As I sit here writing a new blog post for the new year, I’m completely baffled at how a whole year has blitzed past at seemingly the speed of light. I mean… Where has the time gone?
I don’t know how 2018 panned out for you, but right now as I look back at the highs and lows, the great days and the not so lovely ones.. I am above all, thankful.
Thankful for goals met, challenges faced, skills acquired, lessons learnt and memories made. It wasn’t a perfect year, but it was certainly a memorable one!
The one word I would sum up 2018 is Progress. I look at almost every aspect of my life be it work, family, marriage and I’m grateful to see steps forward, ground covered and milestones met.
In one year of operating Sugar Sugar Cake School as an online learning platform, we’ve released a slew of courses & pictorials that have been received with open arms by the online cake community, grown our student membership by the thousands, doubled our social media following on both Instagram and Facebook, been nominated for awards and taught workshops across the globe.
But all of this didn’t just happen. I remember so vividly sitting down at the beginning of the year 2018 planning and visualising what I wanted my cake business to become in that year. And I can tell you that every goal and objective met was a result of how I set my goals for the year.
In this post, I’m going to share my 3-step planning process that I use to dream for the year ahead. Dreaming without a plan is wishful thinking. So in this blog post, I’ll be walking you through how to dream in a STRATEGIC way that will allow you to slay actual goals in the coming year.
With this Blog Post, I’ve also curated a special ‘Goal-Setting Planner’ that you can download and use in tandem with everything you’ll read here. Using this free PDF will help you put all the theory you’ll learn in this post into creating your own goal-smashing plan for the year.
It’s time to posture yourself for your STRONGEST cake year yet.
Step 1. PLAN (the RIGHT way )
I’ve had this saying drummed into me many times… If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. I can certainly testify to this. I’ve seen both ends of the stick to this and I’m reminded that if I want 2019 to be a goal-kicking, wave-making kinda year, I gotta plan WELL.
Planning for me takes on 2 main actions. The first is ‘Knowing WHERE I want to go’.
So, visualise where you want to be by the end of the year. What do you want your caking to look like, what kind of business do you want to create or how do you want yourself to evolve as an artist and entrepreneur? It’s important to have a general idea of where you’d like to be.
Well, not having a clear vision of where you’d like to be by the end of the year is kinda like driving around aimlessly without a destination in mind. You’ll spend a whole lot of time and resources only to arrive.. . nowhere in particular.
So firstly, have a definite and clear idea of what you want to see in your caking and business by the end of the year. For instance, it can look something like this:
“I want to have started a part-time business which specialises in XYZ by the end of the year and would like my work to be in at least 1 publication, and making a profit from my work by the end of the year. “
From this very general vision, you can then break down your “vision” into tangible objectives. The key with this is to be SPECIFIC. Don’t just write down one of your goals as “have lots of followers on Instagram”. Be clear about numbers, figures and actions.
Some examples of specific objectives to help you achieve your overall vision can be:
- Start my part-time business by March
- Earn $ xxxx from cake sales per month by September
- Get 1 publication in a magazine
- Work to reach 10,000 followers on Instagram/Facebook by the end of the year
- Participate in one live event (market/fair)
- Complete X online courses and read X educational books
Once you’ve done that, the next bit is figuring out ‘how to get there’. How to achieve the specific goals you’ve set. So this is where you have to work BACKWARDS. Looking intently into every goal written and figuring out what you need to do in the months prior to get there.
I do this by having a visual worksheet of the entire year in front of me (this is included in the Goal-Setting Planner pdf) and then marking down actions in the months prior that will lead me to achieving those specific objectives.
For instance, if I want to set up my part-time business by March, then as an illustration, here’s what I would put down in the months of January and February (yours may look different to this):
- Call local council to find out what requirements are needed to get registered as a home baking business
- Create product line and recipes
- Get in touch with accountant to discuss business set up & financials
- Prepare paperwork for registration of business and council approvals
- Test recipes & products (friends and non-friends) and get feedback
- Brainstorm ideas for names & branding
Be mindful that the actions you list on each month will be determined very much on the objectives you set beforehand. You also want to make sure you set REALISTIC objectives that you can actually achieve in the timeframe you have and in the life circumstances that you’re in. (for eg. Planning to start a business in the exact same month you’re having a new baby may not be the most realistic goal).
Step 2. Focus
Whilst we can do a lot of things, we need to realise that we can’t do ALL the things. Well, maybe we can, but we won’t be able to do them all well.
It’s important to have a clear focus for your cake work in each year. Wanting to be an established teacher, award-winning wedding cake maker, shopfront owner, product developer and blogger all in one year maaaay be a little too much for one’s platter in just 365 days. It’s important to build strong towards one main area in your cake work. Once you find established growth and success in that one area, then you can think about branching into other areas later down the track.
Often, we can get caught up in the successes of others in our industry and get “inspired” to do the same things as well without actually asking the questions of:
What am I uniquely good at?
What do I want this business to look like?
What’s important to me in my cake business?
In the first year of my business, I didn’t have a clue what I was doing. I didn’t have a clear focus and I was higglety-pigglety all over the shop.
In the 2 years after, I had a clear focus that I wanted to specialise as a boutique wedding cake maker that could generate $xxxx income per month. Needless to say, by having a clear focus of working towards that one direction, I surpassed my income goals, went on to win multiple awards in the bridal cake industry and became established as a bespoke wedding business in my locality.
In essence, work towards building strong in one direction, and working with a clear FOCUS.
Step 3. Budget (time, investment)
This is a pretty important step that often gets overlooked. In the pursuit of our ambitions, there are often barriers and circumstances that deter us from getting there. What are they?? Usual suspects are lack of time, busyness, lack of motivation, lack of knowledge or shortage of resources. So from the outset, it’s important to count the cost of what it’ll take to achieve our said goals and make allowance for that.
So for instance, in the aforementioned illustration, our “budget” or “input” that will be required to meet all of those objectives may be:
- Clocking 5 hours of focused administrative work time each week on my new cake business
- Investing XXX as startup costs and budgeting for marketing, admin, equipment etc
- Dedicating 1 night a week to learning, practising and experimentation
- Selling my antique dresser to buy a mixer
- Enrolling in a course to improve my fondant covering
This whole exercise is about determining “what am I willing to invest or sacrifice in order to achieve X Y and Z?”.
If we aren’t willing to do this bit, then it all fizzles into one big pile of wishful dreams. Counting the cost is what sets apart the dreamers from the doers.
Also, related to this, it’s important to determine what we are NOT willing to give up in the pursuit of our cake/work goals. These are things should remain priorities even in the midst of our driven pursuit. For instance, things like family time, self-care and health are all things that I’m mindful of maintaining even in the midst of dream-chasing. If we aren’t mindful of setting boundaries for our priorities OUTSIDE of our cake objectives, then these things can often get trampled over in the pursuit.
So there you have it, simple but essential – 3 steps to making 2019 your most sensational cake year yet! It’s time to get crackin’ on your 2019 goal-setting and set yourself up for some major WINS!
Again, remember to download my free Goal-Setting Planner to start putting these steps into practice and get your game plan in order. I can’t wait to journey 2019 with you friend.
Tell me dear reader, what’s your biggest cake goal for this new year?