2018 Annual Review

Annual Review, Office Operations

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 

Last year my personal goals included “building better habits” when it comes to my health and weight because 1) I wanted to fit into my clothes and 2) I wanted more Stitch Fixes, 3) I want to be able to move around on our small sailboat with more ease.  I joined Weight Watchers on February 14th and in four months I lost about 17 lbs. Then, like so many other times, I got bored and tried other diets, mainly keto and fasting. I managed to drop another 10 lbs for a total of 27 lbs in total. Then I went on a couple of vacations and put back on about 7 lol. (Not going to lie, it was SO worth it as the food was amazing.) As of today, January 2, I’m at a net loss of 20 lbs and am starting the year with a new approach in Phit-N-Phat.

My business goals from last year were to work less, play more, and maintain income. I worked less, played more, but the maintaining income part didn’t happen. (More on that later.) 

Lifestyle. I have to say that I had a lot of fun this year. I traveled to Sedona, Arizona where my mom and I celebrated her birthday. We saw a psychic, got massages, and I bought lots of crystals. I traveled to Germany where the husband was stationed for a few months and spent two glorious weeks. And, after working on the sailboat for a year, Blue Falcon (Cal 27′ sailboat) had her maiden voyage to Beaufort, NC. All of the traveling I did this year was NON business-related! That’s a first.

I realized this year that I truly want a “lifestyle business” that allows me to enjoy working, have fun, and spend time with those I care about and not worry so much about reaching a specific level (whatever that ‘level’ is). It’s good to have goals for sure, but my goal this year was to have more ‘me time’ and I accomplished that.

Alignment. For two years in a row, my word of the year has been “alignment.” It can be frustrating because you can’t calculate alignment using data and it can mean different things to different people. For me, I just wanted a business model that lined up with my goals and left me feeling clear and not confused.

My favorite programs and events this year that had a very positive impact:

  • Beth Grant’s Marketing Alignment Grid and her Focus on Alignment program
  • Donald Miller’s Storybrand training to clarify my message (and ended up overhauling my website!)
  • Adele Michal’s Abundance with Adele monthly networking event in Durham, NC and her 2-day retreat

Marketing. Two strategies that I wanted to tackle this year were guest podcasting and Pinterest marketing. I was honored to be a guest on two podcasts and started pinning! I’m still a newbie at monetizing Pinterest, but I can definitely see how it will help with marketing, especially because I get a lot of traffic from Pinterest and I really REALLY want to get away from Facebook. I also did a lot more copywriting for my affiliate marketing campaigns after taking TheCopyCure.com  and even won a contest. You can never go wrong with learning how to write better copy!

What didn’t go so well

Mastermind program. I imagine that most of you have spent money to invest in your business, maybe a book, program, coaching, etc. And chances are, even though you invested, you may not have finished the program or even opened the book. But when you invest thousands of dollars, complete the program, and do everything right and STILL don’t achieve the success expected, it can be super frustrating. I don’t think any training or coaching program that I’ve invested in over the years was a waste because there’s always something that I can learn, even if it’s what NOT to invest in the next time.  For this particular program during the summer, I shelled out about $12,000 and only made back about $2,500 so it was an expensive lesson.

I learned that taking a cookie-cutter approach or turnkey solution usually isn’t the best course for my marketing style which I learned in Beth‘s program.

Time management. I already felt a little stretched doing All The Things this year and then I decided to join a political campaign for someone running for a local state house seat. He was my son’s former math teacher and he needed marketing help, so OF COURSE I had to say yes 🙂 I need to really protect my time in 2019 because I need a break.

What I am working towards for 2019

Big Picture. Next year my son will be graduating from UNC and my husband will be retiring from the Marine Corps after 30 years. In the words of Marine Corps spouses everywhere, Semper Gumby (always flexible). We will definitely spend more time on the sailboat, but planning anything outside a 3-day weekend is not going to happen until he lines up his new career. He’s only 47, yes I robbed the cradle, so everything is on the table.

Personal. I have 20 lbs to go to hit my goal weight and I’ve noticed that with weight loss comes flab! Ugh. I will be adding strength training to my routine.

Business. For the past three years, I’ve been working towards doing less client work and maintaining my income. It still isn’t an easy journey and, like I already told you, I felt like I had a big setback this summer. The one thing that I am sure of is that the more aligned I become, the clearer things become. As long as I maintain that part AND build in more systems, things will continue to fall into place.

Bottom Line

My words for 2019 are STEADY HABITS. I can maintain anything for the short-term: diets, exercising, marketing, skincare regimen, getting up early, etc. – but turning something into a steady habit is where the magic happens.

I still don’t have it all figured out, even after 13 years of business. As long as I continue to enjoy the journey, that’s all that matters.

From my family to yours – hope you finish up 2018 with more “what went wells” than “not so wells” and here’s to an incredible 2019.


There are so many obvious advantages to taking a vacation, staycation, or even a long weekend, but many business owners that I know dread stepping away from the computer or the phone or mobile device for any length of time because they feel things will fall apart. It’s time that you took a worry-free and laptop-free vacation.

I’ll be the first to admit that I take my laptop everywhere. I only recently put my email on my phone and I still take it with me because the term “worry-free” means different things to different people and I’ll talk about that in a minute.  I only recently hired a Virtual Assistant to help. But even if you’re not there yet, to have someone take care of email, customer service issues, client care, the things that worry you the most, there are a few things you can do now to get some downtime.

First, plan.

Create a plan of the tasks that need to be completed before you go away. Avoid scheduling any product or service launches while you’re away. If you think you can automate the whole sequence and then go away and make money while you’re gone, things are going to happen.  Usually, that’s when things fall apart or you realize there’s a big gap in your system. 

Second, Automate.

There are a lot of things you can automate while you’re on vacation:

  • Appointment Scheduling – remember to block out your calendar for your vacation time, so customers don’t accidentally book appointments while you’re away.
  • Customer Support – If you don’t have an FAQ page that website visitors can find simple answers to their questions, get on this. It will save you so much, not to mention the number of inquiries from your prospects and customers.
  • Email – what I am going to do is set up a role-based email for me and my team so that we can both access it and be on the same page with what needs to get done.
  • Order Processing – Now if there’s any part of your sales funnel that requires manual intervention, see how you can automate that. For example, if you require somebody to check a box before they get something and you find that they are not doing that, or it’s being held up for some reason, see how you can automate that. 

Third, delegate.

Of course, if you have an assistant and your processes and systems are in place, this part is cake. The only thing you need to follow up with is what didn’t work, where is there a gap in your system?  It’s good to test your systems from time to time.

Delegation is much much easier if you have your systems in place and it’s as easy as having someone look in the knowledge center or your SOP when something does need to get done. Because even if you don’t have an assistant, you can always get a colleague to step in and then return the favor when she goes on vacation but you have to have clear and detailed processes in place.

Here are some ground rules:

Arrange a check-in time – Just communicate with your delegate or your assistant to text or call only if it’s an emergency, otherwise, they can email you and you can get back to them when you can. 

Second, define what constitutes an emergency. Most things can be handled by the team member or your delegate. Empower them to make decisions, such as paying an invoice up to a certain amount or under what circumstances should they contact you.

Another possibility is having a trial run, maybe a week before you leave, try out having the other person be in charge.

Having a worry-free vacation can mean different things to different business owners. While it may mean completely switching off and having no contact with your business, others will get peace of mind from knowing they can check in on their business no matter what and that their most important VIPs are taken care of.

If you’re craving business freedom, this is going to get you one step closer.  It does take a mindset shift to wind down and enjoy the fruits of your labor, so whatever you do, be sure to take care of you this summer. 


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