Looking back at 2018
Initially, I’d written this post to go live during January, when everyone was looking back at the previous year and setting goals for the current year. But my site was down so I didn’t end up publishing it, which actually works since we’re now at the end of Quarter 1 and I have a little more of a bearing on what the year is actually going to look like.
I’m not really one for setting goals in my personal life, but I’m all about it for my business. Throughout the month of December and January, I got newsletters talking about annual business reviews, as well as how to set goals for the new year.
All of that got me thinking...how do I review my year and what I can do better to learn from the past year to set goals and priorities for the coming year.
A look back at 2018
It’s key to look not only at what didn’t work in your business, but what did. I tend to be a bit more pessimistic and look at what didn’t work, so for me I have to spend a little bit more time celebrating what did work rather than focusing on what didn’t work.
Here’s what I’m covering:
Processes + workflows
Me + my team (this includes the Masterminds I was in)
Smashing my income goals
In 2018 I made more than I ever have when running my business, I actually went over my income goal that I had made, which I’m so freaking proud of!!!
The biggest thing I’m learning to do is cut back on unnecessary expenses (my bookkeeper would probably agree when I say I need to cut back on Starbucks). I did make some pretty great purchases and investments this year though that really helped me on different levels.
My first hire
The first thing I did was hire a bookkeeper. I initially hired Steadfast Bookkeeping to get my books setup so I could do them myself but after about a month I realized I hated the financial side of things. So I decided to outsource and hire a monthly bookkeeper. Steadfast Bookkeeping has been the best thing I’ve outsourced in my business. I can’t express how grateful I am to never have to think about bookkeeping because they handle it all for me!
Outfitting my office for maximum productivity
The second thing I did was invest in my office space. I’m lucky to have a dedicated room in our house for my office, which I don’t take for granted. One of my more recent purchases was for a sit/stand desk.
As someone who works at a desk all day, I’m terrible at getting up to take a break just to stretch my legs. Last year I had a standing desk but the chair wasn’t comfortable for me to work from all day so I went back to a normal desk with a comfy chair. However, all year I’ve been looking around for the perfect sit/stand desk and while I was visiting family in California for an early Christmas, I found it at Costco!
This desk was exactly what I was looking for and had features I didn’t even know I wanted; an adjustable height desk with 3 USB ports and anLED touch control glass top with 4 programmable settings. Since getting this desk I daily sit and stand multiple times based on how I’m feeling. While I did have to buy it in the store and ship it home, it’s well worth the price (and was actually cheaper and had more features than any other one I’d been finding).
Note: I tried finding it online but I don’t think it’s available anymore - it was the Tresanti Powered Adjustable Height Desk.
Pivoting from virtual assistance to operations + project management
In 2018 I started a brand new service, virtual assistance (VA). I had absolutely no idea when I started how much it’d change the trajectory of my business. I learned a lot about what I love and don’t love doing through my work as a VA this past year, which is why I’m so excited about what’s happening in 2019. After a lot of thought and talking through where I’m heading in my business with my masterminds, I decided that I’ll be moving away from the virtual assistant role and shifting my business towards operations and project management (PM).
I’ve loved being a virtual assistant, but I realized that I’ll be able to better serve clients in an operations/PM role. I finally put together my new packages, but let’s just say if you’ve been needing a one-time project taken off your plate and handed back to you all done, I’ve got a service for that!
One thing that’s staying the same is my website services. I absolutely love designing websites, it’s like my little creative escape from systems. The only change is that I’ll be exclusively designing Squarespace websites because I believe that they have great flexibility and are wicked easy to update.
Processes + workflows
With my change in services, comes a change in processes.; While I’ve got a great foundation for my current services, I now need to add a few more workflows to support my new offerings. While I have a base onboarding and offboarding workflow, it’s the during the task workflow that still needs some help.
Me + my team
Where I found invaluable support
When people ask if you have a team for your business, you may think well I don’t have any employees or a VA so no, I don’t have a team. In my opinion though, there are so many other ways to have a team. From one time contractors such as supporting a launch to ongoing contractors like bookkeepers or social media managers, there are a lot of ways to have a team.
I also see a team as those who are supporting you—not physically supporting your business by taking tasks off your plate, but as a sounding board for ideas, a place to learn, and a place to be emotionally supported. I see my team as my peer-led mastermind that came from being a part of the Launch Brand Grow Community*. We all attended the LBG workcation, and during that time became ridiculously close, so much so that we now talk on a daily basis. Sarah, Terrica, Ingrid*, and Vanessa are my biggest and fiercest supporters. As often as we can we co-work via Zoom —often for up to 10 hours, and do what we can to support each other personally and as business owners. Having that kind of support is invaluable to me.
Where I focused my efforts
Marketing has always been a bit of my weak spot. I never know what to say and always feel like I’m pushing stuff on people when I do market myself. Thankfully though this year I have been able to step away from marketing since I’ve had a waitlist up half the year, but I know with my change in services I’m going to need to make an effort again.
In 2018 I used Instagram and Facebook groups as my primary method for marketing, with a small amount of effort towards email marketing. Facebook groups and Google searches were my primary source of referrals in 2018. I’d say that was because back in 2017 I spent the year in Facebook groups giving advice (without pitching), genuinely helping people and answering their questions.
In 2019 I’m not sure what my Instagram or Facebook effort will look like but I’ll be putting my marketing effort towards blog posts and my email list (so make sure you’re on it!).
Wrapping it up
How it’s going so far in 2019
From starting the year off with new clients and off boarding past clients to having my website down until March but launching new services it’s been a bit of a mixed start to 2019. Now that I’m getting into a groove with my new clients and my website is back up I’m feeling a little more optimistic and excited for the rest of 2019!
Planning for 2019
Enjoyed reading this post and want to see how I’m planning 2019? See how I’m planning 2019 here!