Business planning: August review & September goals
I’m a planning maniac. One of my favourite things is to make checklists and then to check them off. Planning is so important for getting the bigger picture of what to do and what to skip - what to skip because sometimes (actually very often) while planning I can see that I put too much on my plate at the same time, and that’s not fair - to me or to anyone in my closest range (especially family who doesn’t need a mom that works all evenings). But what do you do when your job is your hobby too? Can you relate?
That life/work balance is tough, for sure!
So every year I create a plan for the year to come, and also revise my long term 3-year plan. The 3-year plan is great for defining those big goals far away in the future (that might seem overwhelming and impossible at the current point) and the years up to that third year becomes milestones that are a bit easier to grasp.
If you want to read and learn more about how I create my 3-year plan I have an article series about it together with a 3-year plan workbook for applying this strategy plan to your own business or big project.
Click the image below or here to go to the complete article series and get your workbook:
But even a yearly plan can sometimes feel to big, too overwhelming. So that’s why I also started making monthly plans. But a plan is useless without a follow up, so that’s why I at the end of each month also do a recap of the month that has passed and at the same time set new goals for the month to come.
Both business and private goals
This type of planning can be applied not only to your business and work, but also for incorporating some private goals. That’s a good way to conquer that life/work balance - so that your focus isn’t only on the business, but also on YOU.
Accountability can be a party starter
So I’ve done this a bit on the side so far, not very structured and not publicly. But someone said that if you show your goals to others, it is more likely that you will actually try to accomplish them. Something about accountability…
I've just started a Facebook group that's going to be about planning your pattern design business, setting goals and working with them. I want it to be a place and opportunity to have accountability and also support from others that struggle with building and nurturing their creative business.
You can apply for joining the group too! You'll find it here >>
I try to do my planning by topics - both the recap and goals and I’ll show you how and give you some examples of topics to set goals further down.
Note: the things I’m about to share here aren’t all my September goals, because there are some things that I want to keep to myself still, they are either personal or projects that I’m not ready to share yet ;-).
So first out is a recap of my August; what I’ve done and accomplished within different areas, what goals did I reach and which I didn’t. Also what successes did I have and what was disappointing. And, what did I learn during the month (any developments or just status quo?).
Half of August was more or less still vacation since the kids schools started mid month. So after coming back from some trips in end of July I gradually started working again and when schools started I could finally get some serious work done.
One of the highlights of the month was our 10 year anniversary. Me and Johan went down town to celebrate with drinks on a rooftop bar and then dinner at our favourite restaurant, that used to be a night club once - which is where we first met! :-).
Formex trade show
This month was also the month of the Formex trade show here in Stockholm. I wrote a bit about it and the not anymore eternal question whether I should exhibit myself or not - in another blogpost. Read about it here if you’d like to >>
Meet-up with Swedish Pattern Society
One of the highlights during Formex was to meet up with some of the Swedish Pattern Society members. SPS is a group of Swedish pattern designers that I initiated in the beginning of this year so that us home studio hermit swedes could have some pattern colleagues too. We’ve met up a few times already and it’s always so rewarding and inspiring. And yay! finally colleagues to do after work with! If you're a Swedish pattern designer and would like to join our group too you can apply here >>
Learning my DSLR camera
One great thing this month was that I finally started to properly learn how to use my (very basic) DSLR camera. For that I watched a great Skillshare class that really got me going and I totally recommend it. It’s called ”Fundamentals of DSLR photography” with Justin Bridges.
And on the same topic I also opened up and used Lightroom for the first time, and OMG what a great tool for editing my photos. Up til now I’ve used Photoshop, only because I was familiar with it. So Lightroom together with my budding photography skills I’m hopefully gonna create a lot more visual material of my own for social media, website, blog, webshop and Pinterest just to mention a few areas.
When it comes to being artistic and creative during this month I’ve been on the lazy side, but speaking of the above I’ve been taking some photos that I will use for my blog and Instagram.
I also started working on a complex & elaborate pattern design that is the start off for a new pattern collection.
Well, I did my first ever Instagram giveaway, but that didn’t really take off, only a handful of participants, which was a bit disappointing. But great odds for the participants ;-).
Oh, well. I’ll get back on that horse really soon anyway, because giving stuff away is fun!
Another thing that I’m not so pleased with is that I didn’t manage to prepare and automate as many of my tasks as I wanted to. I’m such a slow writer and it just takes so much time for me to create content for the blog, Instagram and newsletters. Need to find a way to be even more efficient with this. The upside is that I really enjoy this task, perhaps that’s why I spend all that time doing it…
One of the big successes of August is the questionnaire I sent out to my newsletter list a couple of weeks ago. I got so much amazing intel which will help me a lot in creating better content about what I can help other pattern designers with.
The success I’m most proud of is - of course - the launch of the Gemstone home textiles in collaboration with Svanefors and seeing my pattern design on their products displayed in their Formex booth. You can read my blogpost on that here >>
=> Batch working takes practice and tweaking before getting it right.
=> Remember to take more classes and workshops for myself => forget how rewarding that is.
Now on to the next step:
- Take a day off on my b-day and indulge in something just for myself: facial, pedicure, walk, shopping, visit a museum I’ve always wanted to visit.
- 1 date with hubby.
- Host a dinner for our friends.
- Hang out with a friend for an evening.
- 1 new pattern collection finished EOM.
- Start up new teaching project.
- Update portfolio.
- Serve my logo client well and deliver finalized design.
- Contact 3-4 companies.
- Wrap up a website project.
- Publish new products in the webshop.
- Fully planned & batched marketing tasks.
- 2 media pitches.
- Record 2 videos/tutorials.
- Products for the DesignMarket ready to go.
- Schedule pins for 1 week ahead (every Monday morning), create IG-posts, FB-posts, blog articles, email newsletters for one month ahead - divided to 1 Monday each during the month.
- Create 1-2 new pattern designs.
- Admin, finance & planning on Friday afternoons.
- No working during the weekends!
- Have one screen/digital free day.
- Exercise or take a walk.
- Close the business at 17 pm (the latest).
- Only check emails 3 times a day.
- Check social media 1 time in the morning and 1 time in the afternoon.
And when September closes I’ll go back and check how I did with these goals.
Now your turn to make monthly planning
So as you can see I’m mixing both business and personal goals here. And all the goals could also be labeled to a specific area or topic. And if you want to start making monthly, weekly and daily goals like this too, a good advice is to start off by defining your topics, then assigning them to the appropriate level.
Setting monthly goals
Goals on a monthly basis are typically larger projects or tasks, seasonal activities, things you do once in a while, or things that recur every month but not every week or daily - like planning a trip, buying a new sofa, designing a pattern collection, a portfolio, a website or producing a course.
Examples of topics/areas for monthly personal goals:
- Health: ex: getting to a milestone when it comes to weight or perhaps achievements (running 10 km).
- Intellectual: reading x books...
- Social & friends
- Adventure & novelty
Examples of topics for monthly business goals:
- Start a new pattern collection
- Create x new patterns
- Update portfolio
- Launch new website, or course, or digital product
- Growing your email list by x
- Contacting x companies
- Participate at a design market, workshop, webinar etc
Setting weekly goals
The goals you set on a week basis are tied to things that you do every week, routines and processes that you find yourself doing on a regular basis, but not every day. For instance: bookkeeping, cleaning the house, creating content for your platforms (social media, newsletter, blogposts), exercise x times.
Topics for personal weekly goals can be:
- Exercise 3 times
- Meal prepping Sundays
- Call a friend
And some weekly business goals:
- Send newsletter
- Write and publish 1 blogpost
- Create 1 new pattern
- Call 1 company to send portfolio to
- Batch create Instagram & Facebook posts for a whole week
- Arrange 1 lunch meeting
Take one course on Skillshare
Setting daily goals
Your daily goals are based on the things you want to do and accomplish every day. Perhaps take a walk or move your body in any way, brush your teeth before lunch, dress in something else than sweatpants, finish work at a specific time.
For both your daily personal and business goals it boils down to the details really, the simple things that makes up your every day. An example of a daily business routine to have as a goal can be to start every day with a glance at your calendar (have a morning meeting with yourself), or setting specific time slots for checking email and social media (instead of every 5 minutes).
When you’re starting to come up with your own business areas and topics where you want to set goals you can also think department wise:
Design studio, product development, marketing, PR, sales, finance.
Be realistic and reasonable. Don’t put too much on your plate. What is reasonable for you to accomplish in 1 month / every week / daily?
Monthly recap and goalsetting template
I’ve created a template for monthly recaps and goal setting (including weekly & daily goals) that you can use as a worksheet or just inspiration for creating your own.