Fall is the season of possibilities (and pumpkin spice lattes).
As I wrote about here, Fall is like the Entrepreneur’s New Year.
This year is especially poignant for me as my son starts school (preschool) in September. I know every mother can relate when I ask, “HOW did that happen so fast???”
It’s also a time when I’m in active planning mode for my business – deciding exactly where I’ll be focusing for the rest of 2013. Winging it has never proved particularly fruitful, so I like to know exactly what I’ll be working on and then reverse-engineer it to make sure it actually happens (great ideas are nothing more than ideas without execution).
So I’ve decided to put together this three-part series on how to prepare for a fantastic Fall, including:
Part one: DECIDE: Where will you focus your attention for the rest of 2013 (note: you can’t do it all – what’s most important now?)
Part two: POWER UP: What resources, tools and systems do you need in place to actually execute your plan?
Part three: READY, SET, GO: Taking action and staying motivated along the way.
Let’s start with DECIDE — which seems like an obvious and easy one, but is usually the biggest stumbling block to action.
Do you have a million ideas of what you could offer, create, promote? Me too.
Ideas are NEVER my problem (if they’re yours – email me for strategy session – I’ll create a dozen possibilities or more within an hour).
But I’m guessing ideas aren’t your problem either.
The problem is deciding which great ideas to execute on — and when. Right?
Because they all seem good. And you can pick one and then the next day it’s lost its shine and you’re back to choosing again. Ugh.
Or maybe the struggle is timing – which one to do first, second, third, etc.
Or, you’re stuck in overwhelm thinking about the HOW. (How is an idea killer btw).
So let’s start there — how to decide.
While I can’t tell you which idea to execute on first, here are some questions you can ask yourself to get clarity.
1. What have I already created/launched/sold that I could re-launch, increase promotions or bring attention to? (It’s easy to always go in favour of the NEW — guilty as charged — but what about leveraging what you’ve already done??)
2. Which of these ideas excites me the most? It may be tempered with a bit of fear — but there’s enthusiasm there nonetheless.
3. Which of these ideas feels easiest? Why make things hard — what can you offer that doesn’t feel like you’ve got to go into the creation cave for months before it’s ready?
4. What’s my fastest path to cash? Sometimes the most lucrative and easy way to income is staring you right in the face — pay attention. (*Note: fastest path to cash does NOT mean sacrificing quality, nor does it mean offering something completely unrelated to your normal work).
5. What would stretch and challenge me to grow most (in that exhilarating way — not the ‘kill me now’ way)?
Narrow your ideas down to 1-3 that you could possibly implement this Fall.
Now, put those ideas through a tighter filter by asking:
1. What’s the point of this idea? What does it seek to do?
2. Who is this targeted at? Do I have easy access to these people?
3. What differentiates this idea from others in the marketplace?
4. What problem does it solve or desire does it tap into?
5. What resources do I need to make it happen?
6. How does it (including the price point) fit into my overarching business sales funnel?
7. How does it fit in my overarching marketing & launch calendar? (remember to build in launch time)
8. What might get in the way of me implementing this idea? How do I address that?
9. How will I launch it and get it into the hands of my ideal customer?
10. How will I measure success?
This is just the beginning, but should give you a starting place to sort your ideas.
My best advice is to literally grab a bunch of sticky notes and put your ideas on each one. Then filter through these questions one by one, and put the ideas through the test. You’ll find that many just naturally fall away. Keep them in a journal or in Evernote for later.
Part of preparing for a fantastic Fall is to get really streamlined and focused on exactly where you’re going to put your energies. You can’t be executing on three creative projects, rebranding your website, writing your book, launching two courses, serving 20 clients and attending weekly networking events.
So you’ll need to make some strategic decisions on where you’re going to put your time and attention. Curious about where I’m focusing my energy?
September – December:
- supporting the members in our (more than a) Mastermind program (we’re headed to Canmore next month – super excited!!)
- continue launch of From Mags to Riches: Plan, Publish & Promote a Digital Magazine course (in progress – cart closes September 6).
- launch and run my new leadership program, Going PRO (sign up for early bird notifications on this)
- finish the first half of my book (this has been the slow slog project for me)
- publish the fourth issue of Going PRO magazine
- actively seek out speaking opportunities (already have two lined up!)
- and one secret project I’ll reveal soon
Of course there are a bunch of regular business tasks I need to continue focusing on including, blogging, my Weekly PRO newsletter, some website upgrades, new photos and more — but these are the main focus areas.
Truth? There are probably more items here than there should be. If you’re struggling with focus, productivity or getting stuff done – I don’t recommend having too many items. For me, I intuitively know that the more I have on my plate, the more I get done.
TIP: Carve out some time in the next week or two – just you, sticky notes, markers and your calendar (NO email/social media interruptions) and zone in on the 1-3 areas you’ll focus on for the rest of the year. Just the act of deciding will free up a tremendous amount of mental space and give you the clarity and energy to actually DO it.
What will you focus on this Fall? I’d love you to share in the comments below so I can support you!
p.s. if you’re feeling the excitement of Fall and want to do something that will create BIG impact, fast – check out the free webinar I’m doing next week on creating a Six Figure Spark in your business. Learn more here.