What's a calendar system???
Glad you asked! A calendar system is a system based on the calendar. Duh!
The other day I found myself a little bit overwhelmed by everything I'm doing. At any given moment during the day, I catch myself thinking about 10 things at once. And my to-do list grows so fast, I can't check items fast enough to balance it out.
Which is why I developed this system.
It also helps with the whole scattered brain syndrome. You know the one - you're writing about this now, but next week you change your focus to something else, and the month after that you're on a completely different wave, and when you look back, it's like a kid playing with legos for the first time. It makes no sense!
The system is two-fold:
- It helps you come up with a logical sequence of events.
- It allows you to focus your efforts toward a goal.
Here's how it works.
Each month you focus on 4 elements:
- Primary product
- Secondary (smaller and/or free) product
- Focus of the month
- Challenge of the month
You may want to lose one of those or add more elements, that's your business. Just make sure it does not overwhelm! You may also want to release one product each month or replace "product" with "project". The best part about this is: you can move the notecards around as you go. (If you are using a cork board, which I highly recommend.)
Here's my calendar for the first three months of 2016:
(Not the best quality, but I'm learning. Thanks, Amber!)
I have the next 5 months on a cork board as well. The cork allows me to move the notecards around as I please, which is great news because I've been known to change my mind. However, even if I decide to move a card from one place to another, I will have to look at the BIG PICTURE and as a result, move around more cards. I'll give you an example:
Say you want to move a product from January to February. It's your free email mini course, which is a prelude to your big course. This move will probably result in moving your big course over one month because it makes sense for them to be in this order.
(I think one month is a suitable time frame between products.)
Disclaimer: Launching two products each month may be too much for your business, and if you insist on it, release one big/paid product and a smaller/free one, so you don't spend too much energy, and you don't overwhelm people.
Let's break it down.
Now let me explain the system in detail.
First you have a BIG PRODUCT. If you don't create products, it can also be some kind of project - collaboration, survey, program. It will be your "big thing" that month - the thing that will take you longest to create, launch, and promote.
Second you have a secondary product, which can be a mini course or a free booklet or something that doesn't take you too long to produce and doesn't take away attention from your big product/project. Again, look at the logical progression of your projects. If you've done something big like a course or program, it makes sense to recycle some of the materials and sell the pdf separately. Or if you have released a free mini course, make sure your next big course is a bigger version of the mini course, so you'll have primed your audience for the big course. You can even turn books or coaching calls into courses!
This part is supposed to be fun. Don't create products or engage in projects just because you think your audience will like them. Make sure YOU like them first. Life is too short for boring projects. And people don't really like boring products either.
You know what to do. Don't do something just because everyone is doing it or because I suggested it. In fact, it's why I don't do webinars or podcasts. I KNOW they give huge returns, but so what? My goal is to have fun, not pull my hair out.
(Take a look at Jen Carrington, she's an excellent example of a solopreneur who does things HER way. From her site to her services to her blog posts, all HER.)
Third you have the focus of the month. It could be list-building or making contacts or whatever you need to focus on that month to grow your business, launch your products successfully, and get the results you want. And how do you know what results you want? Set goals - financial, metrics, overall, and so on.
Goals are the Holy Grail of your business - if you don't shoot for the stars, you'll never hit the Moon. (tweet this)
Again, don't forget to look at the big picture. For example, my focus for December is list-building because my mailing list is still very small. I started it a couple months ago and it has almost 400 people in it. My goal is to at least triple that number before I launch any of my upcoming courses. Think about the main focus as your compass. It shows the direction in which you want your business to go next.
Finally, you have the challenge. Every month I set myself a challenge because otherwise I get too wrapped up in mundane things. It's easy to go by default, but when you do, you miss out on some wonderful opportunities. Also, for it to "qualify" as a challenge, it needs to be something you haven't tried and/or are afraid to try.
Some of my challenges for the upcoming months are: video, live-streaming, collaborations (though I'm not afraid of those!), and affiliate programs. I currently do none of these and I've hardly tried all of it, so this will be my chance to figure out what works.
And by "what works", I mean what works for ME. Again, please don't follow the experts blindly or try everything at once. Try to devise a strategy based around your TALENTS, and then experiment on the side, so neither you nor your business can stagnate.
Trust me, you've plenty of talents you can base your strategy on. Further reading:
- You've got skills, talents, and passion. Don't ever say otherwise.
- How to Align Everything Before Selling (A Complete Guide with Exercises)
- How are you challenging yourself? Time to set a challenge for 2016.
What does your calendar look like?
I'd love to see how you adjusted the system to match your business. The system is flexible enough to move elements around, so don't be shy and adjust away.
And if you happen to like the design I used above, you can download it here.
P.S. Before you go, I've one more question:
What kind of "systems" have you developed for your business?
Let me know in the comments. Always great to hear from you! :)