One of the traps a lot of small business owners – especially us solopreneurs – fall into is not always having a clear direction in terms of where to spend our energy and efforts. I’m no expert, but from my observations, this happens for one of a few reasons. We creative entrepreneurs often have multiple passions or creative talents we are balancing and it’s easy to get tangled up in ideas and inspirations and lose track of direction. While we often excel at projects fueled by creativity, the focused planning part of a project or business may not be a skill that comes as naturally to us.
I’m sure you have probably experienced that “what am I doing again” feeling where you aren’t quite sure what or where you should be putting your focus – I know I have. This is one of the reasons I have found documentation of goals and plans essential. There are times where I get that feeling of being stuck (or ‘lost in the sauce’ as my 4th grader’s teacher puts it). Sometimes this occurs when I am working on too many things. Other times, it’s when I am not feeling motivated. Sometimes I get plum carried away in the doing, that I forget the ‘big why’ behind my actions. Therefore, I rely on and refer heavily to my mini business plan document during these times to get me back focused. I check in with this document to make sure the things I am working on are in alignment with the plan. I also find it helps re-motivate me when I am feeling down or uninspired.
Much of the focus of The Happy Solopreneur is balancing business and life, and therefore I’ve added another tool in my planning arsenal that is helpful in providing focus and direction. I discovered the personal strategic plan document when doing goal planning this year. I have done personal strategic documents for businesses and organizations but not for myself. The personal strategic plan is a strategic tool that not only addresses business goals but puts those goals in the context of our life ambitions and values in a meaningful way.
The personal strategic document can be used in conjunction with goal planning and complements the business plan, because the purpose of a business is to help you get the things you want in life, right?
The personal strategic plan is a simple, two-page document which consists of a few sections for you to complete. You can use it as-is or customize it to your liking. This document provoked a lot of thought and clarity for me as I developed it and I hope it does the same for you. Once completed use it for goal setting and refer to it when you may be feeling you need to check to make sure your goals are in alignment with your actions. Here are the main sections and how to complete them.
Use the Vision Statement section to make a big picture statement about the purpose and direction for your life. You can write this in any format that resonates with you. My vision statement entails several things including being of service to others, raising a strong family, and living my life with optimal mental and emotional fitness.
Core values are the fundamental beliefs that you hold for your life. These are the things that may come up for you often. Core values can help guide you in making decisions or setting your path. You can have as few or many core values listed as you’d like. A few of my core values are authenticity, creativity, and freedom.
What are the goals that motivate you in the largest and most inspiring ways? List these top goals in this section.
Areas of Focus
In the personal strategy document, there are four main areas of focus: personal, professional, financial, and health & wellness. I also have added an other category in the document for you to customize as you like. Within the areas of focus, you can add your top goals. I suggest keeping this to 3-5 goals per focus area at the most.
That’s it! Make sure your goals and values are in alignment with each other. Once you have completed the personal strategic plan, you can use it to further map out your goals and break them into small, accomplishable tasks.