Last year I wrote Not Starting Over Just Starting Smarter 2012 with a solid outlook of what I wanted to work on and where I wanted to go in 2012. Looking back I see I’m still on track for the same goals, so I suppose I chose wisely last year! These are the items I identified as being important to me in 2012, with my updates on how I did, and my plans going forward. I don’t exactly expect YOU to get all excited over my goals, but maybe it will inspire you to look back on your own to tweak and go forward!
This one is actually very easy for me to visualize last year and it’s equally as important to me now. All working all of last year shifting myself professionally I feel I have broken through and am ready to grow bigger. That may be with an agency, or in-house at a company, or as part of another consortium of boutique agencies and service providers such as myself. Just because the calendar ticks over to January 1st doesn’t mean I’m done with changes from last year. Right now I’m still discovering (and rejecting) many other large opportunities for myself. I’ll keep you posted…
Clients / Coaching
This past year I had wanted to work more with coaching professional women to help them discover and become the powerhouse they were meant to be. In that I have been very successful. I’ve also horrendously undercharged for my services mostly because I felt my time and ideas and experience weren’t worth the investment from others. Thankfully, I’m over that and have decided to wean down my coaching clients to “VIP experiences”. I’m more of an offline person when it comes to marketing this opportunity as long sales sheets and ‘one time offers’ online are not really my thing. I will be writing up details about the experience for those that do want to research online and find out about that sort of thing. My price range for coaching services range from $2,500 to $6,000 and have been in demand. I am still learning to ‘let go’ of negative people that claim I’m too expensive, but they were never appropriate coaching clients anyway. This past year I also took time for myself professionally to complete a nine month intensive, in-person, and hands-on advanced coaching training program. Not only did it help me, but it helped my coaching clients greatly. Just as I inspire others to do – I took the time and money to grown myself as a business professional. You can never ever stop learning…
As far as clients for my business, because of my arm (and now knee!) surgery and writing the book, I decided to wean off my client base as far as large corporate clients go. Refocusing on smaller businesses and solopreneurs seems to be a good fit for me now. It is too difficult for me, alone, to juggle the demands of global scale clients. I do crave working on large projects again and am following up some ideas to work back in agency life again.
Speaking in 2012 was something I should have focused on much more. I agreed to attend and speak at too many conferences for free (not even travel or hotel covered!!!) because I saw it as a way to increase my client base. After sinking $12,000 into providing content for conferences with nothing in return I have decided to not pursue or accept unpaid speaking engagements again. The events I attended for free didn’t attract the level of coaching clients I needed to have. Without getting into specifics, let me just say that most attendees where beginner or mid-level and mostly employees of a company when I needed to find advance plus level business owners needing customized and detailed help in moving out of plateaus and above their competition.
I should note there are one or two events locally I have applied to speak at (for free) mostly because they are local and I will mainly use the opportunity to reconnect with friends. The difference here being I have no delusions of grabbing any clients there. They simply aren’t in the right space or level professionally to want my coaching services.
NAILED IT! Google+ for Small Businesses was an idea crafted by me and Pearson / Que Biz Tech. Introductions to my editor, of course, were made by amazing friends who had also written very successful books for the publisher. It hit the digital bookshelves November 2012. An unseen pitfall was that it took much longer than I wanted to write the book because of an unexpected surgery on my arm rendering typing nearly impossible for months. Next book I will try much harder to not have a major medical meltdown.
I actually have a second book in the works, although it will be nothing like my first. To be honest I find writing ‘technical cookbooks’ difficult as tech and platforms change so rapidly. I’m much more interested in working with people (and writing) to show the WHY of what you can do with the tools, not the HOW of how to click and type and press publish. My goal for 2013 with my new book is to find a publisher that sees the dire need for a combo self-help / motivational / business development book targeted to professional women. It’s been my life’s work, I think I know a thing or two about it. I have every reason to write a book for professional women to empower them to fully and confidently participate on the social web while breaking through fears and stereotypes that keep them from success.
Women of Google+
The biggest disappointment of my own was that I couldn’t devote the time and resources to Women of Google+ as I had wanted. With only me working on every single project of mine (unpaid) as well as working (paid), something winds up not as loved as the other children. Women of Google+ will require more time and ideas (and love and writing) than I can dedicate to it on my own especially since it is not a money generator for me. Sadly the only way to get help with the site and project is to have money to spend and no one will sponsor it until it is a bit more vibrant. Catch 22. I do hope to continue to plod forward with the community and grow and nurture it like it deserves.
With two major surgeries in 2012, the idea of taking time for myself has been a challenge. I feel the need to overcompensate for the ‘slacker’ time I had to spend on the couch without use of my arm (typing) or leg (walking). I can now say I gave an arm and a leg to 2012, and I’m so ready for that to be over!!
Get a schedule
I sort of failed on this one. I’m the type of person that works on projects when the inspiration hits me or a deadline is looming. I was horribly off target for writing my book because typing just took me so damn long with a left hand that didn’t work. With both kids in school it’s easier to plan my day, but summer is always hectic Our little guy will be in preschool summer 2013, but then heads to kindergarden leaving summer 2014 a big problem. Our daughter is older so she’s usually okay hanging around the house or our office in the summer, and does go to summer day camp for a month.
I was hoping for administrative help last year, but the money and need just wasn’t in the budget for 2012 (after dropping corporate clients and charging too little for coaching). Too many of the things I needed to do for work could only be done by me, and the level of need for other things like booking travel or coordinating speaking and training were greatly diminished because I cut back travel (and giving away my time for free). What we did do however was get a cleaning service to help take care of things around the house. This helped a lot because of my arm and leg, but also seemed to lift the nagging in the back of my head that I should be scrubbing a toilet or tub or something instead of working. Now I just worry about picking up after my kids and making sure the dogs don’t get into something they shouldn’t.
I wanted to start purging my basement and build an office down there for me and that’s just what we did! I still need to finish purging out more junk and think about finishing an area for a ‘wreck room’ for the kids. Having them have an area of their own outside my office will get their clutter out of the main area of the house and keep them from crashing with me in my office while I work. As soon as the weather warms up in the spring 2013 and my knee heals more, I will (hopefully) be able to do the stairs and help with Phase 2 of the basement!
I started going to the gym on a regular basis March 2010. A few months later I got a trainer to put me in the right direction. Then in April 2012 I had to stop completely because I needed a major surgery on my arm to keep from loosing the use of my hand. So yeah, of couse my weight crept back up. I did decide to start a very low key project about Making a Healthier Me where I could blog a bit focused on only food and health. Notice the WordPress.com domain, I didn’t even feel like putting in the effort to buy a domain and hosting it. Maybe in 2013 I’ll migrate it over to my own control.
More husband time
Never enough husband time. We really didn’t get out alone in 2012 by ourselves, not even really for work. This year we are heading to PAX East together without the kids (!!!) so that may be our only alone time. It will certainly qualify for our only vacation in two years, sadly.
More girlfriend time
YES. I am so working on this. In fact, the first weekend in January 2013 I’m having dinner with some local friends. I love them so much and we get together a few times a week on Google+ hangouts to catch up on work and life. They are my lifeline and sanity. I am so glad that I decided to branch out of my shell a bit and reach out to make more friendships. Working alone is very isolating and emotionally dumping everything on a spouse isn’t healthy. Girlfriends aren’t just for venting frustrations we are fierce and amazing and brainstorm all the time (all are solopreneurs like me). LOVE them so much!
More kid time
Our last trip as a family was January 2011. Being cooped up in the house with me over spring or winter or summer breaks just isn’t the same. Family vacations come every few years in our house, as we are self-employed and at the mercy of clients. I’d like to start taking long weekend trips with the family but the husband can never seem to break free. Curse of the self-employed, we work ALL THE TIME.
More me time
I don’t exactly know what this means. But I know I need it. I rarely go shopping, with the exception of grocery shopping. Sometimes it would be nice to just meander through a store and not worry about chasing kids or getting back in time for a client call. Same as last year, with no hope of changing this year.