At the end of every year I like to go through my business from start to finish to see what worked that year and what may need some tweaking in the new year! Doing this is a great way to celebrate successes, see weak spots, and even see the opportunity for growth in certain areas! There are 10 areas that I always evaluate that help me plan out with intention on what the next year will look like!
What Works and What Doesn’t
When it comes to making sure your business is running at the best of it’s ability it is always a good idea to reevaluate the ins and outs of it a couple of times a year! Break down what worked vs what didn’t! What may work perfectly at the beginning of the year can actually become a sore spot by the end! – Remember your business is ALWAYS changing and growing so there are always areas that can be streamlined to work better!
So how do you break it all down? Easy! Break it all down step by step! Think about the sessions you shoot, the task you do, the projects you have planned or have executed. Did you do mini sessions this year but they were a headache? Break it down step by step and figure out WHY they were a struggle. Then try to determine if it is something you can change and if it isn’t then try to find a way to replace it with something else! – EVERYTHING in your business is replaceable! If it doesn’t work, then scrap it and replace it with something bigger and better!
YES vs NO
This year I have been following the idea of “ what is a yes, and what is a no”. A YES in my life and business are things that excite me, fire me up, allow my creative side to flow, allow me and my business to grow, and don’t stress me out at the thought of doing! A NO consist of things that cause me unneeded stress and anxiety, make me feel stuck, drains my energy and creativity, and anything that just seems daunting to have to accomplish. – It is really pretty cut and dry! If in my heart I am not jumping up and down saying YES, then it’s a NO!
Redefining Your Ideal Client
I love digging into my ideal client once a year or when any aspect of my business changes! This year alone I have had to dig deep into this 4-5 times already because of the growth my business has seen and every time I do my ideal client profile has changed slightly or I have been able to add more in-depth information about them!
What do I think about when defining my ideal client? – Think about where they live. What they do on the weekend. Do they go to workout classes? Where do they shop? Think about if they are married, have kids, or have pets. Really think through every aspect of their life! Their struggles, their highlights in life, and their daily routines!
Ask Your Audience What THEY Want!
Asking your audience and clients what they want to see more of is a great way to really connect with your audience and provide them with content that will allow them to trust you! Plus it allows you to see exactly who is following you, what their struggles are, and help you build out that ideal client profile! One of the other huge benefits of creating polls for your audience is that they are easy to answer! Your follower can just click a button and be done! This is actually huge in getting them in the mindset to answer you and connect with you more often which will grow your loyal following over time and allow for more genuine connections to be made!
How do you poll? – Facebook, Instagram, and email marketing all have ways for you to poll your audience and I highly recommend you using all three! More than likely your audience on each platform varies slightly!
What do you poll? Ask your audience what they would prefer to see on your blogs and then give then 3 or 4 topics to pick between! If you do live videos, ask them what time they want you to go live! Ask if they would like to see more behind the scenes content from shoots! You can really ask them anything!
Create What Your Audience Wants
Now that you have polled your audience it is time to make content that fits their answer! One thing you don’t want to do is poll your audience multiple times and then NOT create the content that they ask for! Don’t worry though, you don’t need to have the content ready within the next day but just have it at the front of your mind next time your are creating social media posts and blog content! I poll my audience a lot because it is growing daily, but a lot of times I am polling them for projects and content that won’t come out for another 1-3 months!
Also, do not feel like you HAVE to create everything everyone asks for because you DON’T! There are things that I don’t create or talk on because they are not my strong point in my business and don’t want to give out info that is less than 100%.
Fall / Winter is always when I get the itch to update my website! So many things have happened over the year, so many new images that are waiting to make their way to the website, and a little refresh is always nice before booking season hits! I would take one day and just dig into your website and update images, update your bio, add a recent photo of yourself, and find new ways to get your ideal clients to connect more with your website! Having an updated “ home” for your business is a great way to wrap up the year!
Workflows and systems are your best friend especially during busy seasons! The best time to create these workflows are during the winter months when business is slower and you can really map out each step of everything you do! Creating workflows will cut out HOURS of time every week and allow your business to run smoother and equally for each client! – Plus, if you decide to grow a team having a workflow in place already for them to jump into helps tremendously with the transition!
Client Management System
Having a strong client management system is one of the BEST things you can do to help not only streamline tasks but to also keep everything organized and give each client a consistent experience! I use HoneyBook and LOVE them! They allow me to set up specific workflows for each client that include scheduling emails and invoices to be sent out! I can also do things like bookkeeping, track inquiries, apply for other creative based jobs/ projects in the area, connect with others in the area, track time I spend on projects, and it even helps me prevent double booking clients ( everyone’s worst nightmare! ) – and these are just a FEW things it does! It is a game changer for someone’s business!
Outsource/ Hire a Team!
Track what you are doing in your business and figure out tasks that you aren’t strong in or that take up way too much time! More than likely you have a handful of tasks like this that could easily be handed off to someone else to run for you! Between emails, social media planning, copywriting, web design, editing, and so much more – there is always room to hand some items off! I currently outsource 5 areas of my business and I am looking to do more before 2018 ends! Remember the things you struggle with someone else thrives in! Don’t waste hour of your time struggling in one area of your business when you could be working harder and smarter in the areas that you are good at!
By outsourcing areas in my business that I don’t thrive in I actually make MORE money because I am freed up to do what I am good at and what keeps my business moving forward!
Stop Doing it Alone!
Consider a mentor or joining a mastermind for 2019! This is a HUGE way to set your business up for success and growth! The connections you make, the friendships you gain, the knowledge you receive, and the growth that comes with it is like no other! No workshop or online course even comes to close to what you will learn! While it is a larger investment, remember you aren’t just investing in your business but also yourself. You are saying I know I am capable of doing more, I want more, and I am ready to make 2019 the best year yet! No matter where you are in your business there is always room to grow and push yourself to the next level!
Did you know that I am offering a Mastermind in 2019? I am going to be coach 15 business owners for an ENTIRE YEAR to help them scale their business! The mastermind includes 3 in person retreats, group coaching calls, hands on mentoring and planning, mini classes with other industry experts and more!!
If you are ready to make 2019 your year, create string friendships in the industry, and tackle your business in a way you never thought possible then click here to find out more info and how you can join The Abby Waller Mastermind here!