I have been doing this for a long time, and I figured I’d post it on the website for others to see. Rather than teaching an entire workshop on the idea I am about to attribute into your lives, I will make this short and sweet. Then, if this seems like a good idea for you and your current situation, we can discuss ways that I can help. So, let’s get down to it. This eBook is about developing a Life Business Plan.
A Life Business Plan is a great way to figure out a way to change your life. If you are currently stuck at a dead-end job, or feel you are missing out on the love you once cherished, it is imperative to begin to make changes. But how do you make these changes without a formal plan-of-action? Well, that is what this section is about. Your goal here is to figure out what your priorities are, and how to go about finding them without running into problems along the way. That is the purpose of a Life Business Plan.
By developing a Life Business Plan, you will be capable of easily isolating the good from the bad, and understanding what risks lie in each course of action you choose to take. Not only that, but you are going to be pitching the Life Business Plan to friends and family to get their feedback and some honest input. This allows you to avoid any margins-of-error during your actions. What are you changing? Why are you changing it? Your investors (friends and family) will be helping you figure this out.
Your Life Business Plan
In the business world, one uses a Business Plan in order to convince potential investors that they are well-off if they put their money into the project. But there is a lot to consider. For one, you must prove that the idea is worth investing in, and typically there will be three key areas you want to emphasize: 1) what is the problem? 2) What is the solution to that problem that you are proposing, and 3) how do you plan to make money from it? Well, this is not about money; this is about happiness and well-being.
A Life Business Plan is a lot like a standard Business Plan, except it encompasses you and your life rather than a business. You will be delineating what it is you wish to change or alter, what you are seeking, what will be required in order to locate happiness, and you will then go about figuring out why and how it will provide said happiness. This is important for a number of reasons, among them: the need for greatness!
As human beings, we often leap before we look, and by putting everything into a short and concise Life Business Plan, chances are you will be able to spot your margins-of-error a bit easier. Also, the fact that you are pitching it to family and friends (just like a real investor meeting) will let you get tons of feedback from them, rather than relying on blind eyes and deaf ears. That is the purpose of a Life Business Plan.
What Is the Purpose of It?
The purpose of a Life Business Plan is to figure out if you have a problem (anything from money issues to anger issues, to complaints about work, to complaints about love, and just about everything in-between), and then to propose a reasonable solution that you can prove – through action – to your friends and family (and whoever you wish to associate this with) that it will solve the problem and facilitate happiness!
The primary purpose is to explain what you feel will bring wellness and balance. Then, you will pitch it to friends and family members. If they support the idea, they will sign the document you are proposing in a showcase of support. If they disagree with it, they will not sign it and will instead ask questions until you are able to adjust the Plan to the point where everyone you pitched to agrees with your needs.
It is actually a fun process. However, the purpose is not just to have fun – it is to make sure you are not jumping into something without looking at it in context of risk and emphasizing potential error. Why will this make you any happier? And what will your “investors” say about your course-of-action? How will you gain happiness from it? These are all questions to discuss when writing your Life Business Plan.
Setup and Formatting Advice
I suggest sticking with the following format. Click here for a sample.. This is obviously just a rough draft, and you will need to fill in the areas below each segment. We will go over how to write this properly. In a typical business plan, there are a lot of additional elements, but for the sake of brevity I have isolated the idea of a Life Business Plan into only the parts that really matter. This is that version!
I suggest you keep each section at a few paragraphs. Consider this eBook. Look at the way I have set up each section. You’ll see a header with the section’s title (see the document above), and then two or three paragraphs explaining it. That is the best way to format your Life Business Plan: quick, concise, yet broad at the same time. In essence, you are trying to prove your choices will bring about happiness.
Writing Out Your Summary
First, use one or two paragraphs to explain what you are trying to accomplish, why you are trying to accomplish it, and what it will do for you. This is a formality and requires you to condense the situation into what can be read out loud in a minute or so. This will be your elevator pitch, and it is best written last. You will need to include items that are found in other portions of the document.
The summary is simple. This explains what you are missing, what you need to gain, and how you plan to gain it. Will it be something like finding new love? Do you wish to find happiness in a new career path? Or do you want to be a better mother or father? This should be delineated in your summary. It is often best to write this section last, and to start with the Mission Statement and other areas first (work backwards).
The summary is going to be used for your elevator pitch, which will be used to pitch to your investors. More about that at the end of the document. For now, just write two or three sentences about what you are intending on doing and how it will assist you in your daily life. Will it bring new happiness? Will you be a better father because of it? And how do you propose to do this? Then, return to it once done.
Writing the Mission Statement
The Mission Statement is the most important part of a Life Business Plan because it gives a direct response to the question: “What are you trying to accomplish?” In a Business Plan, the Mission Statement is to show the investors what you are intending on doing in as concise a manner as possible. Do not mistake this for your Summary, which not only includes parts of the Mission Statement but also funding needs, your sales forecast, and what you propose to do to change the situation.
State your goals in this section. If you are wishing to be a better father, state that you have realized you may have spent less time with those around you, and propose a solution. Do you think spending more time with them would solve the issue? If so, how do you plan to do this? Remember, a lot of these items will be brought up later on in the document, so start small and simply discuss your goals with a sense of generality.
“I am hoping I can be a better father to my children,” is as simple as you can put it. But it is often best to use more than just one sentence. You want to be as in-depth as possible to get your point across. Write in the first person, i.e. talking from your own perspective. Have you been a bad father? Or do you just wish to be a better one? Make mention of these issues in the Mission Statement; it is your general goal.
Who Will Be Funding You?
The question is: who will be funding you? And rather, what will they be doing to fund your self-identity project? It will be met with respect and willingness if they sign the document, meaning that you have their full support. Your goal is to pick people who are relevant. If you are trying to find a new job, use former co-workers; if you are trying to be a better father, use your wife and children. Be realistic, and make sure they know that they have to be honest and open with the situation. If they disagree with it, ask why!
Remember, this is more than just a plan meant to propose a change and obtain support; it is a way to improve upon your idea as much as possible. You want to make sure the setting is properly oriented. Pretend you are in an episode of “Shark Tank,” and your friends and family are the investors! If they feel something is not correct, or needs to be done in a different manner, let them speak up!
Their funding will come in the form of agreement. If they agree that this course of action is well-oriented, they should support you by signing the last page. If they are not okay with the idea, or with the manner you plan on initiating it, their objective is to point out the errors and reject a signature until you redo the plan. You must get all signatures and if not, you must go back and rewrite your plan to meet their statements.
Not Money Needed, Just Support
You want their support on the solution! You want to be able to sit there with friends and family as you pitch your plan, and they should be adamant about your happiness and success. Therefore, they will need to be on top of you. You should have to go through several revisions of your business plan in order to adjust it based on their feedback. If you need love, as an example, do you have a history of choosing the wrong people? If so, they should be ready to locate any possibility of you treading back to that scenario.
The best way to do this is to look at your life changes as monetary assets. That way, you are able to see its true value. As human beings, we often look at goals in a manner that is conducive to our self-esteem. If you choose to look at your end goal as a monetary gain, you are better off. That way, you can state the problem as if it is going to make you money, which is something we all have a desire for. Again, you are not shooting for an actual monetary investment; rather, it is one of support.
You need to make sure you also indicate how much happiness you will gain from it, i.e. your Sales Forecast, but this is to come later. For now, focus on getting the support of your family and friends who are attending. Try to persuade them into believing that your proposed solution to a problem is the right one, and is best for not only you but also for them. How will it affect them? Will it be positive or negative? Do not just think about yourself; think about those who are around you while you emphasize your plan.
Determining Your Funding Needs
What are your funding needs? These are the items you will need in order for you to be happy, or to solve the problem (and hopefully both). If your problem is a lack of love, determine if it is family, friendship, or “true” love that you require. What, then, would you need for this to be satisfied? Obviously, a girlfriend or a wife would suffice. But how do you obtain one? This is what you will need to prove throughout the Plan, going as far as where you will need to go in order to obtain these assets.
In a typical Business Plan, your Funding Requirements are items you need in order to get the company off of the ground, as well as running smoothly as the years progress. It is a means of determining what you will need to start, and to stay afloat until you see some income. Your Life Business Plan should emphasize this in the same manner. What will bring you happiness (the currency you are working with)? Is it realistic?
Consider all of the elements you will require to be happy, or to bring happiness to others. Your friends and family should be ready to throw ideas your way. What do they think? Did you miss any key items? Think of it as: raising funding for your life’s goals. If finding new love, what will be the requirements in order to get this started? If a new career, will you require education? If so, how much will that cost?
If Only Figuratively Speaking
If you need a new love in your life, as an example, your funding needs are not only a new lover but also a location to find them. What will you require, in this sense? Obviously, you will need some nice clothes, as well as a location to go to. Do you think a bar would be good for you, or are you looking for more common love? If the latter, then maybe you need to seek out a website such as Match.com or friends to set you up with someone you feel is worth having in your life. Be careful where you look!
If a new job, how do you plan on finding one? Will you need a new suit? Will you need a subscription to a certain job-hunting website? These are all key aspects to mention in your Funding Needs section. It should include everything you will require in order to go about obtaining this new asset of happiness, and you should leave no stone unturned. Just like a business must account for every expense, so should you!
Think like a businessman! When someone starts a new business, they require rent, short-term assets (i.e. computers, stationery, printers, and so on) and long-term assets (items that are in it for the long haul). When writing your Life Business Plan, think of every item that you will require, and do not forget to account for those assets that may not be of a physical nature. Will you need confidence to get that new job? Will you need some form of knowledge to be a better father? State them here!
Proposed Risk & Exit Strategy
The Risk & Exit Strategy section should be about the potential barriers in your proposed solution. What are the chances of landing yourself in the wrong kind of job, ending with you living out the same scenario you were in when you were unhappy? How will you disengage this scenario? That is what an Exit Strategy is: the best possible way to “exit” the situation in the event that it becomes sour. This is actually one of the most important parts of a Business Plan because investors want to make sure you have accounted for the worst case scenario, and have planned a way to retreat.
This section can be simple, but is necessary nonetheless. What if your plan backfires? How will you get yourself out of it? Will you bail, or do you have a back-up plan? This is what the Risk & Exit Strategy section is for. You must also account for the risks in your new endeavor(s). If you are seeking a new job, are you going to have to quit your current one? If so, do you have enough saved up to succeed, and how long will that last? What if you do not find a job before you run out of expendable cash?
That is the Risk, but what about Exit? If you need to exit your plan last-minute because it does not succeed as you intended, what will you do? You need an Exit Strategy to make sure you still have a place at work in the event that you do not succeed. The best thing to do is to develop a timeline for success. Give yourself a period of time (3-6 months is always the standard) to get something done. If you do not succeed in that time period, list what you will do at that point: keep going, or abandon ship?
Determining Your Sales Forecast
Your Sales Forecast is meant to prove that you will not only be able to accomplish your goals or solve the problem; you will also be able to improve your life and obtain further happiness from it. You must prove this in the Sales Forecast by assessing each piece of the puzzle. If a new lover, why will this improve happiness? How much happiness will you gain, and what will you lose (direct costs) while pursuing it? These are all crucial aspects to account for, so you can better explain your solution to your “investors.”
Does the expense outweigh the potential for a better “you”? What if your objective is to find a new career? Will you be losing more by leaving your current job than you will be gaining by jumping aboard a new one? Will there be happiness but less money, and will less money affect your family (thus leading you to write another Life Business Plan on how to right the wrongs made by the first one?). If this is the case, you must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the long-term effects of a new job will better you – and not only within your own life but those around you, as well. Don’t be selfish!
Be sure to indicate direct costs. In a business plan, these are the costs used to create a product or perform a service; it balances against the income made, leading to a net profit. What will the costs of your endeavor be? If you are looking to be a better father, will you be requiring additional time from your family? Will this affect them? If you do not know, ask them! Every business plan requires research, so do the same for your Life Business Plan. Find out what you are going to require and what you will gain.
Exactly What Are You Aiming For?
Once done writing your Life Business Plan, you will be pitching it to family and friends. Choose your demographic wisely. If you are trying to be a better father, choose your children as the investors; if you are looking for new love, utilize the energy of friends and family who saw what you went through the first time. Their job is to prevent you from making the same mistakes. You want the right people behind this!
Your goal is to get at least five signatures in favor of your Life Business Plan. They are not signing up for a cash payment. Rather, they are investing in your future and your success! If you can convince them that you have made a reasonable or sound plan for bettering your life (and those around you), let them sign the last page! This is the purpose of the pitch, which we will go over shortly. Make sure you get every signature! If even one person refuses to sign, you will want to adjust it based on their input.
If no one feels the proposed plan to your given problem is out-of-line or out-of-reach, and can agree that it is a good plan-of-action for you, ask them to sign the Signature page! You should have 5-10 signatures as an indicator that you are best off by taking action with your plan. If you have proven your case, and those around you feel it is the right choice, let them sign it and then move onward by making it happen!
Understand the Elevator Pitch
An elevator pitch is a concept meant to summarize your entire project in 1 minute. The idea is to catch an investor in an elevator ride of around 30 seconds. You should be able to explain the entire concept in that short period of time, hence the name: “Elevator Pitch.” You need to develop one of these. The best way to do this is to print your Life Business Plan and highlight the most important parts of each section. Then, read out loud. Try to keep it at less than 1 minute, but if you need to you can go as long as 2 minutes.
Many entrepreneurs use PowerPoint presentations. I urge you to take this just as seriously as an entrepreneur would, as you are doing more than asking for funding; you are pitching a life change or alteration, which is (in my opinion) a lot more reputable than someone asking for money. You want to make sure you can summarize the entire idea in a short window of time, and using visual aids is a good idea. That way, they can see it rather than just hear it. Then, open the floor up to discussion!
I can help you assemble your Pitch Deck, which is the PowerPoint presentation you use to assist in your statements. That way, the “investors” are able to see what you are explaining. Again, try and keep it generally short, as you will want time to also go over the entire plan. Try to keep your presentation at less than 10 minutes in length. This is often the trickiest part of a Business Plan, so ask me for help!
Want Help Getting This Done?
I run a workshop every 6 weeks that not only allows you to write your Life Business Plan, but also to pitch it! We hold meetings with families and friends and urge them to make necessary points, as well as to determine if they will sign or not based on how they feel about the plan. We bring refreshments, and we turn a small room into an actual investment conference! Let us guide you to success! Click here to sign up!