With each passing year I learn many lessons that propel me forward, both personally and professionally. At the end of each year I take time to review, to count my blessings and to assess what worked and what didn’t so we can course correct and make the necessary improvements for the upcoming year.
2016 kicked my ass!
I can confidently say that 2016 has been both the most gruelling and amazing year I’ve had to date.
Here’s a short list:
- I got a divorce
- Ran 5 live events
- Did 6 launches (and a bunch of flash sales and affiliate promotions)
- Donated close to $10,000 to charities
- Bought and moved into new house
- Went through 4 months of renovations
- Grew my team
- Doubled my company’s revenue to over $900,000
- Lost 12 pounds
It was a busy year… there are certain non-negotiables I have in place that helped me to stay focused. And then, when I couldn’t focus I gave myself permission not to.
- Wake up at 5:00am daily.
- Workout at least two times a week with my trainer.
- Move my body for 30 minutes a day, usually walking.
- Don’t make social plans during a workday.
- Don’t do personal things (laundry, grocery shopping) during the workday.
There were so many lessons I learned (or relearned) this year, too many to blog about so I narrowed them down to my top 5. They are in no particular order:
Know Your Numbers
It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson. I used to ignore the numbers and hope that we’d have a good month. I had no idea how much money I was spending or where it was all going. I felt like an irresponsible fraud because I didn’t have a handle on my numbers.
One of the reasons I was able to double my revenue this year was because I became besties with my numbers. If you have a revenue goal, which you should, you need to know your numbers so you create a realistic plan to achieve your goal.
Numbers To Track:
- Number of email subscribers on a monthly basis.
- Number of unsubscribes on a monthly basis.
- Number of consults per month.
- Number of sales per month broken down into revenue categories (1:1 clients, online programs, products etc).
- Monthly expenses.
- Website traffic.
Structure Creates Freedom
It seems a bit counterintuitive but it’s true. This last year has been about putting systems and structures into place so that we don’t always feel like we are running behind the eight ball. It’s allowed us to dramatically reduce the amount of stress my team and I feel on a regular basis.
In 2014 and 2015 you could have called me Last Minute Lori. Everything was done last minute. I work best under pressure which is ok when it’s just you… but when you add members to your team, even if it’s a virtual assistant for 5 hours a week you need to have your work done way ahead of time so your team members can do their jobs properly.
Adding more structure into my day has given me more time freedom. In 2017, I plan to get really anal about my time, how I spend it and what I focus on.
If it’s not on the calendar, it isn’t real.
Ways To Structure Your Business:
- Schedule in exercise.
- Schedule in self-care.
- Focus on the top revenue drivers first thing in the morning.
- Write content on specific days.
- Publish content on the same days each week.
- Have strict deadlines for yourself.
- Plan your launches and sales one quarter in advance.
- Only see clients on specific days and times.
- Do administrative work outside of your magic time.
Life Will Always Happen
If there is one thing I know for sure it’s that life will always be happening and there will never be a good time to grow your business, to invest in your business and to step outside of your comfort zone.
There will always be skeptics and nonbelievers. You will feel shame, guilt and isolation.
What will separate you from the unsuccessful people, from the people who make excuses as to why they can’t succeed is your ability to deal with life as it happens and still have the strength to rise up and do the work.
Shit happens. Don’t let it define you.
A Gun To The Head Works Every Time
If you don’t have any skin in the game then it’s easy for you to remain at status quo. It’s safe for you to play small and stay hidden because you don’t have anything to lose. What I’m really referring to is investing in yourself and your business.
Although it’s scary to invest money into your business before you make money, it’s necessary.
My first investment in a mastermind when I didn’t really have any money was $20,000 USD. It was the best investment I’ve made to date because it put the pressure on. I wasn’t about to waste all that money. The investment forced me to focus, to push myself outside of my comfort zone and to take massive imperfect action.
I don’t know about you but I need a gun held to my head (not literally). I need to feel the pressure of the investment to motivate me. I need the accountability.
If you aren’t happy with your progress then I suggest making a substantial investment in your business and hire a business coach or join a mastermind.
Just make sure you seriously vet the person you are hiring and don’t expect them to magically make you successful. Their job is to keep their finger on the trigger and light a fire under your ass so you move forward and take imperfect action.
There Is No Separation Between Church & State
You are your business. It feels personal because it is personal. You are your brand 24/7. It doesn’t matter what your company name is, you are the brand and the internet doesn’t ever close.
One of the lessons I re-learned again this year is that I get to decide what goes public and what stays private. I get to decide the ‘optics’ of my personal brand. You get to decide how you are perceived. Yes, it’s contrived. It’s the reality of social media.
How you win with your personal brand is to show the ugly with the pretty, to toggle between being vulnerable and credible. It’s a balancing act that is worth the effort.
What major lessons did you learn from 2016? I’d love to hear about them in the comments.