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How My Business Will Succeed in 2020

This post (and worksheet) are for those of you out there who aren’t super into planning. The ones who “have it all in your head”, but don’t see the need (or can’t …

Kyle Van Deusen

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Business Development, Strategy

Kyle Van Deusen

Kyle Van Deusen

The Admin Bar

After spending 15 years as a graphic designer and earning a business degree, I launched my agency, OGAL Web Design, in 2017. A year later, after finding the amazing community around WordPress, I co-found The Admin Bar, which has grown to become the #1 community for WordPress professionals. I'm a husband and proud father of three, and a new resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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This post (and worksheet) are for those of you out there who aren’t super into planning. The ones who “have it all in your head”, but don’t see the need (or can’t find the time) to get it down on paper.

That was me, until I met my wife.

My wife is the ultimate planner. She plans every little detail to the point where sometimes I just have to be extremely spontaneous just to shake things up every now and again.

One thing she encouraged us to start doing each year was everyone in the family had to write down one goal for the upcoming year (including the kids).

The goals for us started out with things that seem “small” today— like funding a few more of my college courses, or getting new furniture for her office. Each January we start the year by writing down our goals for the upcoming year and reviewing our goals from the year past.

I honestly thought it was kind of silly. I mean, weren’t we planning on doing these things anyway?

But I’ll be dammed if it didn’t work. Each year we’d be crossing things off the goals list (which is hanging on our refrigerator) and some years we’d have accomplished all the things before June arrived.

Each year the goals got bigger and bigger. It went from spending a few hundred dollars on furniture, to buying our dream house.

It took me a while— but after I implemented the same sort of thing in my business and started seeing my goals get met, I became a believer.

There’s just something about the act of having to write these things down and then have them stare you in the face (each time you grab a snack) that changes your mentality. I’m not even sure it’s a conscious thing.

It’s worked really well in my business.

If you’re like me— it’s really easy to put this off. Either because we don’t think it’s worth the time, we feel silly doing it, or we make it too complicated and abandon the whole process before we even start.

But it’s worth the time and effort.

Before I launched my business I wrote down the goals I’d have to accomplish before I could quit my job and go full time with OGAL.

  1. Start earning some form of recurring revenue.
  2. Have a track record of at least 3 consecutive months making $4,000.
  3. Save up $24,000 in savings as a “runway” in case things didn’t go so well.
  4. Have this all done 1 year’s time.

Today, those goals look really easy— but at the time it seemed like an impossible mountain to climb. I wasn’t sure that I could do all that in a year working only nights and weekends on the business.

6 months later I put in my two-weeks notice and left my full-time employment for good.

The next year in business I made some goals too, but the biggest one for me was to have $100,000 in gross sales. Again, this seemed almost impossible. But before November I had done it.

This year I had the goal of increasing my recurring revenue to a specific dollar figure per month and increase my gross sales by 25%. Again, both of those things accomplished before the year was up.

Now, it’s not just like you write it down and then “boom” it happens— far from the truth. But the act of writing it down forces you to start with the end in mind and work backwards.

What will success look like to me?

What will I need to do in order to get there?

What can I do to start today?

You’ll gain clarity by forcing yourself to put these answers into real words on paper instead of just “general ideas” inside your mind.

Don’t over-complicate it.

Sure, thick business plans full of all the details are great— but only if you have the discipline to do it.

Most of us don’t— but that shouldn’t stop you from doing something.

Even if you have to start small, doing something is better than doing nothing at all. Even putting together a small goal and some ideas on how you might accomplish it can make a huge impact on your business.

Here’s a free worksheet.

To help you get started I’ve put together this small worksheet called “How My Business Will Succeed in 2020” with only 9 questions you need to answer. I encourage you to sit aside an hour between now and December 31st and fill this in, print it out, and hang it on the wall next to your desk.

Don’t stress over the details. Don’t make it harder than it is. Don’t stuff it away in a drawer.

If you have an accountability partner, a spouse, or a friend— share a copy with them. This may feel strange, but having someone in your corner who also wants you to succeed will give you a bit of social motivation to get things done.

Here’s to an amazing 2020!

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Kyle Van Deusen

Kyle Van Deusen

The Admin Bar

After spending 15 years as a graphic designer and earning a business degree, I launched my agency, OGAL Web Design, in 2017. A year later, after finding the amazing community around WordPress, I co-found The Admin Bar, which has grown to become the #1 community for WordPress professionals. I'm a husband and proud father of three, and a new resident of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

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