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.
- Are the products or services you offer in demand?
- Can you offer a unique selling point?
- 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.
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
- Work out a plan of action to reach my blogging goals.
- Redesign the blog.
- Incorporate video or audio.
- 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.
- Create a free product (probably an ebook) to encourage email subscriptions.
- Find a sponsor.
- Open a store and sell two select affiliate products that I believe in 100%.
- 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.
- Create a product and get it ready to launch in September.
- 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?
Thanks for being part of the Get In the Hot Spot Team. Let’s rock it!
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