12 Lessons I Learned in 2018!
February is already upon us! January seemed to fly by so on the last day of Jan I reflected on 2018 and came up with 12 things I learned in that year.
They’re not in any particular order. They just came out of my head when I sat down and thought: What are the lessons I learned last year that I want to take though the whole of this year?
So the First One is Go To Bed Early.
Now I know you might think, wow, this is a personal one. Does it really matter? Does it really help us in business? But I tell you what – it does. And last year, if I learned nothing else, it is that looking after you as the primary person in your business, whether you’re behind the scenes or right up front in the scene, quite literally, taking care of you and holding that space for you to be nourished is paramount.
Last year I was feeling pretty burnt out and I ended up in the naturopath’s chair. She did do a few tests on different things, iron and things. And yes, things weren’t all 100%. So if you’re not feeling 100%, you want to get that stuff checked out whether it’s the doctor or the naturopath or a therapist, whoever it is. If you’re feeling that something’s not quite right, you want to get that checked out.
And one of the main things she looked at was that my sleeping patterns weren’t great. I was one of those people, and I’ve always been like this, probably coming from the performance space and then working in hospitality in my younger years. Always feeling like a night owl. I was (notice the word was) one of those people – who was going to bed around midnight and waking up not feeling fantastic around 7:30 or 8:00. And because I work for myself, I was able to do that schedule. If you work for someone else, you might not be able to. And that schedule was no good at all.
I had to change all of that up, and I now go to sleep at 10:00 PM and I get up at 6:00 or 6:30. And it has changed my world around! I can’t believe it. I was one of those people who used to say oh, ‘I’m not a morning person. Oh, where’s the coffee?’ One of those people. So if you are feeling that, I understand that because I was like that for 35 years. And this year, I’ve made a change and it has really shifted things up for me.
Focus On One Core Offering
As I said, these are in no linear sequence or anything. So number two, focus on one core offering. This really came to my attention at the end of last year. Originally, I thought I wanted to have all sorts of offerings out there, doing all sorts of courses and all sorts of programs. But last year, I worked with two incredible coaches/mentors and they both said you really want to work towards one core offering. So this year, I have really started to think about this and to pull things into alignment into one area. And as time goes on, I’m doing that more and more and it’s getting more and more around content creation and writing and using those to Make Your Mark out there with your business.
So bits and pieces of other business/marketing coaching that I’ve been doing, one to one and in groups, that’s really winding up. The book coaching is still there but it’s in alignment because it is about writing. So this movement towards content creation and book writing is really, really where I’m going and it will get even more refined in time.
Having that one core focus that you get known for, that you can talk about, that people recall is what you do, is so important. And it doesn’t matter what it is but it has to work and it has to work for you.
So having that one core offering, that’s Lesson Number Two.
Have Tech Free Breaks
When we’re online, in business and everywhere, so much of what we do is tech, tech, tech. The mobile, iPad, laptop, in the café, Facebook Live, podcasting. Everything that we’re doing is fantastic and it’s using these technology tools and resources that we have at our fingertips and it’s amazing. But it’s also this kind of vortex that you can fall into.
And if you don’t give yourself space from that, your thinking can get clouded. People can get on top of you. You can get comparison-itis. You can feel like you need to be getting back to people at ungodly hours. So we must have tech free breaks.
I’ve said this quite a lot but I still continue to do this every three months, at least three days off. I try and make it five days and I’ll probably try and increase that to seven days, every 90 days. So even if you can only do half a day, or a Sunday, where you literally don’t look at your phone or the laptop all day.
Tech free breaks for clarity, for creativity, and for clearing your mind space. Okay.
Don’t Make Assumptions
This is something that only came to me in the last few months. And again, it was due to one of the coaches I’ve been working with. I can’t tell you how important coaches and mentors are for moving you. Because when you’re inside yourself, you can’t see yourself. You can only see what you see. Other people outside looking in can see so much more.
So, not making assumptions is about not, quite simply, making assumptions about your ideas, your offers, what clients will say, what clients will do – anything at all. We can always fall into these assumptions like ‘Oh no, nobody will pay that amount.’ ‘Oh no one’s going to buy anything at Christmas.’ ‘Oh, I couldn’t possibly run a live event at that time.’ ‘Oh no, a 12 month membership won’t work. There are so many in the market.’ See how we can fall into assumption making all the time. And once you start to really get that, you will start to notice when you’re doing it, when you are making those assumptions, and you can catch yourself out.
And it is so important because otherwise, you are just, again, in reactive mode. And how do you know? How do you know that there aren’t clients out there that want to work at Christmas and want to pay that amount and want to do a membership and want to come to an event and want to come to your class? Or whatever it is. You have no idea because you’re not them. So it’s another way to try and help us maintain objectivity.
So, don’t make assumptions.
5. You Won’t Please Everyone
This has happened to me both in a personal context and a professional context. As you go further on in your business, and I’ve found further on in life (when I think about myself at 35 compared to 25, and how I feel and think and show up.) Knowing that you won’t please everyone lets you off the hook because if you run around trying to please everyone, as Lisa Messenger said when I interviewed her earlier this year, she was a people pleaser and it doesn’t work. She was very open about that and we talked about it in the interview.
The thing is if you fall into people pleasing, you may fall into the trap of not doing what you need to do and what you want to do. Whether it’s from an emotional space, a financial space, a boundary setting space, a spiritual space, whatever it is. If you fall into traps of people pleasing that’s not reasonable. You know, you have to be reasonable and respectful with people. But if you find that you are bending over backwards or falling into patterns where you’re running around always trying to make people like you, it’s going to get harder and harder and harder.
So it’s in having that respect for oneself and respect for others that you can have those boundaries there where you say respectfully ‘No, I’m not in a position to do that.’ ‘No, I won’t be able to go there this time.’ ‘No, we don’t offer that.’ ‘No, I won’t be able to do a discount.’ Whatever it is that comes up for you, you are clear on certain things that you can and can’t do and certain non-negotiables. And you honor yourself to be able to stick to that.
And that’s really important and really powerful. But sometimes, it will come at a cost. Sometimes you will lose people in your life because you did stick to your guns. You stuck to your beliefs. And sometimes not everybody will be overly thrilled with that. But you have a choice. You can either slip into the old patterns to keep those people happy or you can call it for real and say what’s happening and move through.
So it’s all up to you at the end of the day. Everything that I say is 100% up to you. But I feel that moving forward in your life, the more solid you become in what it is you really believe in and want to do, you will feel more in control and more solid and you won’t have resentment. So this is quite a deep one, quite a big one. It actually means there’s quite a bit of personal growth there and you won’t always get it right.
Sometimes, you might make mistakes and you reflect and you think ‘No, that wasn’t a great move,’ and you own that. So that’s a really interesting one that as you move forward in any capacity in life and grow and develop
You won’t please everyone.
Spring Clean Every Season
Now anyone who knows me knows I love a good declutter. I love moving things through, keeping things in flow, and not having style stagnant things around us. So Spring cleaning every season is the notion. A bit of a Spring clean without spending all weekend.
You could do a bit of a Spring clean every quarter or every season. That means there might be something that’s piled up and you just attack that one thing and you go through it and you declutter it and you sort it out. And you move it through. You move things through.
It could be that you decide to do a whole room or the whole house, whatever you want to go to town on. And you might find that you just go things and you say ‘Ah, I haven’t used that for ages.’ ‘That’s a book that I never got to’ or ‘That’s a jacket I haven’t worn in six months. I think I’m going to bring it forward and wear it more.’
Decluttering doesn’t always mean throwing out. It can mean sorting out, organizing, and arranging, and actually seeing things that you’ve overlooked in say, the last six months. I think people can get a bit confused about. They can think it means some sort of big throw out and that can be part of it. But another part is finding those things that have pushed themselves to the back of the cupboard and it’s time to bring them forward and use them again.
To me it’s this kind of moving, flowing through and doing a bit of decluttering and rearranging and moving things up a bit.
It can be moving around your furniture. Changing things around in one of your rooms or in your office because the energy in your office can get a bit stale or stuck. So if you can move things around there, rearrange your desk, that sort of thing. I think it can change up the energy, kind of reboot it. You might find a new plant. You might throw out those candles that have gone a bit old and crusty.
Having a bit of a spring clean every season can really shake things up and move the energy.
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Increasing Your Prices
So again, I don’t say this willy nilly like ‘Oh yes, just run around and increase your prices left, right, and center.’ No, this is about, again, in a sophisticated, elegant way going through your business and seeing if there are things that you are undervaluing when you’re putting them out there in the marketplace.
You might think ‘Wow, for the last five years, I’ve been doing one to one sessions for $120 or $80 or $150, right?’ Or whatever it is. And you might think, ‘I’m really over that. I want to work to a more package model.’ Whether that’s four sessions, three months, six months, whatever it is but you take a fresh look at actually what you’re doing in the business.
And then, you might look at other areas. You might have an evergreen product. There might be a group program. There might be classes, workshops, masterclasses, seminars, events – whatever it is in your business, whatever you offer, you might just want to take stock. The end or the beginning of the year is a fabulous time to do this.
You can ask yourself ‘What am I offering at a price that really isn’t matching the value that I give?’ And you might say to yourself ‘I give a lot in that program and therefore, it’s important that I step up my prices to reflect the amount I give.’
You don’t have to be too radical.
Often though, when we start to increase our prices, we attract new clients so it’s not about the mindset of upsetting or losing our current or old clients. It’s about thinking that you will attract and call into the business new clients who are ready for you at that price level.
And some of your current clients – don’t make assumptions remember – some of those current clients might just beautifully step up because they know how good you are and they might have even been thinking ‘Wow, this is fantastic. I’ve been getting this at such a good rate. And I appreciate that it’s time to step up.’ And the new clients that come in will be at those new, refreshed prices.
As I said, it’s not necessarily being radical because you can actually scare yourself. Then if you go from $150 an hour to $500 an hour, you might find that you freak out, you underperform, you don’t know what to do and you’re energetically in a bit of a frazzle. I wouldn’t do that if you don’t feel ready.
Some people are ready for quantum leaps and big leaps but if you don’t feel that way, do incremental shifts. So you go from $150 to $200. Right? And then, the following year, you might go to $300 You do incremental. But you keep doing it as you grow.
If you want to do really big breakthroughs, there is quite a lot of mindset work and growth work that needs to happen. Totally possible, totally doable and totally great, but it takes work because you come up against your own mindset blocks. Writing down a figure is one thing, but actually being able to step up to the plate and deliver on that and not block yourself is another thing. That’s where the mindset could hold you back from being able to step into it if you haven’t done that work first. So, do it your own way. Don’t undersell yourself but go at your pace.
But, increase your prices.
As you’ll see, there are quite a few items in this list to do with you as a person and the nourishment of your mind, body, and soul and the importance of that. Myself personally, clients, friends who are not in business, just the way of things, this need to come back to base, focus in and nurture is really really critical.
So we need to be practicing self-care every week. Practicing self-care very week, in my view, is about incorporating practices that you can either do daily – that’s the ultimate – and some you do weekly. So if you find that there’s just too much going on with children and everything and it would stress you out even more to do self-care practices every day, cool. Incorporating a self-care practice every week that you stick to can be more doable. Just don’t let self-care slide.
It might be, for example, if you live near the coast, going to the ocean and looking out for an hour which is what I do. I love it. And they say with nature, it’s really, really beautiful to go to the same place every time. So you might go to the exact same rock or that exact same tree or into that same every week. I read about this in The Enchanted Life by Sharon Blackie. The idea is that it’s like an anchor when you do the repetition you really sink into that environment and that landscape for that time.
And then, you repeat it, you repeat it and you repeat it. What happens is that you start to get to know that piece of nature. So if it’s the same tree you sit under or the same piece of ocean you gaze out at, you start to build a relationship with it. You’ll have days when the ocean is choppy. Days when the ocean is calm. Days when the ocean is fierce. Days when the ocean is sunny. Days when the ocean is tranquil. Days when the ocean is stormy.
And you start to feel that and sense that. See how that relationship is being built? And then, when that relationship with nature is being built more, the connection and the groundedness and the kind of the self-care of that space becomes more potent. I love that. I think it’s absolutely beautiful.
It doesn’t have to be nature if you can’t do that or don’t have time or aren’t in an environment where you could do that but say a bath once a week or a meditation once a week. You want to do something that goes for about 20 minutes.
If you have children or elderly parents to care for or a full time job, I know it can be difficult. But if you can somehow have in your schedule that someone looks after the children, even if it’s 20 minutes, and you, in that 20 minutes, do something that is solely focused on you and filling up and focusing just on you.
It could be a journal practice or seriously it could be cloud gazing, that’s something that I love. Right? That’s a great meditation. A cloud gazing meditation is simple and easy. You can get a cup or tea or water or and you go anywhere outside. Anywhere. And you look up and you just gaze at the clouds. Maybe there are no clouds. Maybe it’s a clear sky. And let you mind relax. What are you seeing there when you look at that? Let your imagination roam. Feel relaxed and spacious. Clouds drift really slowly across the sky. Follow one with your eyes.
Self-care. Totally, totally critical to do it every week.
Sales Calls And Strategy Calls Still Work
This can be something people shy away from because we’re online and we think ‘Fantastic, we’re all online. We can do emails. We can do Facebook Lives, fantastic, great.’ And we can shy away from those strategy calls, discovery calls, sales calls, whatever you want to call them.
But truly, truly, you can really help people and shift people and move people to buy or invite them into your program through a call. Calls have worked beautifully for me this year. People get that connection. You can always ask for higher prices when you do that connection where you’re going to invite someone into a program that is more detailed or more high level. These calls are beautiful. They really connect on a deeper level. I’m talking about your premium priced programs here.These calls are fantastic.
So if someone says ‘Oh no, sales calls are dead.’ In that voice, you probably want to run very far. Jokes aside, whatever you want to call it, you can call it whatever you want to call it but it’s getting in front of someone face to face, on Zoom, on Skype, in person. This is fabulous, right? Or on the phone but seeing someone is better. If you can do that, it’s really remarkable. And if you know and understand the flow of these calls, that’s really where the gold is for both you and your customer.
Because it’s a conversation that moves people to work with you. We’re in business. We need to be profitable. We need to be offering our products and services all the time.
So, old fashioned, if you want to call it old fashioned, the sales call, still works.
Know The Outcome For Your Clients
Wow, wow, wow. This was a massive one this year and my two beautiful coaches said this over and over again. And it’s true, in marketing and in business, in anything that you are doing, you have to know that. If you don’t know that, how are you going to sell what you’re trying to sell? It’s critical. You have to know deep within you what outcome there is for your client? So you are clear in your mind that once you’ve done this work or done this program or given this advice or helped people – what is it that those clients get? And if you’re finding that hard that’s because it can be challenging to determine exactly what that is.
It is probably a major piece of the puzzle that most people miss and yet, it’s the piece of the puzzle that is probably the most important. It’s just incredible because if someone’s going to pay the dollars or the pounds or whatever they’re paying, what are they going to get for that? Okay? And I don’t just mean a list of things and I don’t mean processes and systems and you three times a week on Zoom or something. Or once a month on Zoom. That’s not an outcome. It’s more nuanced and more detailed than that. So having a real think about that outcome is so important and has really shifted me in so many ways this year.
So, work on it so that you know the outcome for your clients.
Create Consistent Content
The final one!
And this is where my business is moving. I was just hearing Joanna Penn talk about Amazon and how Amazon is changing up for offers. These big platforms can change things up all the time. And if you’ve been relying on certain platforms or relying on things to work for you and you haven’t been doing your content and content marketing then, those platforms, say, take things away or change things up like Amazon has, you are then left out in the cold. This is a real issue.
If you are someone who is always building up a consistent, online content strategy, content assets, content creation, content marketing, your intellectual property, your body of work. You’re there. You’re everywhere. You’re not exclusive on one place. You’re not seen for a little while somewhere else and then drop off. You’re not in a Facebook group and then, it closes down. You’re not doing a newsletter here but then forget to do it for three weeks. Wow, no, no, no.
When you are on top of your consistent content creation, you are organized. You have systems. You are perfectly planned out. And this is what I’ve noticed more and more with clients across my programs (which I’m streamlining into one.) This is somewhere they can easily fall off the bandwagon. And it’s something that is so important. You need to know all the pieces of the puzzle.
You have to know your pricing , what your offering is and what the outcome is, of course. But your content that is going out on a consistent basis that talks to your people, that educates your community, that draws them closer to you, that helps them, that gives them advisory, that moves them to that next level in their business – that’s what you want to be doing. All the time.
You want to be doing it on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. It’s an ongoing thing. In the early days of business, you do this yourself. This is what you are doing and creating. And it’s really, really important to do that so you refine and refine and refine your offerings, your language, the way your people work and you’re really getting to understand them through this.
And then, sure, after a year, three years, five years, you can have a team or an assistant who helps you do it at least helps you deliver it and snazz it up, right? But in those early days, it’s like doing your doing your taxes, or doing your emails or something. It’s just one of those things you need to be doing. All the time.
So many people I see fall off the bandwagon because they don’t know really what to say or what to do. They don’t know what they should write next or where it’s so they do stuff in a piecemeal kind of way. And the confusion and unsureness pulls them down and stops them from doing stuff erratically or up and down with content.
And, if we’re talking tough love, the issue with being erratic is that your community who are watching and seeing and taking it all in, think that you’re unpredictable. And if you’re unpredictable in some interesting strange way, the trust drops. And when that trust drops, there’s kind of less inclination or momentum around actually wanting to work with you because – and they don’t even know why. They just go ‘I don’t know. Maybe. She’s good but yeah. Right?’ And that’s not what you want your community to think or feel about you.
So content, consistent content creation, that is compelling, that really helps people and helps you to convert as well, is super, super important. And that’s why I left that one till last.
My book Your Beautiful Business is a successful piece of content I’ve been using as part of my overall content strategy for a while now. The book outlines my easy 3-step system for Simplying, Beautifying and Amplifying your business – getting rid of the clutter, upgrading your branding and getting your message out there.