Personal Business Plan

A personal Business Plan is the blueprint of our professional and personal lives.  It’s a process of self-reflection that requires introspection, honesty, and decision-making.  It’s similar to a professional business plan, but focuses on YOU (an individual) as a business or brand.

Outline Your Professional Goals

You’ll start by outlining your professional goals.  Break these goals down by short term and long term.  An easy way for me to do this is to create my long-term goal first, then go back and add a baby step short-term goal that will lead to the long-term goal.  For me, short term is within the next 5 years and long-term is 6-10 years from now.  Your short term may be months and long-term could be 5 years. You decide and mark the end dates.  When writing your professional goals try to think about what you want to achieve in your professional career.   What is your end goal?  Be sure to create a professional goal of which you have complete control.  For example, it wouldn’t be a good idea to say that you want to get a raise in ten years because you aren’t in control of your pay unless you’re an entrepreneur.  Instead, you could make it a goal of producing high-quality work for an upcoming project and meeting the deadline (that could lead to a raise).

Define Your Personal Goals

Next, you’ll define your personal goals.  Often times our personal goals are somewhat in alignment with our professional goals, but the personal goals should be geared more toward how you’d like to spend your free time.  You might want to start a family, buy a house, or volunteer at a local animal shelter.  All of these would be personal goals.  Put end dates on these goals and make a plan of action to set your dreams in motion.  Make sure your goals are realistic and specific.  It wouldn’t do you any good to make a goal of “being happy” because that’s not really measurable.  Instead, make a goal to spend 2 weekends a month camping with your family, playing board games, or doing another activity for a set amount of time  (that could make you happy).  

Describe Your Competitive Advantage & Financial Plan

In addition to clarifying your goals, your Personal Business Plan will answer these questions:

  • What competitive advantage do you have?
  • What’s your financial plan?

Your competitive advantage is what makes you unique, what gives you an edge, or what you can do better than anyone else.  A financial plan can include your personal and professional budgets, a future savings plan, investment portfolios, or assets, credit info or anything needed to help you make good financial decisions.  After creating a budget, you’ll easily be able to see exactly how much money you need to make from you job and side hustles to turn a profit.  

Other optional categories:  Exit Plan, Milestones, Incentives

An exit strategy in business is the strategy you have to get out of the business.  You want to exit in a positive manner (selling the business, outsourcing, etc.) rather than exiting in a negative (bankruptcy, selling to an unfit family member).  A personal exit strategy might include your retirement plans, your funeral arrangements, or your official will.  While this may sound warped, it’s actually a good way to realize what is important to you and what kind of legacy you want to leave when you exit this world.  It’s important.

Milestones are turning points.  When you hit a certain point, you have reached a milestone in your life or business.  Look beyond age here and figure out what milestones are important to you- having a child, buying a home, earning tenure, retiring from a career.  Those are examples of personal milestones.  Incentives for your personal business plan are any rewards you will receive when you reach a milestone. Celebrate your victories with planned incentives.  Use your planned incentives to remind yourself what you’re working toward, especially on the slow days.  A good way to visualize incentives is to add it to your vision board.  

Drafting Your Business Plan

A personal business plan can help guide your decisions, leading you to achieve your goals and pursue your passions.   If you haven’t already, download your copy of this FREE Personal Business Plan Template to start drafting today!

Are you Stuck?  Check out these posts to help figure out the details:

What’s your #1 long-term professional goal?  Comment below! 
Credit:  Thanks for this activity idea from my Purdue Entrepreneurship Capstone Course Professor who is an Angel Investor and Professional Lawyer.