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what to do today

What to do today (2024 Annual Plan)

December 30, 2023
Assalamualaikum!

End-of-the-year planning is brewing in our brains.

Do you feel it?

The energy to be FEARLESS in sharing our message online as Muslims and do better in all areas of life – it’s almost palpable.

Here’s a hadith that’s a perfect energizer for new Muslim entrepreneurs:

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) as saying: “A strong believer is better and is more lovable to Allah than a weak believer, and there is good in everyone, (but) cherish that which gives you benefit (in the Hereafter) and seek help from Allah and do not lose heart, and if anything (in the form of trouble) comes to you, don’t say: If I had not done that, it would not have happened so and so, but say: Allah did that what He had ordained to do and your” if” opens the (gate) for the Satan.”

ertugrul in hoody
Let’s use that energy to turn our ideas into action in 2024.

Personally, every year in December I create a plan for the next year and a review of the previous year.

If you’re starting your side hustle, working a 9-5, and have some other projects going on for you on the side, I can’t recommend planning your YEAR enough!

Without my planning system, I find it very hard to have crystal clarity in which direction to go, which projects to choose from, where to start, and how to bring my long-term goals practically into my days and weeks. Not foolishly. Not sporadically. Strategically.

It’s incredibly limiting to try and work on multiple projects at the same time without a clear action plan.

90 days is the perfect unit for designing an action plan.

Longer than 90 days is too long. In the entrepreneurial world, if you’re on the path of growth, things tend to change a lot in months and you have to adapt quickly. Longer plans can be a waste of time as too much “tweaking” is needed based on new opportunities, new unforeseen problems, etc.

Shorter than 90 days is not enough for the longer projects to finish.

Today, I want to share an overview of my business planning system.

If you want my help in planning your personal life goals, I created an entire workshop where I walk you through my annual personal goal-setting system. You can get access to the workshop by subscribing below:

Side note- I use Notion for everything. You can use any tool you like.

In today’s newsletter, we’ll just cover how to create the annual plan – keep in mind, that this is not the full system but a crucial part of the Business O.S. (operating system).

I gave it a lot of thought about how to make it even simpler, but sadly couldn’t.

I didn’t know how to plan my business with everything else properly years ago, which led to a lack of focus, no clarity, and lots of overwhelm. If I could go back in time, this is what I would tell myself to do.

Planning time = 1 hour. (5 min per question)Here’s a screenshot of what my Annual planning Notion database looks like:

Here are the steps:

 

🏷️ Step 1: Annual Biz Intentions

 

You probably have been thinking of starting your online business or have already started working on it on the side of your 9-5.

Think deeply about this. What do you REALLY intend to do about your business this year?

Your intentions will translate into actions only if you’re candid about them.

They’re not just things you say, “I want to get clarity, start a biz, or get clients, etc.”

They are your commitments to yourself and you intend with the belief that Allah SWT knows what you’re intending. There’s no lying to yourself.

Watch out – a lot of people will say what they want to do and tell themselves they want to do it, but deep down they have no intention of following through seriously and are OKAY with procrastinating.

Intentions are built on URGENCY and a deep discomfort with the way you’ve been doing things.

You know your intention is solid if you’re clear that things simply can’t continue to go the way they’ve been going so far.

Something needs to change for you right now to succeed at this online business thing.

What’s that for you?

 

🏷️ Step 2: Top 5 Biz Strengths

 

What are you already good at or have gotten good at that’ll help you succeed in your biz?

What are your natural strengths or skills that you’ve gained that are needed?

If you’ve already started your business, what have you accomplished that is a strength for your business?

Here’s a worksheet for you to fill out and discover your best fit niche based on your skills, knowledge and experiences. I’ve also added some examples for you to learn from. Enter your email in the form below for me to send it to you.

 

🏷️ Step 3: Top 5 Greatest Biz Opportunities

 

What is the low-hanging fruit that you can avail of right now?

What are the biggest opportunities that you can explore this year?

You can answer this question by considering the following variables:

  • Our internal strengths (knowledge, skills, experience)
  • The resources you have available in front of you (time, money, educational resources courses, coaching)
  • Circumstances around you (people, place, season of life)

For example;

  • I have access to a network of other Muslims in the Masjid community to do my Muslim market research.
  • I have learned how to create presentations and presented seminars professionally and socially in the last year
  • I have access to a great content channel created for people like me, and a support system of my spouse, and my coach.
  • Etc.

 

🏷️ Step 4: Top 5 Greatest Biz Threats

 

What are the biggest limiting factors that are stopping you from reaching your business goals?

What do you need to FIX this year to make progress in the direction of your goals?

You can answer this question by considering the following variables:

  • This is the weakest link of your business
  • This is causing your biz to bleed money
  • This is causing you mental distress and stress
  • Fixing this would relieve you of a burden
  • You are finding it hard to solve this problem/ overcome this challenge

For example:

  • I don’t have a source of getting new people in my community.
  • I don’t know how to get clients to validate my business idea.
  • I don’t know how to articulate what value I can provide and package my knowledge into a life-changing curriculum.

 

🏷️ Step 5: Top 3-5 Strategic Targets

 

Based on your opportunities, strengths, and threats, what do you intuitively judge should be the biggest focus areas for this year?

Can you translate that into clear outcomes that can be specifically and objectively measured? These will become your strategic targets.

In other words – What can you achieve “objectively” and realistically this year that would make this year a success business-wise?

For example: your biggest focus areas could be,

  • Getting clarity on who my audience is and the problem I solve first.
  • Reaching out to my network to validate my idea and see if there’s demand for the value I can provide
  • Building an audience online for free with my content

 

🏷️ Step 6: Top 5 Biz Obstacles

 

What do you foresee to be the biggest obstacles (hindrances) in your way of achieving the above said Strategic Targets?

 

Thinking about these in advance will allow you to allocate your resources to overcome these obstacles ahead of time so you can give yourself the best chance of succeeding.

Failure to predict or think about your biggest obstacles may end with you getting stuck many times and not reaching your Strategic Targets.

For example:

  • Getting in my way – mindset junk that keeps me stuck in my head
  • Lack of knowledge or support on how to achieve my strategic targets
  • Getting overwhelmed by a lot of ideas, conflicting information, and little follow-through

 

🏷️ Step 7: Top 5 Skills to build

 

What are the most pressing skills you have to start building to achieve the above said Strategic Targets?

Since there are many many skills that you’ll have to learn to succeed to turn your knowledge into an online knowledge business.

There’s no way you can learn everything in a year.

Logic dictates: Time creates experience. And experience teaches things that no amount of knowledge can.

So to be truly skilled, you must acknowledge thatyou will indubitably learn more with time.

But what can you build with the time this year?

It’s important to prioritize the skills so you can start with the ones more pressing and then layer new skills each year to reach success in your online business in a clever strategic way.

For example:

  • Learning how to do market research and discover what I can create
  • Learning how to create an offer that matches the value I can provide with my existing knowledge & experience
  • Writing great content that transforms
  • Learning how to articulate concepts in my mind into actionable content
  • How to sell and market myself ethically

 

🏷️ Step 8: STOP Doing

 

To reach your next-level entrepreneur identity, you can’t possibly build new skills and take on new initiatives without letting go of something you’re already doing.

Too many lilies crowd the pond.

Imagine if your time and energy are torn between 3 different side hustles. And another new entrepreneur is focused on just ONE. Who do you think will learn the skills faster?

It’s the law of time – whatever you put your time into, it grows.

Let go of something time-consuming and big.

 

Most people don’t have the luxury to let go of their job as they are responsible for being providers. But they CAN let go of other things they’re doing to make room for their side hustle dream – this can be volunteer projects, random social projects, multiple side hustles, 2 jobs, etc.

All this hustling will get you nowhere except keep you stuck in “hustling” mode for years.

If you focus on succeeding in ONE thing along with your responsibilities, you’ll make more impact and income and will be able to do more than you ever could “hustling”.

This will be the hardest decision you’ll make.

It’s hard to let go – the most impact-driven people tend to have Superman/Superwoman syndrome.

We tell ourselves, “I can do more than the average person”. 

Sure you can.

But you won’t do as well as you could if you were to focus on ONE thing on the side of your 9-5. Just one.

 

🏷️ Step 9: START Doing

 

Once you stop doing something big, you’ll free up time.

You’ll use this time to reach your strategic targets. What business habits and goals do you need to start working on ASAP?

For example;

  • Creating content on one platform of your choice
  • Joining communities, reaching out to others online, and getting into conversations
  • Creating your offer and speaking about it with others

 

🏷️ Step 10: DO LESS OF

 

For things you can’t stop, you can certainly reduce them.

You’ll free up more time this way to work on your strategic targets.

For example;

  • Socializing every day – reduce to once a week 
  • Spending 3 hours a day at the gym – reduce to one hour less each day 
  • Traveling for fun every few months – reduce to 1-2 times a year max.

 

🏷️ Step 11: DO MORE OF

 

Now, you’ve also probably already started working on building some of your skills, and habits you need to learn for your business goals.

But you’re not giving them enough time.

Here’s where you can decide what’s something you can do more of in the time you’ve already freed up in steps 8 and 10.

 

Next Steps:

 

Once you’ve identified the things to work on, it’s time to create your 90-day plan.

Turn your intentions and strategic targets into projects (goals that have a clear start and end) and habits (recurring business activities) and map them out over 90 days in order of priority.

Follow these steps and I guarantee you’ll have so many AHA moments and clarity that’ll help you start 2024 with laser focus. I followed all these steps and created my plan just yesterday.

Or ignore this — and continue dreaming about your dream business and lifestyle without doing anything different, and of course, nothing changes.

 

What’s coming up ahead

 

As for Muslim Empowerment, exciting things are coming up this year In sha Allah. New content, new platform, new design…more details later 😉

I’ll let you in on one of the things we’re working on that I think you’ll enjoy…

We’re in the process of publishing ALL of my newsletters (from 2018! to the present) on the website under the Blog…

A few reasons why I’m doing this:

  • Some of my best writing is nested in the Gmail accounts of you, my dear reader. It’s probably laid some eggs in your Gmail, too. 🐣 Sadly, it’s not publicly available for the website visitors who land on my website from social media. They don’t have access to this potential goldmine of info to learn from which feels like a disservice on my part to my website readers.

 

  • Some of you may enjoy reading my newsletters again or may want to refer back to something but find it incredibly hard to search for it in your Gmail (with all the other stuff you’ve subscribed to! 🤯)

 

  • The coolest reason for me though is to be able to see the evolution of my writing from 2018 to the present and going into the future. That’s exciting for me because it’s a real-life example of how a skill can evolve with practice and time. Hopefully, that can serve as inspiration for some of you who are thinking of committing to creating content long-term!

I’m kicking myself hard for not doing this sooner! It’s taking months of work (and money 👀 lol) for our web developer and content assistant to do this.

Ah well, we learn from our mistakes.

So that’s something to look forward to on Muslim Empowerment (that’s not all, there’s more hehe🤫)

 

Over to you

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