As 2018 is rapidly skidding down the slalom to the finish line, we should be taking a quick look over our shoulders so that we can start (and finish) 2019 in a much better position. Even if this year has been a righteous success, by working out what we’ve done to make that happen we can keep the momentum up and and skid into a stylish finish in 12 months’ time.
Here’s my super quick guide to getting your year into review:
CHECK YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
I’d be willing to bet you some cold hard cash that you have achieved way more this year than what you think you’ve done. Take a few minutes and write down all the things that you have started and finished this year.
For example, mine would include: running my first workshop, no wait, make that six workshops this year; bagging my first speaking gig (and second, third and fourth); writing and publishing no less than eight knitting patterns; launching this business right here; more than doubling my client base; and building a few websites.
WHAT FELT GOOD?
Going through what you’ve done this year is great but what if some of the things that you’ve done didn’t feel good or we’re so full on that pulling it all together was a total drain on you, leaving you feeling like an exhausted failure at the end. Pulling off a massive event might make you look like a huge success to the outside world but if at the end of it all you felt sick, exhausted and like you’d never want to do it again, then why would you?
Highlight all the things you’ve done this year, whether completed or not, that made you feel good. What can you do next year to ensure you do more of the same? Did the things that made you feel good give you a real return on investment?
This year, I worked really hard to set up a networking event. It felt a bit like a thankless task part of the way through. It meant giving up my evenings and weekends to rally people, build an online community, organise the actual meeting of the people and selling the tickets. All I really wanted was to go and meet some other people. It felt off-kilter to what I wanted to do as a business and really wasn’t the right place for where I needed to invest my time.
I learned a lot from this, not just about investing my time wisely but also the sort of business I wanted to be. It didn’t feel RIGHT.
Instead, I set up a Twitter chat for the sort of networking that I wanted to do: short, sharp, easy-going. I’d happily invest my time and energy into something that feels right and is aligned with who I am. (6pm on Wednesday, if you are asking, #veganbusinesshour)
WHAT HAS BROUGHT YOU CLIENTS?
It is easy to look at the shiny, pretty things and think I want to do more of that. But if it isn’t bringing in clients to your business, then why invest more of your time in it?
If hanging out on Instagram for 20 minutes each day turns into sales, then turn up more often. Get smarter at it and do more of it. Learn what is working there.
If getting on the phone and talking to contacts has meant you’ve had a bumper year, then arrange to go and see them in person next year.
Take some serious time to go through your Google Analytics, your events of your year and see what has worked, what converted into sales. Then make a plan for how you can do this bigger and better next year. It might mean dropping some of those things which are not working to make time to do it, but why do something that doesn’t work just because you feel you have to?
THIS DOESN’T WORK
It is equally important to look at what hasn’t been working this year and why that happened. This isn’t a bad thing, it is never a bad thing to fail at something.
Earlier in the year, I was relocating to another part of the country. I had to juggle a client, a family, a house move and a road trip. All huge things that all happened in the space of two months. I also have a product business that I love but it was clearly becoming unmanageable to do everything that I wanted to do. Something had to give.
While I love the product business, I knew I couldn’t run it in the same way any more. I reassessed, I changed the plan and I realised that it could no longer work in the same way. Stress levels reduced, I got better at everything I am doing and I’m okay with letting that thing go. It was hard but necessary.
Did I fail at something? Probably. But I’ve learned so much from it that I can apply into next year.
SHOW SOME GRATITUDE
Let’s face it, you didn’t get here on your own. You have a whole network of people who supported you throughout your year. They may not even know that they have propped you up and helped you along the way. It might be that friend permanently on the other end of Skype ready to let you off-load after speaking to a particularly tricky client, it might be you’ve found a person online who really gets you and what you do, you might even have an intern doing the post and learning from you.
Take a moment to thank them for their help and support this year. You’ll make them feel great about what they do and you’ll feel good because you’ve let them know how much you need them.
I find it is best to write all of this stuff down and read back over it when I come to planning out my new year.
If you do too, get the printable here: