What is a success-kick off and why should you do it?

What is a success-kick off and why should you do it?

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That companies, CEO’s and managers go on conferences and kick offs to plan, set strategies and visualize their goals in the beginning of a new year is nothing new. But, what’s rarer is that the single creative, freelancer or business owner is doing the same. So, why shouldn’t we do the same? Lets go on a success-kick off!

To have clear goals, a strategy on how to achieve them and a strong vision and WHY is essential when you are a one-man army. This is what my success-kick off will look like and how you can make your own!If you want do redefine your WHY as a creative and freelancer, check out my Finding a strong WHY – series here.

So, let’s jump strait into it!

Step 1 – Why should I do a success-kick off?

The only person to answer this question is you. If you already have everything set for the new year with goals, plans and strategies, you might find it better to spend your time on something else that planning. But, to take a look where you are now, see over your current goals, visions and strategies once in a while and adjust if needed, is always a good thing to do. Together with some time to reflect over the past year, what goals you had and how you achieved them.

Step 2 – Location, location, location

Decide on a location for your success-kick off. This location should not be your own office/Livingroom couch, but a location that inspire you and fuel your creativity. This can practically be anywhere in the world. But should be a place where you can disconnect from your everyday life, must-do’s and other distractions.

My success-kick off location: is Åre, Sweden. As you might know I used to live in Åre back in the days when I was an action-sports photographer. The reason why I chose Åre is that a change of environment is always good for your creativity and to spend time on the mountain with lots of fresh air is the extra boost my brain will need to map out the whole year.

A man with skies is looking over the Åre Valley
The view I’m aiming for during my success-kick off! My friend Henrik Utter photographed in Åre, Sweden 2007.

Step 3 – equipment 

The good thing is that you don’t need any fancy equipment to pull off a success-kick off. All you need is a pen and paper. Because, the important thing is to get all the thoughts you have in your head on paper. Why? It forces you to be more precise and give it an extra thought when typing in it down on a paper than storing it in your head as a thought. Another good thing is that it’s an easy way to see what you have achieved and not achieved when looking back later.

If you later on wants to transfer your notes you wrote down to a computer that is fine and a smart way to store your ideas. But start with a pen and paper with no distractions that a computer can give you.

My equipment: Pen, some notebooks where my scribbles from 2019 are and a brand-new notebook. It’s a good thing to have one notebook that you use for your success-kick offs, to have it all in one place. I will also bring my computer, camera and skiing equipment. To make it all more visual and readable later on I use the program Simple Mind to create mind maps for each bullet point.

Step 4 – the Agenda

So, you have decided on a location, booked a hotel room and got yourself a brand-new pen and notebook to write down all your thoughts – now what? Now you set your agenda for the kick off. This is all up to you what you feel you want and should dive into, but some, according to me, crucial topics you need to think off to succeed as a freelancer and business owner:

  • Economy:My revenue goal, investments, budget, sales, current standing, costs and so on. To have a full insight in your company’s economy is so important. Not only for its wellbeing and future expansions, but to know if a certain investment is right to do as well for taxes and such. 
  • Clients:Who are my current clients and how can I be a better contractor and add more value? Who are the clients I want to work with and how can I get on their radar? How will I attract new clients (sales). Why are clients choosing / not choosing me – can I tweak my offer somehow?
  • Marketing and PR: What am I doing today to get people to know about my business? What am I not doing that I should do? What are other successful competitors doing that I should do? What collaborations can and should I do?
  • Business goals: What goals do I want to achieve as a freelancer and businessowner? What goals are the most important for me? How can I streamline my everyday tasks to get more time to do what I love? Is there anything I can outsource? 

Other than these – crucial for your business– topics you can and should add some more “fluffy” topics to go through. By fluffy I mean the more creative and personal goals and these can be whatever you want them to be. Here are some more fluffy topics that I will cover during my kick off:

  • Personal projects: Which projects am I doing now and how are they developing? What projects do I want to start? How can I streamline my other work so I can spend more time on personal work? Create labels for 12 personal/portfolio projects (1 each month).
  • Building a team: Even if we are a one-man army in our own business, we can’t do everything by ourselves. I want to start working with a makeup artist, hair stylist and a fashion stylist, to take my images to the next level. Together, as a team, we will grow and build a better portfolio.
  • Lectures and talks: I feel that this is a natural step that comes from the contents of my blog. How can I get my word and vision out to more people and companies by hosting inspirational talks and lectures about creativity and how to be a more creative person?
  • Health/wellbeing:Suuu-uu-per important! How can I be healthier and be the best version I can be on a physical and mental level? The better the shape my body is in and the stronger my mind and mental health is – the better creative I will be. The hurting creative is an awful myth that needs to be destroyed! I will decide on an exercise- and relaxation programs and diet. 
  • Social media & blog:What can I do to take my social channels (Facebook and Instagram) to the next level? How can I produce more and better content than I do now? How can I be better at being a part of the community I’m building? My blog is very important to me. How can I create better and more meaningful posts that adds real value to you as a reader?
  • Youtube:I get lots of questions why I don’t have a YouTube channel. I do watch lots of Youtube myself and the thought has crossed my mind. Now, I will explore what it would look like and how I could pull it off so I can make a decision.
  • Books:How are my current book project going? What is left to do and how will I fund the production costs (travels etc.). I need to create a more detailed timetable and set goals along the way to achieve to get to the goal – a finished book!
A skier covered in powder snow.
Jon Larsson photographed in October (!) in Åre Sweden in 2006.

Step 5 – the schedule

You got your location and hotel booked, your equipment ready and the agenda is set. Now, it’s time to schedule your days for maximum efficiency and creativity! You want to create a schedule so you can be as creative as possible and have time to work through your goals. If you read my previous postyou know that exercising gives your head, mind and creativity a real boost for a couple of hours. So, here is what my daily schedule will look like:

  • 07:00: Exercising for 45 minutes. To get the boost.
  • 08.00: Breakfast and just clearing my mind.
  • 08:45: Starting going over each bullet point, researching, setting goals.
  • 12.30: Quick lunch.
  • 13:00 – 16:30: Skiing, fresh air and the mountains. To have fun, be creative and get the boost.
  • 17:00: Continuing going over each bullet point, researching, setting goals.
  • 19:00: Dinner. No junk food!
  • 20:00: Continuing going over each bullet point, researching, setting goals.
  • 22:00: Nap time!

With this schedule I will get the best of both worlds. Almost 8 hours of work/plan for my goals and more than 4 hours of exercising and being outside. This means I will have plenty of time to plan and also making sure I will be on my creative best (while having fun skiing). When you wake up the next day – repeat schedule!

Do you find this post useful? Let me know by leaving a comment below or reach out on my Facebook page or Instagram or share it to a friend!

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