Choose your Small Business-Big Life theme for the new year

setting business goals

By Amanda Cleary Eastep

My New Year’s Eve began with getting a prescription for bifocals. Not due to age, of course, just eye strain from all that squinting when I read.

The doctor dilated my eyes but provided me with spiffy glasses to wear so no one would think my enormous pupils were a sign of drug use.

Despite some blurred vision, I went back to working on the 2014 goals I had written that morning for my freelance business and my life. Then I looked back over the goals from last year. “Be Focused” was the Small Business-Big Life theme I had chosen for 2013. (Nothing like crossing the finish line still working toward that.)

Choosing a theme may sound like a tedious grade school assignment. But a theme can serve as a unifying idea that either drives your goal setting or emerges from the goals you have set.

Last year’s goal writing exercise began with Be Focused in bold green letters at the top of the page. And remaining focused in 2013 situated me to set goals for 2014 that stretch my abilities and incite small riots…or at least inspire me to take bigger risks. But this year’s theme revealed itself gradually during the goal-setting process.

How to choose a theme for the new year

1. Name it. You may already know what your theme should be: Reach Higher or Serve Others or Find Peace. In this case, you will set your goals based on that objective.

2. Let it emerge. After writing your goals, you may recognize commonalities that can be summed up in a few words that provide a focus for the future.

Maybe even a battle cry.

“Step Out!” is mine for 2014. Maybe I won’t be waving a broad sword over my head while I proclaim it, but I’ll certainly whip out the bifocals and forge ahead into new territory.

What is your Small Business-Big Life theme for 2014?

7 thoughts on “Choose your Small Business-Big Life theme for the new year

  1. I’m 30 days late, but I don’t thinks it’s too late for this! This is such a great, great concept, Amanda. I can’t think of what words to use for my idea. Maybe you can help me. Over so many years, I have had the terrible habit of working for free. It takes away from my business growth and generally people can afford the service. I have pledged to stop that this year, and to charge what I’m worth. So what do you think? Business Value, Value Strategy, Show your Worth? Freedom from Free? Help!!!


    1. Hi, Jo Lynn! I really got a wake up call in regard to my “worth” when I landed my first “big” client (still by best). I’ll tell you more some time. I’ll work for free when I’m helping a friend or donating services for a cause I already support. I like Freedom from Free. You could make Show Your Worth more personal and affirmative with Know My Worth. Just Say No worked for me (to low pay). 😉 It can be difficult to say no to work…until you realize there are companies who value your expertise and will pay you well. And when you are making more money per hour/project, you don’t need a bazillion clients to make a living. Your work is amazing. Besides that, you have an excellent character. Good clients realize that being able to trust the person you hire is priceless. I’ll keep thinking about themes!


      1. I love “Know My Worth.” I’m just like you with helping friends and community causes, but for me, it almost took over my business. This has been so helpful. I think I’m going with “Know My Worth.” I love it! Now, what do I owe you?


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