Planning for 2014

Are you the type of person who does extensive planning and goal setting each year-end? Or are you one of those2014alarmshutterst.png go-with-the-flow type of personalities who takes a day at a time? If you have your own business, I believe it’s imperative to plan for the future.

Since I’ve been in business for the last 7 years, I pause at every year-end and take a look at where my income came from during the year (this should really be done quarterly). Then I can look at those numbers and usually know if I’ll be getting revenue from those sources in the next year. If some were projects (for example, I build websites), then that source is gone. I’ve listened to enough coaches and experts to know that writing things down goes a long way in making things happen. So I’ll get a notebook or open a spreadsheet and do some calculations as to a projection for the next year. This is the perfect time to brainstorm and then write down revenue-producing ideas you might have had. For me, I thought of people I’d briefly consulted with or did other work for and then thought of other administrative/social media type services that I could provide.

For example, I’ve been re-thinking working with far-flung, or ‘virtual’ clients vs. working with local clients. The past two years, I’ve been working more with local clients rather than seeking out someone virtual. I find I’m enjoying getting out of my office and going to their office occasionally. It’s definitely easier to strengthen a relationship with a face-to-face vs. on the phone or email. Even before becoming a ‘Virtual Assistant’, my corporate job was administrative support for management across the country. I really enjoyed that and felt I had the best of both worlds – I worked in a small office, yet I could be very productive because of fewer interruptions. I also got to have face-to-face time with my managers when they came to town or I was traveling to do training or going to meetings. It finally hit me that although I work well independently (no one needs to motivate or stand over me), I am able to better serve my clients when I know them. Thinking back, a couple of my former long-term ‘virtual’ clients, I eventually met. It’s interesting that those are the ones I still keep in touch with occasionally.

So this year, I am focusing on developing some local clients. I can report that the past 3-4 months since my focus has been local, I’ve presented proposals to two local businesses and have signed them up! In both of these instances, I had been recommended to them for one purpose, but I could see (or they told me), of other needs they had. Then it was up to me to follow-up with them and figure out their pain points and how to relieve them. One client only needed an email ‘pitch’, and the other needed a PowerPoint presentation and a follow-up written proposal. Once I did them, that became my template for any future needs. It takes several hours to build a presentation with the right text and supporting images and then getting specific with what I intended to do took even longer. But the first time is the hardest.

So now it’s up to me to continue and grow my local business. I hope this helps others out there who are thinking about trying something new and just ask-just present-just do! What’s the worst that can happen?

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