As you know, planning is the process of figuring out what you want to do then, how you want to do it and the milestones you want to set along the way.  The process of planning is as old as the notion that people become professionals. Once upon a time, understanding the value of planing signaled the transition from hobbyist to professional.

In a world that promises instant gratification, it can be hard to justify the time and effort associated with planning. A lot of very serious people will tell you that taking action is the only thing that matters. You can always clean it up later.

For our conversation, we will stipulate that many activities feel good. However, we will also like to suggest that not all activities represent action or movement in a positive direction. You could make the case that a lot of activities lead to negative actions, many of which can derail you for long periods of time.

For example, if you are a high school football player, it might feel good to vandalize the cafeteria of your most heated cross-town rival. However, doing so does not add to your skillset or advance your proficiency. If you get caught, it could at the very least derail your efforts or potentially end your career.

Generally, mistakes you make as a subscription maker won’t end your career. However, they can delay your efforts to achieve your goals. As we alluded to earlier, delayed gratification can lead to abandonment or what Seth Godin calls the “dip.”

It’s easy to start a new project when passion is the main criteria for starting that project. You will often hear well-meaning people say follow your passions. This is great advice for people who are sitting on the fence and need a little nudge to get going.

On the other hand, it is just a start and may not help as the luster wears off and the next shiny object comes into focus. The key to your future success is doing the work. In sports, they call it practice. For subscription makers, we call it doing the work.

Doing the work over the long haul requires the subscription maker build a plan. This plan can be filed away in case of emergency. However, you probably want to keep it close especially as you start to wear some groves in your production process. It’s import to remember what you are really trying to achieve.

The hard truth is that it takes a lot of effort to sustain a subscription business, a lot of which you don’t control. It may seem like all you’re doing is putting out fires. Once again this where your plan comes in handy. When you need to prioritize your activities, you can always pull out your plan do some quick back of the envelope calculations to determine which actions move you closer to your goals.

Let’s highlight for a moment this notion of the back of the envelope calculations. Planning can become a full-time job if it not kept under control. The purpose of planning for subscription makers is not meant to replace action. It is to provide a framework for reflection so that you can choose the smartest, most efficient action.

Zachary Alexander