It’s easy to get caught up in busy; the hustle and bustle of day-to-day life and business.
Finding the time for strategic planning can be challenging, especially if you are a busy consultant or coach who manages work around a family or eldercare.
And yet, if you don’t find the time and space to plan for your business, you are in danger of getting stuck on the busy treadmill, heading for burnout.
If you have been woolly about your business planning over the past few years and beginning to feel exhausted by work, then this is for you.
In this article, I want to share the three essential aspects of planning that are often overlooked and can help prevent burnout: setting money goals that mean something to you, defining your joy metrics, and reviewing your time and energy flows.
Setting Money Goals That Mean Something
Let’s start with setting money goals that mean something to you.
Most clients we work with tell us they are rarely motivated by money. Yes, they need an income and would like to have more money to enjoy their lives more, but they don’t like to set money goals because they tell us it’s not what motivates them on a daily basis.
And when they do feel they ought to set a money goal, they pluck a figure out of the air or default to the infamous ‘6-figure’ goal.
Without clear money goals that mean something to you, you can drift from year to year, taking whatever work comes your way.
1. Work out your ‘need income’ and ‘enough income’
Consultants and coaches often only focus on setting big money goals income, which can frustrate them when they don’t get it. It’s like one of those 6-figure goals that get thrust down our throats as an approved sign of success; you may have felt great when you first came up with it, but years later, when you still haven’t achieved it, you feel frustrated and lose your confidence.
Knowing your minimum ‘need income’ is – what you need to live on – and your ‘enough income’ – what would make you happy and give you a better lifestyle – not only helps manage your expectations and emotions but also means you make better commercial decisions about your prices and sales targets.
2. What do you need to sell in order to give you the income you want?
Your business revenue isn’t your income, yes? You have costs and taxes to pay before spending any hard-earned sales.
But knowing this logically is one thing; it is easy to forget this amid a busy month, especially if you are self-employed or selling your time for money.
Ensuring you know what your monthly revenue needs to be to give you both your ‘need income’ and ‘enough income’ helps you manage your expectations and set realistic sales targets so you know how much is enough to get you what you want.
You may even realise there’s less to do than you think needs doing to achieve it!
We love it when this happens with our clients; it’s easy to over-complicate business and work harder than you think you need to.
3. Review your costs and monthly outgoings
Money can leave your business as quickly as you bring it in at times if you don’t keep a close eye on your figures. So, when looking at money goals, this is a great opportunity to run through all your regular expenses and subscriptions and make sure you are still using them or they are adding value to what you do.
Cancel anything that you aren’t using or won’t help you move your business forward, and this will instantly improve your profit margins without getting more clients!
4. Review your prices
Again, this is a great opportunity to review your charge rates and prices. You must give your current clients notice if you need to increase your prices. So review now and prepare for a price increase if it needs to happen.
Working on your money goals can throw up all sorts of emotions and feelings, especially if you don’t feel you have a good relationship with your money (and yes, this is very common, so you aren’t alone!).
But don’t stick your head in the sand and tell yourself you’re too busy to do money goals.
Even if you aren’t motivated by money, your business needs money goals to be able to give you a simple, less stressful work week; otherwise, you work harder than you need to get what you want.
So, if you don’t want to do it for yourself, do it for your health and well-being!
Setting Your Joy Metrics
Let’s dive into the next cornerstone: defining and setting your Joy Metrics.
While money goals are important, what’s the point if you are stressed and miserable trying to achieve them?!
It’s why so many of us left jobs to start our own businesses; we wanted to have more control over our time and who we wanted to work with and make a difference in the process. Yes?
This is why I believe it’s equally vital to prioritise your well-being and happiness in your business planning.
Joy metrics came up recently for one of our Momentum members.
Kaye had just renewed her one-year membership and had spent the first year of Momentum getting to grips with her business numbers and money flow. Going into her second year, I saw how much pressure she was still putting on herself, and I asked her whether it was time to measure her joy, too.
Tracking your finances can feel heavy at the best of times, and it can be easy to lose sight of how important happiness and enjoyment are to you if you let money pressure build-up.
So, how do you measure something like joy to help you in your business planning?
1. Identify what specifically brings you joy
Reflect on your past few weeks and identify what parts of your business and life have brought you the most joy and fulfilment.
Is it your impact on clients, the quality of your work, or how your week flows?
And if you can’t see many joyful parts over the past few weeks, go back to a time when you did feel joy in your work and ask yourself what has been missing recently.
2. Set your joy scores
Identify the top 2 or 3 things that bring you joy and write out your definition of what a 10/10 score would look like for each one, as well as a 1/10 score. You want to quantify and qualify each extreme score to give you a benchmark from which to measure.
Don’t worry about ‘getting this right’ … this will be very personal to you, so trust yourself to do what you feel is right. Everyone will have different answers depending on what’s important to them.
3. Regularly assess your Joy Metrics
As often as you track your business numbers and money flow, measure your joy for each one on a score of 10. Yes, this will be subjective, but if you consistently measure against a perfect 10 score and a horrid 1 score, you should be able to see what’s improving for you.
When you can measure your joy in this way and be able to add up and compare scores across the coming weeks alongside your business numbers and money flow, you will have some clear data to help see where and what you need to improve on to set yourself up for success next year.
Managing Your Time & Energy Flow
Let’s move on to the third cornerstone of your time and energy flow.
Time and money are your two most precious resources.
You CAN NOT make more time and energy … nor can you manage them.
What you can do, though, is manage yourself and regulate your pace of work.
1. BIG Events
First, look at where your BIG events are coming up over the next year; what will you need to be on top form and feel great for? Perhaps you are moving house or have one of your children leaving home for University or changing schools. Maybe you are predicting that you may have to step up and take on more care for one of your parents.
And with work, what BIG projects are coming up? Are you planning to write a book or launch a new programme, or have you scheduled some big keynote talks in your diary?
Knowing what BIG events will likely happen will allow you to take this next step …
2. Time Block
Add buffer days and down weeks to your diary now. I do this in my own diary at the start of every planning cycle, including blocking out Bank Holidays and holiday time.
For example, I have a big business exhibition in a few months, so I’ve blocked out the rest of the week as I know I will be exhausted from being on my feet all day.
You may need to take three weeks out at the start of next September to help your child move to Uni; block this out in your diary now.
3. Energy Tracking
Thirdly, start getting conscious of how your energy naturally flows. This is particularly important for women whose natural hormone cycles run over 28 days and yet work 24-hour day cycles, expecting to have the same productivity every day of every month.
Consistent productivity isn’t something we can hope to achieve, so knowing how your body naturally ebbs and flows throughout the months can greatly impact how you plan your weeks.
I liken this to opening up your weather app to find out what shoes to wear; it’s not a perfect prediction, but it helps you prepare for the worst and not get caught in a downpour in your best suede boots!
If you want help, I created a brilliant 28-Day Energy Tracker for my Ebb & Flow® programme. You can get a copy here.
So, how do you feel about business planning now?
Setting these money goals, your Joy Metrics and beginning to take steps to manage your energy flow, will all help you flow more elegantly throughout your year and avoid burnout.
And, I hope, will help you find more meaning in your work and pave the way for long-term sustainable success.