New Year, New Business: How to Set Goals for Your Side Hustle

Photo by Sameer Khan

Are you still feeling the new year’s vibes? I know that I still am! After attending the MTY Retreat, I came back home with a new vision for my business this year. 

2017 was a great year for MY since I was able to launch a new event, begin selling physical products (like my affirmation cards), secure more speaking engagements, and ultimately double my gross revenue from 2016. Last year was not a bad year for my business, but I still felt that I wasn’t being as strategic as I would have liked.

I always set big goals for my business, but I realized that I wasn’t breaking down my goals into enough smaller tasks to keep myself on track. Or, I’d get easily sidetracked by a new project and create a new goal “out of the blue” and never come back to the original plan. While I know this isn’t a new issue, it’s something that I’m making an effort to pay attention to in 2018. So, this year, I’m doing things differently. 

I’ve decided to apply my Stop Dreaming & Start Planning process to my business so I can create goals in 90-day increments. Since we’re already 1-month into 2018, I’ve also simplified it a bit so it can easily be completed.

Here’s the step by step process I’m using to reevaluate my 2018 goals for my business:

Think Big Picture

I like to think REALLY big when I’m setting my goals. To the point that it kind of scares me a little bit. The main question that I answer to do this is, “Where would I like to be on December 31, 2019?” 

Note that I didn’t say “if I am able to” or “pending that”. It’s simply where I’d like to be at the end of the year. I create 3-5 overarching statements that speak to where I’d like to be/what’s most important to me. 

Map Out Your Tasks

I then take each goal that I wrote out above and map out every.single.task. Literally everything from the smallest, quickie tasks to the major, time-consuming tasks. Through the years I’ve learned that the “big picture goals” are great – but I really need to brainstorm all of the related tasks to ensure that I know what I need to work on.

I write down each goal, and then all corresponding tasks that need to be completed my SDSP Workbook AND in Trello. The workbook allows me to take a deeper focus in 90-day increments and Trello let’s me see the bigger picture for the entire year. 

Block Out Time for Business and Times for Rest

When you look at the year as a whole, it’s important to try your best to plan for busy times and also plan for down time. This allows you to beat and combat burnout. Up until this year, I just worked. Period. Worked, and worked, and worked… until I burned out.

That will NOT happen in 2018. I’ve planned out some time off this year to ensure that I’m not always in “launch mode”, and I’ve also planned some time off around big life events I have planned. 

Once you have your big goals, and the related tasks – take a few moments to map it all out throughout the year. This will help you avoid trying to crush all of your goals in Q1 (which I am always guilty of).

Determine What’s Revenue Generating vs Not Revenue Generating

After spending a long weekend at the MTY Retreat, I’ve learned a lot about focusing more on making money. You have a side hustle to make money, right? Otherwise, it’s just an expensive hobby. As you’re planning for the year, separate what is revenue generating from what’s not. 

And once you can separate the two, make sure you’re paying more attention to revenue generating activities if your goal is to make an income. If you are working on building a community, finishing writing a book, or something else – that’s fine. However, you still need to make sure you’re clear on what activities (products or services) will help fund your business.

As you map out your goals and tasks throughout the year, make sure that you’re conscious about what’s revenue generating and what’s not. Is the balance what you need it to be? If not, make some changes.

Set Up a Money Management System

Invoices. Receipts. Accounts. Credit cards. Taxes. Income Statements. Balance sheets. And a whole bunch of other things that you may or may not know about. When I first started my business, I was using a spreadsheet. Biggest. Mistake. Ever. I needed a system to organize myself and my money. 

Enter: QuickBooks Self-Employed

If you cannot manage the money you have, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to manage even more money as it begins to roll in. Quickbooks is an all-in-one platform that helps you organize your growing business… and doesn’t cost a million dollars in the meantime. And you can even grab the tax bundle to help you plan for tax season.

If you use this link, you’ll be able to get QuickBooks Self-Employed for only $5 per month ($10 regular) for the first 3-months, or you can get the tax bundle for $12 per month ($17 regular) for the first 3-months. And yes, this is a sponsored post – BUT QuickBooks is a brand I’ve used and loved over the years.

Get an Accountability Partner

You’ve broken down your goals, mapped out tasks and downtime, discovered what’s actually revenue generating, and also have a money management system. So, what are you missing?

The last piece of this puzzle is accountability. My mother always says that “no man is an island” and this is especially true when you’re working towards reaching big goals. Most entrepreneurs start out working solo… and stay that way for a long time. You may not want a partner in your business, but it’s very helpful to have a “business bestie” who you can speak to about your goals. You may have different business models, but you’ll be able to help each other stay motivated, and inspired throughout your journey. I’ve also learned about 99.9% of my current business tools (like QuickBooks) from accountability partners and communities I’ve been a part of.

This post is sponsored by Intuit QuickBooks, all opinions are my own.

I’ve broken down my process. Now I’d love to hear what your BIG 2018 business goals are.