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Making a plan

Making a plan is just step one.

It’s a step that too many of us don’t bother with. We have vague ideas about where we’re going – but they get easily forgotten as the day to day intrudes on our lives.

It’s a step that many of us, even if we do it, do it badly. We set ourselves targets and goals for twelve months away without a single thought as to how we’re going to get there.

But even if we’ve got a proper plan, showing us the actual steps we need to take and when we need to take them, we still need to get it done.

Sticking with it, making just a bit of progress every day, staying consistent – those things are essential if you want to get there.

So what’s your support network? How do you stay accountable?

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It was the instability that was getting to me.

Clients ghosting me when I was following up.

Delayed start dates.

“Do this one cheap and there will be a whole load of work next year” Urg!

I was sick of it. Sick of chasing leads, sick of contacting leads, sick of dropping leads.

Sick of running out of cash.

I was having a series of FTMs.

Fuck This Moments.

Because working for yourself requires that not only are you technically skilled, but also you’re good at marketing, good at sales, good at finance and good at planning.

I was failing on all counts and I was jaded to say the least.

I clawed my way out of it by putting simple systems in place.

Marketing, sales, money, planning and actually delivering the work.

I call them the Five Pillars.

None of them complex. They just needed dealing with.

So if you’re having an FTM right now, remember there is a simple, easy to follow, way out of it.

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I’ve worked for clients who wanted me to come in to the office and I’ve been surprised how two people, sat a few feet apart, have no idea what each other do all day.

I’ve worked for clients who never ever meet face to face and they know exactly who is doing what and what their progress is.

The key to it is putting the right infrastructure in place.

When I had a team (based in England, Russia, Nepal, Pakistan and Australia) we would sit in Slack for most of the day. All tasks were published on a jobs board and progress tracked. We would sit around and chat about what we had for breakfast or what we’d watched on TV, then get to work. If anyone got stuck or wanted help they could just ask. If a task needed a decision making, the outcome and the reasons why were recorded right there on the “job sheet” itself so everyone knew what was going on.

Working from home has been forced upon lots of us and we’ve all been making do.

But if you want to stick with it and make it part of your company’s future, you need to put the right infrastructure in place, or your communications will get even worse than when you were all sat blankly staring at each other over your desks.