The end of the year is always a tough time for business owners. Not only are you feeling squeezed between wanting to take time off to enjoy the holidays and keeping the (higher) bills paid, but you’re hearing the same song over and over again. And it’s not Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer…

Yes, year end is a time when everyone starts talking about the dreaded PLAN. Get a jump on next year, build your plan today. Can’t start next year without a plan. You know the drill.

So this year, let’s agree to stop the madness.

Instead of stressing about making a new plan, worrying that you won’t hit the plan you created last year, and generally making yourself miserable, let’s try something new.

Plan your freedom

After all, freedom is why you got into business in the first place. Being your own boss, the opportunity to choose your own path and do things your own way. When you’re just starting out, it’s an adventure.

But once you’ve owned your business for a while, you know that the adventure can consume you if you let it.

We lose sight of the fun and excitement. We see it more like drudgery. Become an employee (or worse, a slave) to our own business.

We need to remember that, regardless of industry or experience, most of us are in business to make enough money and have enough time to live out our dreams – to be free.

A PLAN can do that?

Our experience with “plans” hasn’t been rosy. Plans lock us down. Tell us what to do (or not do). Basically, they take all the fun out of the adventure of owning a business.

But what if you could create a plan that respected your way of doing things? That fit who you are and where you want to take your business?

That kind of a plan is a road map to freedom. But it’s still a plan.

Imagine that you wanted sail around the world, or climb Mount Everest, or take a sabbatical in a foreign country. Those are all incredibly freeing experiences, but you wouldn’t set off to do any of them without a plan.

Your business is one of those once in a lifetime adventures.

It isn’t a two-week vacation that you can tough out if it the hotel doesn’t have hot water. It’s a huge investment of time and money, and often, it’s also the main source of income for your family. So you need to treat it with the attention it deserves.

Otherwise, you could end up with the business equivalent of the Holiday Inn instead of the Ritz Carlton….and I bet that I know where we’d all rather be 😉

Choose a direction…and you’ve got a plan

There’s nothing magical about planning, but it has to be done. Otherwise, you’re not free, you’re on the road to nowhere…lost in space…you get the picture.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Decide what direction you want to go, and make sure you’ve got what you need to get there – and that’s a plan. Sure there’s plenty to think about as you flesh out your plan, but for now, start with the big picture.

Take the time to define (or remind yourself):

How much money you want (need?) to make from your business

What personal goals your business will help you achieve

How much time you want (need?) to spend working

Think about what you want your business to do for you, not what you have to do for it.

So what’s the bottom line?

Over the next two weeks, commit to finding 20 minutes to dream about your business. Set a date with yourself. And actually do it.

Write down (or voice record) whatever comes to mind about why you wanted to start your business. Or if you’d rather use pictures, make a vision board or a scrapbook that will remind you.

Remember how it felt when you were dreaming about being an owner, all of the ways that your business would help you live the life you want. And capture it so you can use it to inspire you along the road.

  Feeling brave? Share this post with a friend and tell them what freedom means to you

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