3 Things to do Before 2019

Okay. It’s time. 2019. Let’s talk about it. I want to talk about 2019, not in the context of planning 2019, but some of the things I want you to look at this year ahead of 2019. I know a lot of the people who listen to this show, maybe you’re one of them, are pretty good about planning, but I also know that a lot of the people who listen to the show, some of the people that listen to the show rebel against the idea of planning because they want to be able to have some flow and freedom and creativity and space in their year. Here’s the deal. Both are completely acceptable as long as you also plan. See what I did there? I am a big believer that planning is what creates space and creativity and flow in my year and so I obsessively plan.

Not obsessively, I proactively plan. We started and really complete our planning already. We started in August and we finished in September, October. I will map out a sort of big picture look at what next year holds, so we have dates for some stuff that’s going to be happening and we’ll talk more about next year. We are going to be doing. Actually, let’s talk about it now. We’re going to be doing some live workshops, in-person events, small kind of one day mastermind events called Master Your Marketing. We’re going to be doing some sort of high promo time for Hit the Mic Backstage. We’re going to be doing some big announcements for Hit the Mic Backstage in January and February, including some completely revamped environments and trainings and a price change.

We have those dates mapped out. I also have primo times for when I’ll be promoting things like VIP days and Backstage Amplifier Mastermind and all of those things have dates on my calendar. I also have my time off currently marked on my calendar. Events I want to attend already marked off on my calendar and I am able to do that because of the things that I do that we’re going to talk about today. There are the things that I want you to do because so often they are disregarded when it comes to planning and we forget to really check in on these things over and over and over again because they’re not the most fun things to do. I want to start by talking about those things and then over the next couple of months, we’ll talk more about breaking your plan up.

I will say as one last caveat to this when I say I have my planning for 2019 done, that does mean I know every podcast episode, blog post, social media post that’s going to go out over the course of the entire year. I have a big picture idea of what’s happening throughout the year so that I can then dig in quarter by quarter and build out the stuff that needs to happen. If we’re doing a launch, if we’re doing a sort of peek promo for something, then I can dig in at the quarterly level and get that stuff executed. I am by no means setting the expectation that you need to create all of this stuff by the end of the year, so let go of that idea right now. That is not what planning is about.

In my opinion, what it is about is getting your barrings, setting your foundations, knowing what’s going on. Again, that’s what allows me to then step in with that creativity and that flow and move things around and figure things out and make adjustments with ease. All right.

The three things that I want you to do before 2019.

Number one is, in my opinion, the most important and that is reviewing your ideal client.

If you don’t currently know inside and out who the ideal client is for each of your specific offerings, your plan is completely irrelevant because you don’t know who you’re talking to. That is the piece that makes all the other decisions.

That is the piece that gives you all the other information, so look at who your ideal client is. Because I’ve talked about this enough, I assume that you’ve already done this, I want you to actually take it a step further this year and do a little market research time, have some conversations. The great news is market research does not have to come from you sitting down and having a conversation, asking really pointed questions. Instead, it can come from client intake forms, client applications. I actually go through and listen to some of the calls I’ve had, the call recordings, of calls I’ve had with ideal clients and listen to their language, listen to their problem, listen to how they’re talking about what they’re struggling with.

Listening to things that come up call after call after call even after we’ve provided a solution and how we had to navigate that solution, so that I can see from a different perspective from the outside perspective what we did on both sides where we got the solution we needed so that we could get them where they needed to go. But, this does also include for me sometimes sitting down having conversations, setting up some Zoom coffee dates or some Skype coffee dates or some real live in-person coffee dates where I can get to know kind of where they’re at now and what they’re looking for now or where they’re struggling with now. I don’t do that by interrogating them. I do that by … You ready for this?

It’s revolutionary. Having conversations. Just start talking to your ideal clients.

You’ll be amazed at the wealth of information that comes from it. That’s why I want you to really take this whole ideal client thing a step further this year than we’ve taken it in past years. Be paying attention to this. I’ll be honest. Market research is probably one of the most underutilized pieces when it comes to figuring out your marketing. I think a lot of times we get into the idea of taking educated guesses based on demographics and psychographics without really accounting for the fact that these are real live actual people we could have real live actual conversations with. I highly, highly recommend taking that time to have those conversations.

The next thing I want you to do is to get really clear on what you’re selling.

I think sometimes we put these things on the calendar and we don’t really think about how they fit together, how those launches can seed together. I want you to take some time to dig into what you’re selling, why, and again referencing those conversations you have with those ideal clients, referencing those sales conversations and the market research conversations and the intake forms and then past delivery of these products and services and making sure they’re in line with where you want to go in 2019. I also recommend this because I always like to do a little bit of a gut check.

I have been offering pretty much the same products and services for several years now. There’s been the occasional change here or there, but I always need to do a bit of a gut check and go is this still how I best serve? Is this still how I want to serve? Are these the conversations I still want to be having? A big reason why we’re introducing the live events into next year is because I really wanted to have a place where I could come together with you guys live and in-person and I didn’t particularly love the idea of hosting a super large scale event this year. I’m not saying it’ll never happen, but I don’t foresee it on the calendar for the next couple of years. I reserve the right to change my mind on that should I host a few more of these intimate one day, not one person, but one day 10 people events.

I’m like I want more of this, then that may change. But for right now, having a whole package day where I can deliver and not have to worry about packing the room so that I have a good percentage and upsells. No. A shout-out to my friend Tara Newman who does this with her mastermind days, her Bold Leadership Revolution Mastermind days. The day, attendants, your ticket for the day, she has built that day out to be profitable. There is no upsell. She’s talked about this podcast and I really, really respect that. It really inspired me and gave me for a lack of a better term, permission to do it myself because we see so much where we have these one day events that are really built almost as an opt-in.

You’re then upsold at the event into a program, which may be then you’re upsold into a larger program. That didn’t feel right for me. I’m not saying that’s a terrible way to go. I’m not saying that’s a bad way to run an event. It’s just not how I want to run my events for right now and so I really loved the idea of keeping it small scale, keeping it very strategy and mastermind focused so that I can really impact the women in that room or some dudes. If some dudes want to attend, that’s great too. But the people in the room, I want to do that. Also, my friend Brandy Lawson over at FieryFX, she does the same thing with her one day events where there’s intentionally only a handful of people in the room so that every single person is getting time in the hot seat as it were to get what they need out of that day not to make you wish you could have the next step.

You understand what I’m saying? That came from a gut check. That came from me sitting with is there something missing? Is there a hole in how I’m serving our how I’m connecting or how I’m delivering? I found there was, so next year we’re going to put together sort of a test, a real live … We sort of half tested this year with sort no marking and I enjoyed that. Now, it’s time to … Okay. Proof of concept is there. Let’s supercharge this and see what we can do as far as doing this in a couple of different places. We’re actually going to take the show on the road next year and test it on both coasts. We’re going to do one in New York City and for sure one here in LA, if not a couple here in LA, or the LA area I should say because I technically live in Orange County, an hour south of LA.

That’s kind of what’s coming for me from that gut check. For you, look at what you’re offerings are and do a bit of a gut check. Look at what your offerings are and look at the numbers. Are there things that just aren’t selling anymore? The great example for me as I went through my planning was Hit the Mic Backstage. It does okay, but it’s kind of reached a point where it needs to be evolved. Because when I’m looking at the conversations I’m having with ideal client, when I’m looking at the information in the surveys that I’m getting from backstage members who are ideal members or even exit surveys from people who would’ve been ideal members but who canceled because it wasn’t the right spot, I was seeing a recurring theme in what the ask was, and so I was able to again identify a hole based on the data this time instead of a gut check that it was time to evolve some of the things that were happening.

In January, February, we will completely relaunch Hit the Mic Backstage. Not that it’s not going to be what it is now, we’re just sort of maturing it. Instead of being for people starting out on day one or in their first year, we’re going to evolve it to have a much more strategy focused really speaking to those of you who are looking at potentially bringing in support or who have a little bit of support but need some help sort of bridging that gap between flying by the seat of your pants DIYing and having some real consistent support around your strategy and the impact you’re having and measuring the results of that. That came from again looking at this data. It only came because as part of my planning process, I dug into what am I selling in 2019.

Where are there holes? Where do these programs need to be evolved? What do these services need to change? Again, that came from market research, that came from having a really good understanding of who my ideal clients were, and then again taking this time to work through that.

The last thing I want you to do before 2018 ends and as you go into 2019 and this is something that I do quarterly and then we sort of go on a big picture scale as we plan for 2019 was review 2018.

That can feel hard to do while we’re still in 2018. It’s only October. It’s almost November, but it’s only October. There is absolutely a lot of 2018 left and I’m not saying I want you to give up on 2018.

In fact, it’s quite the opposite. The reason I want you reviewing 2018 now and the reason why I review 2018 before  Q4 starts is I don’t want it to be December before I realize that I could’ve just tweaked something to hit a goal that I set for the year. I don’t want it to be December or January of 2019 before I realized if I had just flipped one switch I could’ve gotten a lot closer to a goal that I’ve gotten. I also don’t want it to be the end of the year before I realized I absolutely totally reached a goal. I could actually stretch this a bit now and double down and see what else we can do or test something for next year because we achieved this goal for 2018 earlier than we anticipated.

I do that sort of stock and check-in time in September before Q4 even starts. It’s how I plan for Q4 because I want to make sure that I still have the time to get where I need to go for 2018 or again double down and stretch it even further. I think I’ve talked about on the show before, but I set good, better, best goals. These are something we hear about a ton from a lot of different goal setters, but I love sort of having that like this will be cool, this would be super cool, and oh my god, if this happened I would lose my ish. That for me is good, better, and best, and so I set those. We were really incredibly fortunate to have done this year because we realized we hit a goal. We hit it good for one of our goals and it was like okay, so what else can we do.

Great. Because we hit that, we can actually flip this other switch now instead of waiting until January or March or April of next year, we can actually do that a little sooner. We can bring on some more team members sooner than we anticipated because we took stock of what had already happened in 2018 well before the end of 2018. I will say that I do sit down at the beginning of 2019 and look at the whole of the year before because it allows me to adjust anything I need to in the 2019 plan. I want to factor in that sort of end of the year, specifically around revenue more than anything. I just want to see all the numbers where the trends were in case there’s anything I need to tweak or change with my 2019 plans and make note of going into 2020 plans, which are really only seven months later.

It goes by fast and I know all this can sound a little obsessive and a little bit overwhelming. Don’t worry so much about digging in as deep as I talked about today, but I wanted to give you some of these examples. I wanted you to see some of these things because I wanted you to see what was possible when you start thinking about this stuff now instead of next year and not in the way some people are talking about planning right now, which is you need to think about next year because I want you to join my $30,000 mastermind. Instead, it’s because I want you to think about next year because I want you to make this year even better, so looking at 2019 so that it can impact and you can start doing that work in 2018.

I sat on a panel about planning 2019 over in The BRAVE Society last week. If you haven’t listened to that, I highly, highly, highly recommend joining The BRAVE Society. The replay is in there. I was taking notes as somebody sitting on the panel the whole call because it’s amazing how different perspectives really got us to a lot of the same places, but also sort of challenged how I think about some things. Anyway, I sat on this panel and what was amazing to me is Tara Newman, who runs The BRAVE Society, was asking us and she was asking where we were with our planning right now. Every single one of us said we were working on our 2019 plan. Because for me, the sales I’m going to make in January, the money I’m going to make in 2019, it starts now.

It starts by building relationships. It starts by having sales calls. It starts by doing the work for the programs that want to launch, putting the work in for the marketing for those live events. That stuff happens now. If I wait until January to start planning and executing, then the stuff I want to happen in January and February simple aren’t going to happen. I have to start planting those seeds now. I have to start doing that work upfront now. I mentioned earlier we’re going to be relaunching Hit the Mic Backstage. That’s going to be and is currently an incredible amount of work because it’s a really massive project. We’re talking completely revamped trainings. We’re talking about reshaping the site.

We’re talking about redoing sales copy. We’re talking about reestablishing a ton of stuff not terribly far off from originally launching it. Much like a rebrand isn’t terribly far off from creating your original branding. It’s a lot of work. If I want to do that and the dates right now look like the end of January, beginning of February, if I want to do that then, I need it to be ready for them. That means doing the work now, not working 14 hours a day in January going “I got to get this done because the relaunch happens in three days.” No, I don’t want that and I don’t want that for you. Again, sitting down and doing this work now a little earlier than maybe everyone else is starting to talk about it is valuable and it doesn’t mean again and I cannot say this enough.

It doesn’t mean that you’re giving up on this year. In fact, it means you’re using this year so that you can start leveraging this stuff right now, but also so that you’re set up and ready to go going into next year. This how you consistently grow. This is how you consistently scale. The final note I want to say before I stop ranting about this is that planning didn’t always look like this for me. I’m nearly eight years into this business. Officially, I’m seven and a half years because officially the doors of my business opened July 5, 2011. However, I started the work to launch my first company and what evolved into this business that I run now in January of 2011. In 2012, planning didn’t look like this.

In 2013, planning didn’t look like this. For real, in 2014, planning didn’t look this. Planning didn’t start looking like this until probably maybe 2014 similar-ish. But, 2015 is where I got really, really serious about where planning was and started looking like this. Guess what, guys, that’s been the most epic part of my growth. That took me through a rebrand. The took me through membership site launches. That took me through and, well into six figures and doing and having the impact that I wanted to have done the work I wanted to do really creating the kind of business that I wanted to be living in. Again, it doesn’t have to look like this, but it does need to have these kinds of components where you’re checking in on all the pieces.

I’m putting my soapbox away now. I’m going to stop ranting about planning. If you would like some support putting together your planning, there are lots of ways to get that from lots and lots of people. My friend Racheal Cook who was on the panel with me in The BRAVE Society has a Virtual CEO Day where you do planning. She’s also is doing one in person here in LA that I’m actually going to. I’m really excited about it. I can help you with your planning. We can do that one on one through BAM, through VIP days, there’s a lot of ways you can do that. There are a ton, a ton of people. If you really, really have no idea where to start, I highly recommend getting into The BRAVE Society and checking out that planning panel we did last week.

Again, there is a ton of great conversations happening that community around this right now. It’s a great place to be. It’s a great place to connect. There you go. Three options from me and from two other amazing entrepreneurs. There is no excuse not to be planning for 2019. I will see you very, very soon. Thank you for listening to my ranting today. I will see you guys next week. Bye.

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