for you or a discount plan, so you can grab that. But that’s what I use for my own email list, but also for my funnel as well.

Some of my other goals are more along the kind of vanity metric-y side, so I would say that those are more related to increasing my podcast downloads and increasing my unique podcast listeners. I also want to increase the number of people who take action from listening to a podcast episode. And I consider action to be one of two things. One, you listen to an episode and you go get on my email list because of some freebie I have or something like that. Or two, you go and purchase the Ultimate Bundle or a legal template after listening to the podcast. So, I want to increase action taking as well. That, we all have to track with links on the backend, knowing that people came from the podcast. We do it sometimes through surveying. It’s a little bit hard, but I can work on it on my end and I know what I need to do from a marketing perspective.

I always include something like Instagram, but really this year I was actually thinking more about I don’t just want to increase followers. That’s not really that helpful to me. What I see is increasing engagement on Instagram, because I think engagement has been just consistently dropping for pretty much everyone I know. You can tell me if that’s been true for you, but I know a lot of my friends have said that as well. So, I think increasing engagement, again, similar to my podcast goal, it’s not just about adding more and more people, it’s also about just getting people to take more action. So, I want people who are already on Instagram to be on my email list. I want them to know about the Ultimate Bundle. I want them to go buy my legal templates. I want them to take some sort of action.

So, those are really related to my three to five big goals. I also want to put out my book, there’s some things like that. I always add personal goals to all of this and I’m happy to talk with you more about personal goals, and how I integrate those into the business, and taking care of myself as the owner of the business and all that. So, you can let me know either in my DMs or in response to my email whether or not you want me to do some sort of episode about that. But I also have a whole bunch of goals about personal stuff that I won’t bother you with unless you want to know, if you’re nosy like me. Okay.

So, now this is one of my favorite parts of planning 2024 or any business year, is, I want you to think of three to five easy wins, and you are free to have more than five if you can think of them. But three to five easy wins that align with the impact that you want to have or then align with the big goals that you just lined out. So, these are the kinds of things that I put on my to-do list in the morning that either I’ve already done them – this is my little secret hack by the way, so I put things on my to-do list that I’ve either already done or that are the simplest, easiest thing that’s going to make me feel like I’ve just achieved something. I got to check off something. Like how good does it feel to check something off your list?

So, I want you to add things to your list that would be easy for you to do. Those little nagging tasks that you’ve had in your business to-do lists that you’ve just been thinking about for so long that would actually move the ball forward.

So, for me, this included creating a new freebie so that I can instantly drive more traffic to my email list at the start of 2024, so I’ve done that. It was committing on the schedule to maybe creating a new freebie once per quarter so that there will be something new and exciting to drive leads to my email list. I came up with the idea to have a podcast series once per quarter so that I could drive interest and bring in new subscribers to my podcast. I updated the nurture sequence so that maybe people who are already coming through my email list would be converted at a higher rate. So, there were just little things here and there that I could easily check off my list that I felt like were easy wins.

The other thing I thought would be an easy win, because one of my big goals was to complete a book, was write a book. All I have to do is write my book. It’s that easy.

The next step in your 2024 planning journey is to come up with three to five ideas that you want to explore and that you’re curious about. So, this is another place where I want you to drop all the judgment, drop the shoulds, drop all the stories about why this won’t work and why you can never get to it and why you’re not big enough yet and why it’s too expensive and all that kind of stuff. Just drop it. Just drop it for me.

And something that Hudson, who, if you’re watching this on video, knows nothing about, he does not know drop it. He’s behind me.

But I want you to drop all those stories and I want you to get curious about them. What are some things that if I could take away all of those stories that I just mentioned, all the shoulds and the why it couldn’t work out, and why it’s not ready yet, and all that stuff, what were some things that you would explore? They might not be things that you actually take action on this year. They might be things you take action on next year. They might surprise you and you might realize do you have this big thing that you want to go after, but you’re holding back for some reason. And that might be something that you can work on. And maybe it’s something that you could release later this year or start talking about or whatever. So, I want you to think about some things that you would explore and be curious about if we could drop all the drama around it.

So, for me, this had to do with filming maybe a new legal class, a free class, creating a new product that I’ve had an idea about, updating some things that I felt like I haven’t touched in a while. So, this was just like, "Oh, man. If I really could -" if I stopped, because for me, I’m like, "I don’t have the time. I can’t do it. I’m writing this book. I already have so much stuff. It’s too much. It’s too much." And so, if I just drop all of that, it was really helpful to come up with what I would do because then I was able to sit down with Lindsey when we were planning all this and say, "Well, why not? Could we do that? Could we explore that idea? Maybe we could?" Or maybe it’s something we just table and we explore, like, "Let’s talk about it in the summer and see how the rest of the year goes." So, it doesn’t hurt to play with it. There’s no downside in my humble opinion, but I would just explore some of the things that you would be curious about.

I also want you to think about what are some areas that you could use some more support in. So, whether you have a team member yet or not, this is a great area to start thinking about, because this is where you could spend some time playing with what would you get off of your task list, what would you assign to other people if you could, what do you wish you could delegate, what do you not wish you could delegate, like it’s something maybe you really enjoy doing but you know is the right thing to let go of, or is something that doesn’t require you but takes up a lot of your time. That, I probably think is the best question, What is something that doesn’t require you but you spend a lot of your time doing that someone else could do?

And like I said, you might not be ready to hire yet, that’s okay, but at least we could start exploring this. And if you’ve heard me talk about hiring before, you know that what I say is you have to design the role and then find the right person for that role. You can’t find a person and then try to make them fit for your business. So, you really want to be clear on where are areas that you could use more support, what kind of stuff would you delegate, what kind of stuff should you be delegating, what kind of stuff that if you got off your plate would allow you to focus on the big picture stuff.

I mean, look back at your three to five big goals that you want to achieve this year, are you not able to get to that kind of stuff because you’re bogged down with a lot of other things? Are any of those things delegatable? Let’s start thinking about where we could get some support.
So, spend a little time thinking about that no matter where you’re at in the process of hiring.

Okay. Last but not least, I want you to do a very kind of straightforward KPI goal. So, KPIs are our performance metrics. This is why I started a KPI document. When it was just me, it was a simple little Google spreadsheet.
Now, it’s this whole complicated color coded thing that lots of team members are in. And it makes my head spin, but thank goodness, Lindsey knows what she’s doing and knows how to make it work. But when it was just me, this was something I literally kept the way that I’m about to just read it to you.

So, in a spreadsheet, you would have columns for your revenue, your email list subscribers, if you have a podcast maybe you would have podcast downloads or unique listeners or both, social media followers if that’s a thing for you or important to you, number of customers or clients or purchases per month, the number of products that you sell per month. There could be all kinds of things. If you have a YouTube channel, it could be YouTube subs. It really depends on what you do. Obviously, TikTok followers, knock yourself out. So, you would have these different categories for this spreadsheet.

And then, what I want you to do – for the most part, I do these by month or I did these by month back in the day – you would every single month drop in the number and then you track them over time. Now, what’s really important is to know not just, "Okay. I’ve plopped in the number and now there it is and I’m done." I think what worked well for me and what I used to do well back in the day was really looking at the numbers and analyzing them, and trying my best not to just make up stories on my own or just be like, "Oh. That’s probably going down because X." I would really dig into it and try to figure out why this was actually happening. Sometimes that took talking to customers, subscribers, listeners, viewers, followers, whatever. Sometimes it took just looking at certain data, clicking behavior, all kinds of stuff. But really getting to know your numbers.

We talk a lot about getting to know your financial numbers, but what about these numbers? Knowing your back end business numbers. Not knowing them though, for any other reason other than curiosity and strategy. That’s it. I want you to know your revenue, your purchases, your subscribers, your listeners, your downloaders, all the kinds of things. I want you to know that so that we get strategic AF with it and so that we get curious about why those things are happening, both good and bad. Why are they increasing? Because we want to do more of the stuff that’s increasing so we need to know what it is. Why is it decreasing? We need to do less of that but we need to know what it is.

We are not tracking them though so that we can belittle ourselves, say I can’t believe you only have 200 subscribers. I can’t believe you only have 100 listeners. I can’t believe you only made $1,000. No. None of that. That gets you nowhere. So, we’re not doing that.

This is curiosity. I need you to put on your scientist hat and I need you just to look at this stuff and say the numbers are what they are. They are just numbers. The numbers are not me. The business is not me. The revenue is not me. This is just numbers about the business. And I’m curious and I’m going to play with it and I’m going to see if I can make these numbers go up and down. So, we are just getting curious and we’re keeping track.

So, in this last part of your planning guide, I want you to sit down and set the goals for these KPI numbers. I want you to set a revenue goal, email list subscriber goal. Personally, I would set it for the year how many people do I want to add for the year. But then, I would say of what you want the average per month, because I think that that’s a much more manageable figure. And then, since you’ll be tracking now in a KPI spreadsheet, you’ll be able to know if you’re on track with your goal or not, just like if you were budgeting to buy something.

So, figure out maybe what you want for the year. Twelve thousand email subscribers for the year, okay. A thousand subscribers per month, how many is that per week? And then, you figure out where are those coming from? It is literally – I don’t want to say easy, but that is literally how we do this. I’m like I want to add a thousand per month. That’s – oh, gosh – let’s just say 250 a week. I don’t know how many. I’m not good at math, but I’m really good with a calculator. So, I put that in there and then I literally say, "Where am I getting these 250 people from?" Every time I share it on social media, I get about X number of people signing up. I got to share at least twice a week. If every time I make a post here, I get number, then I got to do this per week. I think about it literally that way. That’s how I break it down.

Now, before we wrap up for the day, I want to say that one of the most important things about planning your business year is not necessarily planning for the entire year, which is a very funny thing to tell you in an Annual Business Planning episode. But the reason I’m saying that is because – and of course, you’re welcome to make this mistake yourself. Maybe it works out for you, I don’t know. I don’t think it typically does – I think that when we plan for the entire year, too many things change in online business, with you, your customers. You learn. I almost don’t want to do a year from now what I planned to do a year ago, because a year ago, I didn’t know as much as I do now and I want to be able to update.

So, here’s kind of what I do. What I do is that I take all of these things and then I sit down and I take a Google Doc and I break it down by quarter. And I look at the quarter and I think about what my main focus is going to be for that quarter, and then what my main focus is going to be for each month of that quarter. So, maybe that month is all about a sale, like a promo, you’re running a promo of some sort, that whole month is dedicated to it. The following month, if it were me, it would be dedicated to nurturing. So, I would be building back up my email list, I would be nurturing my community, giving back, giving lots of free content, maybe a free guide of some sort to kind of do the upswing from doing a promo. Maybe another month I’d be focusing on generating awareness about my products and driving traffic to my podcast, that kind of stuff. So, I literally go and I break it down per month.

I get the most granular about the first quarter of next year. I get the next most granular about the second quarter. And then, I would say for quarter three and quarter four of next year, I just touched surface level. I’m like, "I think what I will do is about this. And I think I will maybe run a promo around here." And that’s it, I don’t get into the weeds anymore. I used to sit down and pick out dates and I knew when my promos were going to be, and a live webinar, and a sale, and all of that. It was so much wasted time and then it was just spending all this time redoing it. But I use the first quarter and the second quarter of the year to kind of dictate what I want to do for the rest of the year.

So, the key there is then planning some time for yourself. Come quarter one, to do a reflection on quarter one, how did it go. I mean, basically do a mini version of what we’ve just walked through in the last couple episodes. Do a little reflection on the quarter and then plan for the next one. And then, do a reflection and plan, reflection and plan. With time, I think you’re able to plan further and further into the future. But I think that this is a great place to start because, like I said, I hope that your quarter four looks different than what you would make it right now, because you’re going to learn so much between now and next fall when you would be putting those things into place.

So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have every single thing for 2024 planned out. In fact, I would congratulate yourself if you don’t because I hope that means you’re staying open and curious, but also don’t forget to make the time. So, if you’re planning very intently quarter one and quarter two, don’t let it slip so you get to the end of quarter two and say, "Oh, shoot. I don’t have a plan for quarter three and four." So, make sure you set this date on your calendars. This is why I like using things like Asana. You could go in right now and you can assign yourself all of these things. You can set dates and reminders, set a little CEO date for yourself right now, make sure it comes up and reminds you.

As another resource, I would say, to check out Louise Henry’s Uplevel With Asana Course, if you haven’t already. I always talk about how I took Louise’s course a million years ago and it was the most impactful course that I’ve taken because it’s what got me so organized and to actually set plans, set goals. And then, what I think is so cool about Louise’s Asana course is that she actually gives you Asana templates. So, you literally download it, and when you open it in Asana, it populates a project board for you. And she has all the steps in there of what you need to do if you’re going to launch a new product, all the steps if you’re going to run a promotion, a webinar, a challenge, a freebie, all this kind of stuff. It’s amazing. And I always tell Louise, it’s almost like she gives people a playbook of actually how to do these things, how to launch these things, let alone literally gives you the templates to put into Asana.

So, I have a link for you in the show notes, an affiliate link in the show notes to get $500 off Uplevel With Asana. I just really love it. I took it myself and it was really helpful. She also has these areas in there to set goals and all that kind of stuff. So, after listening to this episode, it might be helpful to take everything you jotted about, and then you can put it into Asana and formalize it in that way. Okay.

So, the takeaway I want you to take away from this episode is that planning is very important. You don’t have to plan everything, but please also remind yourself to plan the rest of the year. Use the data, use the feedback to influence what you do for the rest of the year. And I want you to spend a lot of this time focusing on how you want things to be, what you see your future looking like, and I want you to start going there. I want you to start moving towards it. I don’t want you to be waiting for it to happen. I don’t want you to wait for it to come to you. I want you to envision what your future looks like, where this business is headed. You’ve got to believe in it before other people are going to believe in it.
And then, I need you to start putting this stuff into action to actually get closer. So, make sure that your goals align with the vision that you’re seeing in the future of your business.

I hope that this episode was helpful. It was so fun to reflect earlier in this week’s episode about 2023. And I really enjoyed kind of future casting here with you about 2024. I hope that you have the best 2024 in your business and I am so open to whatever that means to you. It does not mean making seven figures. It doesn’t mean having a bajillion people on your email list. Whatever it means to you, I want you to own this process and I want you to create the business on your terms. This is why I named the podcast this, but I want you to create a business that you’re really proud of. And you deserve to take this time, put this time aside to really think about what that means for you and not to give a crap about what that means or looks like to other people. And you’d really deserve to take the time to just build this kind of business that you want, that you can, that you need, all of the things.

So, I’m here to support you. I’m here to hold you accountable. I would love, love, love, love if you came over and DM me or you responded to my email and you told me that you actually sat down and did some of this business planning. Even if you haven’t finished it yet, just write me and let me know and I will hold you accountable. You can tell me where you’re at in the process, but please, please, please tell me that you’re doing this annual plan because you deserve it.

All right. Well, I will talk to you soon. Thank you so much for listening and feel free to share this with a friend if you found it helpful.

Thanks so much for listening to the On Your Terms podcast. Make sure to follow on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen to podcasts. You can also check out all of our podcast episodes, show notes, links, and more at samvanderwielen.com/podcast. You can learn more about legally protecting your business and take my free legal workshop, Five Steps to Legally Protect and Grow Your Online Business, at samvanderwielen.com. And to stay connected and follow along, follow me on Instagram, @samvanderwielen, and send me a DM to say hi.

Just remember that although I am a attorney, I am not your attorney and I am not offering you legal advice in today’s episode. This episode and all of my episodes are informational and educational only. It is not a substitute for seeking out your own advice from your own lawyer. And please keep in mind that I can’t offer you legal advice. I don’t ever offer any legal services. But I think I offer some pretty good information.

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