Friday, January 02, 2009

The Power of the Plan: 2009!

Happy New Year! Another one is behind us, bringing with it financial ups and downs, political changes, and beautiful opportunities to shine and grow. I have two freebies for you today, to help get your new year started off right:

1. The Power of the Plan!

A few years back (2000-2003, to be exact!), when I was a writer for the now defunct Women of, my first article each year was my very own personal and business planning outline. I have always believed strongly in putting dreams, goals, and visions down in physical form, as a means to not only get clearer on the steps I need to be taking, but also as a message to the powers that be that "this is what you need to aid with!". It was not a big shocker to me, as I moved deeper into studying personal and business development that many great minds also used this method to move closer towards their goals. It's a very important part of the business growth network I belong to today, and the foundation on which I've built my tiny empire.

2. Some "Soulstice"!

Download the free mp3 above to groove your way into the new year while you read the article below! Brought to you by our very own Serious Vanity Records and performed by Gentlemen Prefer Bombs! You can enjoy it and the other 11 tunes from the "wintery mix" Too Cool for the Yule at the CD's official page, for free, for a limited time.

And now...on with the plan!

Whether you're a full-time pro in your industry, a part-time enthusiast, or a hobbyist just looking for a little more direction, this will be a helpful activity to get your head in the right place.

Get yourself a pen, lots of paper, and a big glass of leftover egg nog, and let's get to work!

Page 1: title this one "MY DREAMS FOR 2009".

I like doing this page best. Let your imagination run away with you as you list all of the amazing shows you'd like to play, ads you'd like to produce, albums you want to record. It's important that you don't concern yourself with budget on this one. It's purely creative visualization material. Just let your heart play dress up with it, and list anything and everything that would be your "dream gig".

Page 2: title this one "MY GOALS FOR 2009".

Here's where we get a little more precise and budget-minded. If you think it's realistic that you could put out a CD in 2009, add this to the list. If you'd like to play certain clubs or go on a regional tour in the summer, add this to the list. If you've got a prospect that's looking pretty close to getting on your schedule, add this to the list. If you've been meaning to do more web promo, social networking, blogging, or physical marketing, add this to the list. You get the picture.

Page 3: title this one "DEFINITES for 2009".

Name says it all! If you know the CD you've got at the plant will be back next month, or your iTunes songs you submitted last week will be live soon, add this. If you've already got shows lined up, add this. If your networking, online and off, is in action, and you know it will continue, add this. It's very positive after seeing everything you want to see a list of everything you're already accomplishing.

Page 4: title this one "TIMELINE".

This is where pages 2 and 3 start to come together. Page 1 will work itself in through the year, as you accomplish these other goals and definites.

Make a calendar (this can actually replace Page 4), January through December 2009. Be precise in lining out the shows you already have, the release dates that are coming up, and (the organized Virgo AND synesthete in me suggest using a different colored pen here!) the release and launch dates you have on your goals (Page 2) page.

Put as much info as you can on your calendar. Seeing the way your business and creative endeavors will potentially fill up your year will help you to meet your goals!

Page 5: title this one "BUDGET".

Ah, the least fun page (if you're not Bill Gates).

This is called a revenue plan in other spheres, and should really be far more detailed. But I believe that you've got to start somewhere, and especially for us right-brained musician types, a big picture is very necessary before we can even begin to deal with fine tuning the details.

List your resources. What's your band's monthly income? How much credit do you have available for CD pressing or merchandising? What's your average weekly/monthly biz spending? It might be something you're not used to rigidly keeping track of. But once you start, you'll see that you are better managing the money you have left over after web fees, guitar strings, promo items, or new microphones (my favorite vice).

Break it down as much as possible. Yearly incoming/outgoing doesn't give you enough of an idea of what you have to work with. Monthly and weekly budgets are a lot easier to manage. Truth be told, I've now broken mine down into a daily picture, with my various bids and scheduled jobs worked in well in advance, so by mid-week, I know whether or not I'm hitting the targets I need to.

Hold on to your budget and your timeline, and be prepared to amend them as you go. Tuck everything else away until mid-year. When you have some down time in June, whip those puppies out and see how many of your definites are done; how many of your goals; and most surprisingly of all, how many of your dreams.

Believe in the Power of the Plan, and it will work for you!

Dana Detrick-Clark is an entrepreneur, musician, composer, producer, award nominated voice artist, writer, and all around rockin' Zen gal. What kind of world do you want to create today? Dana's mission is to help. Learn more and get more F*R*E*E information on her site.

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