I usually romanticize about my "dream life" and then make all kinds of work-related and personal resolutions. I always feel like I have the energy of the ages behind me — that nothing can stand in my way! That is, until reality sets in and I realize I have more resolutions than time.
This year, no resolutions for me. I recently had the realization that resolutions are akin to laying out dreams without an agenda and specifics, without which nothing changes. This year, I set my attention, my intention, and through this, my goals.
SETTING MY ATTENTION
I did an end-of-year review of my business. I took a hard look at the numbers: at which actionable items brought in the most revenue and which ones just ate up the most time without a significant financial return. I was shocked to find that my core offering, web design, is actually a great big loser when comparing time spent with revenue and cash flow.
I knew I had my biggest year yet in terms of web design, but the amount of time it takes for me to create a website versus cash flow is not working. I had to make a big change if Saxon Design was going to remain solvent and I was going to maintain my sanity. This has been my monster in the closet for years… it's time to figure out a solution and get on with living a successful and happy life. Otherwise, what's the point, right?
SETTING MY INTENTION
Once my attention was on the "problem," I could set an intention. At first, my intention was simply to solve my cash flow problem by invoicing monthly rather than at certain project breakpoints, but I knew that was not targeting the real issue. My real issue is time.
I have two children, and even though they are getting older, I just do not have a steady 8-hour day or 40-hour workweek. My personality is such that I do not work well with interruptions (I get crabby and then cannot think or create well). I prefer introversion to extroversion, and I need solace, so I end up taking some "solace time" during my work day when the kids are at school. It's a necessity!
I also need more time for personal things, like finding a hobby (what's that?), learning about raw foods (a personal interest), yoga and working out, and relaxation.
Upon taking a more holistic view, I fully understood that web design alone does not either fulfill me or bring in enough money to sustain my family. I took a good look at where I get most into my "zone" and what feels good, what takes the least amount of time for me, and the answer was clear: I LOVE TO WRITE.
At this point, I knew I could easily work writing into my core services by offering SEO and Content Development, and within one day of making that decision (I had not even announced it), three different people called, asking about these very services. We are now discussing retainer options. A beautiful thing.
SETTING MY GOALS
There is now a lot of work to do in rearranging my core services. Ongoing SEO and content development will now be the main thrust of my business and how I get people through the door. Web design will be supplementary. My goals include:
1. Education. I have a lot to do here, but once I started diving in, I realized I already know much more than I had originally thought. I have chosen an SEO University, and will begin going through their curriculum at the start of the year. This is a self-paced curriculum, so I am able to schedule this into my day, week and month as I see fit, and it is extremely affordable. Beautiful.
2. Website Update. Now that I am much more clear about what I am doing and how I can make money doing it, the look, feel and language of my website needs to change. Quickly.
3. Marketing. I am using Marketing Mentor's 2013 Marketing Plan + Calendar for Creative Professionals to keep me on track in this way, and rather than waiting until my website is finished, I have decided to do outreach on an ongoing basis and use my personal connections with people to explain the exciting changes I am making.
I feel that because of these changes:
- I will be able to move work in and out at a much faster pace, keep cash flow going, and have more personal time.
- I will have the cash flow to outsource the parts of web design that are so slow for me, and I will enjoy the process much, much more.
- I will build and strengthen my client relations through ongoing work for them, and they will be able to accurately measure the value of what I accomplish for them.
- Not only that, but I will have the first glimpse of how my services are helping them grow and make more money, and that is a wonderful feeling.
How about you? What kinds of changes will you be making in your business this year? Do you have a plan?