Alright, now I’ve talked a lot about how vitally important it is to have a business plan, or some version of a plan for the actualization of your business, before you can build a truly Productive, fulfilling, and successful business around your art. And that’s true. The first step is to build the Plan, and figure out your answers to those signature Seven Questions that make up the essential components of a complete and functional business model.
But once you do that – and have your very own creative and comprehensive business plan – what do you do with it?
Well now it’s time to put that Plan into Action! Because after you plan, you have to act, or else nothing is achieved.
I could spend all of this blog talking about your plan, and how to write it, and what should go in it, blah blah blah. But even the most brilliant ideas are nothing, and will never become anything, without action – no matter how well planned out they are. You can write and rewrite, and plan and re-plan, all you want. But you have to be careful not to let yourself fall into analysis paralysis – or its equally evil twin and my personal favorite enemy – perfection paralysis. At some point, you have to stop and decide when the plan is good enough to implement.
So once you’ve gone through all the steps, and answered each of my signature Seven Questions, and put your whole business plan pages together – it’s time to define your Action Plan for how you are going to accomplish that plan. In fact, that’s precisely why the last and final Quest #7 of my signature business planning method is entitled, “How Will You Achieve It?”
The first thing you’ll want to do is select which program(s) or tool(s) you will want to use to help you set your tasks and track your progress. For my own personal and professional purposes, I mostly use a combination of Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive (Docs & Spreadsheets). I guess you could say I’m a bit of a Google baby. But then I’ve also seen other folks find great success with Asana, Evernote and Trello, among others. So I encourage you to find the tools that work the best for you and with you, especially any you’re already using or can easily integrate into your current work routine.
Make sure whatever system you do choose has the ability to describe the Action Item and assign the category, or department, or higher goals of your business that it pertains to. Use the SMART method to make sure every task you set is Specific, Measurable, Active, Realistic and Timed. Then be sure each Action Item has room to indicate its deadline, and any notes or status updates on your progress towards achieving it. You’ll want the tools you use to be really accessible and convenient to use, so you remember to check in with it regularly and keep your tasks top-of-mind. Try using something you can keep open on your desktop or browser throughout the workday, or lying on your physical desk in front of you – wherever will be the most obvious and eye-catching for all-day motivation. The key here is to lay out all of your business goals into an actionable and measurable roadmap of realistic milestones that will help you stay on track.
Then lastly, you’ll want to incorporate into your routine any other means of motivation and accountability you can, so you don’t let yourself falter in a moment of weakness or laziness and give up on your dream! This could be written reminders around your home or office, or alarms set on your phone, or a mantra you say to yourself before you go to bed each night (or wake up each morning). But don’t forget to reach beyond what you can create for yourself, and enlist the help of a strong support network. Join groups or communities in your field, attend local meet ups, and align with colleagues to help keep each other on track. Find your closest, most trusted friends and tell them your goals or share your To Do list. Make yourself socially accountable as well, and I promise it will only help you stay even more committed to your plan.
So how about it? Are you ready to put your Plan into Action?
If you’ve already been through my book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan, and have your complete business plan – then comment below and tell me how you are going to implement your plan and turn it into reality! Or if you’ve already made it happen, then tell me what you did to achieve that and how you kept yourself motivated to take Action.
And if you haven’t yet built your own Productive Artist plan – then get yourself over to Amazon now and get your copy of my new book, The Productive Artist’s Business Plan, and I will help you get to building! And remember to subscribe to my email list and YouTube Channel to join me on the journey to a more productively artistic you.