I do all of my business planning around the financial year and I thought I would take some time to review what I had achieved and what I have learnt.
My money in review
Ok, let’s start here. I did it. I reached my baseline achievable goal by the end of March 2021 and I’ve reached my ‘stretch’ financial goal just as the year closes out.
The good thing about having tiered financial goals is that when one level is achieved, I not only feel accomplished but I know I already have something to aim for.
Ok, so I need to be grateful for JobKeeper and how it helped me achieve my financial goals.
What JobKeeper really allowed me to do was to pay more contractors to support my business to achieve the goals I had. It also allowed me, in conjunction with reading Profit First, to pay myself more.
Paying myself more has meant that I am happier. It also made things easier when the tiler we employed in our new home, made suggestions for a feature wall in our kitchen.
While some may think that I didn’t really achieve my financial goal, I look at what I paid myself and spent vs what I was paid in JobKeeper and I can say I contributed to supporting the economy and other small business owners through a hard time.
My goals in review
The top of my goals list for this financial year was to have 4 paid speaking events – I’ve achieved this goal. The next was to write my book draft, well I still haven’t done that three years running. I wanted to hit 100+ web hits/week, so I did an SEO course and bazinga I blew it out of the water (ave. 250). I wanted to increase my sales, well I didn’t do that how I’d hoped. I wanted to take holidays all of December & January – done and done.
I also bought myself a new phone, but I didn’t buy myself a new office chair. I set up my office so I could get back on YouTube, I bought a course I’ve been stalking for 2 years – and I’m still doing the course and still yet to get back into YouTube.
I did get some new consulting clients, reignited old ones, and lost others. All of this taught me that while I like the idea of having regular fortnightly clients, I actually prefer to work with clients for 4-6 sessions. It was an interesting realisation and one I’m still grappling the implications of.
So what have I learnt from this? Goals change. I want too much. I still fall victim to ‘shoulds’, I’m looking firmly at you book draft!
My social media in review
2020 saw me end my focus on Instagram. I really knuckled down on the platform and tried a lot of things. Then I analysed the results – it was a resounding thumbs down. First of all I thought I hadn’t done enough and then I looked at my audience and what they want from me on Instagram and where my clients came from. And then I dropped the effort on Instagram because what I was doing wasn’t what they wanted, even though it was what I was told I ‘should’ be doing, and none of my clients came through there. Good bye time sap, hello automation. And you know what? I’m getting better interaction and more followers now that I’ve automated the content than before.
I’m still gaining clients through participating in Facebook groups and so I’ve continued to invest time, not too much but enough to stay relevant, in groups. I’m focusing on a few key groups rather than spreading myself thin. I’ve also stopped participating in promo days in groups because no one really reads them. I’d rather offer support and guidance where I can and build a relationship than be a Group seagull.
My group has stayed around the same. I’ve seen an increased number of spammers trying to join. I’ve also seen an ebb and flow in engagement. This has me thinking about the value of the group and how I run it. At the moment, the content from my blog becomes content for the group. The thing is, I know that people read my content, that it provides value and they ask questions when needed. So I often just question if I’m falling foul of ‘should’ again and what a group ‘should’ be and behave like.
I’ve started posting more publicly on my personal Facebook profile. I’d noticed that many of my business friends do this and I’ve decided to give it a go. I understand that being a business coach means that people need to know and trust me and open posting of what I believe in helps this. I’m not posting all the time but I am sharing what I believe. I’ve realised that I’ve stopped posting the quote images from my blogs and I’m wanting to start that up again, I just need to work out the best way as the other automated posts using these images won’t work.
This year saw me buying into a syndication service for my blogs. I use Missinglettr (affiliate link) to distribute my blogs over social media and this year saw them bring out a curation (syndication) service. I submit my posts to the service for others to then share with their network. My content has been scheduled 250 times, shared over 400 times, and received over 350 unique clicks. Not bad for the 40 posts I have active on the system. I’m definitely keeping this service as my blog generates clients.
My self-care in review
My self-care plan included time off, running a retreat, and continuing to have regular treatments. Well I didn’t run the retreat and that’s probably been a good thing, but I am getting away on a business retreat before the end of the financial year.
This year has seen me return to my psychologist and experiencing extreme fatigue thanks to super low iron levels.
I have given a lot of time to mentoring students and supporting excellence in social media. I get a lot of enjoyment out of this but I am coming to realise that I am reaching my limit on how much I can give.
The low iron levels has made me slow down, a lot, and so I’ve had time to think and reassess. I even considered getting a regular job. I realised that I love what I do and that I need to ask for more help and allow others to fail/pick up their own pieces. This is a difficult task when your default is to fix things, but I just don’t have the energy for it.
What helped this year was being part of two very tight-knit and supportive communities. Syndicating my content has helped, as has working on my SEO.
Working more closely with my VA and with subject matter experts has helped me streamline my business. This focus on specific expertise rather than generalists has helped me reduce costs and keep focus on achieving goals.
My content plan has helped me create engaging and relevant content for my audience. It’s reduced my stress around what I’m going to write and post.
I went through all of my client notes and collated the issues and reasons why they came to me for support. I’ve now started to use this in my content marketing and it has improved engagement. I’ve also started to use more SEO tactics in my posts and this has improve my keyword rankings.
What didn’t work
My automation of content has meant that my posts don’t always line up with the items I want to promote at particular times, however I can adjust that by scheduling specific posts for launches and tie specific posts to promotions.
I’ve learnt to be ok with people not doing things when they said they would. I’ve prepared things to keep up my end of the bargain and if they haven’t followed through then it’s not on me. It’s hard because it’s an impact and impost on my time but I need to see the silver lining.
I’m not getting as many free calls booked as previously but those who do are all converting to clients. So something is and isn’t working there.
I’m not promoting my downloads as much as I should and that means I’m not meeting sales goals.
In the past quarter I’ve not been able to chip away at any of the projects I’ve wanted to advance. This means my fear and imposter workshop isn’t online, I don’t have a good way to sell the downloads, and I haven’t been able to meet with the people I need to get them moving.
What went well
I’m really proud of the work I’m doing with Flinders and Adelaide Universities. I’m also proud of the speaking engagements I’ve had and that I am now asking for a budget for payment.
Implementing Profit First has seen me happier with the time I’m investing in the background, rather than feeling resentful for the non-consulting development work I need to do.
I’ve enjoyed having more flexible arrangements with my new consulting clients. And while it might seem counter-intuitive and unsupportive of both businesses, it actually fits better with my beliefs and values.
I love the feedback that I’ve received from my clients and knowing that I am making a difference.
I loved taking time off over Summer and being able to provide ongoing content to my group which I knew met their needs.
What are my plans for the coming year?
I need to work more closely with the businesses I need for support.
I need to take things more slowly and ditch the ‘shoulds’.
I want to continue to focus on Facebook Groups.
I want to support my increased website rankings with YouTube videos, but in a manner that also doesn’t create a huge burden.
I need to get more strategic.
If I was a client, what would I say
Ouch. Taking a dose of my own medicine.
Kara, what’s the story you’re telling yourself that’s feeding the ‘shoulds’, who are you comparing yourself to, are they in your arena?
Kara, go easy on yourself. You’re expecting so much of yourself and continue to pour from an empty cup. Who do you think you’re helping when you’re not doing your best? Are you always behaving in line with your values or is something else driving you?
Kara, you’re not in this alone. Lean on the others around you.
Plan but realise that it’s ok to change them. What you decide now may not serve you in the future, that’s not failing, that is actually change and growth.
Thanks for reading my ramble, I hope you’ve taken something from it and it helps you grow your business moving forward.