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Don't Burn the Business Plan: Align Your Goals with Sandra Hughes

Learn why having and using a business plan helps you get clarity, align your goals, and set revenue targets to stay on track.

Why You Should Not Burn the Business Plan #1 Actionable Tips From the Podcast with Sandra Hughes

Summary: Don't Burn the Business Plan

Burning your business plan is the latest craze. We talk about why having and using a business plan helps you get clarity, align your goals, and set revenue targets to help you stay on track. Sandra Hughes also recommends building your business as a side hustle. Listen to this episode to learn why and how.

Words of Wisdom

What I love about a plan is it really narrows your focus.

What it does is– it’s a starting place. It’s like you’ve drawn your line in the sand. This is where I’m starting and this is what I think I want to do.

So you figure out– you do do the research into the industry and the market and who else is out there and who would your potential clients be and what are they looking for. A huge piece that’s part of the planning process is, what is it that people are looking for? Because so many businesses fail because they’re offering something people don’t want.

So what do they want? And who else is offering it if it is being offered? And if it is being offered, how is it being offered? And how can you do it differently than that person does it so that you would be another alternative to the person that’s already offering it for your potential clients? Learn why you shouldn't burn the business plan.

Sandra Hughes, Coach

Transcript: Don't Burn the Business Plan

Hello. And welcome to the Third Paddle podcast. I’m your host Jen McFarland. Today, I interview Sandra Hughes. Burning your business plan is the latest craze. We talk about why having a business plan and using it helps you get clarity, align your goals, and set revenue targets to help you stay on track. All that and more, here on the Third Paddle.

Welcome to the Third Paddle podcast. Recorded at the Vandal Lounge in beautiful Southeast Portland, Oregon. Why the Third Paddle? Because even the most badass entrepreneurs get stuck up in business shit creek. Management consultant Jennifer McFarland is your third paddle. Helping you get unstuck.

Welcome back to the show. I wanted to give a shout out to Paulette Rees-Denis’ podcast Heart and Hustle: Visionary Leaders, Movers, and Shakers. I’ll be appearing on that podcast between Christmas and New Year’s. I’ve included a link to her podcast in the show notes. You’re definitely not going to want to miss it. Let’s learn a little bit more about today’s guest, Sandra Hughes. Sandra has an MBA from Santa Clara University, with a concentration in leading people and organizations. She is a member of the International Coaching Federation and received her CPCC at the Coaches Training Institute. She received her BA in Political Science from Wellesley College. Much of her professional experience, especially at Gap Inc. was mentoring women and men. What gives her the most satisfaction from her previous career is where the people she hired and mentored are today. Today, she’s passionate about creating supportive environments for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. Over the course of her 30-year career, she has become quite skilled in strategic planning, complex negotiations, hiring, mentoring, and building relationships inside and outside of organizations. She knows how to create something from nothing. And how to get the job done. Sandra has done this on an international level. And has a lot of experience with asking the right questions to understand the problems before strategizing the best solutions. Welcome to the show, Sandra. Let’s get started.

I’m a huge proponent of people referring other people to one another. That’s a really good way to get somebody. But I don’t know, perhaps, you and I were talking about this or I was talking about this with somebody else. That the quality of the referral has to be there. And so it can’t be I talked to my cousin who used this really great web designer who they thought that was wonderful. But if it doesn’t really equate to what you are looking for in terms of how you want to role your brand out, that person might not be the right person for you. It worked for your cousin but it didn’t necessarily work for you. So you kind of need to be clear as to what your needs are and what you are going to focus on, which might be different than the person you got the referral from. So then you look for referrals from people who are doing something similar to you or have a similar style or brand or something. That then you know the quality is going to be similar to what you’re looking for. I’m not saying the other is bad. I’m just saying that it might cause going down a path that then has to be corrected later.

Absolutely. And I would say that even industry isn’t the only factor. It’s a number of factors that help you determine, right? You were talking about the quality of the referral. But then even taking a referral from somebody who is in the same industry as you, you still have to ask quality questions and think about what you actually need before you go through with anything. And I will give you an example. So I’m in several accountability groups and I’m in one with some business coaches who’re developing home-study courses, and they are all using Kajabi, and I said, “Well, I’m thinking about this, that, and the other thing.” And they’re like, “Well, Kajabi is the best one to use if you’re a coach.” And I thought about that and it’s been kind of– and I didn’t reply because I didn’t want to [laughter] for a variety of reasons, and I was reflecting on it this morning and I was like, “Okay. So it’s not just price.” Because Kajabi is, I think it’s now over $100, but the last time I looked at it, it was $100 a month. And it’s a fine product. I think it’s great. It is a lot of overhead, first of all, and on top of that, they take a fee out of payments. And then I was like, “Okay. So why do all these coaches use it?” Well, one of the investors is Brendon Burchard who talks about how great it is all the time, and then there are a lot of coaches then who then go out and use it and buy it, and at the same time, if you’ve never had a course before, is that the type of overhead-end decision that you want to make? Especially if you talk to somebody who’s more technical and they tell you, “Well, there’s some drawbacks to having a course on there.” Because Kajabi has some technical drawbacks that would make it more difficult for your course to be found, for example, as opposed to using a platform that’s more well-suited for things like search-engine optimization and things like that. So there’s a variety of questions out there that you can ask that go beyond is it what other people are using.

Right. And it’s to know what those questions are and to know, yeah. And you don’t know what you don’t know, and so you got to find somebody that you can ask that has the answers to those questions, and sometimes it’s hard to find that person. I mean, look at me. I’m the perfect example. One of the main reasons why [laughter] I love what I do is because I’m the perfect example in many respects of the trial and error part of starting a business as a small-business owner, entrepreneur, solopreneur, whatever we want to call it because I’m a one-person business at the moment. And I had this strong corporate background and business strategy and all of that and I knew how to do certain things within the corporate world, but when you take away that structure and suddenly you’re doing it on your own, a lot of it is trial and error and you do need to go out and find people to help you navigate that because trying to do it by yourself doesn’t make sense because it just doesn’t when there are people that have done it before and are good at showing you how to do it. And so I went that route, and I found those people, and but I still went through a lot of trial and error and now that I feel like I’m out the other side to some degree, I would like to share what I’ve learned and try to make things much more easy for people. And one of the things that I advocate – and I advocated this before I even went into the trail and error piece of this – is doing a plan. And that’s what I’m all about because it made the trial-and-error piece easier [laughter] because I knew where I wanted to end up. The trial and error piece was how I was getting there. And so and I knew that I needed to bring in experts in a particular area, but it was a question of, “Who were those people? Did I pick the right people?” Because there’s so many choices out there. So it’s being [inaudible] as opposed to reactionary in terms of how you make your choices as you go along the way. And when you have a plan, it makes it much easier to build that in and to be intentional.
And what I love about a plan is it really narrows your focus. Right? You don’t create the plan to stick it in a drawer. There are a lot of people out there that are anti-plan, and they’re like, “Why would I do a business plan? I’m just going to put it in a drawer somewhere.” And I don’t think that that’s what you’re about. I think it’s a plan that you’re working, that you’re reviewing, and making changes to. And I mean, that’s right, isn’t it? It’s not just a one and done.

No. No. What it does is– it’s a starting place. It’s like you’ve drawn your line in the sand. This is where I’m starting and this is what I think I want to do. So you figure out– you do do the research into the industry and the market and who else is out there and who would your potential clients be and what are they looking for. A huge piece that’s part of the planning process is, what is it that people are looking for? Because so many businesses fail because they’re offering something that people don’t want. So what do they want? And who else is offering it if it is being offered? And if it is being offered, how is it being offered? And how can you do it differently than that person does it so that you would be another alternative to the person that’s already offering it for your potential clients? And there’s all kinds of things that go into doing things intentionally versus from a reactionary standpoint that sets you up for success. It’s all about setting you up for success. If you think through these things up front, including how are you going to support yourself while you’re building your business? Are you going to continue working, which I highly advocate, or have a part-time job while you’re building your business? Where is your income going to come from because it’s not necessarily going to come immediately from your business? And at what point in time is it realistic that it will? That’s why having a plan, that’s why capturing all of this somewhere is very useful. And that’s what I advocate.

So we’ve talked about this before. What you do isn’t sexy.


There I said it [laughter]. So knowing that it’s not sexy, I’m curious, would you mind sharing why you’re so passionate about helping people create their goals and develop their business.

I’m passionate about it because I’ve seen just the ease, the decrease in stress, the optimism that comes out, the enthusiasm. The, “Oh my gosh, I’m really ready to go,” kind of reaction that you get when somebody really feels like they’re prepared. That, “Gosh. I thought through this and, yeah, maybe this isn’t what I’m going to end up doing in the end, but at least it’s a starting point. And let me get out there and let me test it. And let me start attracting clients and let me see if it works. And let me see what they really want. And then as I’m doing that, I’m continuing to work on the plan and building in what works and putting aside what doesn’t.” And it’s this fluid process that gets you to a place where you feel like you’re comfortable, that you can start executing it and executed with goals. Have annual goals, quarterly goals, monthly goals, weekly goals. And then be accountable. And make sure that you stick to your goals. And have targets, have revenue targets, because that is the huge thing that will set your business apart from being a hobby. A hobby versus a business. If you don’t set targets– if you don’t have goals and targets and some kind of revenue projection that you’re trying to attain– and one of the things that I advocate is making that revenue projection reasonable. Based upon the fact that you’re starting something from scratch. Sit down and put a crazy number in there, put a reasonable number in there.

So like a million instead of six [laughter]. No?

At the very beginning, I’m typing thousands. You have an annual revenue target that just realistically, depending upon what your business is, depending upon– I mean, you’re going to be in a different position if you are– say that you are in business right now and this new thing that you are starting is going to build off of what you currently do. So you already have some kind of client base and you’re just making a shift and you’re trying to make what you offered to these people better. The revenue projections that you’re going to add into what you’re already making are probably– you could probably do that pretty realistically and that existing business will give you the springboard into this next thing. And so you’ll probably take off much more quickly than the person who is starting completely from scratch, has never done this before, totally new. And building something from the ground up and just puts in very low revenue targets to start because they’ve got to start building their pipeline. They’ve got to start getting the people into the funnel in order to– you convert them into potential clients. And that’s a long process.

So you set realistic revenue targets at the beginning to account for lower targets and that is why I highly recommend working while you’re building that business. Or doing a part-time job. But having some other income coming in to supplement what you’re doing as you’re building. When you’re starting from scratch. And the thing that people fall into a little bit of a trap is that they compare themselves to other people who are starting at different places. Oftentimes the people we compare ourselves to are– it’s not apples to apples. And so to really know where you are and remember that you will get to the place that other person is at some point. But you started from a different place. That’s one of the things that I try to help my clients see. And I help guide them. So I guide them in the planning, I guide them in the execution, and I guide them in the accountability piece of it. Because I just want them to be successful from the beginning. Feeling like they’re successful. And does successful mean– I had a conversation with somebody that came to one of my events recently. He says, “What’s your definition of success?” He said, “Is it monetary for you, or is it for your clients?” And I said, “My definition of success is if my clients are on their way to building a viable business because they are factoring in the things that I’m asking them to factor in.” And they’re seeing the results of that. That to me is successful and being realistic and–

Absolutely. Yeah, no. And I appreciate everything that you’re saying about not comparing yourself, and how important that is because you can set unrealistic goals and compare yourself to other people and feel like a failure even if you’re steadily building a business and finding a lot of success. And you want to keep your energy up because you’re the face, especially in the beginning. You’re the face.

Right. And one of the things that I’m trying to do with my coaching practice is to build a community so that people, they’re in the same places and they feel like they’ve got peers that are in the same place that they’re at so that they can bounce questions and ideas off of, and they know that there’s somebody else– it’s important to know that there’s somebody else out there that’s experiencing what you’re experiencing and that something didn’t work, but it’s not a failure; it’s a learning. You’ve learned. And so the best thing that can happen is that you’re out there, and you’re figuring out what doesn’t work, and then you’re getting to the place where you are figuring out what will work. And it’s a [progress?], but you’ve got to get out there, and you’ve got to be doing, and you got to– so that’s why building the plan and actually getting out there and starting go hand in hand in my process.
Yeah. And one of the things we talked about on an earlier episode is the importance of curiosity and imperfect action because, too often, we just want to do it right the first time, and we’re not really thinking through that we have to fail a few times before we get it right, and that it’s okay. That’s part of this process. So I’m curious about this. So you work with existing businesses, but also aspirational entrepreneurs, people who are still working, right? So you’ve touched on a couple of different things, but what are the advantages of having a side hustle that builds into a full-time business, besides the money which is, obviously, really important.
Well, so the advantages are you can, I think– well, so honestly, the income piece of it is huge. So there is that piece of it, and then when you’re doing it on the side and intentionally, you’re intentionally giving yourself the time and space to build it. Because you haven’t jumped right in, you’re not stressing about having an income from it in order to be able to support yourself, and you are allowing yourself that opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t, and to do it in a very intentional way, and you are creating a situation where you have to be accountable. You have to put certain structures in place in order to be able to do it because you have to be very disciplined in order to be able to go from your existing job over to your side business and say, “Okay. I’m working on this, this many days of the week, at this time. These are the things I’m going to do to work on it.” I mean it creates a situation where a plan is crucial because you have that thing in place to execute in order to be able to put your side hustle into action, and then stay accountable for it. So it actually creates an element of discipline because you’re trying to do it in addition to your current job. So it actually, in a way, could be a little easier [laughter]. It’s hard to describe that way, but I think, in a way, it might be.
I think it is. I think that because you’re still within that structure of working, I think it forces you to put in some more structure around your own business that, maybe, when it goes away, and you’re not working for somebody else anymore, you’re like, “I can do what I want,” and then [laughter] you do what you want, and it might not be serving you in the best way.

Yeah. So I can think of several examples of women that I’ve met who actually have pretty high-power corporate jobs right now, and I met them through women’s networking events. It’s interesting. They’re in the corporate jobs, and they are at networking events for women entrepreneurs, and they’re at those events because of their business. Doesn’t have anything to do with networking for their corporate job because– something else that people really need to keep in mind is that networking events, you can use them for different things, and so where you might network while you’re still working is different from where you might network while you’re building your business and as a small business owner or when you’re first starting out. So these people are intentionally going to these events to start to build to the client base and the collaboration base for their business that’s their side business, and that’s the kind of thing that you build in while you’re still working because that’s the beginning of building your funnel and figuring out what’s working and what’s not working, because you’re getting clients as you’re not totally dependent on it working completely and it giving you an income.

Right. Right. And it also, even if you’re not getting clients, you’re getting feedback constantly.

Yes. [inaudible] opinions.

You’re talking to people. They’re looking at you like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” and you’re like, “Oh, okay. I got to refine that a little bit,” or they’re totally resonating, and you’re like, “Oh, okay. I’m on to something here.”

You’re figuring out what they want. Especially if you’re going to these events and you’re networking in an environment where you think you’re finding potential clients, and you’re just getting started, and you’re having conversations, you’re figuring out what they want. And what are you going to develop that meets that want? And so it building your business on the side gets you the ease and takes the stress off of immediately being successful but it also allows you to do it in such an intentional way that you’re really figuring out what’s wanted.

Yeah. Well, I think you’re also testing out whether this is a legitimate business for yourself or if this is really just a hobby. So what are some of the signs that someone has a hobby instead of a business? I’m assuming you’ve run into that in the course of your work at some point.

Well, yeah. So there’s the sign of not having revenue targets and not holding yourself accountable to wanting to make a certain amount of money every month, for example. And then a certain amount in a year. The other thing that I found – and I just went through this recently with a client – is that was not actually wanting to put a revenue target to her first year. She’s just starting out. Not wanting to put a revenue target to her first year. We’ve literally had the conversation, “Well, maybe it’s not really going to be a business. It’s going to be more of a hobby because I’m not sure how much I’m going to make every year.” And then we dive deeper and I’ve found that the reason that she was so hesitant to put this revenue target is because she’s scared to death of getting out there and attracting clients. So she didn’t know how she was going to achieve the revenue target and so she didn’t want to put a number up there because she’s scared to death of the other side of it. And so the interesting thing is that, as we’ve been working together over time, and just as you were just saying, as she’d gotten out there and had conversations with people and just put herself out there and explained what she did, she’s fine-tuned lots of things, she’s exploring what niche she wants to be in, who does she specifically want to serve and in what area does she want to serve them. So she’s figuring out a target market and she’s figuring out a niche, all through these conversations that she was very hesitant to have because she was afraid of putting herself out there. And then, as she’s having these conversations, she’s getting people that are interested in what she’s going to do, and it’s like, “Oh, I want to work with you.” So she’s attracting clients [laughter]. So fast-forward from our initial conversation of, “I don’t want to do a revenue target. I think it’s more of a hobby than a business,” to, “Gee, people are really interested in what I’m thinking of doing and they want to work with me. So yeah, maybe I will say that this is how much I want to make this year. It’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be.” So it’s funny how things eventually evolve. But just like one of the main things I’ve learned is that, often times, the thing that somebody points out to you that’s their concern isn’t really their concern at all. There’s something else there that, once you get curious and you dive deeper, you realize that that’s really the underlying issue and it’s not the thing that they were telling you about. And so you have to continue to delve, and delve, and delve to figure out what that is. Because once you can help them resolve that issue, then the other just falls into place and they get into their flow, as what happened with my client. But I never would have known if she hadn’t told me finally that it was the client attraction piece that scared her to death and that was keeping her from doing everything.

So my next question was going to be can you cross over successfully from a hobby to a business? And I think that we just got the prime example of somebody doing that. I also think the flipside is true too, where you start to realize all of the things you need to do to plan a business and get things going, you might be like, ”Oh, this isn’t what I wanted to do at all. Maybe this really is just a hobby.” And that’s the benefit of not just quitting your job and moving on because you have this learning process, right?
Yes. That’s very true. So that’s a really good point, Jennifer, that the thing that somebody– so continuing to work while you’re figuring out what you want to do is a really great thing because that thing that you thought you might want to do when you first decided I want to own my own business may not be the thing that you end up doing. And if you didn’t put all of your eggs in that basket because you still got a job and this is something that you were exploring on the side, it gives you a little bit more of a sense of relief and like, ”Oh my Gosh. I didn’t spend all of this money to now realize this is not what I want to do.” It gives you a little bit more of a sense of ease and a little bit more of a, ”Okay. I’m going to do this in such a way that before I jump, I’m clear what I’m jumping into, that I’ve started to build, and that I’m making a certain amount of money at some point before I actually leave my job.”

Oh, yeah. And I wish that I had met you when I was still working and building my side hustle because when I started my business, I actually did have a coach and was somewhat discouraged from having a formal business plan. And it just seems to be such an epidemic. You kind of write a few things down, but what’s really helpful is to have this thing that you’re working that’s kind of helping you understand all of these different components that you need to build that foundation and then move things forward. So let’s talk for just a minute about the advantages of having the plan. You’ve talked about it in lots of different ways. So let’s talk about it in terms of keeping it relevant.

Well, so keeping in it relevant really happens when you– I call it the foundation of building your initial plan. So you’ve come up with an initial plan and you’ve done that research into, for example, who you think your target market is, what your niche is going to be, all of that. And as you’re attracting clients, you’re fine tuning that and it’s an evolving process. And then as you’re building your products, it’s continuing to evolve because you’re figuring out what’s working and what’s not working. Well, all of those things, you update in your plan as you’re moving forward because part of the planning is a long term kind of strategy. And I suggest as you’re first starting, going on at least five years so that you have goals set of each of those five years. They’re going to be big goals for year five, for example, like something out there. But you know, at least focusing on year one, you know all the things that you need to do on year one to be able to get your business off the ground and the client in the funnel, and how you’re going to build your funnel, and all of that. And you have your goals for the year, then you have them by quarter, then you have them by month, and then you come up with weekly goals, and they all roll into that larger strategy. And you come up with tracking tools and different things to make sure that you’re staying accountable. And as your business evolves if you add additional things, you just add that to the plan. Or if you totally do a 360 degree pivot, like I did, you come up with a new plan or a modified plan it’s that thing that you started with that’s got the meat of why you’re doing what you’re doing, and then you just add to it from there as it evolves and you get more information.

Yeah, and I think that we’re going to probably talk in a minute about your home study course, but one of the things that I noticed about your home study course is how important as a foundational piece this clarity really is about the concepts, about what you’re offering, about what you want the business to be. And I think that that’s something that seems to be missing a lot. So many people who work on business plans assume that you already have that.

No [laughter]. Well, so it’s interesting. I was speaking with a potential client recently, sometimes you’re not even sure what your vision is. So one of the things that I start out with especially when you’re in your corporate career and you’re deciding that you want to start something and you know kind of along the lines what you think you want to do, but there’s all kinds of possibilities. So one of the first things I do with people is to do a two-hour discovery session and we talk about values, vision, and mission. And I try to get people to really focus on those things because your values being in alignment, your personal and your business values being in alignment is what’s going to get you into your flow and set you up for success. And then having a vision, and then from your vision, what will be your mission? And then you’ve got a starting point. It’s a grounding point. And then when you do the home study course, you start to take that and think, “Okay, so what does that mean?” And that’s where getting the clarity comes. And to be fair to yourself, you may not get clarity immediately just even going through that process the first time, and then you may come back and go through the process again as you’re building your plan because you’re thinking, “Well, you know that thing that I thought I wanted to do? I don’t really want to do because I’ve done all this research and it’s not really wanted by anybody. So I’ve got to figure out a way to be a little bit more clear on that.” But my point is that one of the things about the home study course is that it’s available– once you get it, you have it for good and you can keep going back and looking at each of the different modules in the building process so that even when you’re further down building your plan, you can always go back and look at the earlier modules because it’s part of the evolution.

Well and I think that what people forget is that in order to build that funnel– and just as a point of clarification, when you’re talking about a funnel, you’re not saying, “Go out and buy click funnels and set up some fancy funnel,” you’re talking about setting up a sensible sales process?

Yes. A sales and marketing process. Yeah. And certain pieces of the sales and marketing process may be appropriate to your business. Not everything is appropriate to all businesses, so it’s figuring out the thing that might be most appropriate to your business. But then at what point in time that you introduce it, the very first thing that everybody would start with is actually getting out there and meeting people, practicing, and figuring out what they want, what do people want, and getting the conversation going, feeling more at ease in having those conversations and potentially attracting clients because you’re building relationships and connection, and that’s actually the very first part of the funnel, is the actual physical people that you’re meeting as you go along the way, and that you’ll be doing at the same time that you’re doing your plan because you need to have feedback. You can’t do it in isolation, and the plan encourages you to get that feedback [laughter]. And–

Yeah, well I guess that–

[crosstalk] publishing yourself as you’re getting the feedback.

And I think that that’s absolutely the truth about what you do and honestly about what I do too. People want to save time. They want to save money, and they want to build positive relationships. And you need to realize that you can’t just go after some shiny object or follow what people who are 10 years ahead of you are doing. There are these foundational pieces that you walk people through so that they can get to where they want to be 5 or 10 years from now.

Right. And honestly, those people that are going to be most attracted to this I find are people that understand why having a plan is a good idea. So those are the people I start out with honestly. I just talked to somebody the other day. She’s an engineer, corporate, wants to start a business on the side and walked up to me and said, “The reason that you appeal to me is because you think like I do and the fact that you suggest putting a plan in place before I do. This totally appeals to me.” So there are going to be those people that are just no-brainers because they’re your people, and then they’re going to be other people who probably honestly have gone through the process. It’s been painful. It hasn’t worked, and then they’re like, “I’ve got to find something that’s going to help me because this is not working the way it is.” And then, it’s at that point that they might be more open to the planning. And I don’t mind at any point along the way when somebody comes to me. I just would suggest that adopting a plan would be the right thing to do, or, sorry, it’s not really the right thing to do. It would make things– it would make life so much easier and less stressful, and you’d save money in the long run as you said and all of those things [laughter].

Yeah. Well, I think that if you look at other businesses as a model, planning does actually come out as the right thing to do.
Oh, every business–

Every business has a plan.

Every business has a plan, and one of the things that I– so one of the things that I’ve recognized is that a lot of people that I work with are individual contributors within their companies. And one of the things I’ve realized about individual contributors is that they’re not necessarily privy to why they’re given a particular task and why they’ve been asked to execute this and why they’re working on this project. They’ve kind of been given a little bit of a snapshot into the bigger picture but not the whole bigger picture, not the strategic plan and where their thing gets into it and why it’s so important. And so because they’ve not been exposed to that, they don’t necessarily know that that’s something that the company does, but I’m here to say it is [laughter]. And even small businesses have some sort of plan that they don’t necessarily

I mean, I was talking with somebody the other day who got their accountant to help them come up with something because they knew they needed something. And their accountant was telling them at the end of the year that there was not a focus. They needed to have some better planning in place. They needed to be thinking of better– capturing things in a better way and all of that. And so they had that person do it. So at some point along the way, people realize because it’s told to them by somebody, that they need something. And I’m just asking you to do it at the beginning.

Yeah. Sooner rather than later.

Sooner rather than later, yeah.

Before you’ve wasted a lot of your time and money, honestly. Because starting a business is expensive. And if you start chasing every little commercial or every hot tip that somebody tells you, it’s just going to take longer and cost you a lot more money than– if you have a plan, you’re more likely to let the narrower focus of the plan play out than if you don’t have a plan, and you’re just like, “Oh. I’m going to do all the things.”

Yeah. Well, having a plan also lets you– informs you what those things are. It’s made you stop and think about all of those things, as opposed to– as you said, I get up, and it’s just like, “Oh. Well, so I think I need– so do I need to set up a company structure? And oh, do I need to get a business license? And oh, I should have an office. And, oh, what are all those things that are going to make me look like I have a business?” Well, first of all, you don’t need to have an office. The number of people who feel like they need to have a physical space, it’s just like– that is such a huge chunk of money that you don’t need to spend, depending upon what your business is. So that would be the first thing I would say. Please, just stop and think. And as you’re developing your plan, it’s that kind of thing that you figure out. Well, do I need a space for people to come to? Do I have that kind of business? Or can I do it virtually? Or can I do some kind of co-working space and have clients come to me there? I mean, there are all different ways to skin a cat. But going out and renting a space and having that ridiculous rent as an expense that you suddenly have to worry about paying, is the last thing to do. But it’s often the first thing that people do. Because they think they have to. And you don’t. So it’s stuff like that. It’s the reaction kind of approach as opposed to the intentional approach, and just really being guided and think through, so.

So we’ve kind of talked up your home study course a little bit here. Do you want to tell the listeners about it?

Sure. So I developed a home study course for people that are actually starting businesses on the side while they’re continuing to work. Or people who are in the midst of their businesses and want to put a plan into place and so can use this as a guide. Or anybody that’s starting to think of a business. It’s for all of these people. And what it is, it’s an affordable 8-module course that you have access to forever. I mean, I haven’t put an expiration date on it. It’s a very affordable $279. And it’s an 8-module video recorded course with assignments, and the business plan is the ultimate endgame. You’re working on assignments as you go along in the 8 modules. To then, put all of the components that you’ve been walked through as to how to do, into the business plan at the end. And that’s what you’ll have. You have access to a private Facebook group to ask any questions along the way. And then, if you want additional one-on-one coaching, that would be separate, and you could sort that out with me. But I’m there to answer any questions, either through the private Facebook group, or we could do one-on-one coaching.

Yeah. And I think that that course is just excellent, as you said, for people who are working on the side, or who are pivoting, or who just even want to plan for the new year. I mean, I scheduled you very strategically because I feel like December is the time when people are getting ready for the next year. People really start thinking about it. And I think there’s real value in planning that out a little bit.

Yep. I totally do, as well. And the important thing that I want to note is that it’s good to be planning for next year, and then, for years out at the end of a year. But planning doesn’t stop. You’ve got to stay on top of it. You’ve got to have annual, quarterly, monthly, and even weekly goals. And then, you’ve got to hold yourself accountable and see that you’ve met those goals. Because having a plan and not executing and not staying accountable, we may as well not even have done the plan, if you’re not going to do the rest of it. And so, that’s one reason also why I am here because I help you do that.

Thank you so much for joining us on the show, Sandra. And thank you for listening. You can connect with Sandra Hughes on her website, I’ve included links to her website, free 30-minute Clarity Call, and her home study course in the show notes. You can also find Sandra Hughes on Facebook and LinkedIn. Be sure to follow Third Paddle podcast on Twitter and Instagram. Our handle is @thirdpaddle. Thanks again for listening. Next week, we talk about how to save yourself time, money, and headaches by planning and budgeting your 2019 projects. Thanks again. See you next week. [music] Thank you for listening to the Third Paddle podcast. Be sure to catch every episode by subscribing on iTunes. To learn more, check out our website at The Third Paddle podcast is sponsored by Foster Growth LLC. Online at

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