Why I love a good mind map

Have you ever drawn a mind map? You know, you place an idea or action within a circle in the middle of a page and then place all the related thoughts / ideas / content around the outside of this inner circle. It's like a messy solar system but instead of planets, you have ideas and concepts orbiting around a central idea. (Here's some examples).

I use mind maps ALL THE TIME in biz — whether brainstorming with clients on staffing solutions or mapping out the starting points for a website. One of the best things I use it for is to look at various revenue streams and review the time being dedicated to each. It's something I do for my own business twice a year and something I do with many of my clients, particularly those who have grown their creative biz organically without a super structured approach to business planning or income streams.

So, how exactly does this work?

Well, let's say you work for yourself offering services and you have an overall income goal of $1,000,000 p.a (#Wouldn'tThatBeNice). You would draw a circle in the middle of your page (or use this online tool) with $1,000,000 marked in it. You would then add in all the different revenue streams you currently operate, such as:

  • 1:1 client work

  • group client work

  • workshops

  • e-courses

along with revenue goals against each, i.e:

  • 1:1 client work -  20 clients @ $10,000 each p.a. = $200,000 p.a

  • group client work - 10 groups made up of 10 people in each, all paying $4000 p.a. = $400,000

  • workshops -  12 workshops generating $5000 per workshop = $60,000

  • e-courses - 100 e-courses sold at $500 each = $50,000

You're left with a total of $710,000 or $290,000 short of your $1m goal.

So, you'd use the mind map to literally consider anything else you might offer. I'm often surprised at what random stuff appears when you add anything that comes to mind. For, example you might add in:

  • 3-day retreat  - 2 retreats with 15 people in each paying $3000 each = $90,000

  • e-books = 10 ebooks, sold for $50 each, selling 50 of each = $25,000

  • streamed online weekend masterclass - signature product sold for $999, selling 180 = $179,820

  • printed stationery = notebooks for $8.99, selling 10 per month = $1078.80

This would bring your grand total to: $1,005,898.80 #BOOM!

It's at this stage you would review all the items on your mind map and figure out how much time is involved to achieve each.

For example, would it take up a lot of your time to create 10 different eBooks, even though the total revenue for this is far lower than any other revenue stream? Or, would the idea of creating 10 eBooks light you up and fill you with so much creative juice, it would be SUPER DOOPER exciting and you'd be creatively fulfilled doing this? Would it take you AGES to figure out the design and printing for your notebooks only to bring in $1078.80? Are all of your figures realistic? Are you excited by one revenue stream over another? Is there anything missing?

Once you have reviewed it all, you can then use the sections around your inner circle as goals for each revenue stream and then break these into smaller numbers to hit weekly, monthly etc. You can also assess what percentage of your time you should be dedicating to each stream.

Now, I'm not saying mind maps replace a proper, well-thought out strategy, biz plan or your good ol' P&L, but these can often be a creative way to get your revenue ideas flowing and review where you're winning from both a financial and timing perspective.

Fiona Killackey