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Planning Your Business: Start on the right foot to avoid failure

Freedom because you work with awesome clients that love you and that work.

Freedom to spend time with your kids during the week sometimes.

Freedom to not be working all weekend.

Freedom because you earn more with fewer hours in the office.



The thing is that for many business owners it’s just a dream. Something they expect to magically happen to them. They put little effort into planning out how to bring that dream into reality.

Today we’re going to go over two exercises to plan what your ideal business and ideal life will look like. In a future post, we’ll go over how to set goals so that you can achieve the perfect business you dream of.

Your Four Quadrants to start planning your WordPress business

The first exercise we should do is to take a piece of paper and fold it top to bottom then side to side. What you’ll be left with are four rectangles. These four rectangles represent the four most important areas of your life.

They don’t have to be in order, and the first time you do the work, it’s likely that you’ll need to change the quadrants a few times before it feels like you’ve got it just right.

My Four Quadrants are:

  1.    Family
  2.    Fitness
  3.    Business
  4.    Outside/Travel

Some of them overlap, like my Family and Outside quadrants. One item that could go in either area is that I want to be able to take my kids on regular overnight trips in the backcountry. That’s a travel item and a family item. You can organize your quadrants in whatever way you can best categorize your life.

Here is my full list of items out of my Business quadrant:

  •    I only need to be online 1 or 2 days a week
  •    My income is from writing/coaching/speaking with no web development income needed
  •    I don’t trade money for hours. It’s all about the value I bring not the time my butt sits in a chair

Now this list doesn’t mean that I’m never going to build websites for people. In fact, one of my favourite clients will likely always get my time in some fashion. I love working for them and believe in their mission.

Supporting them accomplishes my purposes. Likewise, you need to list what items make up your Business quadrant. What services do you want to work on the most, and how much time do you want to spend doing it?

Your 5 Year Life Essay

While this second exercise is similar to the Four Quadrants, it always brings out something different. The first time you do both of these exercises, it’s likely that you’re going to find things that are entirely opposed between the Four Quadrants and the Five-Year Essay. The different modes of writing bring out different thoughts.



The goal with the 5 Year Life Essay is to write a long-form essay about what your life will look like in five years. You should describe your day. Describe your week. Describe the types of clients you have and how much they pay you. How do you interact with the clients, on the phone or in person or…?

Here are some questions to get you primed:

  •    How much do you earn per year?
  •    Where do you live?
  •    Do you travel? Where and for how long? Write about an entire trip in great detail.
  •    How many pets do you have?
  •    What about kids?
  •    How much time do you spend with your kids? What do you do when you’re spending time with them?
  •    Will you be married? Describe your ideal marriage scenes.
  •    What do you do for work?
  •    How do you interact with your clients?
  •    What specifically are your clients paying you for?
  •    What does your house look like? Even pick colours and furniture for your office.

The point is to get as detailed as possible and to dream big; don’t ask yourself what’s possible, answer to what you really want. If some of the things you want bear no resemblance to your life now, that’s perfect. We’re building our ideal life, later on, we’ll talk about how to get to it. If we don’t know where we’re aiming for, then we’ll never reach it.

Now it’s time to look at planning your WordPress business

With these two exercises done, it’s time to take a good hard look at the business you run. While you could build themes to sell, or build plugins to sell if you know that you want to be able to disconnect for extended periods of time that means you can’t be the one to handle support. Selling themes and plugins means being around regularly to offer support.

That means being online and being online regularly doesn’t really match with the idea of being offline. Yes, I know that seems obvious, but many of the business owners I talk to started their business and then ride the winds. Those winds got them to a spot where they don’t like their work. They are ‘successful’ in that they earn enough money to live well, but they’re not happy.



With these two exercises done, you can filter every business idea through your ideals. Some ideas are going to need to go by the wayside and others are going to need to be changed to suit the ideal life you want to build.

Don’t be the only one doing these things

Finally, if you’re married or have a long-term partner, don’t be the only one doing these exercises, even if you consider this exercise to just be about planning your business; especially then! I get all my coaching clients to do them with their spouse.

In fact, I want the spouse to do the exercises on their own, and then you bring all your work together to build out the 4 Quadrants and Five Year Life Essay for your family. Almost every time we find out that there are areas where the two plans don’t line up.

One person wants to travel, and one wants to stay at home. These are not insurmountable challenges; you just need to work through them together. If you want to have a successful, fulfilling business, it all starts with planning.

You need to know where you want your life to be headed and build a business that suits it. Without that plan, you’re likely to end up in a place you don’t want to be.

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Curtis McHale

Curtis McHale

Curtis McHale is a business coach and speaker. He helps businesses build effective processes for vetting ideal clients and building a business that doesn’t take every hour of every day to run.


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  3. Interesting article in fact

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