Ep #6: How to Make 2020 Your Breakthrough Year

It’s so important to use the end of the year as a time of reflection and planning. This is true for not only our personal lives, but our businesses, too. Many of my clients are coaches who have recently left the corporate world or are planning to do so soon – so you should be familiar with the critical role that strategic planning plays in the success of a business. 

Many entrepreneurs spend too much time working in their business day-to-day and don’t step back and take the perspective of the CEO. A CEO has a compelling vision for the business, a concrete strategy to make it a reality, and is working constantly to master their inner game and grow as a leader.  

In this episode, we’re talking about how to develop your CEO vision and create a business breakthrough in the new year. We’ll talk about why stepping back and taking this birds-eye view of your business is so important, chat about why you need a strategic plan, and talk about some of my favorite questions for reflecting on what you want your business to look like in 2020. Be sure to do this exercise – it will help you get clear on what you need to do in the coming weeks before the new year arrives. 

To celebrate the launch of the show, I’m giving away three free VIP strategy sessions to listeners who leave a rating & review in Apple Podcasts. We’ll dive deep in your business and come up with a strategy for the next ninety days. Afterward, you’ll be able to create real results in your business and start gaining momentum. This is the same session I offer to all of my highest-level clients – and I can’t wait to offer them to you. Click here to find out how to enter!


What You’ll Learn:

  • Why I love to reflect on each year before planning what I want the next year to look like.
  • How a well-defined strategy that makes the most of your precious time will help you achieve your business goals for the year ahead.
  • Questions to ask yourself about your goals to make sure they’re truly aligned with you. 
  • Why it is important to have a specific, aligned financial goal. 
  • How to reverse engineer the success you want for 2020. 


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Download a Transcript for The Life Coach Business Podcast

Welcome to The Life Coach Business Podcast, a show for coaches who are ready to up-level their business and take their impact, leadership, and results to a whole new level. If you’re ready to start taking powerful action and become the leader your business needs in order to grow and thrive, this show is for you. I’m your host, Amanda Karlstad, certified life and business coach, and entrepreneurial leadership expert. Now, let’s get down to business.

Hello, everyone.  I’m so happy you’re joining me today. I’m glad you’re here. I hope you are doing well. I can’t believe it’s already November. I feel like this year completely flew by. It seems like it was just January and here we are, headed into the end of the year in just a few weeks; totally crazy.

But I also love this time of year and I love it because I feel like it’s such a great time of year to really reflect on the year that just passed and to really rejuvenate and get clear and plan and gear up for the next year. And so I find that typically, every fall, I find myself in this similar space where I’m reflecting and I’m introspective on the last year, but I’m also preparing for the year ahead.

And I think it’s really timely in that that’s exactly what I want to talk to you about today, because I think this is a really important practice and it’s really important to give yourself the space to do this every year. And so I’m hoping that today’s podcast can help you do just that because, lately, as I’ve been doing this reflecting on this past year and how much my business has grown, I’ve also been reflecting on how much I’ve grown as a person, both in my personal life and also as an entrepreneur.

And so it’s no wonder that my business has experienced some tremendous growth this year because, at the end of the day, that’s what I’m all about. I’m all about – you know, and this is really the foundation to everything that I teach – that in order to grow a business, you have to first grow the leader.

And so I can say that definitely in 2019, I’ve grown a lot in terms of my own leadership and as the leader of my business, and it’s definitely translated into some amazing results. And part of my mission and my purpose through my coaching practice is to help my clients live their purpose through their work and really help them step into entrepreneurship in a powerful way.

And my clients, they’re typically, many of them, either still in a corporate role and they’re working to build their business so they can fully make that transition into their practice fulltime. Or they might have already made that transition fully into their business, but they’re at a point now where they’re really ready to get after it and they’re really looking to grow and scale their business.

And in both cases, they’re really looking to accelerate their results. This isn’t a situation where they’re looking to just make their first $1000, even though we all understand that that’s a starting point. They’re also not motivated by that. And instead, they’re much more interested in building a truly successful, scalable, and sustainable business.

And they understand the difference between those two types of businesses. And I know I’ve talked a lot about that before. And I just have to say that that is really the focus of our work because not only are we focusing on the external strategies, but we’re also focusing on the internal strategies that allow them to really step into that next highest version of themselves and really be that true leader of their business, really be that powerful leader that their business needs.

And the reality is that there’s a lot of great coaches out there. I see so many great coaches out there. And a lot of great coaches who have so much to offer to the world, but so often, these same coaches are so lost when it comes to building their business. And I see so many of them spending so much time focusing on things that aren’t really moving the needle in their business.

And I’ve totally been there myself, that’s why I can speak to this. And it’s why I created the exact program that I wish I would have had that first year when I started my business.

So the approach that I teach, and I work with my clients on, it’s literally the most streamlined approach that I have found to building and scaling a coaching business in today’s industry. And it’s a process that it not only accelerates results, but it also sets my clients up so that they can scale with ease once they fill their one on one practice.

And I want to be honest with you, you know, your time especially when you’re working fulltime and you’re trying to build a business on top of that, and even if you’ve already transitioned into your business, your time is your most valuable asset. It’s extremely valuable.

And there are so many things that go into building a successful business and it’s so important to use that time when you are building your business, that time you have blocked, especially if it’s outside of your corporate hours, to really make the maximum impact that you can. And when you’re first starting out, once you decide that you’re really ready to get after things and build your business, there’s so many things that come up that you’re going to need guidance on.

Because, for most of us, we’ve never built a business from the ground up before, and so having guidance on things like what strategy to be using to market your business, how to structure your program or your pricing, how to find and connect with clients and really having a good grasp of what you’re bringing to the market, all of these tangible things, it really is invaluable when you can get good guidance on all of it.

And I’ve seen that this alone completely accelerates results. So I want you to know that if you feel like you have these golden handcuffs on – I always like to call them golden handcuffs – trust me, I totally get it. I’ve been there. And I also want you to know that I have the solution. And with that, you know, there’s a real inner game that we have to address because what happens is, when you move from an employee or you move from a leader into a solopreneur, your mind is going to have a heyday.

And I’ve talked about this before and I’m going to continue to talk about this as we move forward, but there is a real identity shift that has to happen in order to fully step into the leader of your business. And this identity shift, it has to happen if you want to build a six or seven-figure coaching business.

And so such a deep part of the work that I do with my clients is just on that level. It’s really helping to facilitate that process because the truth is, it can be extremely hard to move through this, to navigate this, as you’re going through it. And I know this because, again, I’ve walked through it.

And when I look at this past year, there has been a lot of big shifts in my own identity that I’ve made and it’s really fun to be able to take a step back now and see how that’s all really contributed to my business growth. And it’s really helped set me up to be in a position where I have the ability to scale my business in 2020.

But at the same time, I also realize that this is also going to be an ongoing thing, that this is just the beginning. And one thing that I’ve really come to understand and experience on a deep level this year is that this work, this work of becoming that next version of yourself, it’s continual and it’s going to keep evolving.

And I’ve realized that new layers are always going to be present. And new possibilities are always going to be there. And so all of these new layers of who you can become and how you can contribute are always going to be available and they’re going to be revealed to you in new ways and as you go, and it’s such an exciting thing.

So it’s because of all of this that I’m feeling so focused and inspired and so locked in on what we’re about to talk about because I think it’s really important to take a step back and take a pause for a moment and talk about this.

So how we plan, how we prepare for the year ahead, for 2020, is how we create the breakthrough. And if you’re looking to finally unlock those golden handcuffs, if you’ve got them, and finally see massive results in your business, it’s got to start here because the reality is the level of strategic planning and the level of decisions that you’re making right now today in your business is going to create the results that you have next year, period.

And when I was thinking about this, it’s like when you think about a large corporation or, for those of you that are still working for an organization, you know, think of the current organization you work for, and think about any organization that operates on a traditional fiscal year. There’s always a very strategic planning process that leads up to that fiscal year, right? or leads up to that next year.

And that strategic planning process, it doesn’t just happen at any random time. That strategic planning process happens at a very specific time and it typically happens several months in the year prior to any changes or any new initiatives are set to implemented because you can’t move an organization. You can’t move the people.  You can’t move the levers in a large corporation in just a matter of days.

Instead, there has to be a plan, there has to be a strategic process. And so in order to do that, there has to be a very clear vision for where the company is going, for what those new initiatives are. And there has to be a very detailed planning process that happens well before any of those changes can be implemented and finally take effect.

And so I really want you all to think about this along the same lines for your own business, even though you’re a solopreneur, right? In order to really move the dial in your business and really set yourself up for exponential growth, you have to have to have some sort of strategic process to your business.

And this strategic process, just like if you were running a large organization, it requires time. Now, what I want to say about this is that the great news is because most of us, we’re solopreneurs, we have the ability to be much more agile in our businesses. And we can make changes and we can pivot much quicker than if we were a large corporation that was trying to move complicated systems and structures and motivate thousands of employees.

We can implement on a much faster scale and we can make much quicker decisions. And for that, we can arguably impact change in a much faster manner. And so for that reason, we have a huge advantage.

But the problem is that I see so many new entrepreneurs who struggle with getting their hands around a level of strategic thinking that actually allows them the ability to fast track and scale their business in a sustainable way over the long-term. And it’s usually because they’re in the earlier stages of their business and they’re typically approaching things from a scarcity mindset and really just their overall psychology isn’t able to support this level of thinking.

And so, instead, what happens is they’re really focused on the day to day and they tend to be in the cycle of what I call throwing spaghetti at the wall. And when you’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall without any real consideration for what you’re actually creating in the long-term, it can create some real bottlenecks in your business.

And some of those bottlenecks are not having the true and cohesive growth strategy that I talked about in episode three of this podcast, bottlenecks like not having a system in place to effectively market your business, not having the process in place to effectively serve your clients, bottlenecks like not being clear in your messaging or what you’re even offering, which at the end of the day, doesn’t even allow your clients to understand that you can help them.

And so bottlenecks like this, bottlenecks like not developing a true CEO mindset that will ultimately drive the health and growth of your business is very, very dangerous. And there comes a point when you’ve reached this place, and I see this a lot with my clients, where, you know, they’ve been trying to throw spaghetti at the wall. They’ve been trying things here and there, but now they’re at a point, now they understand why it’s so important to not only have the right mindset, but why it’s important to have a solid strategy in place.

Because once you can have proof of concept in your business, once you’ve worked with a few clients organically and you know that you’ve got a niche and you’ve got a bit of success under your belt, even though it might not be a lot of success, then it becomes very important to take things to the next level and to really ensure that you have this strong strategy in place.

And to start with, you have to first understand where you’re going. You have to have that compelling vision. And once you’ve done the work to know what that is, then there comes the game plan as to how you’re going to bring that vision to life.

And so, as we talk about strategy, I want to be clear that I’m not saying, you know, strategy in terms of having every detail planned out. In fact, I want to say that even with the most streamlined and the proves strategies that I teach, the ones that have been used by countless six and seven figure coaches, it’s still unrealistic that you’re going to have every single detail planned out.

It just doesn’t work that way and you have to understand that. But what it does mean is that it’s critical that you have a vision and then have a game plan on how you’re actually going to bring that vision to reality because, as I talked about in episode two of this podcast, having a vision and whatever that looks like is crucial because whatever that vision is, that’s exactly what your brain is going to go out and work to bring into your reality, even if it’s not the vision you want.

So, if you’re struggling with vision, I really encourage you to go back and listen to episode number two. But for now, let’s say that you’ve established your vision and let’s say you’ve got a level of clarity on where you want to go. And in most cases, I will say, you’re probably at a point where you’re ready for that clarity 2.0 that I talked about in last week’s episode, and to really get your game plan together on how you’re actually going to do it.

Because I know all of you understand that it’s not enough to just have the vision, I know you understand that it’s not enough to just think about your vision or meditate on your vision. You also have to go out and you have to do what’s needed in order to execute on that vision every day.

But here’s the thing; there’s a lot of coaches that might have an idea of where they want to go. Typically, they have an idea of where they want to grow their business in terms of revenue or financials, and that’s usually a pretty good starting point. But what happens so quickly is that, to really make that, let’s just say, that first six figures in your business, there is so much that needs to happen from going from zero to six figures.

So you probably understand that, by now, especially if you’ve been building your business for any length of time, that that amount of revenue, that first $100,000, it doesn’t just show up in your lap. We don’t just wake up one day and all of a sudden, we have a six-figure business.

And you know, in fact, that first $100,000 in your business, I believe it’s always the hardest to make. And it’s the hardest to make because there are so many starter belief systems, so many things that you have to overcome in that’s space. You have to overcome so many of your blocks.

And in most cases, you’re having to shift your identity from who you’ve always been to this new version of yourself that’s all completely unfamiliar. And there’s a lot that goes into this. And there’s a lot that you have to overcome in order to get to this milestone.

And so you have to understand that there’s real work, there’s real internal work, but there’s also external work involved for that to happen. And where I see so many getting off track is by staying in this space, when they’re doing what I call throwing spaghetti at the wall and trying to be everywhere and do everything but not really taking a strategic approach and not working from the mindset and from that energy of a real business owner.

And the result of that is it’s very hard to get traction in your business when you’re there, or even worse, getting completely stalled out and even thinking about throwing in the towel. I see that quite often.

And so for any of you that can relate to this, you know that this isn’t sustainable. You know how difficult this is and you also know that, long-term, this isn’t going to get you to where you want to go.

And so what I want to offer to you today is that the most effective way to really get there, to really set yourself up and make 2020 your breakthrough year is by first mastering your inner game, but also learning and executing a real strategy that is going to support you in hitting your goals because success is 80% inner game and it’s 20% strategy.

And you need both to get there because if you’re not working on both, you’re missing a big piece of what’s going to get you there. And if you want to get there in 2020, my friends, you have to start this process now because you’re not going to wake up tomorrow and just have the results that you want without any real intention, without any real work in order to get there.

It’s just like any large organization, right? A large organization couldn’t decide to make an announcement today that they’re going to completely shift gears and change direction and implement some new strategy without the lead time, without the planning process, without the preparation. And so it’s the same for your business.

If you want to make 2020 a breakthrough year in your business, the work that you’re doing right now, both on an internal and external level, is what is going to dictate your results in 2020.

So I want to dive into some specifics on this, and I think the place where it’s most useful for us to start is to understand that, as business owners, especially if you’re still working in a corporate job and you’re trying to transition fully into your business or maybe you’ve already transitioned and you’ve got some urgency to replace your corporate salary, is to understand just how precious, how finite your time really is.

And I will say, for my most successful clients, they really understand this. And I’m not talking on an intellectual level. I’m talking about they are ready to do big things and they’ve already started to shift powerfully into their business and they know, quite honestly, that they don’t have time to mess around with courses or programs or strategies that aren’t holistic, that aren’t going to support them and where they want to go.

And so I can say that, hands down, it is so important to understand and realize that, as a business owner, your time is precious. And being able to honor that time that you do have when you’re building your business, because to really honor that, it’s really about giving yourself the best opportunity to be super focused during those hours so that you can truly focus on the levers that are actually going to move your business forward.

And in my experience, this only happens when, number one, you’re doing the work to master your inner game, and number two, when you’re working to implement a proven strategy and you’re getting good guidance on how to do that. And so what happens is when you really understand this, you also understand the value in setting yourself up for the greatest chance of success so that you can fast track your results, so that you can get good guidance, and you can get help on all of those foundational things and also be held accountable to your goals.

Because, you know, I’ve alluded to this before but there is a ton of noise out there. And what I mean by that is it’s almost like there’s this buffet of possibility, right, this buffet of approaches and strategies and opportunities that, quite honestly, most of the time, they end up being shiny objects.

And what happens is, a lot of people, when they’re not getting good guidance, they start to ask, you know, what should I be focusing on, and they’re jumping from strategy to strategy. And when you really step back and look at that question, I want you to do this, I want you to really step back and look at that question. It really inherently sets you up to fall into that shiny object syndrome.

Instead of focusing on that compelling vision, that end goal, which Steven Covey famously quoted, “Begin with the end in mind.” Because once you start to operate from the lens of that end goal, of that vision, form that destination, it’s only then that you can start to reverse engineer and you can make better decisions in your business and you can make decisions quicker in your business.

And when you tap into that end goal, into that destination, consistently, it’s going to help pull you through all of the, quote en quote, sludge that’s going to inevitably come up. And it’s having a goal that’s truly aligned with what you want.

And so some questions that I think are useful to ask yourself are, first off, does this outcome, does this financial goal, this level of impact really excite me? And I think it’s important to ask yourself this question because, if, at the end of the day, you’re trying to chase a goal, especially a financial one that doesn’t even light you up, one that you’re not even aligned with or doesn’t even support your lifestyle and it doesn’t excite you, you’re not going to be motivated towards it, right?

There’s going to be much more resistance to the work that needs to be done in order to arrive at that goal. And I want to just say that I do think it’s important to have a financial goal because having a financial goal, it really is a reflection, it’s a measuring stick, and it’s in direct correlation to the value that you’re providing the world with your work.

And I think the more specific you can be with it, the better. And so once you have this aligned goal, once you know what this aligned financial goal is for yourself, I think the next useful question for you to ask yourself is, when you think about this level of your business 12 months from now, ask yourself if it really requires you to grow yourself, to really expand yourself and ultimately step deeper into your purpose and become that next version of yourself.

Because I think, if you can answer yes to this question, then you’re on the right track because if your goal doesn’t require you to grow, if it doesn’t require you to step outside of your comfort zone, we’re probably playing too small. It’s not compelling enough.

And I think it’s a super important question because, as coaches doing this work, one of the things that I think is so, so important and is going to dictate your level of success is that you continually work to become the best coach and that next best version of yourself always and remain a product of the work and do the work yourself because once you experience the depth of your work, you can stand so powerfully in your message.

You can stand in your experience with so much more confidence and be an even stronger coach and help facilitate that transformation for your clients, I think it’s super, super important. And once you’ve answered that question, I think then it becomes exploring whether or not that goal, that vision, that destination feels slightly out of reach to you. Because, if it does, then you know that what’s required to get there is going to be a whole new layer of yourself.

You know that it’s going to require a whole new level of you to surface, and so I believe that once you can answer yes to these three questions, then you’ve got a good starting point that you can start to work backwards from. And so, from here, what I would suggest you do is then reverse engineer.

So, my recommendation is that you take that financial goal, you take that aligned financial goal that you have and break it down on a monthly basis. Really look at that number and take a look at what that really means for you in terms of the number of clients you need to onboard every month.

And depending on what that number is, I think it’s really important then to be honest with yourself and really ask yourself whether or not you have a system in place that’s going to allow you to serve that number of clients. And if your answer is no, then your first priority needs to be on how you’re going to create a foundation in your business where you have some predictability, right? That’s going to allow you to engage with clients on a consistent basis and ultimately allow you to enroll them into your program.

So, taking the time to really step back and not only do the math here but really look at your business through the lens of a CEO and looking at exactly what needs to happen over the next 12 months in order to bring that vision to reality is so, so important. And once you’ve identified what those things are, I encourage you to then set some very specific and measurable priorities and goals over the next 90 days.

And I use 90 days – I’ve found it to be the best frame to use because you can really accomplish a lot in 90 days. I mean, you can accomplish a lot in a day, but I have seen that you can really start moving the needle in your business in 90 days.

And for most people, they have a much easier time wrapping their mind around a shorter-term goal versus a longer, maybe 12-month goal that might seem overwhelming in the moment. So the key here is to be specific, be tangible in what your outcome and what your priorities are. And I would also say, don’t create any more than five.

And ensure that those priorities that you have, that they line up and they support your end goal, they support that financial goal that you have. And once you have this, it’s important to keep the end goal, keep these priorities at the top of your mind. And I know, for myself, I keep them in front of me daily. I keep them close so that they are next to me always. And so  I recommend that you do the same, you keep them close to you so that visually you can look at them and connect with them every day, so that you can remember why you’re doing what you’re doing and what you’re working towards so you can stay focused with the precious hours that you do have to build your business and you can start to operate form a much more powerful place versus random spaghetti throwing.

It will make all the difference and what will happen is you will create that breakthrough. So I want to encourage you to really do this exercise and really think about what you want 2020 to be because you can absolutely create it.

Hey, if you liked today’s topic and want the opportunity to get a customized 90-day strategy that you can implement before the bell rings in 2020, listen up.

Hey, before you go, I want to tell you about something amazing I’m doing to celebrate the launch of the show. I’m going to be giving away three free VIP strategy sessions where I’ll dive deep into your business and help you put a strategy in place for the next 90 days, so you have a game plan on how to create real results in your business and start gaining momentum.

I’m going to be giving away one free VIP strategy session, the same VIP strategy session I offer to all of my highest level clients to three lucky listeners who subscribe, rate, and review the show on Apple Podcasts. Visit Amanda-karlstadcoaching.com/podcastlaunch to learn more about the contest and how to enter. I’ll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode. Thanks so much.


Thank you for listening to this episode of The Life Coach Business Podcast. If you want to learn more about how to build, grow, and scale your business and accelerate your results visit amandakarlstadcoaching.com.


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