How to Turn a Dream Into a Workable Plan

As an entrepreneur, it can be difficult to watch the lack of progress of so many promising business owners and coaches. They’ve dreamed for so long about creating a solid, sustainable business, and yet, all they do is dream.
You know the people I’m talking about. They attend conferences, sign up for free webinars, buy paid training, and sometimes even work with a coach or two. And yet week after week, month after month, year after year, they fail to make any progress toward their dreams.
Are they just lazy? No. It’s something worse. They don’t know how to move from a dream to a plan and they’re stuck. How do you prevent the same fate for yourself? Keep reading.

Start With the Long-Term

If you’ve ever been on a job interview and were asked, “Where do you want to be five years from now,” you might have thought it an odd question. But as a business owner, that might just be the most important consideration you can have.
Without knowing where you’re headed in the long term, it’s impossible to create a map to get there. You need to know what your destination is, so that every day, week, month, and year you can check your progress to be sure you’re still headed in the right direction.

Create Milestones

Once you know your ultimate destination, you can draft a plan for getting there, and create the interim goals that will help you stay on track.
For example, if in five years you want to be free to travel for 8 weeks every year, then you need to have a few pieces in place before that can happen:

  • Enough income to cover travel costs
  • Passive income to sustain your business while you’re not working
  • A staff who can manage the business while you’re away

With this list, you can then work backward from your five-year goal, and create milestones along the way. If you know you’ll need to earn $150,000 annually in order to fund your travel plans, and right now you’re earning $60,000, then reasonable milestones might look like this:

  • Year 1: $70,000
  • Year 2: $85,000
  • Year 3: $105,000
  • Year 4: $125,000
  • Year 5: $150,000

With these milestones in place, it’s much easier to figure out exactly what you need to do to achieve them, by setting monthly, weekly, and daily goals.

Create Small Goals

If you say to someone, you need to move from $60,000 to $150,000 in five years, that’s a pretty overwhelming task. After all, it’s a $90,000 increase and most people will look at that and immediately dismiss it as impossible.
But when you break it down as we have above, and then again into smaller steps, it suddenly doesn’t look so daunting.
In the first year of the plan we have outlined here, your income needs to increase only by $10,000. That’s less than $1000 per month! Surely that’s easy enough to accomplish!
You can further break that down by week: $1000 per month is just $250 per week. If you sell just one more group coaching package or five more of a $50 training program, you’ve already reached your milestone.
That might mean sending one more email to your list, or investing an additional $20 per month in Facebook ads, or perhaps reaching out to one more affiliate partner. The point is, reaching this much smaller goal is far easier than thinking about that five-year plan.

So what’s your big dream? How can you deconstruct it into achievable milestones, workable goals, and finally, daily and weekly tasks? If you can do this (and you definitely can) then you can achieve anything in business and in life.

Mindset Tricks of Successful Entrepreneurs

Want to know what sets the uber-successful apart from the wannabe entrepreneurs?
It’s not money, or brilliant ideas, or even powerful friends.
All of those things (and more) are nice to have, but they’re not a requirement of success. What is a must-have, though, is a good attitude. Without the proper mindset, you’ll constantly be battling your own brain, and that’s exhausting.

  • You’ll allow yourself to believe your ideas are no good
  • You’ll remain convinced that you aren’t smart enough
  • You’ll be certain that someone else did it (whatever “it” is) better

And before you know it, you’ll have talked yourself right out of launching your new program, asking for an affiliate partnership, or writing your book. In no time at all, you’ll be back at your day job, working away on someone else’s business because you don’t have the confidence to create your own.
But a simple mindset change can make all the difference.

Dress for Success

Ladies, this one is for you. When we work at home, it’s easy to fall into a habit of wearing sweatpants and T-shirts to the office. After all, why dress up just for the dog?
But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to instantly shift your mindset in the right direction, ditch the yoga pants and break out the lipstick. You’ll suddenly find you feel more professional, more confident, and sexier, too. (That last one won’t help your business, but it might just help your love life, and that can’t hurt, can it?)

Never Let Fear Drive Your Decisions

Too many would-be entrepreneurs operate with a scarcity mindset rather than approaching business from a place of abundance. Rather than telling yourself that you can’t afford to hire a virtual assistant or work with a coach, try reframing your thoughts.
Rather than thinking, “I can’t afford to attend that event,” ask yourself, “How can I earn the money to invest in this trip?”
Rather than saying, “I have to do everything myself because I can’t afford to hire a VA,” remind yourself that your hourly rate potential is much more than you’d pay a virtual assistant. Then fill those hours you’re saving by outsourcing with money-making tasks of your own.

By reformatting your thoughts, you’ll turn that negative money talk into positive solutions that help you grow.

Beyond SMART: Goal Setting for Entrepreneurs

If there’s one thing we know about goal setting it’s that your goals have to be SMART, right?
After all, that’s what we’ve been told for years. The only thing that matters is that your goals are S.M.A.R.T. – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.
While that looks great on paper—and clearly it’s easy to remember—it doesn’t go far enough for those who want to achieve big things.
Think about it. Do you want to be stuck with “attainable” and “realistic” goals when what you really dream about is a 3-day workweek, frequent international travel, and enough money to fund a mission trip (or three)? Seems pretty clear that those safe, smart goals aren’t going to get you there.
In fact, they might even do worse than simply “not get you there.” They may actively hold you back.

Check if Your Goals are Holding You Back

Consider what happens when you set an “attainable” goal of earning 10% more than you did last year. You might work 10% more. You might spend 10% more on ads or product creation. You might even reach out to 10% more potential clients.
And you’ll likely earn about 10% more.
“Not bad!” you say. After all, that was your goal.
But did that 10% goal inspire you to work harder? Or did it create a subconscious ceiling on your earning potential that you’re unable to break through?

A Better Way

Rather than focusing on attainable and realistic goal setting, savvy entrepreneurs know that the key to incredible success lies in creating lofty goals that feel out of reach—maybe even UN-attainable.
They don’t strive to earn 10% more than last year. They want 50% or even 100% more. They stretch themselves. They find new—and better—ways to do things, so they don’t have to work twice as hard, but they remain open to the possibility of doing so—at least in the short term—when it’s necessary. Of course, you cannot simply declare crazy goals and expect the universe to hand them to you. And that’s exactly why putting aside those smart goals is so…smart. When you shun the attainable in favor of the “holy cow, how will I ever do THAT?” goal setting, you push yourself beyond those self-imposed limits and reach for the stars.
Sure, you might not double your income, but you’re almost guaranteed to do better than a mere 10% increase. So push your boundaries. Set big, audacious goals. Even if you fail, you’ll be much further ahead than those smart goals would leave you.

BONUS: Once you set your goals do you know how to get it all done to reach them? Learn how here!

3 Surefire Ways to Create In-Demand Products and Services

If there’s one thing that holds promising entrepreneurs back from launching their business, it’s this: a lack of confidence in their products. Sure, you think that a new course or workshop is a great idea, but how do you know it will sell?
Imagine spending weeks or even months of time—plus the cost of document design, video editing, and all the other pieces that go along with it—only to discover it’s not what your audience wants or needs. How frustrating would that be?
You don’t have to leave it to chance, though. There are plenty of ways to test your idea for new products and services before spending the time and energy on a full launch.

Just Ask

This is the simplest way to get a feel for what your market needs and wants. Simply ask them. Create a survey with Survey Monkey (or even a Google form) and send it out to your mailing list. For best results, keep it short, but do ask:

  • What they’re struggling with
  • Their preferred learning method (video, text, audio, etc.)
  • What they feel the training is worth (what would they pay)

These three pieces will tell you everything you need to know to create products and services that are practically guaranteed to sell.

Listen to Their Complaints

If you have a community (or are part of one) of ideal clients, pay attention to what they’re asking about the most. These are the things they need help with. For example, if you’re a business coach and your Facebook group is filled with questions about running Facebook ads, then clearly there is a need for some training in that area.

Study Your Competition

Hopefully, you have a list of competitors and you’re reading their blogs and emails, and lurking in their Facebook groups. This is a great way to gain insight into what they’re doing—not to copy them but to discover what’s hot right now.
Consider buying their paid products as well. Again, you should never copy them, but you can either:

  • Promote them as an affiliate
  • Create a better, more comprehensive version
  • Create a lite, lower-cost version

Creating products and services in a vacuum is a great way to waste a lot of time and money on programs that won’t sell. Instead, pay attention to what your market is asking for, find out what they’re willing to pay, and delve into your competition’s offers. The information you gain from these three activities alone will give you incredible insight into your market and what they want and need, and make it easy to create your own hot-selling program.

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And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not to men; Colossians 3:23 AKJV