It kind of goes without saying that if you want to get somewhere you’ve got to have a plan. Very rarely do things work out properly on a wing and a prayer.
That was my problem when I set up my business in 1999, I didn’t really have a plan. I just did it.
It can be argued that because my business is still running nearly 21 years later, I did something right. But what you don’t know is what I’ve had to go through to keep it going. We’ll cover that on a later date.
These days I am laser focused. I set goals and work out a plan to achieve my goals.
If you’re seriously thinking about starting a virtual assistance business, or any other business for that matter, I strongly recommend you do the same.
One of my personal goals this year is to spend more time with my other half. It was brought home when he once said to me, “You don’t really live here, you’re more of a lodger”.
My relationship with Sam is especially important to me. I am however a self-confessed workaholic. I find it extremely easy to put my business first before anything else. I’m lucky. He’s extremely tolerant because of his past work-life. However, I am very conscious about letting my business take over at the expense of Sam and I have to work hard to stop slipping back into old habits.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard entrepreneurs crying (literally crying) about the long hours, the stress, and the frustration of running a business.
Having clear goals and a plan to achieve your goals should help you to avoid unnecessary stress and frustration.
Here are #6 tips to help you achieve your goals (things I wish I’d known 20 years ago).
1. Work out your WHY
Why do you want to start your own business? Be very honest with yourself. Knowing your WHY will help you set your goals.
For example, your WHY might be that you want to work 20 hours a week so you can spend the rest of your time doing something else. That WHY will help you work out your earnings. If you’re only going to work 20 hours per week but you know you need to earn a set amount to live on, you’ll need to ensure that you’re pricing is structured in such a way that you can afford to work less hours.
2. Look to the future
Most of us are great at living day to day or worrying about the past without thinking about what’s going to happen in the future. Are you thinking about starting a family? How will you continue to earn income during your parental leave? Do you plan to take a few months off for a travel adventure? When do you plan to retire? Do you plan to build a business you can sell or just close the doors when you give up working? How are you going to survive when you do retire? Even though you may be just planning to set up your business, start thinking about an exit strategy too.
3. Work out your finances
This is QUITE the eye opener when you reverse engineer your finances starting from when you plan to retire. If you’re realistic about how you want to live in the future, this is an essential exercise to do which will help you determine your pricing policies. Once you have a draft of your figures, seek professional advice from a Financial Advisor and an accountant.
4. Write yourself an Ultimate Goal
In my office I have my Ultimate Goal printed and framed so I can see it every day to remind me where I’m heading. It includes my earnings goal, the year I want to reach my goal by, and the reason why I want to reach my Ultimate Goal. All VERY specific.
Typed underneath my Ultimate Goal, I have a promise to myself which I will share with you. My promise is this:
“To get from where I am now to where I want to be in twelve years’ time, ethically, being mindful not to compromise my personal relationships on my journey”.
Do you see how specific my promise is too? The length of time, the importance of being ethical (I have refused to work with clients in the past because their ethics did not marry to mine).
Remember I mentioned I am a self-confessed workaholic? I know this has had a detrimental effect on personal relationships in the past (both friends and family) and that’s why I have been extremely specific about not compromising my relationships.
5. Make a plan
Get everything you need to do out of your head into a document, be it written or typed.
Next, prioritise your tasks.
Make your tasks smaller and more manageable by breaking big tasks down.
Take action. Schedule your tasks into your calendar in order of priority with realistic time scales so you don’t end up overwhelming yourself.
Implement. Don’t just put to-do tasks into your calendar and ignore them. Treat the time you have allocated to each task as an appointment that you need to attend. If you were promised a million pounds every time you completed a task, I’m fairly sure you’d make sure they were done!
Be kind to yourself though. If a genuine reason crops up that prevents you from completing a task, find some time in your calendar to reschedule it.
Goals and plans often end up as dust collectors. Either sitting in a file, on a shelf or on a laptop somewhere never to be looked at again. Reviewing your goals and plan every quarter will allow you to see if you are on track or whether you’ve taken a detour and need to recalibrate.
Personally I use my Daily Greatness Journal for this. There’s a 90 Day Plan at the beginning of each quarter, a 90 Day Check-in page which helps you celebrate achievements, identify what needs attention, helps check your life balance and sets your focus for the next 90 days.
I think the journal is well worth the investment, especially if it helps you reach your goals. Reviewing will help you reach your goals far quicker than guessing your progress.
(If you want to purchase a copy you can claim a 10% discount using this link).
People with goals succeed because they know where they are going.
Wishes or reality in 2020? It’s down to you.