I am a big fan of step-by-step training, from both the learner's side as well as the teacher's side. It just makes sense to me.
But I'm also a “big picture” guy – stuff just doesn't make sense to me until I can see the entire picture – from A to Z and everything in between (that's where the steps come in).
What I have found to be fairly effective is in looking at whatever “thing” I'm interested in from the end state. Where do I want to be when I do x? What should it look like? How should it feel? How much money do I want to make out of this (being totally and honestly realistic in my expectations)?
If you start with the end in mind, you accomplish 2 critical things:
- Your subconscious mind actually starts believing it (this is HUGE). Read this for a short description of this phenomenon.
- You have an end point to aim for.
Having that end point to aim for is vital. Have you ever taken off on a road trip without an end point in mind? Where did you go? How did you get there? Was “there” where you wanted to be?
I have actually done this. “Let's just drive down the coast and see what happens.” That experience is liberating and fun. Surprises are wonderful for the soul.
But it's not really a way to run a business or accomplish personal goals. After all, the goal is the end point.
If you want to get to Philly, you need to a) know where it is, b) know where you are, and c) devise a plan to get from where you are to where you want to be. Account for obstacles, delays, and other “life got in the way” stuff.
Let's start with a little example. Let's say you want to quit your day job. Well, how do you do that? You could just tell the boss that you're quitting. Mission accomplished, right? And then, those surprises will just pour in. The bill collectors will start calling, the landlord won't be very “Lord-like”, and your Momma may stop calling because you dropped your cell phone plan.
That would suck.
So you have to make a plan. And that plan should start with the end in mind. Just how can I quit my day job eventually, without all those unpleasant things occurring?
You start at the end. Be realistic. How much do you earn right now? That's the very least that you should aim for with your new business. Remember, too, that you get tax breaks for running your own business (so you can earn less than you did at a job and still arrive at the same place), but you also don't have an employer sharing expenses like health care insurance, or social security taxes…so it could be a wash (or not) because you ARE the employer.
Be realistic about it. I'd aim higher rather than lower if I were you. For example, if you make $5,000 a month from your job, you should really start with the end in mind of making $7,00 a month from your business. That's a very rough guideline. Your mileage will vary.
Now, with that figure in mind, ask yourself how you can earn $7,000 in revenue – through products, services, both? Will this be passive income? If so, bank on the idea that it may take you months – even years – to earn that kind of income. It's a building process, for sure.
If you're selling services, how will you fulfill? Outsource or do it yourself? A little of both? If you outsource, keep in mind that your 3rd-party vendors will want to be paid. Strive for paying no more than 1/3 of your revenue out to vendors, but always remember that quality counts for a lot more than price in the long run.
The idea here really is to gradually replace your “day job” income with your business income. Once you reach a tipping point with which you are comfortable, you tell your boss to “Take this job and shove it, I ain't workin' here no more!” (One of my favorite classic country tunes.)
Remember this, too: While you're working your job and your business, you may become addicted to the “extra money”. Plan for that, too. When you quit your job, you'll lose every penny of that income.
Bottom line: Start at the end. What do you want to accomplish? Then work your way back to where you stand right now. Fill in the pieces, step-by-step. Build in some course correction routines (“Oh, that didn't work as I had hoped. Time for Plan B.”)
I have found this approach to work quite well. Give it a try and tell me what you think.