One Person Business Plan: Identify the dream

Identify the dream so you can make it a reality!

You want to have a successful year, to be better than before. You find yourself writing the same damn goals (or resolutions) every year. Enough! It’s time for a different approach. I’m trying a new way to create my one person business plan – will you join me? 

Whether you’re an employee or indie professional, you need a one-person business plan to turn your aspirations into reality. It’s what guides your decisions and actions throughout the year and identifies what you want to contribute to the world and who you have to become in order to make that happen. 

You say you’re an employee, not a business owner? An employee needs to keep control of her career. What if you viewed your career as if you were an indie consultant and your employer as a client? Your annual goals and objectives set with your boss don’t span your entire career. You need a one person business plan to be the CEO of you.

And as an indie professional, you need to take time and invest in your most valuable asset: you.

Phases of the one person business plan

  • Phase 1. Identify your aspirations
  • Phase 2. Turn your aspirations into goals
  • Phase 3. Turn your goals into plans
  • Phase 4. Turn your plans into actions

Simple, right. Then why don’t we do it? Why do we end up with the same goals and resolutions every year? Because we don’t take an honest look at the what and why of our goals before we jump into action. 

Prerequisite: Last month the challenge was to reflect back on the past year and examine what worked well, what didn’t, what experiences you enjoyed, and what made a difference. Where you happy with the year? With this knowledge firmly in your head, it’s time for the next step.

The process we’ll be walking through in this series is to help YOU become who you need to be in order to achieve your business and/or career goals.

It’s time to get your ideas out of your head and into the world. Ready?

There are many approaches to identifying your dreams or aspirations for the coming year. This year I challenge you to try the narrative or storytelling approach. 

Since I’ve been studying and using storytelling in business for many years now, I wondered how it may bit into the future focused activities such as business planning instead of always telling stories from the past.

As with many approaches, the time to complete this activity varies with your style. You may find it only takes an hour or you may (like me) want to ponder the topic and write ideas as they come over the course a several days.


  • The Question: What does your future hold?
  • The Quest: Identify Your Dream / Aspirations

Step 1: Writing the narrative

Select a date one year in the future. Imagine the future you (from that future date) is writing a letter to the you of today. Describe your world on that day in the future and what transpired to make it a reality. In essence, you are writing a description of yourself in the future.

Useful prompts:

  • What accolades are you enjoying?
  • What are you doing?
  • Who are you with?
  • What did you start doing? or stop doing?
  • Of your accomplishments (in the past year), what brought you the most satisfaction or pride?
  • What experiences have you had that you are talking about with others?
  • What did you learn?
  • Who (or what) do you wish you dedicated more time to?
  • Who did you spend time with this year and why?
  • What are you most proud of in the past year?
  • How are you different than 1 year ago?
  • What was your main focus for the year?
  • What were you known for over this year?
  • Whom did you help the most?
  • What did you create?
  • How did you impact those close to you (both personally and professionally)?
  • What are you doing differently?
  • How are you thinking, feeling, being differently?
  • What is in your ‘bank account’?
  • What would you like to tell your past self about the year ahead? (my favorite prompt!)

Step 2: What’s different?

Go through your narrative and highlight the seeds of your goals. These are the things that are different from your current focus and activities. They may include concrete changes like increased income, increased subscribers, number of projects completed, team member size, vacations taken, or fitness levels reached. But don’t stop there. Look deeper. Look between the lines of your narrative.

Below that first layer of obvious aspirations are changes in behaviors, mindset, and skills. These are less obvious but extremely important.

Now write a list of all the seeds of aspirations and goals. Is there anything surprising? Anything missing? Go ahead and make notes on your list.

Congratulations. You’ve completed the first phase of the one person business plan.

In the next phase we’ll turn the worthy aspirations into solid goals.