That’s right. You did see those holiday decorations in the window of your favorite store earlier. Which can only mean one thing. Then end of the year is approaching. In business, this can mean a few things. It can mean hurry up and get everything done before its too late. It can mean a nice excuse to slack off a bit. It can mean crazy sales and bring in lots of money. But it should definitely mean planning your 2015.
Month By Month
First thing you should do is map out what you want each of the 12 months to look like next year. For example, I already know I want to do a weekend in Paris in April, a cruise to the Greek Islands in October, and a trip home to New York for Christmas. (WOW!!!) While that may seem like a lot, once you break it down, it becomes very simple. April, October, and December generally have 5 weeks in them (a free week as I like to call it) so they are the best months to take a week off. I’ve already done my price searching so I know how much I need to set aside as well (we’ll get to that later). In addition to this I know my husbands birthday is in June (gift expense and dinner out expense) and I take a week off in August (another free week month) to relax on the beach and clean the house and play on the farm. 2015 is starting to look pretty good to me.
The Big Stuff
Generally you will know about big things before they happen. For example, weddings, baptisms, 1st communions, etc, you can kind of expect them. There is always the last minute invite but generally speaking, you know that when your nieces and nephews turn a certain age, certain events will pop up. A miracle has happened for me and next year I have not one single big event. (This is after a baptism and three weddings including my own this year…..) Two years from now, I know I have my nephews 1st communion (but I can worry about that next year). Other big stuff that might come up could include babies of your own, moving, house remodels, etc. So you want to take that into account as well. I’ve got some house repairs I want to do next year. Its already been priced out and broken down into a timeline and I’ve been on the Ikea and Amazon websites marking things in my wishlist (I love wishlists!).
The Money Stuff
Soooooo. In order for the month by month and the big stuff to happen, like anything else in life, it always comes down to the numbers. But the good news is that I know what I need and when I need it. It’s just a matter of seeing when and if I will have it. How you do it is up to you. I do a cash flow projection (fancy accounting term for writing down week by week what my income and expenses will be and what will be leftover all thanks to the wonderful program excel). My mother was a big fan of month by month. Whatever is easiest (and realistic) for you, do it. Grab the calculator (on your phone) and look at your basic bills (food, mortgage, electric, etc) and your projected income (hint use this year as a baseline and see where you can increase in areas – I’ll get to that too). This will give you a nice guideline for where the $$$’s going next year and what you have to play with.
The Business Stuff
Now that we’ve had our fun, its time to make it real. How many hours do you need to work per month/week/day to hit your baseline income? Are you going to do that e-book next year or start podcasting? How many followers on social media are you planning to have by the end of next year? Business expenses? Advertising? Is it time to hire someone to help you with admin stuff and client work? When are you launching programs? What will your work day look like? When will your days off be (those are important too!)?