Learn to Love the P Word—PLANNING
Keeping all the aspects of a coaching business organized and running smoothly is difficult at best. And, if you don’t have a system or a plan of what to do when, organizing it all can be overwhelming. Even if you have an overall vision of where you want to be in five years, you still need a quarterly, monthly and daily plan to coordinate admin tasks, marketing activities, and content creation.
Let me tell you from experience, “winging it” just doesn’t work. Sitting down to write a blog post, facing a blank screen with no idea what to write is an awful, deflating feeling. You have a LOT to say and your audience wants to hear from you, so don’t be afraid of the P word—PLANNING!
WHAT TO PLAN
There are 3 kinds of business planning:
- Planning your goals
- Planning out your marketing strategy
- Planning out daily tasks
Setting business goals is always the first step for either starting a business, or starting a new phase/year in your business. Your business goals will be the basis for the rest of your business planning. Once you decide on say, an annual income goal, you’ll want to plan out action steps to take throughout the year in order to achieve that goal. When business actions are based on goals, they provide structure and meaning to daily activities, they strengthen social connections, and they help people weather difficult times.
Your content marketing strategy planning starts with what you want to promote. Most businesses know a year in advance what they want to promote. You may only have one coaching program to start out with, and that’s OK. Start by planning out when, where, and how often you will promote it. You’ll also want to think about different kinds of promotions for the same program, for example, a lead magnet, a challenge, a webinar, or an email series.
Later on you may add additional coaching programs for your advanced clients and/or digital products that you sell for additional income. Then you’ll need to plan out when and how you will promote each of those items.
Now that you have a plan for what you will be promoting and when, you need to break down the admin tasks necessary for your promotions to get implemented. For example, a webinar will need a registration and thank-you page, a series of follow-up emails, time to script the webinar (and record it, if it’s evergreen), and time to make slides, if you’re using them.
You’ll need certain amounts of content to go along with each of your promotions. So content planning needs to become a part of your daily schedule. You won’t have to create content every day, but you will at least need to schedule for when you will create it. Think about how often you want to share new content, and that will tell you how often you need to spend time creating it.
When I started writing blogs, I would designate every Monday morning for writing a weekly article. Sometimes it only took a few minutes and sometimes it took several hours. But it got done!
Creating a plan of action or a daily task list will help keep you organized and focused from the moment you sit down to work. You’ll know exactly what has to get done, without question. You’ll know when you need to write blog posts, when to send emails, when to write new content, when to do your billing, and when to schedule your client calls.
Some entrepreneurs like to use a 90-Day planner to schedule their quarterly events, promotions, and overall tasks. This gives them the big picture. Then they break down tasks into monthly, weekly, and daily.
HOW TO PLAN
Make Yourself a Client
Imagine you are working with a client who needs help planning out their business tasks. What process will you give them for this? Now apply that process to yourself as if you are your own client.
As much as you want a full coaching calendar, leave some space for yourself to complete your administrative tasks. Running your business is equally as important for sustainability as caring for your clients, so give your business tasks equal priority, including your content creation. Blocking out time is a popular way to schedule longer tasks, such as blog post writing, video or podcast recording, or email marketing.
Set aside an hour or two, write up those posts or emails, do the recordings, get them scheduled, then move on to the next list item. If you block out enough time often enough, eventually you’ll start having two or three (or more!) pieces of content ready to publish as needed, which can relieve some stress.
Eliminate Writer’s Block
Create a calendar that makes note of important topics or themes occurring throughout the year.
- What holidays inspire you to write content about?
- Is there a big event coming up in your city or in your niche? Write about it. Interview event panelists and speakers.
- Are you planning the launch of your signature product? Create and schedule special content around the launch date.
With all the organization that needs to be done in your business, it’s helpful to have what I call “mini planners.” These are planners that that help you focus on tasks that are specific to a particular project in your business. There are planners for creating a webinar, for producing a lead magnet, for creating a product or course, as well as planning out your content and your social media posts.
The International Association of Professional Life Coaches® provides planners as part of their product line, because it just makes so much sense to use a planner that’s designed to include only the tasks that you need to focus on for any given project.
The 90-Day Planner: plan out the next 90 days of blog posts, videos, social media posts, and email content. It includes pages for monthly and weekly action steps.
The Cash Content Planner: guides you to create profitable content by covering 5 different income sources for a coaching business and how to plan content to produce income from them.
The Product Creation Planner: guide you through the process of creating a product that you can either use as a digital product you can sell and get some passive income for, or give away as a freebie.
The Private Coaching Program Planner: walks you through the essential steps to turn your proven system into a sellable product that get your clients the results you promise.
In Conclusion: Planning out your business tasks, projects, and source(s) of income will significantly increase the odds of your business success. Using planners professionally designed by experts will save you time, organize your action steps to reach your goals, and make sure key elements of your business activities don’t slip through the cracks because you didn’t know all the necessary steps involved.