Have you ever had all of your big CEO Teacher ideas swirling around in your brain and wondered how to mind map them into an actual teacher business plan? That’s precisely how I came up with this method of mind mapping. I was holding myself back by trying to keep everything straight in my mind. When I pulled out my sticky notes and Flair pens and got it mapped out on paper, it not only put my mind at ease, but it also helped me plan my business strategically and see everything laid out at a birds-eye-view.
You can really use this mind mapping strategy with anything, but I especially love it for mapping out my business. So join me as I show you how to make a mind map and how to use mind maps to grow your online teacher business! I believe it is one of the first steps (and something you’ll do often) to start or expand your online business as a teacher.
Before I teach you how to make a mind map, let’s chat about something that we all love: office supplies! I love getting out all of my mind mapping tools and sitting down on the floor or at my desk to plan everything out. So what do you need to mind map?
I like to make my mind maps with the Post-It Paper Pads because they are sticky on the back, so you can stick them on your wall when you finish mind mapping your heart out. You’ll also want to get a couple of different sizes of Post-Its. I like using these large ones and the medium ones too. And I get the page flags for all of the individual pieces to the puzzle.
I highly recommend using Sharpies when preparing for how to make a mind map and to write everything with because they won’t fade as other markers do. And the last thing you’ll want to have in your mind mapping supplies is tape. Even though Post-Its are sticky, we want these mind maps to last, and popping some tape on top will keep everything in place. Now that you have all of your supplies, let’s dive into mind mapping your teacher business.
Whenever I teach my CEO Teacher School students how to mind map, I encourage them to start with their main thing. Stephen Covey says, “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing.” Your main thing is also known as your niche. What is the ONE THING that you want to be known for? What is the one thing you’re the most passionate about when it comes to serving teachers, students, or parents?
If you’re not sure what that is or how to figure it out, I’ve got you covered. Download my free book, Start or Expand Your Online Teacher Business in 2021. One of the pages inside of this robust guide to becoming a CEO Teacher is called a Niche-Finder. It’s a worksheet that takes you through the process of finding your niche, your main thing. You can also click here to listen to The CEO Teacher Podcast episode on Finding Your Niche.
Once you’ve found your main thing, think about what your pillar content will be. Again, this book will help you figure this out too. But basically, you’ll want to break down your main thing into 3-5 content sections. For example, if my main thing is Classroom Management for Kindergarten, my pillars might include Individual Behavior Management, Attention Getters for the Class, and Classroom Management Incentives. Knowing your pillars will help you when you start mind mapping your teacher business plan.
Let’s get into how to make a mind map now. Everyone will do this differently, and that’s okay! You’ve got to find what works best for you. I like to think about one area of my business, maybe it’s my TPT Products, and make a mind map of all of the TPT products I want to create. So I will get out my Post-It paper pad and write TPT products at the top. Then, I’ll think about categories of products I want to create, and I’ll use the big sticky notes to mark those on my mind map.
Next, I’ll write down all of my ideas for product lines. All of my product lines will go on medium sticky notes under the categories. And the last step for this mind map is to use the page flags to write out each individual product I want to create, and I put those underneath their respective product lines.
One big question I receive when teachers ask me, “How do you mind map?” is, “What if I don’t know what product lines I want to make yet?” And if you’re not sure of your product lines yet, it’s time to go back to your main thing and your ideal customer avatar. What is something your ideal customer avatar needs to help him/her save time, energy, or help him/her in some way that falls under your main thing? How could you solve that problem for him/her?
The coolest part about learning how to make a mind map is that you can use this strategy in every area of your business. This is how I map out my membership launches, my course creation, and my podcast episodes. This is how I first decide what blog posts I’ll write or what my Facebook content will be. I have no less than five large mind maps up in my office at a given time because they are so helpful. They keep me focused on my main thing, so I don’t get distracted by shiny objects or overwhelmed by analysis paralysis.
The next time I schedule product creation or blog writing into my schedule, I can go to my mind map and see what product is next to create or what blog post I should write and get busy taking action on what matters. I no longer get caught up in the nitty-gritty because everything is laid out, and I can focus on one thing at a time.
One of the biggest things I see when my membership members are working on growing their businesses is that a decision or action step that seems big at the time ends up holding them back from moving forward. Mind mapping helps you put a pin in those questions you don’t have answers to at the moment so you can continue moving the needle forward in areas you DO have planned. And that could be the difference between skyrocketing to success or waiting to see that growth. I want to help you reach your goals, and I know that mind mapping is an integral part of that. It will help you put down on paper everything you’re thinking about. Your teacher business plan doesn’t have to be this formal document with all of your t’s crossed and i’s dotted. It can be a bunch of colorful sticky notes arranged on your wall that help you recalibrate when times get tough and keep taking massive action when you feel stuck.
Don’t forget to snag your copy of the Teacher's Map of Online Business Secrets because it has the building blocks to this mind mapping process that will help you get your business started on the right foot. I can’t wait to see where it takes you! And, make sure you snap a picture of your beautiful mind maps and post them on Instagram and tag me so I can see and share them! Get out your sticky notes and Sharpies, and get busy!
You can get your own copy of the Mind Mapping Templates for Teachers and get clear on your offers and ideas! Instead of holding yourself back by trying to keep everything straight in your mind – get it mapped out on paper (or digitally). Plan your business strategically and see everything laid out in a birds-eye-view.