How to Make a 12 Week Plan for Your Side Hustle

 How to make a plan for your side hustle, How to make a 12 week plan for creative business, How to plan my next project, How to be more productive

My 12 week plan is something I live by. It guides what I'm focussing on each week and breaks down my year into 4 chunks, making it less overwhelming and easier to plan for. 12 weeks (or just about 3 months) is enough time to achieve some big stuff but not so far away that it feels overwhelming. 

In this post I'm sharing how I make my 12 week plan for my Side hustle

I recommend getting a big piece of B2 paper or better still, what I use is wallpaper samples, pick one up in a neutral colour for free from your hardware store, they make great planning paper! You'll also need some felt tips or chunky pencils - your plan needs to be visible, it's going to go up on the wall so that you can glance at it every day. 

1) Find your focus

My first step is to pick 1-3 focus areas that I want to concentrate on. These can be as big or as little as I want them to be. Over the summer for example I launched a new website and made that my main goal with two smaller ones alongside for that 12 week chunk. Some of my 12-week projects in the past have been to consistently post content, design a new product launch and introduce a new income stream.  

 Notebooks, coffee and cake - planning for creative business

2) Make each focus a goal

I turn each focus area into a goal that I'm really excited about. This makes each focus goal concise and measurable. Take a look at my post on how to set goals you're excited about for a hand with this bit. 

3) Breakdown your goals into appetising chunks

Next I break my goals down. I take each goal and work out all of the actions it will take to achieve the end-goal. These are small chunks that I can tackle by doing two or three each day.

So, time to break your projects down into appetising chunks. Grab a notebook and write your goal at the top of the page and write down all of the steps required to achieve your goal. 

4) Reality check

At this stage I take a step back and look at each goal and all of the tasks I need to complete, I ask myself whether it looks realistic based on the time I've got to dedicate to these projects. 

Look at your 1-3 goals, are they achievable? They should feel exciting and like a bit of a stretch but not overwhelming. If things are freaking you out already, it's time to scale back your goals a little. Could you work on achieving some of your projects over 2 12-week periods or holding off on one or two of them until the next 12-week plan? 

 To-do list on a rustic table with ribbon and string

4) Create your wall planner

This is the fun bit, I love creating my 12 week wall planner and each time I do it I tweak it a little so it works even better for me. 

This is where your wall planner/ wallpaper sample comes in. On the reverse side of your wallpaper, at the top write your three goals out. Next draw 12 boxes to represent each week. I do three sets of 4 weeks in a grid which works out as roughly 3 seperate months.

Within each box make a space for each goal, so if you have 3 goals you'll want to break each week-box down into three. I do this with a different colour for each goal.

5) Plot it out

Because I'm a bit of a planning nerd I love this bit. I look at my goals and all of the actions I broke them down into and roughly divide them out in my notebook to fit into three chinks (the 3 months). Then I plot out all of the actions across the next 12 weeks. 

A word of warning based on my own experience, don't be tempted to front-weight your plan. I used to do this because I was excited about cracking on with achieving my goals but the reality was that I was giving myself too much to do in the first four weeks and I couldn't keep up. Make sure your plan looks realistic and achievable. Move some stuff around if you feel like some weeks are looking too busy. 

 Coffee and Cake for a planning session on rustic table

6) Milestones and motivation

To help me stay on track with my plan, I put contingency measures in place now. I design myself a reward to look forward to, this could be something like a day off to go and explore a new place, it could be a spa day it could be a weekend get away.  Decide what's going to motivate you and write your reward on your wall planner.

To help you stay accountable, have a think about what motivates you and implement these measures. In the past I've done a mixture of these things to help me stay on track; tell my audience when my new product is launching, telling a friend what I was working on and asking them to hold me accountable, hired a coach to work with one on one and become accountability partners with a friend of mind who also has her own side hustle. Think about what's motivated you in the past and how you can use that same method to help you stay on track with your plan.

7) do the work

Doing the work is what will really make those big changes in your business and it should be a whole lot easier with a weekly plan to follow. I usually plan my weeks on a Sunday evening. Looking at my 12 week plan I cross out the actions I've done that week and I'll write the actions for the following week onto my weekly planner and block out my time for the next week. 

[OVER TO YOU]

The 12 week planning method was a game changer for me when I started using it so I hope it works just as well for you. 

Create your plan and stick it up on the wall somewhere where you'll see it everyday. By tackling those actions each week you'll be all set to achieve those big goals!

 How to make a 12 week plan for your creative business, How to make a plan for your side hustle, How to plan in creative business, Project planning for makers, Action plan for creatives