You’re sitting there, bursting with energy, excitement and joy.

You JUST came up with a new idea for your business — a new PROJECT!

You KNOW this will be big. You can feel the stars aligning. Now it’s time to plan, implement and get it out there!

So you sit down with your calendar, start writing tasks and dates. Maybe you decide that you DEFINITELY need help getting this all done. So you send an email to your VA, letting them know that you need to get them on the phone ASAP.

You come up with a plan, put some dates on the calendar and then start CREATING!

Time passes; now you’re about 3 weeks in and that initial energy that you had about this project has slowly faded. Your web designer came back with a horrific draft of your sales page, the membership site that you were testing isn’t working – and where the hell is customer support when you need them?! Your VA isn’t answering your emails and you NEED HER HELP!

SO, what happened — what went wrong? How did this project lovefest go awry?

Most project plans fail because of three things:

1. The plan did not account for the fact that HUMAN BEINGS were the ones implementing the project.

I’ll expand — putting together a project plan is not just about putting some dates on the calendar. (Tweet that!) When you plan, you need to account for the people involved and THEIR work style.

How do you like to work and how does your team work? Are you a person who likes to get a TON of shit done in ONE day — pulling all nighters left and right? Does your team like to know about things a week in advance in order to prioritize their workload? Did you consult them when making this plan and make sure that they were in agreement with the schedule in advance? Did you tell them that you may be calling them at 9pm at night to vet through new ideas?

None of these work styles are “right” or “wrong,” but you REALLY have to know you and your team well enough to be able to MANAGE this plan once it’s go time.

2. The project manager (probably YOU) did not account for flexibility in the schedule.

Yes, sometimes things go wrong. Sometimes your designer will deliver a crappy sales page draft and sometimes technology goes awry. How did you account for this in the schedule? Was there any sort of contingency plan?

People often ask me how far in advance I plan for product and program launches. My answer is typically a minimum of THREE MONTHS. You may be thinking — THREE MONTHS!! — Nicole, are you insane?!

Well I sometimes feel a little crazy — but I can tell you for sure that I’m not insane when it comes to planning projects. The reason? Because I account for mess ups. Yep, those ugly things that you want to avoid. Well, the problem with avoidance is that you’re not prepared when it actually happens.

I find that when I PLAN for the worst, the worst DOESN’T happen. So give yourself a little buffer with the timeline — especially with any tasks that require other people and technology 🙂

3. Your mindset blocks. Yep, this happens all the time.

The truth: launches can be an emotional rollercoaster, so you have to make sure you have an A+ mindset, otherwise, setbacks will totally paralyze you. So either a. make sure you have a daily mindset practice, b. have a kick ass project manager help you keep everything on track (including your mental game), or c. hire a mindset coach.

Now it’s time for YOUR story. Have you had a plan that went south? Tell me about it in the comments! What did you learn?

xo Nicole