Last Day of the Month
When I started this business, I knew I had a lot to learn.
Every time I got into a business planning book or other resource though, I kept hitting a snag – I didn’t have a baseline. Like, I didn’t have any idea of how I was doing, or what my current numbers were, so that I could try and improve them.
Some of this was just new business blips: I hadn’t been doing things long enough to have any data. But as time marched on, as it inevitably does, I began to realise that I have personal gaps too with regard to this stuff.
I had ‘set up an accounting system’ on my list for – I kid you not – over a full year before I even began to do anything about it. And even then, I was only tracking income and expenditure by hand in my bullet journal, for nearly another year. That is data, sure. But it’s not really useable data in the long term. It still has to be entered into an accounting programme so that I would have a set of actual accounts by the end of each year.
So ‘set up a digital accounting system’ went on my list, and to be honest, that’s where I am now. I went with Quickbooks Online, becuase it seemed the simplest, and I’m just starting the data entry and set up on all of that now.
But it’s HAAAARRRRDDDDDD.
I don’t really know what I’m doing. And though I have a separate business bank account, I don’t have a different business credit card. And we run a home office. So, personal and business accounts are intertwined to the point where I’m just setting up one big accounting system, and I’ll have to seperate things out from there. I figure having the big picture in a useable format is at least a better place than the one we’re in right now.
So, that’s happening, at last. No doubt I’ll share my fears and frustrations over that as we go too. And maybe it’ll keep me accountable (bad pun, soz not soz) because even just admitting to how long of a mess I’ve let this get into is embarrassing. Guess I should keep working on that from here, right?
Otherwise, I like to track things in my bullet journal at the end of month so that I can refer to, and see the context for, what’s happening in the rest of the month. And next month. We’ve talked about trackers and how bad I am at keeping up with them before, so to get this in order for myself I had to set it up as a new habit, which means a clear Cue –> Habit –> Reward structure.
Another factor in the success and continuity of any new habit (or replacing an old habit with a new one, within the same cue to reward structure), is community. Now, this can be a community of 2, or of 1000, that doesn’t seem to matter.
I chose a community of 2 for this particular habit, and incorporated that into the reward. So, on the last calendar day of every month [cue], myself and my partner (in business and in life) Jon go on a mini planning [habit] ‘date’, to a cafe or restaurant [reward].
We bring our journals and some pens, and our phones to look stuff up, we order what we want, and then proceed to track last month and set ourselves up for next month.
We each look at and compare to the previous month:
- Our social media stats to see how many new followers are with us that month;
- Our mailing lists to check how many sign ups we got;
- Our Patreon accounts to see how many new Patrons have come on to support us and our work.
Then we look back at our annual, or 6 month, or quarterly goals (we’re each at different stages in our businesses, so this looks a little different for each of us), and we figure out what our one or two primary goals should be for the coming month.
Mine, this month, are to finish the new book I’m working on for Llewellyn Publishers – that deadline is the first of next month, so this is the last leg of the manuscript journey right here – and to get my sales funnel set up for a course I’m publicly launching in 2 months time.
To get that course launch sorted, there’s a few back steps that have to be in place, so I’ll need to take care of those this month, then be ready to get going with a content marketing plan on the course topic at the end of this month. That will run throughout the second month, to prepare for opening the course programme for signups for a short window at the end of that month. If all that makes sense?!
So, this coming month I’ll be working on getting the structures in place and running right on my main author/educator page (this is my primary wordpress website, and needs to change hosting and themes, to support the plans I have for organising my content, marketing and education delivery in a clearer and more user friendly way). Then I’ll need to set up specific mailing list and landing page structure within that primary system, just for this programme. I’ll only run this particular course programme once per year on a timed basis, so I’ll need to make sure there’s a lead capture system in place for folks who don’t make it in through this window, so I can offer it to them next year.
During the end-of-month planning date today, I sketched out some rough ideas and plans for how I’m going to achieve my goals, and drafted an affirmation I can use during my morning routine, which focuses me for not just what I want to achieve – but how I’m going to do that. For example, with regard to the book project, I’ll have to write 1000 words a day, 5 days per week (at least) to finish the final 20,000 words this month. I will do this first thing when I sit at my desk each day, so that I’m fresh and don’t run out of willpower, to make sure it gets done every single day I need to make that happen. I also track this on a chart in my bullet journal, giving myself occasional little reward stickers as my daily word count climbs higher up the graph, or on days when I really didn’t want to write and I did it anyway.
What? I like stickers.
How can you incorporate some of these ideas into your monthly planning or tracking? Which ones are relevant to wherever you are in your business or life situation? Just like me and Jon – this is going to look different for different people, depending on where you’re at.
If you do nothing else, think about the habit formula.
Cue → Habit → Reward, and a community to share it with. If you don’t have anybody near you that shares a goal you both with to turn into a habit, then pop over to our New Facebook Group and introduce yourself there. I’m hoping that will turn into a supportive, useful community for folk to join in with.
All the best,