Annual planning is something I do with my clients each year in December or early January. It's a way to review the year that just passed. What went right? What went wrong? How will I improve? After you're done assessing what was, it's time to look towards that bright, shiny future. I love New Year's Eve and the hope it brings. It's a time to wash the slate clean and start again.
I figured the best way to show you how I do my annual planning is to actually bring you through my own personal process. It's full of hard-truths, laughs and you guessed it, hope.
I don't know about you, but 2019 was a hard pass from start to finish. It was a bumpy road full of huge transitions. On a personal front the following things happened: my cat was hit and killed by a car; my boyfriend's brother had a non-malignant brain tumor removed; a family member was evicted from their home due to their dark addition to drugs and alcohol; another family member attempted to commit suicide, and unfortunately a beloved member of my Boulder community was successful in their suicide attempt. This weighs heavy today as I attended the memorial just yesterday.
To put it mildly: It's been dark. Where there is darkness there is always light. It's usually a time of profound growth and change. You learn how tough you truly are, how people are capable of showing up in crisis and the power of community. I'm a different person today than when I walked into 2019. I'm much less judgmental and truly recognize we're all doing the best we can. It's also forced me to rely on a treasured process: morning gratitude lists. Even in the toughest times there is always something to be grateful for. I have an incredible boyfriend who is my rock, amazing pets, wonderful friends and a thriving business.
When it comes to my business it's also been a year of significant change. I hired my amazing Art Director a few months ago and she has been a godsend. She hits my gratitude list on the daily. What I bring as far as content and strategy are matched tenfold by incredible creative talents. She's helping me bring my ideas to life.
What challenges did you face this year? How did you overcome them? Where are your areas for self-growth and reflection? How has your business grown this year? Has it remained flat? What needs to change? What are you most grateful for?
2020 is not only a new year ahead, but a new decade. I can't wait to see what energy this brings into not only my business, but yours. I start my 2020 planning by doing a tarot card reading (not kidding). Feel free to choose any method you'd prefer. I start by setting an intention for the year.
I pulled the Three of Pentacles Reversed which represents fears, insecurities and the need to try to control the plan. Um, that is definitely how I'm feeling right now as I launch my new online programs. Taxi-cab confession, EVERY entrepreneur has moments of doubt. It's only human. However, I don't want to bring that into the new year.
I pulled again and received the King of Pentacles. Apparently the spirits heard me loud and clear. This card signifies mastery in material resources and wealth. The suggested mantra: I harness my power to build and create. YES. That is what 2020 will be all about.
I now set my intentions of each month ahead:
January - Two of Wands - Clear direction, facing fears head-on
February - Six of Wands Reversed - Heart centered authenticity, Cultivating Talents
March - Queen of Pentacles - Grounded wisdom, heartfelt success
April - Knight of Pentacles Reversed - Change in mindset, constructive action
May - Nine of Pentacles Reversed - Shift or release, growth
June - Nine of Cups - Dreams, kindness, healing, peace
July - Nine of Wands - Strength, completion, success
August - Ace of Swords Reversed - Introspection, recognition of true talents, shift in plan
September - Playground of opportunities, accelerated positive energy
October - The Emperor - Discipline and balance
November - The Hermit Reversed - Deep meditation, inner truths
December - The Moon Reversed - Fears emerge and help transform
While you may find it odd that I use tarot to craft my marketing plan, I suggest you give it a go before scoffing at it. It's a lot of fun and I don't take it too seriously. If anything, I've found the universe has a humorous side, even if dark at times. How will you set your intentions? Choose attributes you want to work on each month? Topics that interest you? Pull topics out of a hat?
Setting intentions has a magical way of making marketing come alive. It's a way we start to craft stories that have authenticity and depth. Now that I have the emotional competent on lock, I can share my experience, strength and hope about each of these topics and how they relate back to my trade (digital marketing) in my blogs, newsletter, emails and social media. I'll go into this planning process in much more detail in my upcoming article in National Jeweler. Stay tuned!
In the meantime, I ask you to keep an open mind and try my method out. Reflection and renewal are the two key elements in a successful map for the year ahead. What's also important is a clear marketing plan grounded firmly in reality (as well as spirituality if you so choose). I've just launched my very first online course! It's a huge labor of love and has been months (if not years) in the making. You can find out more about this below if it interests you.
No matter how you decide to put your plan into place, a little bit of magic and a whole heck of a lot of strategy will get you far. I'm wishing each and every one of you a truly blissful, prosperous and fun 2020.