Corwin Hiebert and Eileen Rothe, the driving forces behind BusinessActionPlanner.com, just released their first free semi-monthly magazine Memo2Freelancers. This issue features advice on Finding New Clients as well as a profile on freelancer Vanessa Powell.
Download Memo2Freelancers here.
Get more great tips from pros on their blog.
Find out about their Business Action Toolkit here.
You’ll find all kinds of sound advice that will help you chart your own course in Corwin Hiebert’s (Craft&Vision) indispensable The Business Action Planner Toolkit. What is it?
“The Business Action Planner Toolkit is a self-paced resource that you can use to bring structure and focus to your business building efforts. In comparison to a traditional business plan, a business action plan is very different:
- The business elements are organized more organically based on our experience helping creative freelancers identify, address, and solve their management and marketing problems. The Business Action Planner Toolkit is a non-prescriptive resource designed to decrease the chance of inertia and increase your entrepreneurial momentum.
- The end result is not intended to be some elaborate document that you print and then shove in a drawer never to see the light of day. Rather, it’s designed to be a perpetual work in progress; it’s for your business-building pleasure and it’s a digital workspace—thanks to the wonders of Evernote®.
This is for you, something to have at the ready to help you achieve your dreams. It’s a toolkit for creating a manageable and serviceable structure for your hopes and dreams. This wasn’t always a self-help toolkit. In past years it was an expensive consulting package, but now it’s accessible to everyone.”
Find out more here.
Looking for great books on the business of photography? Browse this collection of my favorites.
From presentation to copyright and pricing, you’ll find a treasure trove of professional practices and insider tips.
At the end/beginning of every year I make plans for the coming year. Doing this consistently has helped me be more personally fulfilled and professionally productive.
Here are five resources that will help you do this too.
1 Make A Bucket List
Identify the actions that are most important to you.
2 Make Plans
Increase your productivity and fulfillment by making a plan.
3 Define A Project
Focus your creative efforts and create an action list to achieve your goals.
4 Developing Personal Projects
Tips on developing, completing, and releasing your personal projects.
5 Keep Current Projects Visible
Create visual touchstones to help you focus and follow through on projects.
6 Getting Things Done
David Allen wrote the definitive resource on Getting Things Done.
Pay close attention to the section on Mission/Goals/Projects/Actions.
Learn more with my free enews Insights.
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With the new and updated Coach categories the Assignment Coach is so full of information that it’s like having a photo pricing seminar built into the program. You also get negotiating suggestions on how to deal with clients …”
Learn more about PhotoQuote here.
Find more business resources here.
Learn more in my Digital Printing and Digital Photography workshops.
I don’t make new year’s resolutions. I make those kinds of commitments at any time of year, whenever it becomes clear they’re useful. But I do review my plans at the beginning of every year because plans can change. The point of a plan is to empower you not to lock you in. I review my mission, goals, projects, and actions lists. The first time was the hardest because I had to create them from scratch; now all I have to do is update them. Doing this helps me clarify where I want to go, make sure I’m on my path, taking the steps I need to make get there.
Whether you’re engaged in your creative life professionally or simply as a vehicle for personal growth (That’s an important distinction to make.), I recommend you make a plan for your success and that you define what success is for yourself.
Write down your …
Mission – why you’re doing it
Goals – what outcomes you want from what you made
Projects – the things you make that accomplish your goals
Actions – the small steps you take to get your projects done
Think of this as a matter of close or from what altitude you’re looking at your creative life.
What you write will get more detailed or longer as you get lower on this hierarchy.
At 10,000 feet, your mission can be stated in a single sentence.
At 3,000 feet, you might see many goals, each with a single sentence.
At 1,000 feet, you may see more than one project for a single goal.
On the runway, you’ll have a list of many actions you need to take to finish a single project.
Here are a few tips to make doing this important work easier.
Avoid the tendency to put too much on your final list. It’s good to get it all out in a first draft, but then pare it down to the essentials. What can’t you let go of? What’s the minimum you need to feel fulfilled? Making these decisions doesn’t limit you to doing more (including surprises as you make your creative journey), rather they provide clarity and direction to make sure you get your most important things done.
Think long term – 1 year, 2 year, 3 year, and end of life. When you know your ultimate goal it’s easier to reverse engineer your way to get to the successes you defined for yourself rather than just letting it happen and hoping you’ll be satisfied with what you get.
Break important projects down into smaller actionable items and place them in chronological order so you know what to do next and don’t run into delays in your progress.
Review your plans every year and also when major changes happen. I review my past year’s progress before I set a new year’s projects and action lists. Over time, I’ve found I’ve become more realistic about how much to take on and how long it will take to get things done. (But don’t be afraid to dream big! Blue sky thinking is important for connecting with your deepest values.) I always find a few things on my list that have been postponed (and I ask why) and a few get dropped altogether – because I decided to prioritize even better opportunities along the way. I also find that things get added to my past year’s list that weren’t on it at the beginning of that year. It’s important to be open to new opportunities along the way. For that reason, I recommend you review your lists periodically, especially when new major projects are considered. You’ll find this process gets easier every time you do it. The first time you do it is always the hardest; it requires a lot of soul-searching and some setting up; once you find your answers and you set up your system it’s much easier to do the next time. A plan is a work in progress. The best plans can be flexible.
Making a plan for your creative life makes it easier to decide when to say yes or no to new opportunities. Does the new thing help you achieve your longer-term goals? If yes, do it. If no, pass.
The plans you make are there to further your progress. But if you don’t make plans, life just happens and you may not make the time for the things that matter to you most. Make that time.
David Allen does an excellent job of describing this process in his books Getting Things Done and Making It All Work. I highly recommend them. They changed the way I live my life. And they’ve helped me be even more effective and fulfilled. But don’t wait to read his books to get started! Just get started!