How I plan my business goals and income generation

This is a very transparent and open post from me, taken directly from my notes during my afternoon of strategy and planning. I've included financial information and haven't left anything out because I want to share my experiences in a way that helps others!

Objective of this session

Get clear on how I will be spending my time up to March 2016 and set realistic goals to achieve this.

What do I want to review?

  • Business values and priorities
  • Services and pricing strategy for The Wheel Exists
  • My ideal week and how I'm going to get there
  • Marketing and promotion including social media scheduling
  • “Not Doing Now” list
  • Online course content creation and promotion
  • Face to face training dates and promotion (including Groupon)
  • What to do about side projects including Peak Foodie and Katy and Coco
  • Freelance Friday content, marketing and promotion
  • Budgeting and sales targets up to March 2016
  • Identifying potential customers and support organisations for training course
  • How to present more often
  • Summer 2016 (how to get income to cover the quiet months)
  • Blog posts on cashflow issues
  • Guest blog contributions
  • Express service, or in house presence during development for nominal extra charge

Business Goals, Values and Priorities

Goals

  • Having freedom including financial freedom (never having to take on work that I'm not 100% committed to and being free from debt) as well as freedom with my time, so being able to do what I want, when I want to.
  • Paying it forward by helping others with their business or organisation, as people have supported me in the past.
  • Empowering freelancers, small businesses and charities to feel that they CAN achieve their goals.

Values

  • Honest
  • Approachable
  • Different
  • Clear

Priorities

  • Cashflow
  • Tying up loose ends
  • Developing training (online and face to face)
  • Promotion and marketing for new services and products

My Ideal Week

I heard about this activity from somebody that I was mentoring and really liked the idea of planning how I would spend my time if there were no restrictions (financial or other). It's quite a difficult activity for me as ideally, each week would be different, so I see this as a snapshot of a week that would represent the right balance of time spent on each part of my life.

I'm not including after 6pm, Saturdays or Sundays as whilst I have some flexibility with my time, I realise that most other people in my life work more traditional hours. I therefore want to leave evenings and weekends free to spend with friends and family.

This has been very interesting to think about, as originally I had thought of having at least two days per week spent exclusively on website delivery. However in order to accommodate everything else that I want to do, I've had to reduce this down to just two half days. Is this possible? If you extend this over a month then I wouldn't necessarily be running a training course each week, so there would be some flexibility to increase the website work to two days in certain weeks. But in terms of planning, if I aim to generate enough income based on two half days then this gives me a bit of breathing room too.

“Not Doing Now” List

These are ideas that I've had either today or previously that I want to pursue, but aren't a priority for me right now.

  • Freelance account management (liaison between companies and web developers)
  • Productivity book
  • Super-secret cheese-related project
  • Facilitation services

Income Generation

Based on my ideal week, I have identified three potential sources of income based on my time:

  1. Creating websites for clients
  2. Providing face to face training to help people with smaller budgets create their own websites
  3. Speaking at events on topics such as website creation, setting up a small business or being freelance

Let's break these down in terms of how much each could generate.

1. Website Creation

The amount of time needed for creating a website from start to finish varies massively, but based on previous time tracking experiments I probably need at least the equivalent of two full days. My ideal week has me at the equivalent of one day per week spent on websites, which means that I should be able to deliver two websites in a month.

At my current rate of £750 this would earn me £1,500 in a month. I also have small pieces of support work, for which I tend to charge around £150 so if I spent one half-day per week on these tasks instead of a full website, I would need to have five half-days in a month to generate the equivalent income, which should be achievable.

I would also like to offer an “express” service or in-house day where I sit down with the client and actually develop the website there with them, so the bulk of the work is all completed in a day. This probably won't be a regular piece of work but I would expect to charge around £1,000 plus travel costs for this.

Potential amount per month: £1,500

2. Face to face training Workshops

I would want to limit the number of attendees on the face to face training to six people, so that I could ensure everybody receives enough time and support from me during the session. I would probably want a minimum of three people to run the course.

I'm thinking of charging between £150 and £250 for a day's training so for the minimum three people at £150 each, this would generate £450. For the maximum six people at £250 each this would be £1,500. Assuming an average of the two is what I can actually generate, that would be £1,000. I would probably start with doing one full day session per month and using that day on the other weeks to work on course materials and promotion.

Potential amount per month: £1,000

3. Speaking at events

I've spoken at a few events since starting The Wheel Exists, including the Business Startup Show and Third Sector Café. None of these have been paid presentations but I did benefit with increased awareness of my work and ultimately gained new business from them. So I could have an income target that is achieved either by additional new business generated or speaker fee.

  • “Lunchtime Learning” sessions
  • Education services at libraries or business centres
  • Umbrella bodies such as CVS organisations or associations
  • Conferences for charities, freelancers or startups

Deciding a target income from this strand of work is a little bit of a stab in the dark, so I'm going to be conservative and aim for £250 per month generated from one half day per week (including travel and preparation).

Potential amount per month: £250

Passive Income Generation

The income based on time alone would just about cover my monthly (business and personal) overheads, which are slightly higher at the moment because I'm starting to pay off some of the money that I borrowed when setting up the business. However to achieve my financial freedom goal (and also to cover quieter times like the summer holidays) I would like to start saving. With my time all accounted for, this means that I also need to develop a passive income stream. As I'm developing a training package to deliver in person, it also makes sense to me to have a virtual component that I can create in parallel.

Online Training Course

With this course, I would take people step by step through the process of creating a website using Squarespace, using an example (fictional) organisation to showcase the most popular templates. I'm currently thinking of pricing the course at £150, with an option for clients or attendees at the face to face training to buy it for £50.

As with the presenting work, estimating the number of sales per month is tricky as it's a new aspect of my work, but let's say I start with two sales at £150 per month and four at £50. This would give me a total of £500 per month.

Potential amount per month: £500

Training Content and Promotion

To promote both the face to face and oline training courses I will need to increase my time spent on promotion and marketing through social media, relevant networks, small business hubs and training sales channels. These could include:

  • Twitter business promotions e.g. #SheffieldHour and other local areas
  • Promoting the training on Groupon
  • Selling the online course via Udemy
  • Printing posters or leaflets to leave in Manchester co-working or business spaces
  • Sending out newsletters (including special promotions)
  • Blog posts that link back to the training (and finding guest publications that I can contribute to)