2017 Year-End Review + Lessons Learned
Wow! It’s hard to believe 2017 has come and gone and we’re sitting here at the beginning of 2018. When did that happen?! 😱
What a journey this past year has been. I feel like I’ve learned so much and grown a ton as a business owner over the past 12 months. As many small business owners do, I choose a word each year to help guide me throughout the year.
Today, I want to get a little more personal and heartfelt. I’ll be sharing a bit of my journey with you from my Purposeful Path to Abundance, and what I’m looking forward to in 2018.
Following My Purposeful Path
In 2017 I chose the word, or rather phrase, Purposeful Path. I started the year off full of excitement and wanting to do #allthethings. But I knew that trying to do everything I envisioned would lead to major burn out.
I quickly adopted this phrase to help me stay on task by doing the right things, at the right times. To stay focused and avoid getting distracted by all the shiny objects – which, if I’m being totally honest, is always a little hard for me!
Abilities and Weaknesses
One of my greatest abilities is brainstorming creative ideas and generating tons of excitement and enthusiasm behind them. On the flip side, one of my greatest weaknesses is actually sitting down to do those things after I’ve dreamed them up. #hardtruth
I’ve always known this about myself, often saying I’m a great “ideas person,” but not necessarily the best “executor.”
But in 2017, I knew that wouldn’t work in order to grow a successful business. So I buckled down and stayed focus. I said no to a LOT of shiny objects and worked hard toward reaching my goals. And I met them all but one!
That’s the power of setting an intention, having a plan and being focused, my friend.
Achieved Goals (+ some bonuses!)
I set out to achieve several goals at the beginning of the year. I had plans in place and I met so many wonderful goals. Here’s a short recap of some of the goals I met:
- Provide exceptional service to each and every client – check! (My clients are what fuel my heart every day.)
- Create systems and automations in my business – check!
- Prepare to hire my first contractor – check! (I actually hired 3 by the end of the year.)
- Speak onstage at an event or conference – check! (I spoke in several FB Groups, at an online conference, and at 3 local events – plus I booked 3 speaking gigs for 2018.)
- Develop my signature client service – check! (At least until I dream up another one.)
I also had the privilege of accomplishing a few “bonus” things that I didn’t even have on my radar, because I was so focused. This year, I was honored to be:
- Selected as a One Woman Shop “100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs 2017”
- Recipient of the Tri-Cities TN/VA Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” Award
Since I’m a big proponent of getting involved in your local community, this is an area that’s near and dear to my heart, as well. This year, I was able to help many local entrepreneurs, as well as my community, in the following ways:
- My part-time job with AccelNow, a resource center and accelerator for startups and entrepreneurs in Northeast Tennessee
- The co-working space I help manage, SyncSpace, where entrepreneurs come to create, collaborate, and build community
- My role as a certified facilitator of the CO.STARTERS program, a nine-week, cohort style business development program
- Supporting STREAMWORKS, as a member of their Advisory Council, which focuses on encouraging children to get involved in the areas of Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics.
With all the great and wonderful things that I did achieve this year, there are a couple of goals I didn’t meet. But, it’s equally as important to me to reflect back on what I didn’t achieve. To learn from them and be better equipped to achieve my goals in the future. So, here are the two main areas where I struggled – and my thoughts on why I didn’t achieve these two goals.
The first was self-care. I had action steps outlined to implement a healthy morning routine, practice daily gratitude, exercise regularly, fuel my body with health foods, etc.
But, I pushed myself so much this year that my health definitely took a back seat. I’m constantly on the go (I’ve actually had friends tell me to slow down because I was making them tired!), I eat the worst foods, and I don’t exercise. Of course, all of this has led to a lot of negative self-talk creeping in, as well.
When you’re not taking care of yourself in one area, it truly does affect every area of your well-being.
Thankfully, by the end of the year, I started to do a few things for myself that have made a huge difference. One of the best things I’ve done is start going to the chiropractor.
I’ve been a chronic headache and migraine sufferer since 2013. We’re talking constant, daily headaches that never seemed to cut me a break. I’ve tried so many things that just didn’t work. I was frustrated and exhausted.
But this year, I started seeing a chiropractor at the end of July and you know what? I have actually experienced a HUGE improvement in my headaches and I’m so grateful to say that I’ve had many headache free days now! I recommend the chiropractor to everyone now. Honestly, I can’t say enough good things about the important work they do.
And just in December, I started going to massage therapy (at the same practice as my chiropractor) once per week to work on some problem areas I have from old injuries. It feels good to be taking better care of myself already! I feel much more healthy and hopefully with each new day.
My revenue goal was another area that I didn’t meet my goal. And why was that? Because I didn’t have a solid plan around how I was going to meet it. Plain and simple.
When 2017 started, I had a goal I wanted to meet. But I didn’t have my services clearly outlined, and wasn’t sure how I was actually going to meet that goal. It seemed overwhelming and darn near impossible.
By mid-year, I had a moment of clarity when it all seemed to come together – and voila! I had clearly defined service packages. Unfortunately, I never revisited my revenue goal for the year, let alone create a plan to finish out the second half of 2017 strongly. Whoops.
Sometimes, it’s hard to look back at where we failed or didn’t perform as strongly as we had hoped. And it’s especially hard when all around you, people keep telling you, “Wow, you’re killing it Ashley!” and you know you’re not killing it like you want to be killing it. As the old saying goes:
“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”
It’s so true – a wish isn’t going to get you where you want to go, my friend! (Talking to myself as much as anyone who needs to hear this!)
Stepping into Abundance
In 2018, I’m fully opening myself up to step into ABUNDANCE. Yep, you guessed it, abundance is my word for this year – and it feels so right. This year, I’m focusing on:
- Abundance of Health – Taking better care of myself physically, mentally, and emotionally.
- Abundance of Love – Focusing more on cultivating a strong marriage and family relationships and the closest of friendships.
- Abundance of Adventure – Taking more trips, visiting new places, and finding adventure in life’s little moments.
- Abundance of Courage – Stepping up to play big. No more holding back. No more playing small.
- Abundance of Confidence – Trusting that I know what I’m doing and can help my clients exceedingly and abundantly.
- Abundance of Wealth – Smashing that big, scary revenue goal. Being open to and knowing I deserve all the good that the wold has to offer.
Other words I want to associate with this year of abundance are positivity, optimism, and joyfulness. And my vision board is ready to inspire me in this direction this year!
Lastly, I’ll leave you with this. I was recently reading an online article (and I’m kicking myself now for not saving the link), when I came across this statement that spoke so deeply to my soul and what I want for 2018:
“You know where you want to go, the challenge is only whether or not you will be fearless enough to let yourself do it.”
I truly believe my Purposeful Path in 2017 has set me up to step into Abundance in 2018. I’m grateful for all the good and wonderful things that happened this year, and I’m ready for the challenges and opportunities 2018 promises to bring. I’m ready to be courageous and to welcome abundance.
What’s your one word for the year and are you ready? Feel free to leave a comment below or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.