PHS Editor, Christy Kate McKenzie, is back to start you off on the process of making resolutions to improve your writing career…
January. From the moment the clock strikes twelve on December 31st, all we hear about is New Year’s Resolutions. Everyone on your news feed will be declaring their intentions to become a better version of themselves. Perhaps you have made a promise or two yourself.
Making resolutions is a great way to start the year off on a positive note and make a few changes that will lead to a happier, healthier you. So, what about your business? What if you could start the New Year with a better version of your business, or at least a plan to create one? Guess what? You can.
In 4 simple steps, you can reinvent your business and create a new and improved version of your brand. It’s easier than you would think and can be done from your favourite reading chair...
1. Decide If It’s Time For A Change
Now, if you followed my advice in Ready, Set, Write and created a brand story, to define your brand to your audience you won’t necessarily want to start over at this point.
When you are in the first six to eight months of launching a brand or honing in on what your brand means to your audience, you don’t want to make any major changes. Major changes too early in a new brand identity can look to your audience as if you aren’t really sure what you are doing. It can be confusing and off-putting for readers.
That said, there is still room for a few tweaks here and there to freshen up your business. By now, you will likely have an idea of what has worked and what hasn’t. This can be a good time to focus your efforts on the avenues within your business plan which are working well and make adjustments on those which are not.
If you haven’t rebranded in over a year, it’s definitely time. I’m not saying you have to re-invent your author profile completely, but as with a newer brand, honing in on where you should direct the majority of your attention is a great way to work smarter, not harder. A new colour scheme, logo, or tag line on your website or social media profiles can do wonders for bringing attention to your brand.
2. Decide What Your Goals Are
What are your goals for this next year? Just like personally you may want to lose 10 pounds or take time
every day for meditation, you should have goals for your business, as well. Remember, though, the reason most resolutions are abandoned mid-January is because they were never truly obtainable. Any goals you create need to be specific and definable so that you can easily see when you are succeeding and when you need to put a bit more effort in.
Write your goals with a clear finish line. For example, don’t say ‘I want to increase my visibility as an author this year’. Sure, it sounds good, but what does it actually mean? And how will you know when you have achieved it?
Instead, write ‘I want to reach 500 Instagram followers this year’, or something to that effect. And don’t be afraid to start small. I have 120 followers on Instagram; 500 would be way out of my reach. I’d start with 200 and see how quickly I can smash that goal and set another one.
Goals which will help you to develop your business as an author can include selling more books, writing more, finding an additional publisher, trying a new genre… the list is endless! Take a little time to list your business goals and then chose your top 4. Trying to introduce too much change at once can be overwhelming and it’s another reason why so many resolutions are never realised.
3. Break Down Your Goals
Time to get serious about your business resolutions. Have a look at your list and start to pick each goal apart to find out what you will need to accomplish it. I’m not just talking time and money here; I’m also talking about skills. You need a list of the little to-do’s you need to check off in order to reach your goals.
If you have decided you need a complete overhaul of your website to make it more attractive to prospective readers, there are several things you will need, which may or may not include a logo, a new colour scheme, some new pictures, web content, and maybe even a new web design.You may have no trouble writing the content and may even have an idea of a colour scheme based on your favourite colours, but unless you are a graphic designer or create websites for a living, these tasks may be a bit further from your comfort zone.
Rather than take a course on logo design, or try to do it yourself, you may prefer to get someone to do it for you. Maybe you will want to hire a professional. Maybe your niece is in art school and is willing to do you a favour.
Break down each goal you have listed and look for any skills gaps. Are there any areas where you will need help? You may decide you can go it alone, but there is nothing worse than stalling out part of the way into a revamp because you can’t figure out how to write HTML.
4. Create Your Action Plan
The final step is creating your action plan. If you are a plotter (like me) you may have no trouble with
this step. You may even enjoy it (this is my favourite part). If not, grin and bear it. Something as important as reinventing your business to increase your chances of success is well-worth the additional effort.
Examine each step you identified from your goals above now needs to be put into a plan of action. Look at these steps in terms of how long they will take, if they need to be completed before moving on to the next step, and if they require help from someone else. Arrange your steps into a realistic timeline based on building one of another where needed and allowing extra time for anyone who is helping. This is your deadline.
Don’t forget to ask anyone you have hired or enlisted how long it will take for them to complete their bit of the task and give them ample notice to ensure you meet your deadline. And always add a week or two for cushion in case you get thrown off schedule.
And there is it; your 4 steps to reinventing your business with New Year’s Resolutions. If I could offer you one piece of advice before you set off to rebrand or revamp, it’s this: understand that resolutions and rebranding are a process. Great things do not happen overnight.
Just like you aren’t going to drop two dress sizes overnight, you won’t be able to tackle your action plan in one day. So, be gentle with yourself. Forgive yourself a day or two here and there, and at least a cookie or two, but vow to get back on track. And enjoy the journey as much as the destination.
Christy is an aspiring author, fairy tale fanatic, peanut butter connoisseur, and wannabe mermaid. For more information about her and her writing, check out her website and follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.