How to Plan Without Setting Yourself up for Failure.
Ready to crush those goals in 2023? Well, friend, the bad news—is you can't do it without a strategic plan! You can't just keep running on that content creation hamster wheel hoping for the best. The GOOD news? Bree is going to break down that goal with you and teach you how to make sure you hit that goal!
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"I think something can be attainable without being realistic. And what I mean by that is, you can work and work and work and work and burn yourself out and hit that goal. But is that something that is a realistically good plan, we don't want to burn out, we don't want to feel like we are running ourselves into the ground. And so that is why we run every single goal through the SMART goal system."
Discussed in this episode...
What are SMART goals?
The very first thing that we teach in our coaching programs is SMART goals. SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Whenever we're helping you set goals and figure out what you want to accomplish, we run them through this system!
An example of an unSMART goal would be something like "I just really want to make more money than I did last year". Okay, that's great! So that is timely. But let's be a little bit more specific there! How can we make it specific and measurable? Let's assign a number to it! And then let's also make sure that it is both attainable, and realistic. Odd as it may sound, something can be attainable without being realistic. And what we mean by that is, you can work and work and work and work and burn yourself out, and hit that goal. But is that something that is a realistically good plan? We don't want to burn out and feel like we are running ourselves into the ground. So that is why we run every single goal through the SMART goal system!
Making a plan from our goals
In any of our coaching programs, we'll first start with your five-year vision. Entrepreneurship is not a sprint; it's a marathon! It is a whole journey! Sometimes, when we talk about five-year goals people look confused and confess that they have not even thought about it.
I want to encourage you to pause and dream about this. What do you want your life to look like in five years?
We really have to have some type of vision! It doesn't need to be concrete, but a lot of it does need to be SMART. However, it does not have to all-encompass that, especially with this five-year goal. Maybe you want to hit a monetary goal. Amazing! Or perhaps you want to be able to work a certain amount of hours a week, or be able to travel, or do something for your family, whatever that looks like for you! What is the vision that you have? Once we have that vision, then we can start to make a strategy!
What trips people up and what causes people to not achieve those visions is when they don't write them down! But then what are you going to do from there?
Break it down
How can we effectively work towards our five-year goal? First, we start with our one-year goals! When you've figured out what you're working towards for the year, then break your year down into quarters! So, if you haven't heard of this before, it's planning your year in three-month chunks. If we're starting in January, then January, February, and March is quarter one.
You can start your quarter whenever you want, in whichever month you want!
If you're reading this and want to start your first quarter in March, then that's fine! It's totally up to you. But the objective behind it is that you are planning in three-month chunks. Because when we break down our year into three-month chunks, that gives us four quarters, that gives us four different sections for specific focus. It's a lot easier than saying "by the end of 12 months, I want to do ____". That can be very daunting and overwhelming. It can make you kind of flounder and even make us procrastinate a little bit! We want to go into this year with strategy because that's the only way we know we're going to hit our goals. Quarterly planning is so beneficial because it breaks down that big intimidating goal into smaller, more manageable chunks that we can achieve.
So how does this play out?
Here we're going to use a monetary example because it's an easily measurable thing. Let's say that your five-year vision is to make $100,000. (Side note: If you are further along in your journey, you can make a lot more than that!)
Let's look first at where you're at. Are you just getting started? Have you made any money yet? Maybe you made $2,000 last year. How do you now work toward $100,000? You have to start somewhere! This year can be about setting a really good foundation. What we suggest if you're not making any money now, is that your one-year goal is to make $10,000 this year.
This is what we need to break down into quarters and look at your strategy to hit $10,000 within the next 12 months. What are some things that you know you need to work on now, that are also going to contribute to that five-year vision of hitting $100,000? Maybe you know you want to make money from page views. That means you want to get on Media vine, or Ad Thrive, and make money from ads. Maybe you also want to make money from affiliate income. And maybe you want to make money from digital products or brand deals.
- Quarter 1
So what I would suggest, in this example, is to focus solely on SEO, and Pinterest-driven blog posts for Q1. You're trying to get your audience built up and get a solid strategy for SEO on both Google and Pinterest. This is going to contribute to your page views and making money through ads, and can also contribute to your affiliate income! It will also contribute to digital product sales, and brand deals, right? It's all-encompassing!
The other thing that I want you to do in quarter one, is to add a killer opt-in to your site. You want this to be something that is a no-brainer that people will easily want to sign up for. (Not a "sign up and follow along for updates". Nobody's going to sign up for that.) So figure out a really awesome opt-in that is going to be irresistible.
That's your quarter one. That's your focus for 3 months!
- Quarter 2
Now you continue the blog posts and focus on building community. This could be with some type of video content or growing a Facebook group, or anything along those lines. Choose a platform like Instagram, Tiktok, or Facebook, and focus on that video content and connecting with your audience in that way. If video is not your jam, that's just fine! There are two things you can do: you can either practice and get really good at it and get out of your comfort zone, or you can do something else like growing a Facebook group. So quarter two is about fostering a community and continuing those blog posts.
- Quarter 3
In quarter three, what I would suggest is continuing the blog posts, but now let's make another opt-in that is more seasonal to continue growing that email list. Keep focusing on building that social media community, and now add in an affiliate link strategy. Since you've been focusing for the last six months on growing your page views on your blog posts, and on building a community, now you should have an audience to be able to share affiliate links! So you're going to add an affiliate link strategy in Q3.
- Quarter 4
In quarter four, we're going to continue. So, keep up the blog posts, make another seasonal opt-in, continue to build your social media community, and work that affiliate link strategy. And at this point, you could be doing one or two brand deals, or selling a digital product. Because now you have nine months under your belt of building an audience and of fostering that community.
So you see how everything can stack, right? We just started with blog posts, and then added an opt-in, then we incorporated a community, and then we incorporated an affiliate strategy. Now we're able to do brand deals because by this point if you've been consistent and doing really killer SEO, you should have really good page views! You should have a community, and you should have an email list. But it doesn't happen overnight! It didn't happen in that first quarter. It didn't even happen in quarter two; it took the full year to hit that mark.
This is the same strategy we use! No matter where you're at on your journey, we want you to do these steps. The five-year vision setting, the one-year plan to hit that vision, and then breaking that year down by quarter. No matter what the goal is, we do this every single year for our own brand!
More about Bree:
Bree Pair is a blogging coach and founder of Thrive - A blogging community built to empower and educate bloggers to make a full-time income by spending time on the right things. Her passion is helping bloggers create a strategy for growth and working with them on every side of their business to give them the confidence they need to be successful. Bree is propelled by the results of seeing bloggers go from overwhelmed to steady and sustained growth and creating the lifestyle they want.
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