Resolutions are meant to be broken.
At least, that’s how we’ve come to think of them. So few of us actually stick to our New Year’s resolutions that making one barely means anything anymore.
That’s why, over the last few years, I’ve stopped making resolutions — and started setting goals instead. Not high-in-the-sky-and-barely-achievable goals, but goals I fully intend to execute throughout the year. In many ways, my goals are actually more like plans. (Click to tweet this.)
Because blogging serves as a form of accountability, here’s what I’m planning for the coming year.
Continue to overdeliver for our clients: We’re looking to take on two new clients by the end of February, but that’s where I’ll put the lid on short-term growth for Socialexis.
Why not continue to take on new clients when we have the demand? Because we want to put our effort into continuing to overdeliver for the clients we already work with, as well as launching awesome products. Which brings us to…
Renewed focus on products for AlexisGrant.com: A few months ago I blogged about an insight into digital products that changed the way we do business, and now’s where that insight comes into play. My products have high potential for revenue and a higher profit margin than client-based work, and the truth is, I love creating them.
Products came second in 2013 as I focused on systemizing the client arm of the business and growing The Write Life. But in 2014, this will be a priority.
Our early success has set us up to offer a huge surprise mid-March. Of all the things my team is working on, this is what I’m most excited about! We’ll share details as soon as we can.
Rebrand my company: It’s time to rename and rebrand Socialexis. Why? Because the company is no longer about me. Our clients benefit from the skills and ideas of our entire 10-person team, and the company brand should reflect that.
I’m also thinking about moving from a contractor to an employee model, and we’ll explore that possibility throughout the year.
I love reflecting on the year past and planning for the year ahead because it tends to spark ah-ha moments. Here are a few things I learned while putting together my 2014 goals that might help with your career planning, too.
Be smart about your own productivity trends: When you think about your broad goals for the entire year, the year can feel never-ending. But when you break down exactly when and how you’ll execute those plans, the year begins to feel very short.
Once my biz coach and I planned out my year, it became apparent that these first six months are the best time to accomplish the bulk of my 2014 projects. I’m more energetic and productive the first half of the year, and the second half tends to get filled with traveling, holidays and family. Last year things happened to pan out that way, but this year, that schedule will be deliberate.
Just knowing that has already boosted my productivity. I don’t need to be productive this year, I need to be productive these next six months. And the truth is, unless I get started right away, I’ll never finish all the projects on my calendar.
Map out your revenue like you do your projects: I went to my biz coach with a breakdown of deliverables for the year, as well as an admittedly-sort-of-pulled-out-of-thin-air revenue goal for the company. He coaxed me into doing something far more effective: figuring out exactly how much we want to make each quarter and what we need to do to get there.
We then mapped revenue projections next to deliverables, so I know exactly how to stay on track for both. This turned my revenue goals into plans.
Realize you can’t do everything: Know what’s NOT on my list? My travel memoir.
After failing to publish traditionally in 2013, I’m keen to self-publish… eventually. It’s not a top priority for this year, partly because the idea of editing the manuscript again sounds like a huge chore, and partly because realistically, the memoir is probably not going to make much money. Revenue isn’t everything, of course, but when you’re choosing between enjoyable projects that grow your bottom line and time-consuming-yet-fulfilling projects that won’t bring in much money, well, you can guess what gets put on the back burner.
Factor in your personal life: We often ignore life changes when setting career expectations, but the truth is, what happens in our personal life does affect our work. That’s why I’ve factored travel and family time into the second half of this year, knowing I’ll be able to maintain but perhaps not grow my business during those months.
Even if you’re not sure how your personal life will come into play this year or you get blindsided by a family development you didn’t expect, know that it’s OK to shift your plans to accommodate. After all, isn’t achieving life-work balance one of the big reasons so many of us want to work for ourselves?
For the last two months, I’ve stepped outside my usually productive routine to rest and reflect and brainstorm. But now? IT’S GO TIME. Bring on 2014!
Oh, and know what else motivates me like no other? This community. I’d love to hear your goals for the coming year if you’re willing to share in the comments!