So what is your plan for 2011?

Passions at Play Art & DesignHappy New Year Everyone!

Last year was filled with changes for many of us and to many people I talk to it feels like 2011 is going to be the year to manifest from all that change. This is the year that we can settle in and move forward. For me change has included moving to a small city from a big one, and that means moving my design and art business from a big city to a small one. Using the internet to keep connected to the outside world is key, however there is also a whole new audience and market to work with here in the high desert and that means adjusting my business vision to fit in this place as well.

So my first blog of the year is going to be about strategy and how you can use it to create the success you wish to achieve.

So what’s your plan and how do you go about making one?

I find that the best way to start off my year is to look back at what worked and what did not work over the last year. Honestly evaluating my performance, my accomplishments and my strategies really helps me to look at what I might continue using, what I need to get rid of and what I might want to just tweak and make work a little better.

Then I write a vision statement that is the picture of what I want in my life and my business. I do this in the present tense because then as I repeat it daily it becomes clearly what  “is” and not what I just wish for. It is funny how our brain does not really know the difference between reality and fantasy and it just assumes that if we keep talking about it, it must be the way things are! (thanks Penny Stephens)

So now that I know what I want to happen, I can go about creating the strategies that will actually make it happen. This is where my calendar comes in. I still need a day planner/calendar, even with my smart phone and my computer, I find that I need a book that I can write in and keep track of days, plans, projects all in one place. This works for me. Writing out a marketing plan- who is my target market, what are their needs and how do I reach them? These are the questions I need to answer to round out my plans. It tells me where I need to advertise, who I need to network with, and how can I be of service to my customers and my community. There will be the occasional client that just pops up out of the blue, but to build a consistent business requires working within a strategy, following through and being consistent. These are also key questions I use when helping my clients plan their marketing needs.

So what I know today is that Passions at Play is an art and graphic design business. What is my focus and what do I have to offer that other design businesses do not? I am an artist as well and so I bring a certain sense of creativity and artistry that is unique. Being an illustrator and photographer gives me the ability to create unique images that are specific to the needs of my clients. And knowing how to use internet and web design also gives them a full spectrum of ways to meet their clients needs. My goal this year is to hone all of this down into a more clear and concise message that shows the benefit that working with me can give. My tagline for the last couple of years has been- “Peace, Love and Prosperity require Creativity!” – This fits my goals and who I am and that is what a tagline should do. This is also a good tagline for my personal life and I find that creativity is required in every aspect of what I enjoy, and want to achieve. I find that building a business that is consistent with my personal values and desires is a huge asset when it comes to being consistent.

So what is your favorite way to plan your new year and how has it evolved over the years to help meet the needs of your clients and your life?

So the new year has begun and we are all in this together. Let’s go out and make it the best year ever!

Peace, Love and Prosperity REQUIRES Creativity!

Cheryl McDonald is the owner of Passions at Play Art & Design to see some of her work please go to

To see some of her photography, please go to


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