You know you need to make some big changes…maybe change the way you organize your time, raise prices, take better care of yourself, niche down, and so forth. But change is scary and our subconscious prefers to keep us “safe.” However, the unknown is not safe. This is why it is so hard to make any sort of meaningful changes, because our subconscious is sabotaging us “in our best interest.” Obtaining clarity on why a change will be of benefit is key to making it work.
To start, you must figure out your “whys.” I prefer pen and paper when doing this exercise as writing is a motor skill that lights up the creative parts of our brain. Your “whys” will help you communicate the need for your plans.
I’m going to illustrate this method with the decision-making process I used when deciding to move out to Washington with the thought of going cat exclusive:
- Why should I go cat exclusive?
There aren’t any real options out here for pet owners to get cats groomed.
- Why aren’t there any options to get cats groomed?
Based on my research, the only mobile groomer does not groom cats and there is just one shop that does. Most cats are sedation grooms at the vet.
- Why are most cats being sedated to groom?
Groomers are afraid to groom cats. (Hmmm, maybe I could also offer cat grooming classes for the area groomers?)
- Why would cat owners opt for regular grooming?
Owners are unaware of how regular sedation grooming may not be healthy for their cat or may not realize it would be cheaper to do regular grooming (some owner education may be an answer.)
The deeper you go with your “whys,” the more clarity you’ll have.
Then come the “coulds.” I’ve established the need, now could this happen…
- Could I make a living going cat exclusive?
This area has a large retirement community that comes to Sequim from large urban areas such as California and Seattle. They are used to paying higher prices.
- Could I set my pricing to be profitable?
As mobile cat grooming is non-existent here, I can set the pricing.
- Could I reach my target audience for higher-end cat grooming?
There are several over-50 and retirement communities in the area that already target to the higher-income demographic.
- Could I drive my mobile grooming van across the country?
Just as important as the “whys” and the “coulds” are the “why nots.” Just because something sounds good and is doable, it is really something you want to do?
- Why not go cat exclusive?
What if I can’t fill a schedule with just cats and all my marketing is now cat-exclusive?
- Why not fill a schedule?
I really don’t want to work a full week grooming, I have other irons in the fire. Will working one or two days a week cover my business expenses?
Ultimately, it was my “why nots” that made the decision to choose another path.
Once you can establish clarity, the next step is to make a plan which starts with figuring out what steps you need to take. Grab another piece of paper and spend a couple of days brainstorming all the things you need to do and then organize them into steps.
Had I decided to go the cat-grooming route, those steps would have included what I would need to do to move a business across the country, set up in a new state and start marketing. Each of those three categories would have a separate brainstorming page. Again, I prefer pen (color-coded glitter pens to be specific) and paper to outline the steps. Each category would be a different color to make it easy to see what type of tasks needed to be done. There are also many online planning tools which can be used, such as Asana, Trello, Click Up, Airtable and Notions, and they all have free versions.
Once I had my steps written out, I would create a checklist and then (and this is very important) schedule the time in my planner to get them done. Scheduling tasks in your planner increases the likelihood it will actually get done—especially if you schedule at the same day and/or time each week. It’s why so many of us schedule our own dogs to get groomed. Doing specific tasks at specific times trains the brain to anticipate the task, making it more likely to keep you on track.
This is my method for getting things done. At the moment, I am working on seven different projects which will all get done because I have established the “whys” and “coulds,” invalidated the “why nots,” created plans and checklists, and added them to my planner! ✂️