Self-employment 2024 re-set

You – business owners – come here. I know you’re putting on your metaphorical hard pants and getting back to business [if you even took a break]. So — what are we doing, and why?

It’s time to get your strategic vision for your year together

I want you to figure out three CUSTOMER things:

1 / what do your customers/clients respond to the most, that you sell?

2/ is there any way to do more of that? 

3 / if you did this, what would need to change? 

For example: if you‘re a tattoo artist and everyone loves your insanely detailed linework but it is sooooo time consuming, maybe you need to create a new tattoo booking formula for high-linework work. You book an extra 20% time, charge an extra 25%, and use the extra time to stretch and money to get a massage / pay for the time you can’t do other work.

If you want help doing this, consider joining my afternoon-long product and service design workshop Design a Better Business, where we do a rapid business model and success criteria analysis, and come up with 1-2 new things to try in your business.

Then, I want you to figure out three MONEY things:

1 / how much money do you need to live on – cover your basics, your extras, and your goals

2 / how much is that before tax?

3 / what might you need to do, to earn that amount of money, in addition to whatever expenses your business has?

For example, perhaps your bills are $3,500/month [$42k/year] plus your fun spending is usually around $1,000/month [$12k/year], plus you want to travel every year [$6k/year], buy a new car next year [$10k or more down], maintain your house [$5k/year] , and put money in retirement [$7k/year]. That sums up to $75,000 after taxes and $7,000 before, or about $107,000/year total before taxes which is about $9k/month. As a hypothetical tattoo artist, I know I bring in about $9k/mo working 3-4 days a week, but adding in my expenses, I think I’d need to make $10k month to cover expenses and pay myself. So, I wonder if I need to up prices, or commit to another ½ day each week, to make sure I bring in what I want to earn.

If you want help doing this, consider joining Small Business Big Life, my signature 8-week workshop in which you’ll do this exercise and others to define a business model that supports you – and feel confident you know how to manage it.

Then experiment (or don’t)

Out of all this – does any action make sense, and call to you? 

Maybe you think nah – I’m good, don’t change anything. 

Or, maybe you think: hmmmm, what if? CanI try this? Or, I don’t like these ideas but I do want the outcomes… what else might I try?

Figuring out specific things that your customers like, and specific needs you have are ways of setting down guardrails for yourself, as you move into brainstorming and pondering what you might do as part of a change.

We call these criteria design principles. They can help a ton, if you feel overwhelmed or need something to point to, to say: this is telling me to do this, not that. It can be a major kindness to yourself to create meaningful criteria.  I am always having people create criteria in workshops and coaching, and this is why. They help you decide, and know if you’re on a track that is right for you.

Here are a few more…