Ok, before I get into this, I want to fully disclose that this idea and lifesaver is the best piece of advice I have ever taken. It comes from Graham Cochrane, the owner of the recording revolution, business coach and entrepreneur.
Now I am well aware that when I give you the advice, most of you will dismiss it, or you’ll have an excuse or reason for why you can’t do it. But this one piece of advice changed the way I do everything, and I credit it to my success and ability to stay focussed, motivated and dedicated to my life goals.
Alright .. here goes! Once a year, plan to get away! Just you, it doesn’t matter where just somewhere away from your usual creative space. This is time for reflecting on the year that has passed and planning the year ahead.
Here’s the thing, we think about achieving something, get super motivated and then the flame burns out, and we spend the rest of the year doing a bit here and there and throwing spaghetti at the wall to see what sticks. Let me tell you, I’ve thrown copious amounts of spaghetti at the wall, but nothing ever stuck until I had a firm plan for what it was that I wanted to achieve.
So what do you do when you finally take the plunge and go on your little overnight vacation?
Here are three things that you should do on your business planning holiday.
1. Settle in and reflect!
Take some snacks, enjoy the scenery. Oh ..we probably should do some work! First up! Reflection! We need to reflect! Look back over the past year and write down the things you wanted to achieve, followed by what you did accomplish. It’s important to recognise the wins, big and small; they are all as important as each other and help you on the path to success. Have a look at the things that worked for you, maybe you had some particular content you posted that did well, or you had a successful concert, had a song that made it onto the charts.
Spend some time on this and break down your year. This kind of reflection allows you to take a moment and look back to see what is working and what you need to change. Evolution is a vital part of career growth.
2. Time to plan your goals.
What do you want to achieve in the new year? Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, it’s time to think about and break down the steps you need to take to make this happen. I always break these down into 12-week goals. By breaking the goals into quarters, I have a better understanding and plan of attack that will allow me to accomplish my goals. When I get back home and start implementing these quarters, I usually spend Sunday night planning my week. I will use a combination of my iCal and my giant whiteboard. I look at those 12 weeks and plan each week to make sure that I stay on schedule and effectively tick off my list as I go. This is the difference between an actionable plan and an idea. This is how you get things done. I can promise you from years of screwing around and waiting for it to just happen... it doesn’t, and it won’t.. unless you activate it. You can will it as much as you like, but until you combine that will with action, they are just wishes.
3. And lastly, plan your promotions calendar and your content.
Yep for the whole year. Now I use Graham’s method, and what he calls content buckets, I find this easiest. For an artist, your content buckets may be under these headings:
I Would try to have 5 content buckets with about 10 ideas under each of the headings. Now I’ve already said that this is the graham Cochrane method that I use, and it works! I don’t have to worry about what I’m going to post. All I have to do I open my google doc and I can take any of the ideas and post content when I run out of ideas.
Your promotional calendar. You can’t just sell to your audience at any old time. Everything you do should be planned, and you should have a reason for doing it. So take out your calendar and choose when you promote to your audience to buy your music and merchandise. Perhaps you can email your list once a month to give them a gentle reminder that you have music for sale.
By getting away at the end of the year, you’re giving yourself a chance to wind down, assess, reflect and plan. It doesn’t have to be a big expensive luxurious place.. although I tell my husband it has to be 😂 it doesn’t. So even if you can’t get away overnight, go to a local cafe or shopping centre with your laptop, grab a coffee and make a day out of it.
I only did this for the first time last year, and even though Covid got in the way of many plans, it was still the most productive, organised year I have ever had. So I encourage you to try this. If you struggle to stay motivated, know what to do, or make plans to move towards your goals and, ultimately, your dreams, this will help! It doesn’t have to be at the end of the year either. Just do it when you can!
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