#182: How to Create a Quarterly Plan the Fast Way as a Digital Course Creator


Quarterly planning is upon us and it doesn’t have to take forever. You don’t have to spend weeks creating an elaborate plan for your quarter, because let’s face it. The more elaborate the plan, the more likely it is to fail.

Instead, you need a fast way to plan your quarter so that you can get back to serving students, creating new modules, and revising messaging for your business.

Today, I’m going to walk you through the 3 steps that I take my clients through and use for my own business. With limited hours to work each week, we have to be focused on action rather than planning. If we spend all of our time planning…nothing will change. Instead, let’s focus on creating a strategy that generates action.


Fast Quarterly Planning

Over the next two weeks, I’m sitting down with digital course creators who want to make sure that the next quarter is productive and effective in their business. Curious to know how much time we’ll take to plan their entire quarter? One hour.

That’s it. One hour on Zoom, targeted conversations and we will have a plan that is focused and designed to generate momentum.

I’m passionate about this topic because I’ll be honest, I’ve been on the long and tedious planning side of things that didn’t work. In fact, if you are watching this episode on YouTube, I’ll take a look at my meticulous planning! It is a work of art right, there are tasks assigned by day for each month with objectives in mind, and about 5% of that beautiful planning actually happened.

Compare that to last quarter’s plan where I hit 100% of my objectives. I don’t have anything to show you because the whole plan fit on a standard size sticky note.

Now I’m not advocating planning your quarter without thought. I am advocating a highly focused process that keeps us in motion instead of stagnating with indecision.

Of the three steps that I’m going to share, Step 2 can trip creators up because we have so many ideas, so at the end of today’s episode I’ll share my process for keeping Step 2 in check and doable.

Are you ready?


Step 1: Revenue Goals

When planning your quarter quickly, first up is to think about your revenue goals. This might make you cringe, especially if you are in the beginning stages of business where revenue isn’t exactly rolling in and money isn’t growing on trees.

But, give me a second.

Imagine you are building a course and you have a lot of ideas for what to include in the course. The course grows and grows and grows. You are constantly recording new modules and videos. Creating new worksheets, and wondering when the course will ever be done.

This is common. We love to deliver on our course promise and that so often feels like we need to deliver a TON of content. So what happens? We delay our course launches, limit who gets to see what we’ve already created, and give ourselves rules about what still has to happen for the course to go live.

Without clear revenue goals, we don’t have any urgency to get things done and delivered or launched.

So the first step of quarterly planning is to decide on a revenue goal.

If you are more established in your business, this revenue goal will feel easier to calculate and set. If you are newer in your business, look at what revenue you brought in last quarter and then think about what bump you’d like for this quarter while taking into account how much time you have to spend on your business.

A revenue goal doesn’t have to be higher than the previous quarter. It can be exactly the same. The key here is to know what your expectations are up front so that you can stay focused with your energy.


Step 2: Limited Focus

Now the second step to fast quarterly planning after setting revenue goals is to form limited focus that will help you get to that goal.

One of the biggest mistakes I see course creators make when choosing where to focus during their quarterly planning is to choose too many things to work on. We are often overly ambitious and while that can provide good motivation, it ends up creating overwhelm and disappointment when those objectives are not met.

Now I’m not suggesting that you create focus areas that are simple and will be accomplished in the first two weeks of the quarter. But what I am suggesting is that you don’t load yourself down with so many different focus areas that nothing gets accomplished.

If you are in the stage of building your course, your focus might be to get all student resources built and modules recorded. That’s it. It isn’t to build your entire launch funnel, email sequences, plan your social media runway, write an entire webinar or challenge, and learn a new course platform.

It is tempting to think that we have to do everything at once because of that revenue goal from Step 1, but it isn’t. And at the end of today’s episode I’ll share my favorite way to make sure I don’t get overloaded with too many things to focus on in a quarter and what I think the magic number is.

But for now remember that each step we take in our business is either moving us toward or away from our revenue goals. If we have so many steps to focus on in a quarter that it leads to paralysis, that doesn’t help us achieve our goals. If, however, we choose a limited number of things to focus on we can take action and move toward the revenue goal.

For example, this past quarter I was revamping the format of this podcast and getting two new low ticket offers created. Those were my sole areas of focus. By having these two areas as my focus, it was easy to stay on track and not get diverted by other ideas and tasks.

Staying limited with your focus not only helps you to keep momentum going, but also makes the planning process faster so that you don’t waste weeks of the quarter just trying to get a plan down on paper.


Step 3: Create Opportunities

When setting out to plan your quarter fast…it is critical to map out opportunities to make your revenue goals a reality within the focus chosen in Step 2. For some quarters this might mean connecting with people to make more sales, it might mean investing in a new program to help you take action on your focus area, and it could mean creating time in your schedule to do the work you need to do.

Let me walk you through a couple of examples.

If you are a course creator looking to add $3000 to your revenue in the next quarter and don’t plan to launch a course during that time, you might consider adding a new paid offer to your business. This could be a workshop, a template, or even a VIP day for select clients. This means that the focus should be on creating that revenue generating item and then looking for opportunities to promote it, share it with your audience, and create interest.

If you have a focus of broadening your reach, then an opportunity you might seek out is to speak at a luncheon, a symposium, or a conference. You have to find opportunities that align with the focus you’ve chosen. And that focus aligns with your revenue goals.

Finally, consider that you are launching a course during the quarter, that is your focus, and are hoping to increase your launch revenue by 25%. This likely means that you need to bring in a bigger audience so that you have the chance to make more sales. What opportunities can you seek out to bring in a bigger audience to your launch funnel? This might be seeking out referral partners, using paid ads, or using a new social media approach. These are all opportunities that feed the focus and the revenue goal.

The key to finding opportunities is to keep in mind the focus that you have that will support your revenue goal. This helps us to stay away from shiny objects and squirrel moments that derail our attention from the needle-moving activities.


Action Item: Create Your Plan

As we head into a new quarter, your action item is to set a timer this week and create your plan for the next three months. Don’t get stuck in the details. Instead, set a revenue goal, identify the area of focus that you’ll need to have for that revenue goal to become reality, and then identify the opportunities that you need to pursue for that focus to be fulfilled to its potential.


Get Unstuck and Gain Momentum

This week we have been talking all about creating a quarterly plan faster so that you can get momentum and action rather than spending weeks just creating a plan that is likely to fall apart.

As you’ve heard, on the Digital Course Creator Podcast I’m openly sharing the lessons I’ve learned, the tools and tactics that I’ve used so that you can become a Six-Figure Digital Course Creator.

But here’s what I’ve realized. All too often the solutions designed to help you get to six-figures focus just on marketing tactics.

Although marketing is an important piece of the process, success in business and in any area of life requires strategy in a number of categories. We have to dig deeper and you can get that from a lot of different resources: books, podcasts, webinars, and even courses.

So do we still struggle to reach our enrollment and financial goals? Because whatever change we want in our lives will be 10% what we learn, read, or study, and 90% or more mindset.

As a Psychology Professor and Coach, I share as much as I can about mindset here on the show, but to truly thrive we all need individualized attention, accountability, and support.

So if you are ready to say yes to a thriving, financially solid business, I’d love to have a conversation with you.

I hold at least two slots open on my calendar each week to help course creators take action, dig into their purpose, and create a strategic plan for growth so that they can get unstuck! These are free, no obligation calls.

If you are ready to make the next 12 months THE year that you go from being uncertain about your course creation business to a Six-Figure Course Creator, grab a strategy call slot at coursecalls.com. You can also find that link in the show notes, but again, it’s coursecalls.com


Sixty-Second Solution

In today’s Sixty-second solution I want to share with you the trick I use for not putting all of the ideas that I have running through my brain down on my quarterly plan. Because, although that plan would look impressive, it would take a lot of time to build, and would ultimately fail.

Choose a maximum of 3 areas of focus for the quarter. I routinely choose 2, and some of my clients choose 1.  The key here is a max of three.

Now what about the other ideas that pop into your head to focus on? Simple, pull out a piece of paper and jot them all down. This is now your grab bag of sorts if you finish your entire quarterly plan early. You can choose something from the list to work on for the remainder of the quarter.

You don’t forget your ideas, they are settled on a list, and you can stay focused on the most important areas in your business.

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