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It’s not too late (or too crazy) to plan for 2021

I mentioned recently in my weekly pep talks (over on IGTV) that I get reallllllly opinionated in January, in particular about the semi-aggressive planning culture we live in.

I feel like a mama bear protecting all my bear cubs (aka clients, colleagues, and friends) who are just recovering from a busy Christmas in retail, just starting to get back on their feet, and only just able to start reflecting on the last six or so weeks.

If you’re a maker or a female founder of a product-based business, you do not need to have a comprehensive plan for the year on 1st January.

In fact, I think the best business plans aren’t thrown together in a fit of panic or needing something to cling to. Instead, they’re made with integrity, with consideration, and with full awareness of who, where and what you are.

As I write this, we’re not even halfway through January (and a dramatic January at that), and already it can feel like it’s not worth planning at all – the window of opportunity has gone.

And any plans you did make might have gone out the window – so why bother.

It is never too late to make a plan, find your focus, and commit to the future you really want.

But is it too crazy?

Okay. So the plans you made this time last year might be laughing in your face. 2020 was no year for plans going exactly as anticipated.

But you know what? Plans rarely get pulled off without a hitch.

Even if you don’t stick to a plan, or life takes you away from it because of a pandemic or a family illness or really anything else, it is so valuable to have a focus.

It’s 2021, and I think we all know that the world is unpredictable. We’re not expecting much “normal life” – as much as we’re longing for it and hoping for it.

Why bother? Why bother making a plan? Why not take one day at a time, go with the flow, and try to do anything too specific or too big?

Because having a focus and a direction helps. It helps your mental health, your inner business strength, and your bottom line.

You can still take one day at a time, flexing with lockdown rules, homeschooling, sales, and your own needs.

But have a direction that you’ve chosen with intent, whether that’s a product range you’re focusing on, or a marketing strategy you want to give yourself to 100%, or staying really committed to a specific turnover number.

I don’t know what focus is right for you, but I do know that you’ll reap rewards when you choose one thing.

Having a plan means taking your limitations into account.

Having a plan means it’s easier to adapt when needed.

Having a plan means you’ll know what to do in those 20 minutes you have to catch up on things (hello, parent/business juggle).

Ultimately, your plan works best when it integrates with your creativity, your intuition, and your impulses. They’re valuable assets, and they need structure in order to thrive.

I need a plan! What should it be?

Ah, you’re in the right place.

Come and join me for a 5 day challenge to create a business plan that’s designed to give you a more resilient business in 2021.

It’s totally free, and we’ll spend time reflecting on where you are, how lockdown life has affected you, and where you (really) want to go from here. Then we’ll sift through your dreams, your possibilities, and your practical limitations, to discover your focus for right now. We’ll map out a unique-to-you plan that builds in strength, courage, and creativity.

The Better Business Plan takes place in the last week of January, Monday 25th to Friday 29th, with live coaching every day, as well as a private space on Instagram for support and questions. Not to mention a workbook for you to work through and keep as your 2021 map.

Don’t miss this transformative event!

>>> Read more and register here. <<<

I can’t wait to see you there!

Jenny x

Why bother sending a newsletter on Christmas Eve?

You’re not going to be making or dispatching any orders on 24th December, and customers are going to be done with their Christmas shopping. So why would you take the time to send an email to them?

Connection. Loyalty. Authenticity.

Building your brand, your marketing content, and your business isn’t about making the sale every single time.

In fact, taking the time to thank your customers for their support this year and wishing them a Merry Christmas demonstrates that you’re a thoughtful human being behind a lovely creative business.

And it doesn’t have to be long or complicated. It doesn’t need to take you hours or write it or set it up.

Here’s my quick-and-easy Christmas Eve newsletter content checklist:

  • Subject line: Merry Christmas from {brand name}
  • Headline: Thank you for being here
  • Paragraph: Share your thanks for all their support and what it’s meant to you
  • Photo: Include a photo of you in a Santa hat or some key Christmas products
  • Sign off: Wish them a happy new year

Bonus points:

  • Share a couple of fun stats, like how many baubles you’ve made this Christmas (this increases your authority and integrity as a business), and how many mince pies you’ve eaten so far (this makes you relatable as a human!)
  • If you have a free printable colouring page or old blog post they might like to read, link to it

Keep it really simple

I know how things can go. You’ll read this and think “YES, Jenny’s right, I should send a Merry Christmas email, and I’ll create a fully animated stop-motion video for it, and then I’ll link it to some stupendous (but not currently planned or made) January sale and new product launch, and I’ll share a huge list of makers I want to recommend… Ooh, and I could create a whole new freebie too…”

NO.

Just draft and schedule a short and sweet email now using things you already have.

And feel free to let me know how good it feels to schedule something that’s going to have a big impact on your customer love.

Are you a leading lady? Or are you a best friend?

If you’re reading this, chances are you WANT to be the leading lady in your business, and in your life. But maybe you haven’t quite made that leap yet, or perhaps you’d like to feel more empowered, stepping into that Proper Business Owner role…

Today, I’m sharing inspiration from festive favourite The Holiday to give us some clarity and some gumption (great word) as we start to embrace our title role in our own lives.

I’m not ashamed to say I’ve watched The Holiday a LOT. I can recite scenes, and there are lines I know by heart. This is one of them:

You’re supposed to be the leading lady in your own life, for god’s sake.

Iris, played by Kate Winslet, has a tear-inducing lightbulb moment when retired movie writer Arthur tells her she’s being more best friend than leading lady. It’s a lightbulb moment for all of us!

First of all, no shade to best friends. We all need best friends. And in real life (not the movies) we are meant to support each other in being the leading ladies of our own lives. My best friend, Kelly, is the leading lady of her life, and I support her journey. She also supports mine. And in a beautiful way, this happens in our businesses too. I’m a client of hers, and she’s a member of the Better Business Collective – and we lean on each other for different things.

But back to the point, here. Maybe you can relate to this…

In my early twenties, I was being a best friend. Not to one specific person, but to most other people and figures in my life. My boss at work, my family and friends, even the people on the tube, all had more importance than me. I would bend and flex to meet their needs, rather than asking for what I needed for my own sparkling storyline.

By my late twenties, I was a leading lady. Strong in my convictions, I stood up for what I thought was right, for what worked for me. I started my business, I put myself in the centre of my life, and it allowed me to contribute to my relationships, clients, and the things that mattered.

Now, in my (gulp) thirties, I have children, a marriage, a mortgage, and a business. The responsibilities are more complex than they were 7 years ago. I am in a new phase of being a leading lady, one that requires grace but also integrity. It requires putting myself at the centre of my story, even when mum guilt and society tell me to just play it small and quiet.

So how do we put being a leading lady into practice?

It’s a good question. Let’s use the movie metaphor a bit more…

In a movie, everything that happens – every action, scene, dialogue, piece of information – ultimately tells us more about the leading lady’s story. Anything that doesn’t move her narrative and development forward is superfluous.

So her best friend is there to provide insight. A challenging situation or accident or any external action is there to show us how she responds to it. Her enemy or antagonist is there to challenge her, help her grow, change her for the better.

I’m not suggesting we all turn into raging narcissists where everything is about us – far from it. I AM suggesting we consider our own storyline and development, noticing the things that take up our time and energy, and assess whether they are fuelling the story or getting us off-track.

✨ How does x thing (an event, a story, a person, a conversation) impact you? Is it helping you to move forward and grow, or is it holding you back?

✨ Are you holding your head high, knowing you belong wherever you go? Or are you apologising before you even enter the room?

✨ Do you recognise that your responsibility to yourself is greater than your responsibility to others? That, in fact, no-one else can be the boss of your life?

✨ What if you let yourself be the leading lady for the day, the week, a month?

✨ And are you willing to let your dream, your success, steal the show?

The thing is: being a leading lady is really about stepping into leadership, and I love that Arthur in The Holiday makes that something we can relate to. Because leadership can sometimes sound like suits and boardrooms and hotel conferences.

But what if leadership is being a leading lady? Commanding respect. Feeling empowered and empowering others. Taking actions that demonstrate your commitment to your dreams.

That’s the kind of leadership I can get on board with. I hope you will, too.

optin-cup

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