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Beware the Pretty Plan

How you approach creating your Right-Brain Business Plan® can provide you important clues to how approach running your business. Remember the RBBP process is not about making a pretty plan. Rather, it’s about making something that’s meaningful to you and empowers you to take action to make your vision real.

Below are some common scenarios I’ve come across. Do you relate to one or more?

Is your first thought to head over to the art store to pick up supplies for your RBBP? When setting out to make your RBBP, do you rush over to Michael’s to stock up on fancy paper, new ribbon, a set of colorful markers, and anything other goodies that catch your eye. While you’re there, you might even grab a book to learn about visual journaling because you’re thinking about doing collage and mixed media for your plan, but you’re not really sure how to do that. Or maybe you should take a class instead so you can get more hands on instruction? Believe me, I hear these comments a lot!

If this sounds like you: You are always thinking that you need something else before you get started. There’s always one more training intensive or yearlong certification program to take before you can offer your services or raise your rates. Or maybe you think you can’t move forward with making your products because you don’t have quite the right equipment or tools yet.

Suggestion: The reality is you can start from wherever you are. So just start!

Are you spending too much time trying to figure out the best format for your RBBP? You waver back and forth, “Hmm, should it be an art journal or an accordion book? Or would a big wall sized collage be more inspiring? Oh, but I need it to be really creative and unique, so maybe it needs to be a 3-D diorama made out of a shoebox and construction paper.” Sound familiar? If you find yourself spinning over how many choices and ideas you have, I bet this pattern shows up in your business, too.

If this sounds like you: You probably are the type of person who has so many ideas for products you can make and services you can provide that you’re so busy brainstorming that you haven’t gotten around to actually implementing any of your ideas.

Suggestion: Pick the simplest format (even just a piece of scratch paper and a colorful pen to make mind maps) and start from there. You’ll gain momentum and clarity the more you get into it. The other thing to realize is that just like your vision and your business, your RBBP is going to grow and evolve, so don’t get too attached to how it looks now. You can always add to it later.

Are you getting hung up on the details or seduced by the process? Perhaps you’ve picked your format, but you’re obsessed with getting that decorative ribbon to attach just so. Or you’ve become so enamored with adding sparkly embellishments that you’ve delayed taking any real action and you’ve lost sight of why you’re making your plan in the first place.

If this sounds like you: You may be too heads down designing a product or program without ever taking action. Or you’re focusing only on the bells and whistles and not on why your customers would benefit from what you have to offer.

Suggestion:  Work on your plan while listening to a 30-60 min. fun and inspiring playlist. Once the music is up, put your supplies down and then ask yourself what’s an action from your plan you need to take now and do it. You can do the same practice with working on your product or program. Spend an hour or two working and then stop to ask yourself what’s one action that will move your project forward and take that action now. Also, keep in mind how your plan and actions fit into your bigger vision.

Are you not ready to show your RBBP until it’s totally complete and 100% figured out? Maybe you’ve been making progress on your RBBP and you’re feeling pretty good about where it’s heading. But, it’s not totally finished yet so you avoid sharing it with anyone else. Geez, you wouldn’t want anyone to see something half-baked, right?! Well, here’s the thing… your plan will probably always be a work in progress and will never be 100% done or figured out. And in fact, the more you share your ideas with others and get feedback and support, the clearer and more real things will become.

If this sounds like you: You avoid talking about your business, engaging with others, getting customers, etc. until you have the perfect thing to say or show. Unfortunately that means you’re most likely missing out on opportunities now.

Suggestion: Stretch yourself and share your plan or idea with at least three supportive people this week. You could ask for some specific feedback, you could make an offer to someone to be a beta tester, or you could request some encouragement or help. Your plan, your business, and your life don’t happen in a vacuum, so make sure you’re getting others involved

Even though the above scenarios describe working with your Right-Brain Business Plan®, these can also apply to your life in general. The RBBP here can be a metaphor for one of your personal goals and how you might be preventing yourself from bringing that dream to life.

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  • roxanne October 26, 2011, 2:50 pm

    This is fabulous, just what I needed to read. I am in there, somewhere!

  • Maya October 26, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Hmm, guess I’m the first three all in one.
    It’s hard to start, and when I’ve started it’s hard to stop…..

  • Lois Olson October 26, 2011, 5:12 pm

    This is so me, Jennifer. I often feel like I’m spinning my wheels and going in circles with all the ideas floating in my head. Thanks for these quick action steps and tips to help me get unstuck. You’re the best.

  • lisa s October 27, 2011, 6:09 am

    how is it that you seem to be reading my mind?

  • Jennifer Lee October 27, 2011, 9:36 am

    Glad it was helpful ladies! Now get to it ;).

  • cali lili January 19, 2012, 5:44 pm


    What an amazing site!
    Maybe you have already addressed this topic and I haven’t yet seen it …. But …
    I would love it if you addressed the SCARRRY subject of “business filings” and “legal structures” for one’s business – though of course everyone knows “get a lawyer” – but truth is – when starting out – one doesn’t have the resources that long established places have and as an artist … well!
    Seem it should be simpler for us to simply know the answer to : what forms do I have to file etc …
    Can seem so daunting to find a place that provides Clear – Right Brain – Options for – what could be simple instructions for doing the “right” thing with regard to structuring our business in a way that doesn’t require hiring a lawyer and provides creative options for us as artists :)))))))


  • Jennifer Lee January 24, 2012, 11:04 am

    Totally get that this is a scary topic for creatives. That’s why we’ll be covering some basic legal things for business on the upcoming Right-Brainers in Business Video Summit in Feb. You can sign-up for free here: https://summit.rightbrainbusinessplan.com. Thanks!

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