So Christmas is on the horizon, the calendar year is drawing to a close and your Facebook feed is full of ads for the latest miracle planners that will make all your biz dreams come true…
As my first full calendar year in business draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on how far I’ve come over the last twelve months. Here are three lessons I learned in 2016:
Listen to your clients
Some of the best ideas for my business this year came directly from the people I’m here to serve.
I was resistant to many of these ideas at first. I came up with some very convincing excuses as to why they couldn’t – or shouldn’t – be done.
Here’s a few things I’ve done this year at my clients’ suggestions:
- Held a live journaling workshop
- Created an evergreen journaling programme
- Offer ongoing coaching packages
- Sold out a 3-day book-writing workshop
When I finally pushed through the fear barrier, these ideas turned out to be pretty straight forward – and relatively easy for me to create and sell. Who knew? Turns out my clients did…
There’s a balance here of course. Not every idea thrown at you is going to be right for your business. Before you launch into a new product or project, it’s important to make sure it’s energetically aligned.
But sometimes only someone outside your business can see your next right step with true clarity and objectivity. (I should have remembered this. I’ve built my entire business around that principle. But hey, we teach what we need to learn, right?)
When an idea is dropped in front of you, don’t dismiss it out of hand. Pause for a moment and check in with your gut. If the idea truly doesn’t feel right, give yourself permission to let it go.
If on the other hand, you feel fear, or a snap reaction that it “can’t be done”, take a few moments before bedtime to journal into it. Ask yourself why you’re afraid, and challenge any stories you may be running.
As Jack Canfield says ‘Everything you want is on the other side of fear.’
What are your clients asking for, that you are afraid to try?
(And don’t be afraid to ask them.)
The power of journalling
This simple (almost) daily habit was something I’d played around with over the years, but in 2016 it unexpectedly became a fundamental part of my business.
If you struggle to articulate exactly what you do or to set yourself apart, you are definitely not alone – yet deep down, you may have a lot more clarity than you realise.
I’d seen this happen time and again with clients, so in April I created Write to the Heart of Your Message, a 10 day journalling challenge to help you sink into the practice of free writing, drop below your intellect and connect with what you know inside to be true but can’t express.
The results blew me away – not just the insights, but the connections, the camaraderie, and the confidence that comes from finally getting clear on your core message and connecting from the heart.
Journalling has since become an important daily ritual for me. It’s a cornerstone of my work and something I recommend to all my 1:1 clients.
If you’ve participated in Write to the Heart of Your Message this year, or shared it with someone, then I thank you – this has meant more to me than you realise.
I’ll have new journalling programmes coming up in 2017, including this one you can download for free right now.
Stop buying courses and invest in people instead
In the early days of my business I bought a lot of courses. I was on a tight budget, so I thought I should figure out how to do it all myself.
I ended up with a lot of expensive courses, a very crowded hard drive and plenty of DNC (that’s did-not-complete) guilt – something I never ever had at school or university.
It turns out trying to DIY can be very expensive, if you don’t have the time – or let’s face it – the true desire or urgent need to master the subject. You get stuck, you put it aside, and lo and behold, six months have passed and you still haven’t solved the problem for which you bought the course.
It’s a truism that time is one thing you can’t make more of and if you’re running a business alongside a job, parenting or caregiving duties, or voluntary commitments, your time is going to be very precious indeed.
If you’re not careful, the DIY approach can become another tool for procrastination, another reason to put off launching that website or product. I’ve advised more than one newbie entrepreneur to think very carefully about whether they really want to learn how to build their own WordPress site or whether there might be another way to achieve that.
This year I’ve made a concerted effort to hold onto my debit card when it comes to courses and invest in experts like my business coach, my web designer, my Facebook ads guru, and from time-to-time, a virtual assistant. While these things may appear to cost more money than DIY, in fact they can save you hours and hours of faffing around (not to mention a few clumps of hair), help you get results a lot faster and give you some valuable business allies.
What do you need help with in your business? Which experts would you like to hire in 2017?
Thank you so much for reading this blog over the year, for commenting on my posts, for participating in my free challenges, purchasing my products, coming along to a live workshop or joining my Facebook Group. I wish you a safe and happy holiday season, with some deep reflective journalling time tucked in there too.
Now over to you. How can I help you in 2017? What would you like me to create for you? Let me know in the comments below so I can percolate on your ideas over the holidays