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Getting Ready for 2017

Last week’s Facebook Live Q&A focused on getting ready for 2017.  This can be an overwhelming time for many entrepreneurs as they close things for the year and get ready for the next.  Let’s have a look at the three major spots to hit, and simplify them so you can get them done.

1) Financial Planning

I know I just made you squeamish.  I’m sorry!  Does it make it better if I provide you with a super awesome spreadsheet that allows you to simply fill in the blanks?  Yes?  YAY!  Go to the Resource Library to download it (or, if you’re not a Resource Library Member, fill out the form below to get access).

Financial planning is simply using this year’s numbers to predict next year’s budget.  This way you can plan for savings and growth.  By savings I mean your savings so, when you hit that yearly dry spell (that everyone has), you’re not stressed.  By growth I mean hiring that new superstar to make your business dreams come true (don’t we all want one?).

Start by downloading the spreadsheet below.  You’ll see some numbers already entered in — they’re to show you how the spreadsheet works.  Delete a number and see how everything else changes.

From there, start by entering real numbers into the spreadsheet.  Start with the cash you  had on hand at the start of last year.  You’ll only need to add it in Month One — the rest will auto-generate (though you can make changes).  Begin entering monthly income as well.  Finally, enter monthly expenses near the bottom.  Watch as the numbers auto-generate to predict the flow of your year.

2)  Set Some Goals

I know everyone is telling you to set new year goals.  So is pretty much everything else in life — that’s what the new year is all about, right?  Well, I’m sorry you may feel pressured, but I’m not sorry you’ll be setting goals.  Here’s an easy way to break them down, as seen in the Passion Planner (my favorite planner… which I talk about so often I probably should buy stock).

Goals could be as simple as ‘finish that course’ or as complex as strategy for growth.  Consider partnerships and community involvement as you brainstorm.  Once you have a single goal broken down, add its milestones into your calendar for next year.  If you’re ambitious, add more than one goal and its milestones!

Check out this handy goal-setting Roadmap from Passion Planner!

3) Get Ahead

Now is the time to get ahead.  We shut down halfway through December in order to stay sane, which makes it the perfect time to work on the things I never have time for.  What could you be doing to set things straight for 2017?  Get ahead on blog posts, make those phone calls, have coffee with people you met at a networking event.  Everyone’s list is different, but I know there’s at least one thing on yours.  Take care of these things now so you can hit the ground running in January (instead of faceplanting).

2017 is just around the corner!  How are you getting ready?

Stop Comparing Yourself to Older Businesses

This is something I continue to struggle with.  Yep, after four years of being an entrepreneur, I still have to step back and remember who and where I am.  Unfortunately, this is one of the easiest ways to sabotage one’s work.

Comparing yourself to others, in my opinion, is a human handicap.  In doing so, we discount our hard work and negatively pressure ourselves to be ‘more’.  Not only can it make you quite unhappy, it often comes from a place of dissatisfaction.  When I’m most dissatisfied with my business is when I most compare it to others — and quickly become even more dissatisfied.  It’s a problematic loop we have all been in.

Why You Should Stop

First of all, your business will always be different from any other venture.  That’s because it’s run by YOU.  You are made of experiences that no one else has had.  It’s what makes you uniquely good at that special thread that runs through your business.

What do I mean by a special thread?  Reminds you of Harry Potter’s wand, doesn’t it?  What I mean to say is that there is a reason you chose to go into business for yourself.  And there is a reason you chose a certain focus area.  Even within that focus area, you have a particular approach that no one else has.

Here is a first hand example.  My work with women entrepreneurs means a lot to me.  It’s pure passion, which means I work fiercely toward the growth of my clients and peers.  But I’m not the only “empowerer of women entrepreneurs” ever to grace the Earth.  In fact, I take strength from the existence of others.  But at low points, I may also compare myself to them.

In particular, Carrie Green.  She is leaps and bounds ahead of my work.  I sit and puzzle how she gained thousands of followers, garnered immense publicity, and a solid foundation of work.  From the outside it’s easy to envy.

But let’s take a step back — I said “she is leaps and bounds ahead of my work”.  That’s the key.  She has been working with women entrepreneurs since 2011.  I didn’t even start my entrepreneurial career until the end of 2012.  But the human psyche is build to make comparisons so we understand our pecking order and place in the universe.  It’s how we have survived for millennia.

Compare Your Work To … Your Work

While it may seem natural to compare your work to others’ in order to find mistakes or generate new ideas, the only true comparison you should be making is to yourself.  As sentient beings, we are constantly changing and evolving.  This makes us excellent subjects for comparison.

In fact, this is a critical step in goal setting.  The best entrepreneurs are those who reflect on their accomplishments, but also their failures, and learn from both.  The only way to do this is to compare yourself to your past self and mark progress.

I do this by using the Passion Planner, which I discussed in my post about goal setting.  At the end of each month I’m prompted to look back on what I’ve accomplished, but also on what I see myself repeatedly and unnecessarily doing.  By highlighting and putting it into writing, I’m able to take steps toward change — and to celebrate my achievements.

No one else’s work is comparable to yours.  It’s important to set goals, but do so within the realm of who you are and what you hope to become.  You’ll progress faster than if you try to be someone else.

What’s your comparison story?  Share it below.

Goals Aren’t Just for High School

We did a lot of goals work during my gradeschool years.  There was a disconnect during the instruction process, and it seemed to me that this was a tool for school only.  They lost their context once I received my diploma, and the concept didn’t exactly come with me to University.  I did set goals, but they were more like “don’t fail this paper”, rather than “create X career”.  They were almost never written down, so I would usually forget any that I set and flew by the seat of my pants.  Read more

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