This piece is part of our Small Business Basics content series. Today’s piece by Evy Andra helps guide us through how to strategize the ideal life and business for ourselves.
After you read, share with us:
Do you have a specific vision for the future of your business—one year, five years, or even 10 years down the line?
When I started my first business in my early twenties, I wanted to do everything “right.”
I was easily influenced by the people around me: mentors, coaches, family, other business owners. I wanted to prove that I could be a creative and an astute business owner, all while forging a new path for myself and the team that was trusting me to lead them. Everyone had his or her own “secret sauce” in business and I desperately wanted to find my own success among them.
I spent most of my teenage years feeling like I wasn’t quite good enough, smart enough, unique enough, responsible enough…you get the picture. Because of this mindset, I deeply distrusted my own ability to create a booming business.
I had the desire, that nagging pull to move forward with my dream—but felt like the only way to truly succeed was through the safety of someone else’s version of being a business owner.
You might be wondering what any of this has to do with strategizing in your business, and this might be a little out of the norm from the typical guidance you would find on how to create an effective strategy in your business.
But you, my love, are anything but typical.
I invite you to get a little “woo-woo” with me before we dive into the technical process I have used to scale my businesses to what they are now, while also building a pretty rad life in the process.
After years of small failures and hard lessons, things started to slowly click. A huge shift happened as I poured into my personal development, healed my inner child, identified my own version of success, and, most importantly, started trusting myself.
The business strategy that my ambitious 23-year-old self created was rooted in proving to myself and others that I deserved to sit at the table.
Now my strategy is irrevocably grounded in being happy, loving my life, and having a business that supports that—even if it looks nothing like how someone else has done it.
You get to uniquely build your business, and nobody knows it better than you. Educate yourself and learn from others—but know that you are the secret sauce in building your dream business.
Let’s dive into how to create an aligned strategy for yourself.
Simply put, it’s a high-level plan that helps a business achieve its goals.
When you are a creative, you might not always connect with financial forecasts, KPIs (key performance indicators), spreadsheets, or even numbers. Although those things are important, my experience and what I coach to is spending an equal amount of time on creating a business that feels good to you and has an energy of excitement and purpose.
Think of your strategy as a roadmap to where you want your business and life to go and how the two support each other in the process.
Have you ever gone on a road trip to somewhere new without a map or explanation of how to get there? I didn’t think so.
Everything is created twice: once in our mind, and then tangibly in action. It’s easy to get caught in the day-to-day of managing your business and workload. Your strategy helps keep you connected to your growth and gives you direction towards your vision.
Have you let yourself dream lately? Like really dream, free of any judgment of yourself or feeling the need to be “realistic”? (I have a visceral reaction to the term “be realistic”, it is a dream squasher!)
What do you want? What do you long for in your life? How do you want to feel? How do you want to serve and create? What do you get to say yes to, what do you get to say no to?
For me, I want to spend summers vacationing with my family, the freedom to work whenever I want, for money to never be a reason I say no to something I want, and to be able to enrich the lives of others while following my purpose.
Creating an effective strategy starts with allowing yourself to dream about your future unabashedly, without pressure to be or do anything other than what you feel called to.
Schedule time on your calendar where you focus solely on giving yourself free rein to dream, write it all down, and revisit it often.
This is where we reverse engineer the dream. Looking at where you want to go, work this backwards into your 10 year, five year, and one year plan.
With the end goal in mind, you can work toward creating the tangible things needed in your business to support that dream. I call it “Stair Stepping.” Stair Stepping allows you to make small advances towards your end goal. These small advances compound to create big shifts towards your dream life.
A mistake I made early on in business was not grasping the importance of slowing down to speed up. Let’s face it, when you own a business you wear a lot of hats! It’s easy to get caught up in doing all the things and not taking a moment to pause and plan.
Checking in with your vision and goals quarterly helps to keep you on track. Don’t get stuck on autopilot and then look back years from now wishing you had been making moves towards your dream life.
When you create your strategy, you might start feeling a little overwhelmed by how you can really make it happen. If so, that’s ok! It’s quite normal, in fact. Have you ever heard the expression, “How do you eat an elephant?” Well, it’s one bite at a time—or one week at a time, in this instance. Every week identify small, bite-sized tasks that you can accomplish to move you closer to your end goal.
Here’s what I know to be true: life is a wild ride. Where my path has led me has turned out to be dramatically different than what I imagined years ago. I resisted those changes for a long time due to having tunnel vision with my strategy.
Allow yourself to pivot; know that nothing is written in stone. As a human, you have a divine right to go with the flow. Pivoting isn’t failure, it’s realignment! Allow yourself the flexibility to grow as a business owner and person.
Well, friend, I hope this supports you on your hero’s journey. My hope is that you make owning a business fun in every way that you can and that you follow your heart in creating your business strategy. When you base your decisions on your unique purpose and callings, success and money will come.
Here is your permission to build a business grounded in living a fulfilled and happy life doing what you love.
Evy Andra @evyandra
As a multi passionate business owner and certified life and business coach, I love sharing my story with others in hopes to create a culture of vulnerability and authenticity.
Learn from Evy and other instructors in the Hive Certified Business program!