There are 3 questions that I’m going to answer in my Annual Review:
- What went well this year?
- What didn’t go so well this year?
- What am I working toward?
What went well
Me Time / Patience. Last year, I felt that I did a poor job of setting boundaries (ahem, saying ‘no’) and protecting my time. This year, I had more me-time than ever. Much of it was because I was in ‘waiting mode’ for months at a time. In May, son graduated from college and lived with us for a few months while he was searching for a job in Washington, D.C. so I was the on-call-mover, ready to move with a week’s notice. In July, husband retired from the Marine Corps after a 30-year career and embarked on finishing college, looking for a new job, and transitioning out of the military (a loooonnng 4-month process). We weren’t sure if, when, or where we would be moving. At one point, he was looking at moving to Europe or deploying to Africa. This control freak felt very out-of-control at times, but I got to practice patience. In December, he accepted a job back at Ft. Bragg, so we will be staying in the area.
Personal Growth. My favorite programs and events this year:
- Abraham Hicks – 2-day Law of Attraction workshop in Asheville, NC (very bucket-listy!)
- Beth Grant’s Choicemaking Circle – we met up online 3x a month to discover how to make better, more aligned choices moment to moment
- Adele Michal’s Abundance with Adele monthly networking event in Durham, NC
Business. This was the year of streamlining. I consolidated my two digital shops into one new store, BusinessBuilderShop.com, merged and/or removed Facebook groups and pages, and moved all of the online training programs from an OptimizePress/WordPress/Wishlist setup over to AccessAlly. This gave me the chance to review all of my products, programs, social media accounts, domain names, etc. and reorganize, remove, and rebrand if needed. It was like decluttering a giant messy closet and I’m VERY happy with AccessAlly!
Retail Shop. We opened a new venture – Wells Woodwerx! Husband designs and builds rustic wooden flags and beer gear out of our garage and sells them to friends, colleagues, and family. Last summer, we heard about a new artisan store opening in the fall and were super excited to hear that they offered a super low booth rent to sell our items. It’s just a hobby and any profit goes towards buying a bigger sailboat 🙂
New Digs. The woodworking hobby actually drove our decision to buy a new house with a workshop. Let me just say that it’s not easy to find a house with a workshop. Throw in a yard for dogs, office for me, single-level for my knees, 2-car garage for classic truck and motorcycle, and a big space for our barback and bar, NOT easy, but we did it. This whole time, husband thought we were downsizing, lol, silly man.
What didn’t go so well
Diet. Last January I was 20 lbs from my goal weight, now I’m 40 lbs from my goal weight. Apparently, the diet didn’t go so well this past year. I did find out I have very low metabolism. And before you say, “Yeah, right,” they hooked me up to a machine and everything. On the little chart, it said I only expend 1290 calories a day. I guess I’m a super chill person. Soon I’ll be in menopause and then I’ll be completely f*cked. Time to seriously cut out the Bavarian pretzels I eat for dessert.
What I am working towards for 2020
Big Picture. I started this business in 2005 and it’s been my baby for almost 15 years. After some humbling personal and professional self-assessment, I finally realized it was OK to let go of some of my past goals, which included dreams I had for building up the business, starting a mastermind, and adding a team. I am no longer the same woman who made those goals. I also believe it will make room in my life for other projects I have wanted to get going, but have been hesitant to start.
My plan is to not introduce any big new thing this year, but continue to offer value in my current programs: Profitable VA, Profitable Packages, and Business Freedom Guide. I will keep creating template packs (my favorite thing to do!) and will retain my Infusionsoft certification because my commissions ($1,116.20 in 2019) basically pay for the re-cert fee ($1500) and I get other discounts on software that I use. But I’ve decided to stop actively looking for new clients and just do maintenance for awhile. As long as I can maintain my income and do little client work, I’m happy.
Here’s my revenue breakdown:
- Client revenue – 13%
- Affiliate marketing – 33%
- Online store sales – 21%
- Online training programs – 33%
This is why it’s so important to have multiple streams of income my friends.
My words for 2020 are LETTING GO. I will work on letting go of this house, unneeded weight, and possibly letting go of some key business lines. The most important thing is that I continue to enjoy the journey.
From my family to yours – I hope 2020 is everything you want it to be.
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.
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.
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.
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.