Three Ways You {And Your Business} Can Own Next Year

It’s that time of year again.

No, not time for frantically burning off that pumpkin cheesecake in preparation for a string of holiday parties replete with everything sugar and spice that’s oh so nice. {Well, it is.} But...more importantly, it's time for getting a jump on the new year.

You've got this beautiful clean slate in front of you. And your head is swirling with what you're going to make happen for your business. 

All that daydreaming is first. Then overwhelm sets in.

next year's big dreams can turn into a big drag...

Imagining the big stuff you can't wait to do can turn to overwhelm at the things you have yet to do. Like that shelf full of books you're totally going to read this month {I have one of those, too}. And suddenly you're throwing up your hands {or just throwing things with your hands}.

And then there are the questions that pop into your head at 2am. What did you really achieve this year? How are you going to do more next year? What are you going to do? How are you going to do it?

And suddenly, those big dreams are dragging you down. But it doesn't have to be that way.

You can make next year the year for your business, without breaking your brain...or running to the nearest gingerbread man for moral support.

Start with these three practices.

Before you know it, you'll be all, bring it, 2018. My business and me? We've got this. 

1} Make space for big-time stuff.

Know how your yoga instructor's always telling you to find the space in your body? It feels good when you get it, right? Well, my dear entrepreneur, you need to make space -- in your mind, in your schedule. You might even need to make space in your space.

@@By making space, you make room for doing the big things you need to do to build your business.@@

Make space in your  mind. Let go of the old stale stuff that's weighing on you. Old expectations. Old clients. Old projects. Let it all go. You’re moving forward. Ruminating over old stuff won’t help you do what’s next. Those clients have a way of finding their way back to you when they need you, or when they’re ready for you. And it's ok to accept that you're not going to ever get to those old projects. They might just not be that important.

If it helps, make a list of all the stuff that keeps popping up in your mind, but that isn't moving you forward. Do it all in one sitting. Or keep a running list that you add to whenever these things interrupt your flow.

Make space in your schedule. Create space in your schedule for just being. Just thinking. Without expectation of a deliverable at the end. This might sound scary at first. You've got a bazillion things to do to keep that business growing.

But you’ll be amazed at what your super smart brain can come up with by the end of a 25 minute power nap. And you don’t even have to nap. Close your eyes and be still. Close your eyes and listen to a podcast. Let your mind wander where it will in the space you’ve created. Try it. You just might come up with the best idea ever while you're just being.

Make space in your space. "Life without a bag of unsolved problems is a lot lighter and you can get a lot more done," says Seth Godin in the Icarus Deception. And he's right. And the clutter in your space is the physical representation of unsolved problems. 

Shredding a stack of old papers you don’t need anymore can be more than cathartic. It’s part of emptying that bag of unsolved problems. Releasing that weight, making this space in your space, can actually make space for the new to come to you, and for you to do what you need to do. So whether you work at your kitchen table, your home office, or wherever you take your laptop, look for ways to make space in your space.

2} Be a good finder.

Entrepreneurs tend to be overachievers. We tend to expect a lot of ourselves. And that means we're hard on ourselves and our business. 

Case in point: Did you just gloss over that word, “overachiever,” because you’re sure it couldn’t apply to you? I see you. You’re sure you haven’t earned it. I mean, Gary Vee exists and it is very likely that you are not him. But. You are in business for yourself. You've built this thing and it's awesome. I'll bet that your friends and family see you as an overachiever. Even if you don’t. And even if you almost always believe you haven’t done enough.

@@What if, for just a moment, you flipped the script. What if you were a good finder {for yourself and your business}?@@

Being a good finder means finding the good in whatever you’re looking at.

For you and me, it means this: Rather than immediately seeking to fix it or optimize it or whatever your entrepreneurial mind drives you to do, you see what's good in it.

If {ok, when} you start feeling overwhelmed by all the stuff you want to do in that new year laying itself out before you, or how far you want to take your business, or how far that is from where you are right now, stop.

Find the good in your business. And in yourself as a business owner. It’s easy.

Take stock of what you’ve done and what you’ve learned and where you’ve taken yourself in the past year. Literally take stock. Write it down {Yes, again with the writing. I like words.} You might be surprised as that list flows out of you, maybe onto page after page.

Now, sit back and admire your frantic handwriting. And the actual words. Notice how you feel in your business now vs. a year ago.

You just found a lot of good. Carry that with you into your planning and daydreaming for 2018.

3} Recognize your goals for what they are.

This is something I do with every client at the very beginning of our work together. We don’t start out talking about annual revenue or numbers of website visitors per month. Nope. First, we start with what all that stuff is for. We start with where we're headed.

I call this our objective. {You can call it whatever you want. Let me know if you come up with something that’s less corporate-speak-ish than this.} 

You want to add three clients per month? Double your annual revenue? Finally take that epic vacation, without worrying that the business will somehow disintegrate? That’s your objective. Everything you do is helping you get there.

Your objective looks like a goal. But it's not a goal.

You can achieve it. You can measure it. You can set a time limit on it. But you can’t control it. Not completely, anyway. You can’t control whether those three clients per month will say yes. You can control what you do to help those clients find you and help them say yes to you. Those are your goals.

Your goals are the things you can do to reach your objective. 

Let's say your objective is to add three clients per month. What things will move the needle towards helping those clients find you and say yes to you? Those are your goals. 

The specifics will depend on who you are, how you work, and who your clients are. What's important is that these are things you can do, you can control, you can schedule, and you can measure. {By the way, this is why, before getting into what marketing we’re going to do and how we’ll measure it, I help my clients get real about why they’re doing marketing in the first place.}

Alright. That new year is coming up on us fast. Go get your planning on.

Try working these three practices into your days. You won't fall prey to that dreaded overwhelm. And you might even get to enjoy a few of those parties.

Trying to wrap your head around how to get your marketing right? let's talk.