The new year is here, making this the perfect time to reflect on 2016 and make plans for 2017. Next week, I’ll have a blog post about resolutions vs. goals, but I want to take this as an opportunity to review this year in life and in business because I have big things coming soon.
As of now, I’ve been in business almost 10 years; nearly four of these full time. They haven’t always been fun or smooth, but I’ve learned more about myself than I ever thought possible. And many of those lessons I learned this year (or finally put them into action).
I Learned “No”
When I first started my business, I took any project. If there was a paycheck involved, I said yes. This is something I’ve been working on over the years, but 2016 is truly the year that I stopped this practice. I stopped saying yes to every project that popped into my inbox, because not every project excited me. And I’m not always the best copywriter for every writing project. So I let go of clients who were outside my realm of genius because I was no longer able to serve them the way I truly wanted. And in doing this, my business and my confidence flourished.
Early this year, one of my clients asked me to help her rewrite her website content so it was more in her own voice. We worked together for several months, which included a complete rewrite of her website and developing blog after blog after blog (seriously, that woman inspires me!). The client gained clients of her own during this time, many of whom said they hired her because of how she showed up on her site. And I fell in love with teaching again.
Since then, I’ve coached several clients through finding their online voice and developing new content and writing habits. I even created a group program about styling content and creating a content style guide. This is something I plan to expand on and grow throughout 2017, offering mini courses and webinars regularly throughout the year.
Actually Planned Goals
I did a lot of flying by the seat of my pants in 2016. My business saw a tremendous amount of growth, but as a service-based business there’s always going to be a limit to that growth. There is only so much time that I can spend in front of my computer, creating content for clients.
About a month ago, I had a three-hour power session with my business coach. We mapped out my entire 2017—what content needed to go out, when it was going to go out, what new programs I would launch, etc. I wrote down goals for my income, email list, visibility, courses and content and created a visual system to track these goals on a regular basis.
I also worked with a marketing guru to put together a strategic plan to get all of this done, plus some. This is the first time I have goals and a big-picture plan written and hanging on my wall. It’s going to be a killer year!
Bought a House
This year, I needed to make a personal change that made me feel more “permanent.” I had been renting for a number of years, after letting go of a home during the economic down-turn. I felt disconnected from life, living in a rental and not feeling like I had a place of my own (even though I didn’t have roommates). I had a personal upheaval in March that prompted me to take a step back and really focus on myself and my little family of two (plus furry kids). It was clear that I was the only person who was going to make myself Number One and it was high time I did that. So I decided to find my “empty nest” house in preparation for when my daughter goes off to college in a few years.
Buying a house when you’re self-employed is not easy. And doing so when you’re barely outside the waiting period from a short sale is even more challenging. But with the help of a creative mortgage company and a helpful real estate agent, my daughter and I got the keys to our new-to-us house in early June. And I have never felt more at peace with where I am personally.
I Said Good-Bye
I did a lot of growing personally, too. I am not one of those “everything happens for a reason” people, because I believe we all have the power to impact our own lives—for better or for worse. I’ve spent most of my adult life ignoring this fact. Because, shocker: You can’t control what others think or do.
This year, I said good-bye to some people in my life because we were on different life paths. I said good-bye because I deserve to be a priority to the people I choose to spend time with. I said good-bye to relationships with people that were unhealthy for me and for my daughter. I said good-bye because life happens. And while it’s been difficult, life does go on.
I’ve used this as an opportunity to dig deep into my business and reconnect with others around me. And it’s been an amazing experience to really push myself outside my comfort zone and grow, personally and professionally. I’d like to think that I’ll never again make the same mistakes with the people I choose to spend time with and on. Each hour only happens once. I won’t waste them anymore.
And that brings me to 2017…
Expect to see some changes here and in my business in the new year. I’m boosting my blog content, to include guest bloggers once a week. I’m adding some more personal blog posts, like this one, on Fridays because I know how important that personal connection is. I plan to tell my story—really tell it—here and in video. I’ll be adding videos to some of my blogs (yikes!), to take select topics deeper than I can when writing.
Someone I met about seven years ago told me recently that he was drawn to me because of my attitude and the way I presented myself when we first met. I’m taking that as a compliment, that I’m a self-assured, confident person who isn’t afraid to be uncomfortable. That certainly wasn’t me all those years ago, but I’d like to think that’s me today. I can tell you that from everything I’ve learned over the years, there’s really no limit to what you can learn and how much growth you can take on. You just have to give yourself the space and permission to do that.