5 Simple Steps To Planning For Success

Do you want to get over 1000 subscribers for your blog? Win the World Series of Poker? Climb Mount Kilimanjaro? Complete a triathlon?

These are worthy goals and ambitious ones too but if you really want to succeed at anything you’ll get there faster with a plan.

I’ve already achieved many of my life dreams and the key to that has been careful planning. Here are a few life dreams I’ve achieved so far:

  • Lived and worked in France, the USA, the UK, Zimbabwe, Laos, New Zealand, Costa Rica and Australia plus travelled to numerous other countries.
  • Set up my own business and worked from home in three different countries for the last 12 years.
  • Got married and had children, but not in that order.
  • Settled near the beach in a stunning tropical place.

Do You Have a Plan?

But enough about me. Let’s focus on you. What are your goals? Do you know? Because if you don’t know what your goals are then you haven’t got much chance of making them happen.

The rules are the same when it comes to planning your life, your business, you blog, your holiday or just about anything. The more time you spend planning the more success you’ll have.

To keep this simple I’m going to use my blog to explain how I plan and what you can do to plan for success too. I’m focusing on a blog but the basic principles can be applied to planning just about anything.

After reading this you’ll have a real understanding of how careful planning will help you get where you want to be. By the time you get to the end of this article you should be fired up and excited about planning your dream life, blog, business, party or whatever else you choose to focus on because planning is fun in itself and the results are even better.

Step 1: Work Out Your Goals

My blogging goals are simple:

1. To give invaluable information and help people live their dream.

2. To create a viable business.

What are your goals? Keep them simple and sum them up in one or two sentences.

Step 2: Do Some Research

I’ve spent a year researching blogging which is a bit over the top but I want my plan to work so I needed to find out if it was possible.  Here are the three key questions you need to ask yourself before you set up a blog or business.

  1. Are the products or services you offer in demand?
  2. Can you offer a unique selling point?
  3. Do you have the know how to supply your target audience and deliver the goods?

My research has told me that:

Yes, the information I’m giving here is needed.

Yes, there’s a gap in the blog market for honest, concrete advice on self improvement for the self employed, from a woman who’s been there and done it.

Yes, I have the necessary skills to supply the goods. I’m a writer with a good understanding of Web design. Some skills like social media I don’t have I can learn myself and other skills I lack like technical expertise and graphic design I know people who can help me with those. If you don’t have the skills you need work out how to get them or access them.

Is your idea viable? Is your dream realistic?

Step 3: Assess Where You’re Up To

So far on this blog I’ve:

  • Built up a huge amount of content. There are over 120 articles here ~ probably around 120,000 words which is the size of a decent book.
  • Built up a core of dedicated readers who like what I have to say, keep coming back to read more and tell other people about it.

What skills and experience have you already got that will stand you in good stead when it comes to achieving your goal?

Step 4: Work Our What You Need To Do Next

To achieve my goals I need to:

  • Keep building more subscribers.
  • Carry on writing excellent content and giving it away free of charge here and with guest posts on related blogs.
  • Introduce income streams.

What steps do you need to take to work towards your goal?

Step 5: Create a Timeline

When you make a timeline plan the actions you need to take within a certain time frame. I could procrastinate for hours, weeks or probably years given half a chance but I find actually working out a timeline, writing it down and committing to is the best way for me to stay on track and achieve my goals.

Because I’m a parent and work around my kids I work in school terms or semesters as they’re called in the States. Here in Australia there are four terms of 10 weeks each. I find this a useful way to divide up my year, parcel out the work and decide how to fit it in.

A 10 week plan also gives me a break four times a year when I can stop, take stock of progress and have a well deserved break. You’ll need to work out a timeframe that works best for you.

How To Make a Timeline That Works For You

1. Work out a goal.

2. Plan how to achieve it.

3. Break it into small tasks.

4. Introduce a time frame and make a timeline that works for you.

5. Work out what the key barriers are.

6. Stick to the timeline as much as possible.

7. Measure your progress.

8. Learn from your mistakes and don’t give up.

My 10 Week Blogging Plan

Here’s my plan for the coming 10 weeks. I know it won’t go exactly according to plan but I also know that the plan will help me get more done than if I was blogging freestyle. I’ve already created an editorial calendar so I know what topics I’ll be writing about here until June.

Weekly Tasks

Every week I plan to write two posts for Get In the Hot Spot and one guest post.

This might look easy to you but I have my own business to run, copywriting clients with deadlines, three kids and a household to run too. Plus Coca Cola have just headhunted me for a trip to Shanghai to launch their Live Positively initiative because they like the uplifting tone of my writing here. I’m not kidding! It’s an interesting story and a wonderful opportunity.

In addition to the three posts I plan to write every week I’ve allocated each of the 10 weeks to one task.

The idea is that I can work on one of these major goals each week. For some of the goals that’s realistic. For some it’s well nigh impossible. For example, creating an ebook is definitely not something I can turn around in a week. But by putting it on the list I can at least get started by deciding on what the topic is and planning the contents in detail.

I’m a planner. I love it. In fact I think the danger for me is that I could spend more time planning things than actually following through on them. So here I am committing to keep my blog moving forward no matter what else is going on in my life.

My Week By Week Plan

  1. Work out a plan of action to reach my blogging goals.
  2. Redesign the blog.
  3. Incorporate video or audio.
  4. Complete my 12 step blog program – it’s a course I’m developing to help people learn to blog by giving them only the most important information. I’ve started writing it and am testing it out on two budding bloggers to see make improvements to it and make sure it makes sense.
  5. Create a free product (probably an ebook) to encourage email subscriptions.
  6. Find a sponsor.
  7. Open a store and sell two select affiliate products that I believe in 100%.
  8. Create a survey to poll readers on what would be a good product to create myself – I’m thinking of an ebook but want to see which topic interests readers most.
  9. Create a product and get it ready to launch in September.
  10. Design and lead some blogging seminars for small business owners or writers in my local area – the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia.

Over To You

My goal for my first year of blogging was to get 1000 subscribers which I achieved by a squeak. I’ve already said I want to have  a total of 5000 subscribers by the end of year two (March 2011). I don’t know if that will be easy, hard or if it’s realistic. But since I met my goal last time I’ve decided to ratchet it up a bit and go for 15,000 subscribers. I think if I set the goal higher I’ll step up to the mark and achieve it. Even if I don’t make it I’ll be glad I tried.

In case you’re interested I also want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. I’d love to win the World Series of Poker but know that one’s just a pipe dream. And as for the triathlon, that’s no dream of mine but if that’s what you’re aiming for I’ll support you all the way.

Now it’s your turn to start planning for success. What crazy goal are you going to set yourself?

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If you’re new here I hope you’ll like what you see and take a moment to subscribe. It’s a brilliant way to stay motivated and inspired plus it’s totally free.

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>> Round Up of Articles for 2009

Author: Annabel Candy

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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Carmen April 20, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Great outline for how to grow a blog. It’s very similar to what I’m trying to do. I just hadn’t written it out formally. Thanks for sharing your strategy!

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Annabel Candy April 20, 2010 at 12:43 pm

Carmen – I don’t think some people need to take it this far. If you can hold all the info in your head and stay motivated long term without it kudos to you. But for me writing it down, committing to it in that way and being able to tick off things I’ve achieved really helps me stay on track. Wishing you all the best with your plans and looking forward to watching your blogging evolution:)

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Tony April 20, 2010 at 3:28 pm

That’a a great article Anabel, as a newcomer to blogging, there’s some invaluable advice there. Thanks

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Annabel Candy April 20, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Tony – Thanks for joining us. I’ve got plenty more handy hints like that to share:)

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Diggy April 20, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Hey Annabel!

Interesting to read about your goals. It’s funny how a few bloggers have all created posts about their goals in the last two weeks (myself included). I still need to publish mine :)

Wish you the best of luck with your goals this year!
Cheers
Diggy

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Annabel Candy April 20, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Diggy – Good, if we’re all planning for success we can take over the universe together:)

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Megan Zuniga April 20, 2010 at 4:55 pm

I’m so envious. You’ve seen half of the world already. The important thing about setting goals is the determination to finish them. =D

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Annabel Candy April 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Megan – I was totally focused on travel between during my twenties and completed a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course so I could work just about anywhere. I’ve been very lucky but there are still plenty of places I’d like to explore. My dreaming and traveling definitely isn’t over yet:)

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Stacyann Forrester April 21, 2010 at 12:39 am

Have you tried using SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Timely) when defining your goals?

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Srinivas Rao April 21, 2010 at 4:00 am

Annabel,

AS you know I’m a big fan of setting goals and developing plans to achieve them. Creating a blogging marketing plan was one of the most effective things I’ve ever done and actually has resulted in income today for me. On shooting for 15K subscribers, I Think that’s awesome. The thing that’s great about it is you might get to 10k if you set a goal of 15. So in the end it, it’s still of tremendous value to set a goal that you might not achieve. AS they say “Shoot for the moon, and you’ll land among the stars.” Not a bad place to be ;).

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J.D. Meier April 21, 2010 at 4:53 am

I like the way you’ve kept it simple and laid it out in 10 weeks of simple outcomes.

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Annabel Candy April 21, 2010 at 6:16 am

Stacyann – No, haven’t tried it but it sounds as if I should:) Thanks for the tip, will investigate.

Srinivas – I know I should do a marketing plan too. It sounds like a brilliant idea because although I’d like to create an income from my blog I’m definitely not running it as a business. At the moment it’s just a time-consuming habit but I love it! Yes, decided I might as well aim big:) Nothing to lose and plenty to gain!

J.D – The plan is definitely helping me stay on track and keep distractions in their place:)

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Hannah April 21, 2010 at 6:27 am

Hi Annabel,

Thanks for writing a great post. It’s really helped me clarify some goals I have for my blog and helped dispel a fog cloud that’s been hanging over my ‘next actions’ thoughts for the last couple of weeks!

Best,

Hannah

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Annabel Candy April 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

Hannah – Thanks for joining us. Great to hear it’s already helped you. It’s defnitely helping me too, that’s why I wanted to share it:)

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T. Thema Martin April 21, 2010 at 9:47 am

You are an inspiration. I read your guest post on Pro Blogger about how you got 1000 subscribers. I am also trying to increase the numbers of subscribers, as well, so I easily identified with you. A lot of times, we set goals but have no action plan. My motto is : Urgent Constant Action (UCA)! You now have another subscriber.

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Cate April 21, 2010 at 10:29 am

Is it serendipity or is it chaos theory at work? I originally found and fell in love with your blog when I first started flirting with the idea myself, but after all this time still hadn’t settled on a subject (there are several contenders)… until yesterday, when my right brain finally revealed an idea of which the blog will be a part. And… voila!… today you post this fabulous, totally useful and inspiring content. Now to some serious goal setting and planning…..

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Annabel Candy April 21, 2010 at 10:52 am

T. Thema – Great to hear you’ve subscribed. Thank you. I love the UCA slogan.

Cate – Well that’s exciting. I’m busy writing a 12 steps to get started blogging program. I wish I could get it ready in time to help you more. Blogging has really been a fantastic journey for me. I’ve learnt so much, met so many amazing and interesting people and gained a lot of confidence. I recommend it and am excited you’ve got an idea in mind. Have fun with it:)

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Megan Zuniga April 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm

Maybe someday I’ll be able to travel the world too. It’s kinda my dream too…that and world peace (hehehe).
Oh, I found a useful site, I hope you wouldn’t mind me sharing, http://sn.im/uxpd3 I know it says major keys to success but it’s actually about identifying fears that hinder our success.

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Lulu April 21, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Jumped over from mummytime. Congratulations on getting picked to head to China with Coca Cola.

Great post- enjoyed reading it and look forward to seeing more. I subscribed! Hope you achieve all of your goals…

My goal is certainly to be able to work from home part-time so that I can raise my son in a bi-cultural/ bilingual environment. What I can do exactly is the part I am trying to figure out :-)

Oh and travel home to Australia once a year!

Lulu from Brisbane, Queensland (now in Chiba, Japan)

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Annabel Candy April 21, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Lulu – Lovely to see you:) Those sound like great goals. What a lucky son you have. I hope I can help you get what you want and thanks so much for subscribing. It’s going to be a fun journey.

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Bryan April 22, 2010 at 12:47 am

Details, details, :)
Thanks for giving me a little push. I have recently “retired” from my day job, but have been wanting to blog as a means of sharing and dream to make some money from it. So as a result of your push here, I will work on working out some major details and time frames.
Thanks for sharing your work.
Congratulation on the China trip with Coca Cola.

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Annabel Candy April 22, 2010 at 8:39 am

Bryan – Thanks for joining us. Think about your goals for the blog, the topic and who will read it. Now start writing:) I hope my tips will help you and that you’ll stay tuned for more!

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Taty Hindes April 22, 2010 at 5:52 pm

Annabel, from all your blogs, this is one of my favourites. I am sending my best wishes for you to achieve what you have written down here, and MORE!!!
I reckon a good business will be blogging seminars/worshops (more hands on). I have paid money to see and hear people with half your experience!
So, I am ready to book in (online of course, so we save the planet by not doing any printed stuff)…
xxx Taty

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Raj@ The Positive Life April 27, 2010 at 6:14 am

my goodness, u write with such great detail.

I am absolutely amazed. I am grateful to u for explaining the concept of timeline in such great detail. Thanks

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Boomer54 Mark April 30, 2010 at 4:08 am

Hi Annabel,

Started reading your blog posts via Copyblogger. Great content as always…

What I liked was there is a lot action and you need a timeline or deadline for the goals. As “they” say no deadline on a goal then it is just a wish.

Thanks for letting me share.

Boomer54 Mark

PS My site is dedicated to positive inspirational quotes, videos and self growth articles. This is one post I will be linking to for setting and achieving goals.

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Jamie Pixon May 3, 2010 at 12:02 pm

On the surface, you seem to have so much on that it can seem overwhelming to your readers…..but I’m reading between the lines and seeing lots of baby-steps…..smaller actions adding up.

Best of luck with the coca a cola gig.

Jamie “there are no secrets, just baby steps” Pixon

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Goran Jovanov August 8, 2010 at 1:46 am

Hi Annabel!
For me it happened that this is the first post I read from you
Nice writing, especially I like you enthusiasm for what you are doing and that you give real life examples (from you personal life). Did you know that enthusiasm on old Greek means the God within? :)
I also like you practical side and you almost scientific approach where you research, measure and test everything.
Finally, I like your structured writing style which I find very expressive and beautiful! :)
I really enjoyed your reading!

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mahtab September 25, 2010 at 5:43 am

Hi Annabel!
tank you . this web very good

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Dave Doolin May 21, 2011 at 7:07 am

Timelining is smart. I don’t do enough of that. The rest I have more or less under control, most of the time. Heh.

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Silje Nilsen August 7, 2011 at 12:19 am

Thanks for writing, a very inspiring article

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Khadija Qureshi July 12, 2012 at 2:07 pm

your way of explaining have really motivate me to set a goal boz i dnt have any goal but i wnt to became a successful person for me this is my goal. and want to earn 60+ thousand rupees per month at this point as i have completed my MCM this year and working in Thermax company but the salary which is given is not what i was expecting. plz plz do reply for my msg.

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