This is a guest blog post by Rosie Suerdick, photographer and author of Show & Tell Selling: Making In-Person Selling Kindergarten-Easy.
Every year, I tend to sit down and come up with our loftiest goals, or resolutions, for the year to come. If you are reading this, chances are, you probably did, too. Everyone wants to improve on SOMETHING, and the start of a new year is a perfect time to do it.
But, if you are like 92% of the population (according to the University of Scranton), you probably won’t be keeping those resolutions (and, depending on what side of this fence you fall on, you will either find this statistic comforting or sad).
As a self-professed “goal getter”, I find this statistic alarming. I mean, IMAGINE how amazing this world could be if people just held themselves accountable to achieving their goals?
Seriously. Our lives, and our businesses, could be EPIC if we had the determination to achieve even one resolution to the end.
Here are 5 ways to help you stick with your resolutions in 2016 so that you can have the best (most profitable, or most growth, or whatever you want to do!) year ever.
1. Write it down, and put it somewhere very visible.
My whole family did this in 2013 by putting it on a giant white board right of our kitchen. You would be surprised at how many people walked by it, looked, and then asked about our goals. By constantly engaging in conversation about our goals, we were much more driven to complete them. It was almost like we added a level of peer pressure that actually worked for us! This year, we did the same thing, but in our new house: we wrote our family goals down, broken down person by person, and hung them up in our dining room. We had some friends come over on New Years Day for ribs and sauerkraut (a German family tradition); and guess what? Our guests asked us about them!
Putting your goals front and center in your life is amazing, especially for long-range goals. For short-range goals (like getting your bookkeeping ready for your accountant), write or enter those into a calendar so you have a mental deadline. Also, keep your timeframes smart and attainable (for example, you should not start getting your books ready for your accountant on April 1st. Maybe you should start that process now, so that you are totally filed by April 1st).
2. Have an accountability buddy
(I am not talking about a spouse or a significant other here)
An accountability buddy is someone who is in the same, or similar, industry that you are in. This person understands the busy-ness of your business, and can relate to you when you complain about something that only someone in your industry will understand.
This accountability buddy is someone who is on the same level, experience- and quality-wise, so that neither one of you ends up feeling drained for resources/brainpower in the end. This person will know your resolutions, and will help to push, pull or prod you to achieve them, because he/she is counting on you to do the same for them.
The key to an accountability buddy is consistency. I have two buddies this year- each pushing me to do different major goals- and we have already calendared our phone calls/meetings for the year. We need a “no-excuses” existence to our relationship so that we can keep the momentum going.
3. Offer yourself rewards
Yeah, this is one that my husband would roll his eyes at; but it works for me!
I am very rewards-driven, so I set incentives for each goal I achieve. When I trained for, and ran, a half-marathon, I rewarded myself with an expensive pedicure. When I woke up early to start this blog post, I rewarded myself with coffee (hey, it works!).
Rewards help you drive toward the goal, almost like bonus check keeps employees happy during the holiday season. It’s like a little “thank you” along the way.
4. Understand that a resolution is WORK.
If you want to lose 15 pounds, you can rest assured that it won’t fall off of your body overnight, with no work. You will have to change your diet, exercise, and practice discipline for it to happen. Likewise, with business resolutions, they are work as well. You will need dedication, and you will probably have to do things that make you uncomfortable (such as waking up at crazy early hours of the morning). BUT, just like with losing weight, when you start to see results, it is SO worth it.
If you want to blog more and increase your SEO, you will need to….guess what…blog more and learn more about SEO! But, if you do achieve this particular goal, you will see the benefits in your inquiries and, most likely, in your income as well. Worth the work, right?
5. Break your goal down into smaller goals
Do you want to make $30,000 more this year than you did last year? Well. If you only made $10,000 or $15,000 this year, then you have some work to do.
If you only made $10,000 or $15,000 last year, then whatever you are doing isn’t really working (sorry, but it’s true) if you want to make $30,000 more this year. You have to change things up, such as your pricing, your marketing and your sales approach.
In order to make a goal like this less overwhelming, think about what you have to do first, and write it down in an outline form, from smallest to biggest. Remember that old saying that the best way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time?
Well, this is your elephant.
For a goal such as this, I would suggest making changing your pricing a priority (and if you want an AMAZING guide on how to do do this in a simple way, check out Alicia Caine’s Profit First Photography. She will be re-releasing her e-book, Easy As Pie Pricing Guide, this year. Buy it.). Ahead of actually changing your prices, I would take an ideal client out (one who can afford the new prices- you probably know someone offhand!) and have him/her look at your new packages. Ask them how you can better market to them, and get solid feedback (really listen here!). This will help you be confident in doing the next step: updating your marketing.
Once you have your prices and marketing down, you will have to anticipate a “lull” as your prices go up (and that’s OKAY! It happens, even to the best of us!) and build in a game plan for that. This may be a great time to consider in-person selling, if you want to really up your game. If you want to start doing that, but don’t know where to even begin, my e-book, Show and Tell Selling: Making In-Person Selling Kindergarten Easy, walks you through all of those steps as well.
Finally, as you start getting clients booked under your new prices, be sure to have a plan to actually MAKE that $30,000, as opposed to spending it on all new gear. Plan to meet with your accountant to come up with a solid budget.
Boom. Goal met!!
If taken one step at a time, with a solid plan and with a support system in place, a resolution can be an amazing thing to have on your side. Charge at it, friends, and I can’t wait to see what you can achieve!