An unfulfilled deep need to change the world.
These fears are what drive my entrepreneurial spirit. In order to do be successful, I had to stop thinking in the now and plan for my dream life instead. Here are 6 practical steps you can take to plan for your future.
1. Plan like Marvel
When you’re building a business in order to live the life of your dreams, you need to turn a profit. I call this the Marvel approach to business.
Since 2007, the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has planned and executed a series of superhero films starting with Iron Man in 2008, leading up to their end goal of reintroducing previously unknown superheroes to a mainstream market. Each set of movies comes out in phases (1-3), and it’s taken ten years to make a movie centered around the main antagonist, Thanos. As of today, the MCU has movies planned up until 2040.
Why is this important? From day one, the MCU knew their end goal. If the Avengers needed to assemble to beat the big bad, Thanos—the team behind the MCU knew this would not be a one, two, or three movie deal. To execute their vision through compelling storytelling, they needed to make a whopping 19 movies released over a 10 year span, with each movie set to turn a healthy profit.
As an entrepreneur you can learn a lot from Marvel …even if you’re not a big fan of their movies.
2. Identify end goals
To succeed in business you have to know where you’re headed, so you can make a plan with the proper strategies and tactics to reach your goals.
For example, if your end goal as a social entrepreneur is to build schools for underprivileged children around the world, then you need to know the process of building schools.
By creating a list of your end goals, you can clearly see what’s required to move forward (e.g. what you need to learn, act on, and create). You can also see if any of your goals are in conflict with one another and resolve it before real issues arise.
Your end goals guide every action in your business.
3: Reverse engineer your goals
Now that you know your end goal(s), how are you going to achieve it? Working backwards is one of the most effective ways to plot your path. If you want to build schools in ten years, you need to know how much it costs to build a school. There’s much to consider—staff, licensing, permits. How much does it cost monthly to keeps the doors open? What can you do to make that money?
When you build upon your passion and reverse engineer your goals, you build the business you need, instead of the business you think will get you there. Think of this like programming your personal GPS, so you can avoid the business toll roads.
4: Create a realistic business plan
How long will it take you to reach your goal? Are you giving yourself enough time?
Create a business plan you can manage. Reach for the stars, but be realistic in your goals. For example, it is unrealistic to build a plan where you quit your day job and within 6 months you are making $25,000 a month, consistently.
Can it happen? Sure! But making that the plan can set you up for failure. It is also unrealistic to scale your side business to seven figures within three months (especially if you’re selling $27-$97 products).
If you’re starting out, create a business plan that includes an additional main source of income so there’s less stress in your business.
5: Create multiple streams of income
Create a business with real longevity. Never put all your eggs in one basket.
Think about additional revenue streams you can facilitate in your business to help reach your goal(s) faster. Also, don’t forget to consider what comes along with adding another service or product offering. For example, what expenses will you have to account for to add an additional revenue stream? Is this stream the obvious next step in your business, or does it clash with you main offering?
6. Commit for the long haul
Being a business owner is all about discipline, focus, and showing up for yourself (and your people) over and over again, even when you don’t feel like it. Entrepreneurship is an engine that runs on dedication and commitment.
Nothing comes easy. Attack your plans with the mindset that you have everything you need to make your passion a reality.
Everything in your plan supports the purpose of your business. So when you know what the purpose of your business is, it’s easier to make a profitable plan to reach your end goal(s).
This is where your actions and your mind sync up like Cyclops and Wolverine fighting to save Jean Grey, so your mindset supports the actions you need to take in your business to create that discipline and consistency. Set yourself up for success with long-term commitment to your business in mind.
When you are a short-term thinker that focuses on the fast track to immediate success, it makes planning difficult. This approach can sabotage the goals you’re trying to reach. This is the type of thinking that caused DC Comics to try to accomplish in two years what took Marvel ten years to do—which didn’t work out so well for DC Comics.
Don’t make this mistake in your business.
Invest in your business for the long haul. With the proper vision, planning, and determination, building the business of your dreams will become easier.
Kendra Sette is a certified business growth and development consultant specializing in online course visibility and design, helping online entrepreneurs gain the clarity, confidence, and credibility they need to earn a profitable income online through teaching and educating others.