I realised something over the New Year. I realised that I finally feel like I’m getting to grips with this rollercoaster of a journey called “running your own business”.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m no expert. But I finally feel like I’m actually in the game, I understand the rules, kinda, and I’ve passed ‘go’!
And it’s been quite a ride.
Like many business owners, when I think back over the last few years, there have been some euphoric highs and some depressing lows. And, while 2019 was my best year yet, 2018 was probably my worst.
The memories of sitting at my kitchen table (on more than one occasion), crying into my glass of wine, telling my husband that, despite all my hard work and long hours, “I just can’t seem to get any traction” are still painfully vivid.
Luckily, two things were on my side.
- An extremely supportive husband, who totally believed in me – even when I didn’t
- And, I’m ridiculously stubborn! No matter how hopeless things felt as I went to bed, I would always wake up the next morning, ready to give it one more go.
So, sheer doggedness and incredible support got me through the tough times, when I had no idea if I’d ever achieve anything to be proud of.
But in 2019, things began to fall into place for me. My determination started to pay off as I finally began hitting the goals I’d rather nervously set just a few months before.
In fact, it turned out to be my best year yet.
And that got me thinking.
What did I do differently? What was working? And what do I need to do more of in 2020?
So, as I start the new year with some particularly bold and frankly scary goals for 2020, here are:
4 things that led to 2019 being my best year yet and 4 things I’ll be doing in 2020 to make sure it’s even better!
1. I found people who inspire, motivate and challenge me.
I’m sure you’ve heard it many times but, it matters who you hang out with. I’ve always understood the importance of surrounding yourself with people who are not only ahead of you, but who challenge you to keep up and, in 2019, I found those people.
Hanging out with ambitious entrepreneurs who talk matter-of-factly about earnings that, just 12 months ago felt completely out of my reach, was a complete game-changer. My mindset and beliefs around what I’m ‘worth’ completely changed. And, as I got super clear and confident on the value I bring, I attracted clients who truly valued what I do and the outcome I help them achieve. It was a win-win for everyone.
2. I focused on the money.
I know it’s popular to say that we shouldn’t focus on the money but, you know what, without it you haven’t got a business! And I’ve been head-in-the-sand about my business finances for far too long. Receipts got thrown in a box and I measured how well I was doing by my bank balance on any given day. Needless to say, that is not how to run a business.
However, in 2019, I decided to treat money with love and respect. I set monthly financial goals and tracked the money coming in and out on a weekly basis. And, you know what? Everything changed. I started hitting my goals and, from April-December 2019 I earnt DOUBLE what I had the previous 12 months.
3. I invested in myself and my business.
I’ve always invested in various mastermind, coaching and mentoring programs, so this wasn’t something new but, in 2019, I got much more intentional about what I invested in and what my ‘return on investment’ would be. My biggest investment was a $10K training course – in the USA!
That wasn’t a decision I took lightly, particularly as I had the additional cost of travel and accommodation as I left my family behind and flew to Nashville, Tennessee to train with a company called StoryBrand. But it turned out to be the best decision I’ve ever made in my business, and I’ll continue to invest in the right training and masterminds in 2020.
4. I kept working on my ‘thing’.
I spent a lot of time last year defining my ‘thing’, honing it and getting super clear on who I want to work with, what result I can help them achieve and how I was going to do it. I worked on refining everything – from my sales calls and proposals, to my packages and processes – so that I was reassuringly confident about what I offer and how it works.
Clients don’t always know what they need, or even what they want, so the more I could be the “guide”, laying out the roadmap, clarifying the steps and simplifying the process, the easier it was for clients to say “yes!” to working with me.
So that’s what worked well for me in 2019. I will obviously continue to do those things, but here’s 4 additional things I’m going to focus on in 2020:
1. Setting 12 week goals, not 12 month goals.
I recently came across a book by Brian Moran called The 12 Week Year. This isn’t about dividing your annual plan into 4 quarterly plans, it’s about throwing your annual plan out the window!
He reasons, the farther you plan into the future, the less predictability you have. How do you determine what your daily actions should be 11 or 12 months into the future?. With 12 week planning, every 12 weeks stands alone. Every 12 weeks is a ‘new year’, with new goals and a fresh opportunity to decide what actions you need to focus on to hit them.
For the record, my goal for my current 12-week year is to launch my StoryBrand Mastermind Program. If you’d like to hear about that, jump onto my list here
2. Working on passive income revenue streams.
One of my goals for 2020 is to study what it takes to create real, sustainable passive income. I’m not talking about throwing an online course together, putting it ‘out there’ and expecting the money to pour into my bank account while I sleep!
I’m talking about drawing on my skills, strengths, knowledge and experiences over the last 3 decades to create something of real value that can reach more people than I ever could working with clients 1-to-1. I’m also keen to learn more about investing, property, JVs and affiliate partnerships.
If passive income is something you’re interested in too, jump onto my list here and I’ll share all the good stuff with you!
3. Getting help.
As a complete control freak, I’ve always struggled with delegating anything! I did get help from some awesome people in 2019, but what I realised was that I need be really clear about my goals first and then work out what help I need to achieve them. Just getting help because I’m busy isn’t structured and intentional enough. There needs to be some way of tracking how that help will actually move me closer to my goals. I’m working on that!
4. Prioritising self care.
Of course self-care is esssential, and I did start prioritising it more towards the end of 2019 (triggered by a trip to A&E with blood pressure through the roof!) but, with all the exciting goals and plans I have for 2020, it would be easy to let it slip again. So, I’m blocking time in my schedule for exercise, getting outdoors, indulgent activities like sitting in a coffee shop with nothing but my notebook and pen (well, and some money of course!) and at least one massage a month. Oh yes! Bring it on.
So that’s what I’ll be focusing on doing more of in 2020.
Will it be easy? Probably not. But, to give myself the best chance of winning, I’ll be applying the principles and exercises from three amazing books – The 12-week year by Brian Moran, Profit First by Mike Michalowicz and (to keep my mindset working for me and not against me) The Alter Ego Effect by Todd Herman.
What about you? Have you reflected on what worked in 2019? Do you know what you need to do more of (or less of) this year, to reach your goals? I’d love to know!
And Happy New Year.
Wherever you are at on this rollercoaster of a journey, I hope you have an absolutely awesome 2020 …