When the new year is coming it’s time to start planning out your business goals/strategizing/creating a plan…However you want to phrase it.
The question of whether you should plan goals came up recently in a Tuesday live on Youtube because there’s a theory that you shouldn’t. The idea is that if the goals are too hard you’ll get discouraged, and if they’re too easy and you hit them quickly, what do you do then?
Well, you make other goals, of course. That’s not too hard to figure out. So how should you set your goals, plans, or targets for Etsy or your home-based business in general?
To set goals for your home-based business, you need to take stock of what the previous year’s results were, and you need to think about where you want your business to go in the new year. This will involve looking at your revenue sources and setting goals for your desired income, plus looking at what actions were taken to produce that revenue. You can then make a plan based on actual data instead of creating unrealistic goals.
When you have some real figures written down, you can look at what worked and what didn’t, then start planning.
This is an abbreviated version of the process that I use and that I go through in my Turtle Wins The Race course, which addresses motivation and planning for home-based business owners.
Table of Contents
- Write in your personal non-negotiables first.
- Review your income over the past year.
- Review your marketing from the previous year to plan for the next.
- Set goals for new products and areas of growth.
- See how the pieces fit together.
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Write in your personal non-negotiables first.
If you have a home-based business, you should add all of your personal non-negotiables like family vacations and kids’ birthdays in before scheduling any business goals. The reality is that juggling both home and work has to happen, and if you know ahead of time that you’ll have family obligations that you need to attend to, you’ll be able to plan your work around them.
When my kids were little I was running my home-based wedding cake business, which was busiest during “wedding season” in the spring through the fall.
I used to take the entire month of August off every year anyway, because my kids were out of school and it was important that I had time to do things with them.
I also learned that there were specific times during the year, like the weekend after Thanksgiving, that were NOT good to schedule wedding cakes.
I would have people every year asking me to make an exception, but I knew that the stress of building and delivering cakes in a compressed time period while also dealing with family gatherings over the holiday wouldn’t be worth it.
Having the “no-go” dates on your calendar can help you to space out what times are better for working on larger projects throughout the year, and for targeting your monthly income goals.
Review your income over the past year.
The first part of setting business goals is to gather information about how much money you made in the previous year. This should be organized by month and by each type of income if you have more than one income source. Income goals should be based on realistic increases or to maintain the same levels of revenue, depending on what you want to do in the upcoming year.
Go through all of your revenue sources from the previous year and write them all down month-by-month. This will give you a good idea of when your slow seasons are, or when your business was busier.
Think about whether you want to increase your income in the upcoming year, and by how much. Write down the figure that you want to make each month in a column next to the previous year’s income so that you can keep track of each month’s goals.
If you want to do a yearly goal instead of monthly that’s fine too, just have some kind of an income goal in mind.
Review your marketing from the previous year to plan for the next.
To plan for your marketing for the upcoming year, you’ll need to review where the traffic that you got during the previous year came from. Compare the actual numbers from your analytics to the effort that you put into each source of traffic or social media platform. If there are one or more sources that are clearly working better than others, consider how to maintain that momentum.
Also check to see if you’re getting less traffic from platforms that you spend a lot of time on. If that’s the case, you should think about why that is and if you want to put more or less effort into that platform in the upcoming year.
After deciding where you need to put your effort, plan out your marketing and social media posting schedule for the year.
Include the schedule in your planner or on your calendar so that you can track where you’ve posted and what you’ve scheduled ahead.
At the end of every month, check your traffic stats to see if you’re increasing your reach, or whether you need to adjust your strategy.
Set goals for new products and areas of growth.
Decide what projects you want to do in the new year. These should include new products, releasing collections, adding a new stream of income, etc. This is the area where people tend to overreach, so paring down the list is the most important part of this process.
Start by writing down everything that you want to do, regardless of what it is. Get it all out on paper, then walk away.
Come back in a few hours or the next day and start crossing things out. In the excitement of planning, people tend to be way too ambitious, so the crossing things off the list part of this needs to be ruthless, and it might take a few rounds before you get the list to a manageable size.
When you’ve whittled your list down, start plotting out a timeline for each thing. This needs to be written down on your calendar so that you have a hard deadline for things.
Spread them out throughout the year, and break projects up into manageable chunks with deadlines for each section of the project. If you have projects that repeat, like releasing collections, you can schedule those out throughout the year with deadlines for each piece of the launch.
Scheduling things out in pieces will keep you on track throughout the year and will keep you from getting behind.
See how the pieces fit together.
When you have your personal blackout dates, revenue goals set by month, plus your marketing goals and project goals, look to see how they’ll fit together throughout the year. If you have specific plans to release a collection, the social media posts and marketing leading up to that can be scheduled to include previews and other teasers for the collection. The revenue for those time periods can also be adjusted to reflect any increases you would expect.
Fitting everything together will give you a useful framework that you can use as a guideline throughout the year about what you should be working on at any given point.
None of this should be written in stone as far as feeling like you can’t alter the schedule goes. Things happen and things change, so if you need to shift things around during the year that’s perfectly fine.
This is the basic framework that I use to draw up my goals and schedule each year, so I hope that it’s helpful. Just remember that nothing is ever written in stone, and that if something isn’t working you should feel free to change and adjust things.
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