I do a review of my business at around this time every year. It's always a part of my planning process - to look back before I look forwards so I can see what to leave behind and what to bring with me into the next 12 months.
This year, I thought it would be fun (and also kinda scary, if I'm honest) to share that review with you.
An annual review sounds like a really big task - you might be picturing reams of statistics and laborious paperwork. That's not really my thing - I like to keep things simple, so I start by asking myself 3 questions:
- What went well?
- What didn't go well?
- What are the lessons?
Here are my answers for 2021...
My biggest wins & proudest moments (what went well)
This has been a big year for me - a year of forcing myself to do stuff that I've been putting off but that I know I need to do in order to get where I want to be. Stuff like...
nailing my email marketing
I committed to emailing my list twice weekly back in 2020 and I've stuck to it throughout the year...some of the emails have been written pretty last minute, but I got them done - and it's been so worth it because now I get a consistent flow of leads from my list.
I even managed to squeeze in a new lead magnet in December. It's something I've been meaning to do for TWO years and I'm so happy I finally got it done. Now, I can proudly share my freebie, knowing that it's totally aligned with my messaging and my offers.
This is it, in case you're interested... ⬇️
Want my guide to hitting 5k months with an audience under 500?
Inside this guide, I share my Freedom Framework where I show you:
- The best kind of offer to sell your small audience
- The simple way to grow your audience and generate consistent lead flow and clients.
- The one thing to focus on to convert more of your ideal clients into actual clients
investing in myself & my biz
I've always been pretty financially risk averse but I've come to realise that when I make a scary investment (in the right person), I make huge leaps forwards in my business.
In the first couple of years, all my investments were in courses by 'big names' and honestly, I didn't finish them and didn't really see a return - I learned bits but they weren't really what I needed.
Now when I'm investing I'm all about the coaching rather than the courses! In 2021, I took Ray Dodd's awesome group programme, Plenty, to work on my money mindset and I invested in Gemma Gilbert's Amplify programme - which so far, I can honestly say has been the best investment I've made since starting my business back in 2016.
Lastly, I invested in the incredibly talented Danii Martynowicz of Brand Inspire to help me to re-brand. Which brings me to...
I've always loved my little DIY brand, but I knew it was time to get something a little more.. ahem... professional. Working with Danii has been such a fantastic experience - she has an amazing talent for turning fluffy thoughts and feelings into something visually powerful. I wanted branding that reflected a sense of freedom, simplicity and fun - and I don't know about you, but I think that's what I've got. I LOVE it and I'm so excited to continue showing it off in 2022.
I created my signature programme, freedom
Earlier in the year, I completed my third and final round of Fully Booked (my first group programme) and I really felt like I wanted to freshen it up a bit... not just the content, but also the format.
The programme was designed to help mum service providers fully book their offer and I wanted to keep helping people with this, but in a slightly different way... I was midway through Ray Dodd's programme, Plenty and really loving her pre-recorded, bite-sized weekly video trainings. So, I started plotting out what that would look like for my programme (instead of of the hour-long live trainings I had been doing previously).
I launched a beta in September and spent the next 3 months or so working with 4 amazing women who helped me so much when it came to shaping the programme into what it is now. One client, Roxy, created and launched her own group programme and had her best income month yet!
The final moment of clarity came when I started working with Gemma and realised how aligned I felt with the evergreen model and so I moved from enrolling in cohorts to filling my programme on a rolling monthly basis. More flexibility for my clients - and more consistency and predictable income for me! If you're interested in joining me for Freedom in 2022 then pop me an email and let's have a chat! (email@example.com)
One of my biggest lessons from 2020 was that when my mindset is 'off' then everything else in my business is too and so I was determined to really prioritise the habits that I know support me when it comes to staying on top of my mind monkeys.
I swapped running for walking. Back in 2019 I completed the Couch to 5k and it was HUGE for me - and at that time, running REALLY helped with my mental health.
This year however, I found that it was starting to feel like another thing to feel guilty about not doing. I switched to daily walks instead and this has made a huge difference. I don't manage it every day, but most days I do and my whole day is better for it.
I've also built in the habit of listening to Audible audio books while I work and it's become one of my favourite parts of the day.
The other practice that I wanted to get back to was writing in my diary. I've written a diary on and off since I was 11 but had really fallen out of the habit over the last few years. It's something that really helps me to work through my emotions - and it's so fun to look back at! Now, I make time every morning and have also added some daily prompts that have really helped me manage my mindset better.
Stuff that sucked (what didn't go well)
I earned less this year than I have in the last couple of years and a big part of my mindset struggle has been to not equate that lower income with failure. Low income is not the message you want to be giving people as a business coach!
I know why I made less:
I was in development mode - I was spending time working on myself, working on my messaging and working on my offer. I closed my membership because it wasn't serving me and I put out a low cost beta to test the ideas for my group programme.
The result of that work has led to this point, where I'm feeling more excited about and optimistic about what's in store in 2022 than I think I've ever felt for another year in business.
I feel like I went into 2021 as a caterpillar, spent the entire year in my little chrysalis and am now coming out (newly branded and everything) as a beautiful butterfly.
But I'd be lying if if I told you it didn't sting my ego a little to look at my revenue for the year.
The lesson: Success doesn't always have to be measured in ££ - and next time I want to focus on development rather than delivery I need to go into it accepting that this will impact my income OR plan around it so that I can prioritise both.
Yep, I let the ball drop on this one. I told myself early in the year that audience growth wasn't a massive priority for me because my focus was on development - but what happened was that I just totally took my foot off the pedal and so my growth slowed massively.
Guest lives/trainings have always worked well for me, but I only arranged a handful of these this year.
I stayed (fairly) consistent with my Facebook page, but honestly I'm questioning whether to keep focusing on this in 2022 as it hasn't really had much impact, especially in the last few months of the year. I've found engagement has been super low and the time spent creating or re-purposing content just hasn't been worth it.
The lesson: I'll be focusing on more long term strategies for my audience growth, such as my blog and prioritising what's already worked well for me- such as guest trainings. If you'd like me to come do a guest training in your group, get in touch!
I would consider myself to be naturally quite disorganised and so I've always felt like I've needed to plan really well in order to stay on top of my day to day commitments - let alone things like new projects. But for some reason, my normal planning habits stopped working for me this year.
What I'd always done (quarterly, monthly and weekly goals and plan) just didn't seem to fit anymore. I experimented with new ways of planning - I tried 6 week planning, 8 week planning... nothing ever seemed to feel quite right.
I think this is because everything else in my business felt so up in the air this year. I was making big changes and so maybe this needed to change too.
As the dust starts to settle in 2022, I trust that I'll find my planning rhythm again too.
The lesson: Processes need updating and reviewing too. As I grow as a business owner and as my business grows, the things that used to work might not anymore.
Looking ahead to 2022...
While, 2021 felt like a real year of transformation for me, I see 2022 as a year of focus.
I feel so much clearer now on my direction so this year is all about doubling down on my message, and focusing on my bringing my vision for my signature offer, Freedom into fruition.
Interested in working together?
In the spirit of simplicity - and focus, there are just 2 ways to work with me. You can come join Freedom and together, we'll create and fill your signature offer or we can work together 1:1 and I'll support you in getting to consistent 5k months through simple, values-led marketing and sales. If you'd like to chat about either of these options then just drop me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.