Everyone has a Plan A. Most of us have a Plan B. Some of us have a Plan C.
Sadly, for the majority of “Plan A-ers”, their Plan A isn’t so much a “plan" as it is “the thing they happen to be doing right now.” And for those of us who have a Plan B and maybe even a Plan C, we treat those plans as fallbacks or safety nets, and use them for comfort when we don’t succeed in our ideal manner.
So, to recap, its not uncommon to have a life based on a Plan A that has limited clarity, and have a Plan B and Plan C that don’t help you achieve your ultimate goals, but rather make it easier to cope when you fail.
Ideally, no matter how many primary plans or fallback plans you have, they should all work toward achieving your primary dream, goal, or vision.
First then, before any plans can be made, your destination needs to be clearly defined. Even the most well thought out plan is useless if you don’t know where you want to go. The act of feeling busy and following a plan might feel good and motivating, but you could be headed in the complete opposite direction of your desired goals. Don't fall victim to the illusion of action.
So, define and set a goal. And then, force your mind to believe that no matter what happens, you’ll achieve that goal. What does your ideal life look like? What goals, when achieved, will create that ideal life? What does the road to your goals look like? How much time and effort will you need dedicate to create your ideal life?
Take it a step further and envision the result of these goals, and tell your mind that this will be your new reality, no matter the effort needed.
By asking yourself these questions early and often, and envisioning the results, your goals - and more importantly, the reasoning behind them - will become clear. Write your goals down so they remain clear.
Then, it’s time to plan.
Your Plan A should be the ideal situation. If everything falls into place as planned, you’ll be able to execute your Plan A with minimal bumps in the road. Your goal will be seamlessly achieved as you methodically move toward your ideal life.
But, in order for a Plan A to be executed well, it needs to be planned well.
What is your desired goal or result? Why do you want to achieve your desired goal or result? When do you want to achieve that goal or result? Be specific regarding a date, but also be realistic. Then, plan backward from that desired date all the way to today.
If your goal is to be a location-independent entrepreneur, then set a date when you want to have a company that can make you 100% self-sufficient. How much income per month does your company need to make by that date to comfortably support yourself? How many clients or customers does that translate to?
Then, work your way back. If it’s January 2016, and you want to be fully location-independent by December 2016, How much money do you need to make in Q3 so that your growth in Q4 will get you to your desired level of income? What about Q2? What type of prospecting do you need to do in Q1 that will get the ball rolling with clients so that you start making money in Q2, so that the growth in Q2 will get you to your desired income in Q3, and so on and so forth.
Then, what do you need to do in January, so that your momentum will compound in February and March, and start making you money in April? What do you need to do this week, today, and right now, so you get the ball rolling in January?
That’s what a Plan A is. It’s a defined goal, that’s translated into quarterly goals, that’s translated into monthly goals, that’s translated into weekly goals, that’s translated into daily tasks. This way, even if you have to course correct slightly, you’ve built compounding momentum that gives you the leeway to do so and still remain on track to succeed.
Let’s be honest with ourselves. How often do things go according to plan? Not very often. Especially when you have a goal that’s lofty, the attainment of it hinges on a lot of factors and moving parts, some of which are out of your control.
But, if you understand the Why behind your Plan A, than it becomes easier to revert to a Plan B that still achieves your goal. If you Why is strong enough, you’ll accomplish it no matter the cost.
So, a Plan B shouldn’t be a compromise. It should be a more realistic - and albeit harder - plan to follow, but should still end up with the accomplishment of your goal.
You might have to make sacrifices, and forgo some of the benefits of your Plan A, but your Plan B, if planned correctly, will still achieve your Why.
If your goal is to be a location-independent entrepreneur…Why? There has to be a driving reason behind it. For me, it’s the freedom to travel and live where I want, when I want. That’s my Why. Freedom.
So, if my Plan A ended in a lucrative location-independent business where I was making six figures, maybe my Plan B is a more realistic business with a more modest income, but still location independent.
If you find, for example, that while you’re following your Plan A, the demand for your product or service is lower than expected, you might have to revert to your Plan B. What’s the minimum amount of income you need to feel comfortable leaving your job?
That becomes the goal of your Plan B. You might not be on track to be a millionaire like in Plan A, but you’ll still achieve the freedom of travel and location. And at the end of the day, your plans should accomplish the core value that drives your desire to achieve your goal.
Hey, even Plan B’s don’t always go according to plan. We all know this. Life isn’t one that can be planned, only managed.
But, there’s no excuse Why you can’t still achieve your goal (or your Why), regardless of what life throws at you.
OK, so you’ve been following your Plan A. Then, things start to get derailed. Your Plan A of location-independent entrepreneurship is contingent on a desired level of monthly income and savings, but your car recently broke down, and you had to spend 2k on the repairs. Bummer!
You realize that you won’t be able to achieve your level of savings in the timeframe you want, and timeframe is important to you. Well, time to move onto Plan B.
You’ve defined the minimum level of income and savings you need and have built a contingency Plan B from the get go. Time to implement it. You take the strides you made with Plan A and blend it with Plan B, so that you’re still on track to achieve your Why, even though you won’t be making the thousands of dollars you originally planned on.
But alas! You don’t get that raise you were planning on from your current employer. Damn, you needed that in order to reach the level of savings you wanted in Plan B. What now?
Time for Plan C.
Plan C is your last ditch effort to achieve your Why, but in actuality, it’s your best chance of achieving it. This is because a Plan C only takes into account the bare essentials needed to achieve your Why. It strips away all the fluff and leaves you with the clearest path available.
Is your Why the freedom of travel, like mine? Great!
If this is your Why, then to me, Airbnb is the key to Plan C.
So what if your Plan A and Plan B have been thrown to the wayside? So what if you tried for location-independent entrepreneurship but was unable to succeed in the interim. Doesn’t mean that you won’t succeed in the future. In fact, travel could be just what you need for business inspiration.
For me, my Plan C is to divert all my earnings and additional cash flow (remember, just because your business idea wasn’t successful by Plan A or B standards, doesn’t mean it made you 0 dollars), and put it toward my savings. My Plan C has a savings level I need to hit before I feel comfortable traveling full-time.
Then, to cover your cost of rent or mortgage, put your room, apartment, or house on Airbnb. It could be for a week, month, or even more. Airbnb gives you a multitude of minimum rent options.
And there ya go! You have a desired level of savings, have covered your cost of rent, and you’re ready to achieve your Why of travel. To cover the costs of travel, your Plan C can include freelance work on oDesk or eLance, or even could rely on local jobs in the places your traveling to.
So, even though you don’t have a location-independent business with your Plan C, you’re still achieving your core value of travel. Then, on your travels, you might very well come up with the next great idea for a business that ends up achieving your Plan A anyway.
You should never compromise on your dreams, goals, or vision for your life. If you want to live a life you love, you should, no questions asked.
To ensure that you do so, when you’re envisioning your perfect life, formulate multiple plans, so no matter what life throws at you, at least one of the plans will get you to your desired result.
The tragedy is that if someone actually has a Plan A, and it fails, they give up, and continue living a life they don’t resonate with.
Think about it in terms of your work: if you dislike your job, and are planning on location-independent entrepreneurship, and then that plan fails, many people would continue to work that job.
The sadness in that is that if you dislike your job, you probably aren’t inspired by it or your life. And inspiration is the thing you probably need to find a path to entrepreneurship. So instead of giving up and reverting back to the life you’ve always lived, keep forging ahead, and achieve your way at all costs.
Chances are, even if you follow your Plan C, you’ll find yourself through travel in such a way that you’ll become even more successful than you planned for.
Don’t believe me? Try it, and let me know what happens.