Formulating an effective strategy is easier said than done but like all processes in life, it’s made easier with practice.
That means drawing up the blueprints for whichever project you’re currently working on, making the inevitable mistakes that come with trying and documenting them as to make a better plan next time.
At least that’s how I started out.
Now that I’m on the other side of no-less than three businesses, I’ve developed a more systematic approach to projects I undertake, and you should too!
Here are a few tips for drawing up your own blueprints.
The Written Word
Go out today and buy yourself a little notebook. Dig down the back of the sofa cushions and use the pen you find to start writing things down.
Writing notes in your phone will not cut it. There’s something about physically putting pen to paper that gives your plan permanence. Use this to your advantage and start writing everything down and I mean EVERYTHING.
That includes the following steps.
Embrace The Mindset
Freelancers and entrepreneurs are a different breed of people from the regular Joes and Janes of the world.
There’s a certain mindset that comes with building your project from the ground up and before the planning stages can begin, you MUST adopt the habits that these highly effective people prescribe themselves to every day.
That means focusing on your priorities and doing the essential tasks, maintaining focus at all times in the pursuit of efficiency and productivity and documenting your journey along the way.
That doesn’t mean keeping a diary but rather, defining your goals, crossing off milestones, compiling analytical data reports and keeping on top of your time management.
It sounds daunting but once you start applying these tasks to your daily routine, it becomes habitual and you’ll surprise yourself with just how much you can accomplish in the short time we have to play with each day.
Find Your Why
One of the most difficult questions I think I ever asked myself was “Why?”
Why do you do what you do?
Setting monetary goals is one thing but to actually define the motive behind your brand is another beast altogether.
Simon Sinek, author of ‘Start With Why,’ has created an entire culture around this question and gave an amazing Ted Talk outlining the importance that starting with why has on forming meaningful relationships with your workforce and your audience.
By understanding your why and defining your end goal or ‘North Star,’ you’re able to begin your journey toward a happy and successful present.
Our destination is usually vague and frankly, unoriginal.
Generally, it’s as follows:
“I would like to find true happiness, personal and professional fulfilment, financial freedom and the ability to help others.”
This is why I particularly like the analogy of the North Star; because it suggests that there’s more than one path to your goal.
It’s OK to deviate from your current course, navigating around obstacles and difficult terrain, because the North Star is simply a guide to your destination and, in the end, it’s the journey that defines you.
Draw Your Map
Now that you know where your motivation comes from and can clearly articulate what gives you drive, it’s time to draw your map.
I find it useful to begin the map at the end point and work backwards from there.
Visualise yourself in a position where you’ve achieved your end goal and ask yourself these questions.
- What am I doing on a day to day basis?
- What have I done that allowed me to get to this point?
- What are my core values and how do they help me in my mission?
- What would I have done differently before embarking on this journey?
Taking time to visualise where you want to be in this way allows you to make the necessary changes in your present that will contribute to the success or failure of your project in the future.
If you’ve followed the steps in this post, you should have a clearer understanding of your values, your purpose, where you currently are in relation to where you’d like to be and what steps you’re going to take in order to bring your project to fruition.
If nothing else, you got a nice little notebook to jot some more ideas down!
Join me tomorrow in part two of ‘There’s More to Building a House than Laying the Bricks’ where we’ll discuss time management, productivity and essentialism.