At the end of each month, it’s important to reflect on what we have achieved and then set ourselves up for success for the coming month. This is relevant for both your personal and your professional life!
In this guide, I am sharing a few things that you should do at the beginning of every month to position yourself and your business to have the most impact and results in those next 30 days!
1) Tidy Up Your Workspace
During the month it can be easy to let your workspace (and other areas of your house) get into disarray. Having a tidy workspace can help to cultivate a tidy and focused mind so on the first day of every month take a few hours to clear out the literal (and metaphorical) clutter!
In addition to tidying up, give yourself permission to buy something nice for your workspace or office every month to make it more appealing. This could be some new plants, a fabulous new notebook, a desk organiser, some scented candles or even a luxury desk chair!
Making your workplace comfortable, tidy and appealing will help motivate you to spend more time in it through the month!
Shop some of my favourite desk items!
2) Reflect On The Past Month
Take a notepad and pen and draw a four-box grid on the page.
In the top left write down all the things you worked on in the past month, in the top right write down all the things you had hoped to do but did not complete.
In the bottom left box write down all the ‘wins’ you had in the past month. This could be a new client that you won, a new record day of email sign-ups to your list or a great testimonial about your business. Then in the final box on the bottom right note down the lows or negative things that happened in the month.
- Top-Left – Achievements: This list will tell you everything achieved in the last 30 days so you can give yourself a big pat on the back. Now take a look at that list and use a highlighter to go over which of your achievements or tasks completed will move your business forward or earn you additional income. The highlighted list should ideally be about 70% of the items.
- Top-Right – Not Achieved (Yet!): This list will help you focus in on what you need to work on next month. But take some time to ask yourself ‘why’ you didn’t achieve these things? Was it just a lack of time or did you choose to do things you like more or find easier? Ideally, this list should not include any of the all-important tasks that drive your business forward. If it does, you really need to establish a plan to focus on the more important tasks next month.
- Bottom-Left – Wins: We need to see progress and wins to help us keep pushing forward so write down the things that happened in the month that might have been unexpected, this could be a press feature, an excellent testimonial from a client or finishing a project you thought would run into the next month. Celebrate these wins – grab a glass of bubbly and cheers to your achievement!
- Bottom-Right – Room For Improvement: Noone is perfect, not me and not you and the chances are every month there will be at least one thing you can reflect on and think you could improve. Or this area could be to reflect on feeling that you were less inspired, creative or motivated that month. Use this list to help guide you in the following month to do better in specific areas or identify the reasons why you were less motivated and how you can turn that around.
Taking this time to reflect on the past month will help you to set realistic goals for the next month and also increase your chances of achieving them. It will allow you to step back and look at what you have achieved and how much you have done in the last 30 days!
3) Set Your Goals and Intentions For The Next Month
Every year, 3 months and also every month I set myself goals for what I would like to do with my business. Your long term 1, 2 and 3-year goals can change so it’s a good idea to set yourself monthly goals that are all moving you towards your bigger goals.
At the start of the month evaluate your business and ask yourself the following questions:
- What is my overarching goal from this month? For example, to make more revenue; to add a new income stream; to get more press for my business; to grow my email list; to plan a retreat, or simply to build wider brand awareness.
- What one thing can I do this month that will have the most impact on my business and help me achieve that overarching goal?
- How can I ensure that I stay on track to achieve this task in the next 30 days?
- What other tasks or goals do I need to do to support this one big goal?
- What outside support could I get to ensure this is achieved? I.e. could you outsource parts of it that take you longer or you are less experienced at doing so that you can focus on the parts that you are best at.
Write down the answers to these questions and then set yourself a project in a project management system such as Asana or Trello with deadlines to keep you on track through the month.
4) Set A Challenge
Set yourself a challenge to do something that might be hard for you, is new to you or is outside of your comfort zone. This could be doing your first Facebook live or reaching out for your first brand collaboration. This challenge can be anything you want it to be and should be a bit difficult.
Write this down and come back to it in a month when you are doing your reflection and see if you achieved it. If not, why not?
5) Do Your Accounting
There is nothing worse than getting to the end of the year and having to work through 12 months of accounting in one sitting. Make your future self happy by keeping up with this on a monthly basis. Here’s how I keep my monthly accounting simple and easy to complete:
- Sign up for Quickbooks
- Have a separate bank account and Paypal so your business and personal expenses are completely separate
- Have a separate payment gateway such as Stripe if you are selling on your website
- Scan your physical receipts as soon as you get them using scanner app
- Create folders for accounting broken out by year, then month. Within each month folder 3 folders Expenses, Income and Transfers (for any bank transfers from your business to your personal accounts)
- Set up all your online monthly/annual expenses to have the invoice sent directly to your email when the payment is made. As expense invoices are received to you inbox immediately save these as PDF documents to the correct folder for the month.
- Use a naming convention for all your receipts, invoices and income so that you can easily locate them with a quick search of your documents. E.g. Quickbooks_Invoice_20th March 2020.pdf or TrueFood_Invoice_20th March 2020 (Lunch with Stephanie for coaching discovery).pdf
- At the end of the month run through all the income and expenses in your Quickbooks account adding the correct invoice or receipt and balancing your accounts.
Trust me you will thank me when it comes to year-end when all your books are balanced and receipts are filed!
6) Review Your Monthly Business Expenses
As you do your accounting keep an eye out for any expenses that may no longer be necessary. Perhaps you signed up for an app you are no longer using or a Copywrite free image service you haven’t used as much as you thought you would.
By doing your accounting monthly you can cancel any subscriptions right away rather than forgetting about them until the end of the year when you get to your annual tax filings. This will help ensure your business is streamlined with no unnecessary expenses.
7) Tidy Up Your Blog or Website
If you have a blog or a business website then you must have a monthly checklist of tasks to run through to ensure your blog is in order.
This list should include things like updating your plugins, checking your site speed and making any required updates, running a broken link checker, adding new deep links or updating blog posts based on your Google Analytics.
It can also be beneficial to ask someone else, a friend, family member or peer to take a look at your website. Since we look at it every day it can be easy to miss an obvious spelling error or a broken link to your most important social media page – getting someone else to cast their eyes over it will help you spot and correct these.
8) Check-In With your Employees or Freelancers
If you have employees or freelancers working for you make sure that you are checking in with them at the end of the month.
This is a good time to go over their goals and tasks and discuss progress. If they have not achieved the goals set to them for the month take the time to understand why and how you can support them to ensure that they can get the tasks completed the following month.
This is also a great opportunity to ask for feedback, are they enjoying the work, do they feel that they are using their full potential, are they happy with the way that you assign tasks to them, do they feel your instructions are clear? Hiring good people is tough so you want to make sure your team is happy!
Save yourself time and hassle by scheduling out all of your social media content for the month in advance. This will ensure that you are consistently posting to your channels and that you don’t find yourself struggling to come up with a clever caption whilst standing in line at Starbucks.
I use the following tools to help schedule social media content:
- Tailwind: For Pinterest (also can be used for Instagram). Prices start at $9.99 per month
- Later: For Instagram. Free for one profile and 30 posts
- Buffer: For Facebook and Twitter (can also be used for Instagram). Pricing starts at $15 per month
- Facebook in-app scheduler: Free to use
10) Reach Out To One Person In Your Network or Niche
Building your network and community is extremely important to growing your business, but sometimes networking can feel overwhelming and a huge task to undertake. So instead of giving yourself the challenge of reaching out to 10 or 20 people to collaborate or meet, set yourself the target of just 1.
This could be a cold or warm introduction, and it could be as simple as saying hi or sending a voice memo on Instagram and introducing yourself and telling that person you love what they do. If you are asking to meet in person or have a call with them make sure that you have an offer, something you can give them or a reason to connect – people are busy and will often look for what you can do for them so make sure to outline why creating a connection could be beneficial to you both.
If reaching out to just one person cold fills you with dread, then the other option is to attend a networking event, or virtual meet up. Events are a great place to connect with people in your industry and whilst you may not see results, a collaboration or benefit immediately these connections will one day pay off. This could be by someone referring a client to you or connecting you with a brand, the possibilities are endless!
Whether you are meeting people individually or at an event, think about what you can offer the people you connect with, chances are they will be more likely to help you or think of you in the future if you have been helping them out or recommending their services.
Thank you for reading! I hope that you found this article useful to keep your business in order every month! Please let me know how you keep your own business moving forward every month in the comments.
If you have questions or want to share your own favourites with the community you can join our private Women’s Blogging Collective community
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