The end of the year is a natural time for reflection. At the end of each year, I like to take a moment to take this year’s lessons and walk you through how I’m applying them to my business in the coming year.
Most Popular Posts of 2017
I’m always fascinated by which posts earn the most traffic each year. It informs my content planning looking forward and offers some insight on where I did my job most effectively.
I hear you. More about list building, more about income generation – it’s coming in 2018.
Building Stronger Resources
Two years ago, I made the jump to a more structured mastermind by joining Amber McCue’s Freshly Implemented – a year long mastermind group experience. I knew in late 2015 that I needed a little more support to navigate this stage of growing my blog into a business. Having that broader, inter-industry tribe gave me vital insight and inspiration. For 2017, I felt that my focus needed to be on the business side of things – learning how to treat myself like a CEO – so I returned to Freshly Implemented but as a VIP for the smaller mastermind pod and more in-person connection with Amber. That investment turned out to be a huge step in the right direction. For each stage in our growth, we need resources to turn to.
Accountability & Understanding
In addition to my mastermind, I made a point in 2017 to actively cultivate relationships with other small business owners. Even if we have very different businesses, there is so much that we have in common. Working from home allows me much-needed flexibility, but also adds to a sense of isolation. Ideas, worries, new tools and balancing the ever-changing needs of online business turns my brain into a hamster wheel.
This year I realized how important it was to cultivate those friendships. While my husband and other friends encourage me, my entrepreneur friends are uniquely capable of both commiserating through the hard moments and holding me accountable when I’m chasing shiny objects.
Hustle Isn’t My Style
I set my income goal for 2017 back last November knowing it would be a push. To my surprise, I hit that goal at the end of September. But it didn’t feel good. This year felt like a roller coaster. Constantly making changes in direction, chasing opportunities to meet my goals, and spreading my attention too thin – it was more hustle than flow.
As good as it felt to smash that income goal, the roller coaster exhausted me. I enjoy growing my business. I don’t enjoy that sense of exhaustion, needing to unplug completely and rebuild my reserves.
So, in 2018, I need to adjust my plan for more ease and less hustle. I know that with a shift in perspective, I can meet my goals without hitting that wall.
It’s About The People
In one of my most profound (and simple) lessons of the year, I re-discovered the core of my business – it’s all about the people.
I started blogging as a way to connect. My first year of college, far away from family and navigating a new life stage, was lonely despite college friends. Blogging offered a way to reach out – to make connections with people. The same connections kept me going when I was staying home with my new infant in 2009. As I monetized, my tribe wanted the same opportunity. Again, building Blog Your Genius was rooted in my people, this amazing virtual village I discovered along the way. As I developed the systems and processes of my business, I inadvertently distanced myself from the core of my business – people. Time to fix that.
What’s Coming in 2018
Do you choose a word for the year? It’s a way to create a simple touch stone to remind you of your goals for the year. I use it to focus, to remind myself of the big picture.
My word for 2018? Cultivate.
Cultivate my community
Cultivate my strengths
Cultivate relationships – my marriage, my friendships, my professional connections
Evolving the Blog Your Genius Membership
The foundation of returning focus to my tribe is the Blog Your Genius membership. As much as I enjoy my coaching and corporate work, it’s the membership part of my business that excites me the most. It’s where I give back, cheer you on, answer your questions and celebrate your goals. For 2018, I’m going to be spending the lion’s share of my work time helping, cheering and serving my members.
With that increased time, the membership itself is getting a bit of a upgrade. Instead of monthly classes, members will now have access to every single one of my courses – both already launched and new ones as they are released. Plus, we’ll do monthly LIVE workshops in the Facebook Group. These are workshops, not classes. I want you to interact, bring your questions & challenges so we can work through them together instead of listening to me talk at you for an hour. BYG members will also have the opportunity to participate in weekly Hotseat Sessions, get first crack at new programs and products and behind the scenes looks at my systems and processes.
And I’m keeping the price where it’s at – $25/month – because affordable access has always been my priority for the BYG community. You shouldn’t need to pay hundreds of dollars to learn to blog effectively
My word for 2017 was visibility. I knew that I needed to show up and be more visible. It took a while, but I started to get the hang of it in the 4th quarter with regular Facebook Lives and more collaboration. As a bonus, the increased visibility and activity resulted in a measurable uptick in inquiries, leads and traffic – a solid indication that I was moving in the right direction.
Visibility is hard for me. I prefer to the backstage cheerleader. So this year, I’m embracing the visibility that I know works. That means showing up & being accessible in my business:
- BlogSmart Chats on Mondays – Every Monday, I’ll be Live on the Blog Your Genius Facebook page to talk through tips, tools and strategies to blog smarter instead of harder.
- Weekly Group Office Hours – Have questions that need a more in depth response? Hop into the group during office hours and let’s work through it.
- Podcast Interviews – I love chatting on podcasts, so in 2018 I’m making it part of my plan. Have a podcast that serves bloggers, small business owners, or women who want to plug in to their tribe? Let’s chat!
Bringing That Main Street Feel Back To Email
As a content strategist, I know that even the most compelling content depends on an effective delivery vehicle. Email remains a foundational aspect of my strategic approach – despite social media’s siren call. I check my email every day. You probably do, too. Your readers? Same thing. Why wouldn’t you make email part of your strategy?
In the last few years, increasingly powerful automation tools cut into email’s top strength: that direct, personal connection. While automating your content powers passive business models, we took it too far. We removed the personal from our communication. Have you opened an email to find a tech hiccup resulted in a **first_name** greeting? Or recognized an email template or swipe copy when you receive it from multiple people promoting the same affiliate product? Nothing about that experience makes your customer feel valued, understood or like part of the team.
So, this year, I’ll be sharing with you how I put the Main Street feel back into my email strategy with audience segmentation. With dynamic content, intentionally designed welcome & re-engagement sequences and strategic content planning, your email becomes more a relationship nurture tool than simply communication. Main Street Email will be rolled out to BYG Community members in January & open for enrollment in March!
So, what happens now?
This time between the holidays and the New Year is the perfect time to rest, to reset, to recharge. The holidays, as lovely as they are, can be exhausting and stressful. It’s also tempting to jump straight into those big plans you have for 2018.
Instead, I’d encourage you to take the opportunity to be still. Take a moment to be 100% present in the now. Your goals, all the work you’re going to do, the ideas you are going to explore, will be there for you to pick up and run with on January 1st. Today, do something just for you.
I’ll see you bright and early on January 1st. There’s so much opportunity waiting for us.