2017 Annual Review

There are 3 questions that I’m going to answer in my Annual Review:

  1. What went well this year?
  2. What didn’t go so well this year?
  3. What am I working toward?

What went well 

Mindset. At the beginning of 2017, I was in a major funk. I thought maybe it was seasonal, or maybe because I was still missing my dogs (both passed during 2016), or that I was overweight, or that I was turning 50… wow, I was a mess, huh? I had tried acupuncture, Chinese herbs, joined a gym, and tried at least 3 diets; nothing was working. I would never use the word “depressed” because, having a son who is clinically depressed, it was nowhere near that debilitating, but I felt blah, blech, ugh, hmmmph.

I have no problems making lists, creating goals, and “getting shit done” but it’s hard to do when you don’t have goals to begin with. So, I hired a coach to help me get through this rough patch. My major complaint: “Things feel uncompletable.” In the six months we worked together, she worked her magic, cleared the cobwebs, and things finally came into focus. (Scroll to the bottom to see our pic!)

I used to tell myself that I wasn’t good at meditating, but once I shifted to “what if I was good at meditating?” things changed.  The point of meditating is not to force anything or make the cork float, it’s about NOT holding the cork underwater and releasing resistance. What if I was good at meditating? The answer is that I felt better. MUCH better.

Technology and Audit. Upgrading programs is always on my “to do” list but with so many other competing projects, I kept moving it down the list. That was until my site crashed during a launch! Nothing creates urgency more than disappointing people and losing money! I did an audit of everything from my hosting platform, software programs, subscriptions, to memberships I belong to and if it wasn’t serving me 100%, I either upgraded or deleted it.

Products and Programs. I hustled a lot this year to get my online courses launched! My online training program for virtual assistants, VABusinessEssentials, was launched in January. My new program for coaches, consultants, and creatives, Business Freedom Guide, launched in July. And newly updated Profitable Packages had 3 successful runs this last year averaging $8,000 each time.  I also did my first challenge in October – Business Freedom Challenge.

Messaging/Branding. I worked hard this year to define what it is I do, who I serve, and what I WANT to do. I “thought” I knew all that, but when I started working on other things, BIG things, like a new logo, offerings, etc. I found that I had some work to do. It took most of the year working with branding expert Annie Franceschi, but I now have a brand voice guide and a new umbrella logo. I also revamped my packages on my website and even created a “Guest Media Bio” page for anticipated guest podcasting. Yay me! (Scroll to the bottom to see our pic!)

Out of My Comfort Zone. I traveled to Canada and spoke on stage TWICE this past year. Being an introvert, this was huge for me.

What didn’t go so well

Leveraging Networking Events.  I attended multiple networking events this year and, while I do a good job of following up, nothing came from any of them. This has made me stop and think about what events are best for me to attend. Just because everyone else is attending or I feel an obligation, that’s not a good enough reason.

Running my own race. I always tell people to “go at your own pace, run your own race” but wasn’t taking my own advice. Rather than listening to my own instincts, I listened to others. Rather than focusing on establishing better daily habits, I looked at shiny objects and got distracted. Rather than celebrating my small wins, I envied others’ big accomplishments. Part of this was because I kept telling myself, “You’ve been in business 12 years, you should be doing better.” But once I realized that I’ve had the privilege of working 12 years from HOME and being my OWN BOSS, I mean, how awesome is that? It definitely stopped the stinkin’ thinkin’.

Coach Potato and Twitter Troll. OMG things got really bad between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. I rarely left the house, ate WAY too many cookies and ice cream, and yelled at Twitter as I replied to stupid tweets. Glad I got that out of my system lol.

What I am working towards for 2018

So where is all of this going? What direction am I heading in for 2018?

Looking at the big picture, spending more time on the sailboat with the husband, making money to support my lifestyle while having freedom and flexibility, I will structure everything I do in order to accomplish that.

Personal. Normally I would say something like “lose 20 lbs” or “be able to run a mile.” But in the past, once I do those things, I stop and go back to sitting on the couch and eating ice cream for breakfast. I’m facing the fact that I have not placed “eating better and exercising” as a priority. I thought it was about will-power but what I’m finding is that for every day or week I didn’t hit my big goal, I was getting frustrated. So I’ll be chunking it down to smaller goals day by day, building better habits. Why do I want to do this? Because I don’t feel good when I can’t fit into my clothes and I want more Stitch Fixes. And I can’t get more Stitch Fixes when I can’t fit into the clothes I have. Plain and simple.

Business. For the past two years, I’ve been working towards doing less client work and maintaining my income. It hasn’t been the easiest journey – some things worked while many, many other things didn’t.  I’m starting to see things fall into place and will continue to streamline, simplify, and diversify through 2018. We have planned a sailboat trip this summer and I can’t wait to see how my systems will hold up with this new way of working.

Two marketing strategies that I will try this year are guest podcasting and Pinterest marketing (my stats showed that I get more leads from Pinterest than any other social media referral source). I was mildly considering starting a podcast but was talked out of it because guest podcasting is soooo much easier and I can leverage guest opportunities. I am taking Marie Forleo/Laura Belgray’s course, TheCopyCure.com, to become a better writer. LOVE the course 🙂

My word of the year, like it’s been the last two years, is ALIGNMENT. I feel like I’ve gotten better but still need work in this area.

Annie Franceschi (branding and logo), Adele Michal (sales coach), and me!

Bottom Line

I don’t have it all figured out, even after 12 years of business. As you can see, I have a lot to improve upon! But I am certainly enjoying the journey.

I am super happy with the progress I made in 2017 and I’m excited to make 2018 a year of growth, steady habits, and consistency.

Thanks for sharing in my journey 🙂