At the start of each year, I sit down and map out my plans for the year, and 2018 was no different. In January, I set a bunch of goals around work, travel and my personal life, and while I didn’t quite get there with everything, I’d say I have achieved around 80% of my plans. This is pretty consistent with the results I get most years (hence why planning is SUCH an important process if you have big dreams for your business and your life)!
Overall observations of the year
2018 has been a really up and down year for me as an individual, and us as a family. We had some amazing moments but also some really tough times. Both my husband and I lost our beloved grandmothers this year. Our son has continued to have health issues that have meant we spend a fair amount of time in hospital (although thankfully, he should grow out of these issues in time!). We have also really struggled with cashflow- although our businesses have done well, having 2 x incomes that are not consistent with really high household expenses has been very challenging (we do have a plan for turning this in 2019 which I will share in time!).
On the positive side, we had an amazing family holidays in Fiji, Forster, Sydney and New Zealand. Our little one turned 1 and Mr 3 mastered riding his bike with no training wheels! Our businesses continued to do well and we are continued to be blessed by good health, loving family and friends and an amazing neighbourhood community.
Breaking the business side down a little more:
Reflection on my goals
I’m sure you’ve all heard the latest buzzword of setting yourself a ‘word’ or intention for the year? Well, the word I set for my 2018 was FREEDOM. As in the ability to do whatever you want with your time, and having the resources to do whatever you want, whenever you want, and wherever you want.
On reflection, this was not a realistic plan for the year. After all, at the time I set this, I had a 2 month old baby! (what was I thinking??!!) I have definitely made headway towards this goal, but I have quite a way to go on this front. So, for the new year, my learning here is definitely set goals that are challenging, but still achievable with consideration of other life factors.
1) The results of my clients
The biggest, biggest achievement I am proud of is the number of amazing women I have served through coaching in 2018. I have been blessed with a steady stream of clients who continue to inspire me with their passion in our calls, their commitment to implementing their plans and their results! I am particularly proud this year of 1 client of mine that has grown her business to $250k from an average of $100k p.a. and another that doubled her target (and then hit it!). It is so inspirational to support women on their business journey and to be able to share in their success. I truly have found my purpose in life and cannot wait to help more women in the new year!
2) Clarity around my direction and dream clients
I am now 3 years into my journey as a business coach and I am really clear around who I want to serve. I have definitely honed in on my niche, and work primarily with women in their 20s and 30s in services businesses. I also know with absolutely clarity that I LOVE working 1 on 1 with my clients (as I tried leading group coaching, but I have realised that the 1:1 work is what I enjoy the most, and where I can get the best results for my clients). I am also super excited about the launch of my online courses, and can’t wait to grow this area of my business in the new year.
3) Facing fears and putting myself out there
This was a huge year for Clare Wood… in particular around fronting my fears about public speaking and putting myself “out there” on social media etc. Funnily enough, prior to this year, I had built my business with a very modest following and mainly through networking, referrals and word of mouth! But this year saw this all change… I hired a social media manager to keep me accountable for posting regularly, and I did a photo shoot to get some great new images for my socials and my website. I appeared on 3 different podcasts (the first one I just about had a panic attack from the nerves, but the more that I did them, the easier it got!). I also got a lot more confident in front of the camera, regularly filming interviews with some amazing women in business and starting to regularly record videos myself. I also spoke at a few events which again is MASSIVE for me! And a big highlight, I was also chosen as a mentor for Pitch@Palace, and I even sat next to His Royal Highness Prince Andrew at the finals!
4) Up-levelled my content
I really increased the quality of the content I am producing. I am regularly blogging (several times a month!) and hosting online workshops every month. I have stopped doing blogs and social posts just for the sake of it and now make sure that every post is written from the heart and is helping my community to learn and grow their businesses.
5) Upskilled myself
I am a huge believer in investing in yourself and in education. And I put my money where my mouth is! As well as the continual informal learning I do through podcasts, videos, books and other content, this year I invested in two FANTASTIC courses. One being Denise Duffield Thomas’ course around manifesting: Money Bootcamp and the other being Kate Toon’s course: the Recipe for SEO Success. I plan to write blogs about both of these courses in the new year (watch this space!)
6) Increasing my prices
Ironically (as a coach who constantly encourages others to back themselves and know their worth!) I had long been undercharging for my services. I knew it, but had a bunch of excuses around why I wasn’t charging more (for example, I love to help people, so I can’t charge more). However, I had a lightbulb moment when a friend said if she didn’t know me, she would be really turned off by my pricing, thinking I must be crap (isn’t it funny the psychology around pricing!). So, I bit the bullet and doubled the prices of my strategy sessions. It hasn’t really made a difference to demand, and I and am still flat out booking them, in fact, most of January is nearly booked out!
7) Manifesting magic
This year (with the help of manifesting course mentioned above) I really started to believe in the power of manifestation. In our recruitment business (hubby runs a recruitment firm, and I am his right hand woman and co-director), we achieved a massive sales target for the year that was not an easy feat (in fact, mid year, the target seemed almost impossible, but we just kept on believing and putting in the hard work and we got there right in the last week of the working year!!!). We also had a big plan to get to a family holiday in Fiji in June. Again, this seemed like a massive goal, but the universe looked after us, and it happened and it was AMAZING!! Can’t WAIT to bring more manifesting into 2019.
Mistakes (or learnings!)
1) Not taking enough time for self-care
Now, this one might be a little interesting to some people as I do take quite a bit of time for self care, but I honestly believe you just can never do enough. My anxiety and stress levels have crept up far too many times this year and I know this is that I have not been prioritising my health/ mental health, especially at stressful/ busy times. Scheduling in this time (rather than having it as a ‘when I have time’ activity) will be a focus for the new year.
2) Losing balance with family and business
I’ve really struggled with this this year… having a new baby, I thought I’d step right back from my business, but opportunities arose and truthfully, I was excited to be working again in small amounts. Picking up some client work with a young baby, meant that I could outsource housework which actually meant I had MORE time with my bubba (and didn’t have to do chores 😉). I am a huge advocate of outsourcing where you can. However, as the year ticked on, there was SO much momentum in my business, I found myself working a lot more than I hoped. Although still only a few days a week, I found social media creeping into my family time. A lot. Instagram sure is addictive, and as much as this is an important area of marketing for my business, it is not as important to me as family, so I need to watch this!
3) My course launch was a flop
Ouch. This has been my toughest learning of 2018. I have been lucky to find 1:1 coaching clients relatively easily, so I figured that launching a course would be the same… right? WRONG! I very quickly learnt that just because you have great content, it doesn’t mean that people will just land on your page and buy it. In fact, an online business is a whole different business model to learn. There have been lots of painful lessons learnt this year, but I am so excited to keep on learning and to really nail this area of my business in the new year.
4) Moving focus away from my ongoing coaching clients
At the start of my business, I worked mostly with regular, ongoing clients. This meant that I was able to work with them on a weekly basis and get them fantastic results. But with uplevelling my social media and content, I stepped back from regular clients to give myself time and space to produce some great content. However, this meant that every month, I was trying to find new strategy session clients and did not have a steady income stream, which coupled with my husband’s erratic income (in recruitment, so infrequent, but large payments) has been really tough cashflow wise. Next year, I will be looking to pick up some regular clients 1) to help me manage my cashflow, but 2) because it is really rewarding to help clients implement their plans and see the results that flow!
Whew, ok this has been a big wrap, but I’m hoping that my transparency around my year can help you in your business (and also show you the benefit of doing a detailed year in review)!
If you can see the value of going through this process, I’d love for you to join me to as I lead a FREE online training on how to do a year in review! Please join me HERE