Now that you’ve gone through the goal-setting process and broken them into actionable tasks that will get you from Point A to Point B, the next important step is to make sure your goals are working and you're tracking the progress.
The Photographer's Business planner has built-in pages and sections specifically for tracking your goals and metrics, but if you’re not using that planner just make sure you set something up that you can (and will) use to track everything. The actual tracking of the data isn’t that hard - you write down where you want to be and compare them to the actuals.
Develop an Objectives & Measurable chartIf you already own the Colorvale planner, flip to the Objectives & Measurable's page. If not just grab a piece of paper. If using a blank piece of paper: Divide it into two columns. Name the left one “Objectives (Goals)” and the right one “Measurables (Actuals)” COLUMN 1: “OBJECTIVES”, right down the following: (this column is filled out at the beginning of every month)
- Your ideal average monthly income from your business
- How many sessions and/or weddings you want to have
- How many social media subscribers or ‘likes’ you want to have
- How many newsletter subscribers you want to have
- How long you want it to take you to finish a wedding or session in post-production (once you’ve taken the photos)
- Plus any other goals for what you want to work up to.
- Actual monthly income from your business
- Actual number of sessions and/or weddings
- How many social media subscribers or ‘likes’ you have
- How many newsletter subscribers you have
- How long it takes you to finish a wedding or session in post-production (once you’ve taken the photos)
- Anything else you want to measure and improve on
Are you hitting those goals?
If so, awesome! What have you been doing differently that have created these results? What exactly in your process have you changed to create those changes? If you’re not entirely sure, you need to start taking more detailed notes on your processes. If you do know what’s created the changes, that’s awesome! That probably also means that you know what didn’t create the changes. Which means, in the future, you know what you should focus your time and energy on in the future that creates the most results (this is known as the 80/20 rule - spending 20% of your energy to get 80% of the results). And once you do know what you need to focus on, you can include those strategies in your upcoming weekly and monthly schedule so you can continue moving the numbers in the right direction.
Are the numbers not moving in the right direction?
Again, if you’re tracking your strategies, like we described above, it will be clear that something isn’t working. Remember what we talked about in the first post in this series? Failure is ok, because it teaches you exactly what not to do. So don’t be too hard on yourself! Remember, you’ve just found one way that doesn’t work that you can make sure to avoid in the future. Still a success! The important part is that you make changes. I would suggest changing a few small things at once instead of completely overhauling your entire strategy. That way you’ll have a better chance of knowing what change you made that started working.
Are the numbers just not moving at all?
You’ll want to troubleshoot this the same as if the numbers were moving in the wrong direction. Make small changes, document what you’ve done, and continue to make small changes until the numbers move in the right direction. And remember, if the numbers move in the wrong direction - that’s ok. Be aware of what you did to make that happen, and know that you succeeded in knowing what doesn’t work.
Alright. Go into your planner and use the first page in every month’s section to write down your trackable metrics (money, followers/likes, newsletter subscribers, etc.). And make sure you keep coming back to this to update everything!
Write down everything you’re doing to help create change (like the stuff we talked about in Part II), write down all the metrics (the numbers), and watch the numbers. Brainstorm which parts you think are working and which aren’t, why, and write out the plan for the next month/week of one part you’ll change to help move things along. This homework is more long-term than most since tracking change takes time over a period of weeks and months, but it’s really really important that you do it. So get on it, write it down, and take notes!