It has been a rough year, hasn’t it? But it has also been an important one; one that has allowed us time to reflect on what’s really important when it comes to our creative businesses, and revealed the areas we’d like to prioritise – and set business goals to progress – in 2021.
For me personally, there have been some big developments in my business in 2020. UK-wide lockdowns meant that my diary was temporarily wiped clean of all the styling and creative director jobs I had lined up because photoshoots couldn’t go ahead, and so I focussed my energy on working toward another long-term goal, one that I didn’t think I’d be able to nurture and dedicate my time to for a few years to come. I wrote and developed my online courses for creative business owners, and I started taking on clients for 1-1 business mentoring. There have, of course, been a few challenges along the way, but I’m proud of the mentoring business I have built, and I cannot wait for it to grow in 2021. But in order for it to grow, I need to develop a plan of action.
How I set business goals:
Every December, as work starts winding down for the festivities, I start thinking about what I’d like to achieve the following year, and I set some intentions, goals and to-dos ahead of January so I can hit the ground running. Of course, goals are most likely to be met when they are SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely), however, I usually begin by writing a list of wants and then developing them – really fleshing them out and writing step-by-steps – in January.
To help inspire your own business goals for 2021 I thought I’d share four of my own. They each need further development in the new year (after all, a goal without a plan is just a wish), but this is my starting point for growing my business in 2021.
My business goals for 2021
1. Tidy my inbox and create an efficient filing system
Confession: I’m often on the go when checking and replying to emails. I tend to pick them up during downtime on shoots, which means that I don’t have enough time to delete or file them property, so my inbox can become a little chaotic. Plus, since I introduced the Creative Business Workshop and 1-1 mentoring sessions to my business, I’m receiving more emails and across more subjects too. Come 2021, I’d like to clear my inbox and create a really efficient system for filing emails so they’re easy to categorise right away and are easy to locate if I need to refer back to them.
2. Compile a list of brands I’d like to work with in 2021
I do this every year; I write a list of companies I’d like to work with and then I create strategies to introduce myself and my services to each one of them. I find that actually writing down the brands I want to work with helps to make me more proactive in seeking out the relevant people to approach and building great relationships. In recent years I have worked with the likes of DFS and Dulux.
3. Set myself one business challenge that will help to grow my company
Ok, so this one is quite cryptic, but to be honest, I’m still figuring out what I want the challenge to be. I like to venture out of my comfort zone every year to learn new skills and learn more about myself, I just need to figure out my approach for 2021. I tend to land on a new project or challenge by mapping out the area of my business I’d like to progress and then working backwards asking how can I get there? In 2020 my big challenge was creating the Creative Business Workshop and launching 1-1 mentoring, so where will I head in 2021? Watch this space…
4. Improve my work-life balance
This is something I’m sure will be on many to-do lists next year, particularly since the pandemic opened our eyes to the importance of slowing down and making space for the small things, and it will look different to everyone. For me, an ideal work-life balance looks like time spent working on big, creative and fulfilling projects, and time to do – and really be present for – the school run, baking and slow Sunday walks with my family. This goal is one that’s hard to measure; what’s an ideal work:rest ratio? And how will I stay on top of this whilst progressing new areas of my business? Well, to be honest, this one’s going to be a work-in-progress, and it will likely fluctuate throughout the year. That said, I will be setting firm boundaries to ensure that work doesn’t seep into and steal valuable time with family on evenings and weekends.
If you enjoyed reading this article, check out my 8 top tips for improving time management.