As a creative small business owner there are many ways we can make money. Too many ways in fact! This worksheet will walk you through figuring out what your passions are and them combine them with income potential to see what you should be doing to grow your business.
My Business Crisis
I don't know about you, but from time to time I look around in my business and wonder what the hell I was thinking. I am exhausted and feel like I am just spinning my wheels, busting my butt, but only making enough money to taunt me, not to make any meaningful change in my family's income.
And then I really look and see that I am really making more money, but maybe not doing the things I love to do… sigh.
Or I am making LOTS of money and hating every second like I did when I was managing a team of three and working for almost 20 clients.
As creative entrepreneurs there are so many different ways that we can make money that we sometimes spread ourselves so thin that we are ineffective or are doing something so not fun that we want to throw in the towel and give up.
When To Use This Income Planning Worksheet
- The time to use this worksheet is when you are having an existential crisis about your business!
- When you are grumpy and out of sorts (me for sure some days)
- When you are trying to decide to take on a new project
- When you want to make more money doing work you LOVE <– THIS ONE
The funny thing about being an entrepreneur is that our time and focus is entirely up to us, but we let the world and everything else knock us off course. We see a training and think, this is IT! Or we hire a coach and think this is IT! Or we have a big idea and think this is IT!
All of that would be GREAT if we did it consecutively (one after another)… but we don't, we try to do all those things concurrently!
My Version of the Worksheet!
So I did what I always do when I am stressed out…. I make a worksheet! I visited my favorite offsite office (the bar around the corner where it is quiet and they have nacho chips) and started thinking about how I could figure out what to do that would make me happy and make the most money…yay!
Here is my matrix broken down by 5 criteria!
Yay me! I now know what to do for sure in the first two quarters and will fill in the latter quarters later in they year! Tra La!
But what about you, my favorite reader? Well you can make a matrix in your traveler's journal OR you can use the handy-dandy worksheet I made you!
Here are the directions (download the PDF for free below!)
Directions For Filling Out The Income Planning Worksheet
1. Fill in your word for the year or business focus
If you haven't done this yet, then think of one word or phrase to encompass all of the goals for your business. Mine this year is “income”, in past years it has been focus, innovate, write, ship, consolidate, etc.
Functionally it is the overarching theme for what you are trying to accomplish this year (or month or quarter!)
2. Write down ALL of the potential ways you have to make money
This is what you are doing now and ESPECIALLY new ideas you have! Some of mine include…
- Ads on Marketing Artfully
- Launching the Finally Focus Course
- Selling on Ebay and Etsy
- Affiliate Marketing Broken Down By Type
They are all part of my three things I like to do… Blogging, Making Pretty Pictures and Videos
if you haven't done the “What Are 3 Things You Like To Do? Worksheet” yet, do that first and then come back!
3. Rank each item on its own merits
Here is what really helped me to see what I should do! For example when I did Ads on Marketing Artfully I got my highest scores and when I did making new courses on Skillshare I got my lowest. Easy peasy, no more Skillshare courses right now!
Give yourself a number in each area from 1-3 with 1 being the lowest and 3 being the highest.
Be super careful to consider each line item on its own without thinking about how it fits into the grand scheme of what you are doing now.
Interest – This is the MOST important one… are you interested in doing it!?! For example, I could have put one-on-one coaching on my list which is super lucrative but my interest would be a 1. If there is anything on your list that you really give a 1 right off the bat I would cross it off entirely. There are SO MANY things we could do that we don't have to focus on anything that doesn't make us happy!
Easy – This is what is easy for YOU.. for example, writing really long blog posts is easy and fun for me, but maybe not for you. I know a gal who thinks that reading statistics in Pinterest is easy and that is a “not so much for me”. Easy is not a deal-breaker, but is an important consideration.
Fast – This is fast to implement… the coolest thing on your list might take years to accomplish and might be perfect for you, or you might see that something takes months and give it a lower score.
Money – On an income worksheet you might be surprised that how much money you can make is so far down the line, but I have found my peeps value quality of life over money every time. That said, something that is a little harder, but has a huge financial payoff might be worth shooting for if your word of the year is something like, say “income”… like mine is!
Long Term / Short Term – This is one I have been focusing on A LOT lately! If I write a blog post, it has the potential to bring me income for years to come. My videos on YouTube the same. But something else might have a super short term, quick hit payback. Doesn't mean you shouldn't do it, just means you should consider that in your thinking.
Add them up!
Once you have them all done, total them up. I was actually surprised to see that writing blog posts here was far and away my favorite thing to do. You may find some weird results too!
When To Implement
The whole reason I did this exercise was because I was trying to figure out what to do in the upcoming quarter. There seemed to be SO MUCH that I wanted to get done and really no time to do it all so I had to focus.
With that in mind I took my most important thing and put it where it made the most sense.. in the second upcoming quarter. This is because I have been producing a lot of content now and know I will need a little break.
I did not put the months after the quarters because you don't have to start this at the first of the year… you can start anytime and divide the next period of time into 4 parts! You could even do this once a month if you wanted to!