Continuing with this month’s trend of goal-setting and scheduling in celebration of the Rock 2016 Planner launch, I’m going to talk about dealing with goals that feel completely unfeasible.
These goals are so big or require so much sacrifice that many of us will give up on them before even considering what the steps would be in order to actually achieve them.
Usually these massive goals have to do with our businesses bringing in a certain amount of income. However, they can also include a plethora of other things as well, such as allowing us more time to spend with loved ones, crossing off travel destinations from our bucket list, making a big impact on an issue we deem significant, and so on.
For a lot of handmade business owners their goal is to replace their job salary with the income made from their business, or at least be able to build up a sizable side income to make a difference in their overall lives.
But once we do the math, it’s easy to give up on those kind of monetary dreams and simply continue plodding along while telling ourselves that we’re happy with the bits of pocket change our business brings us. We may continue with our hobby business, but we slowly abandon all dreams of business-financed vacations, living debt-free, and having more time to spend with our families.
But then there are some of us who don’t give up. At least not right away.
Instead we tell ourselves, Okay, this is a big, scary goal, but if I break it down into separate, smaller, mini-goals, I can make this work.
Here’s where we get tripped up and paralyzed: we don’t break our goals down far enough.
What we actually do is break them down into projects, and then we go and take those projects and try to put them on our schedule.
When the time comes to work on said projects, they are too big and overwhelming that we either (a) don’t know where to start or (b) get frustrated with how long each one ends up taking us.
The solution? Take it a step further. Go from breaking goals down into projects, and then break those projects into sub-projects and individual tasks (preferably tasks that can be completed in a single sitting.)
Seriously, taking the time to do this will make even your biggest, widest, and most ambitious dreams start to feel possible. (click to tweet this!)
Let me give you a concrete example.
Let’s say your goal is to double your business income over the next year. That’s a 100% increase, and if you’re just starting out, or just starting to really take your business seriously as a business, this is a perfectly reasonable (albeit lofty) goal.
For the sake of example, let’s make up some numbers for this goal. Let’s say your business made you $12,000 last year. That means your goal for the next year is to end with a total of $24,000 (or more).
At first, seeing a big number can make you feel intimated and want to run for the hills. Hopefully you’ll find it less terrifying and more of an interesting challenge once we break down your goal some more.
The first step would be to evaluate some of your businesses’ numbers from last year.
Where was the money coming from? What activities contributed to your bottom line? Which attempts ended up causing you more expense than gain? (Keep in mind, there may be some activities that aren’t bringing in the money yet, such as creating a blog or building up a presence on Instagram, but they very well could be longer-term activities that require a lot more time before you can judge their effect on your business results.)
Once you know where the bulk on your income is already coming from, you’ll be able to to get an idea of what activities you could potentially start doing or simply do more of that could increase those numbers.
For example, if after calculating you realize that you brought in a quarter of last year’s income by participating in a handful of retail craft shows, you could look into doubling the number of shows you sign up for this year to boost that revenue stream.
So if you attended 5 craft shows last year, then “Participate in 10 Craft Shows” is a specific goal that you know has a strong potential to help you reach your main revenue goal and that can then be broken down into projects and tasks to be systematically approached in a way that is non-overwhelming.
“Participate in 10 Craft Shows” could, for example, be broken down to the following projects: apply for 15 craft shows, create enough inventory for 10 shows, design updated craft show booth, and plan and implement local craft show marketing plan.
Where many people go wrong is they stop here. But plugging something as daunting as “create enough inventory for 10 shows” into a planner or calendar is only going to set you up for frustration, overwhelm, and despair. That’s why we break projects up into sub-projects and tasks.
Here’s a visual example of what this could look like:
Individual tasks designed to be completed in 1 sitting can then be much more easily plugged into a weekly planner or electronic to-do list.
This process is much more manageable than trying to schedule a major goal “Make $24,000” or even “Make enough inventory for 10 craft shows,” don’t you think?
Now it’s your turn! Using the worksheets provided in the Rock 2016 weekly planner, a blank piece of paper, or your own calendar or planning system, take one of your major projects that stem directly from your biggest business or life goal, and break it down as much as you can into individual, manageable tasks that can be scheduled directly into your weekly planner or daily to-do lists.