2017 was a year of change for my business.
First and foremost as a web designer/developer, I worked on a lot of client projects, which I really enjoyed. It was great to collaborate with businesses and solopreneurs, be creative with design, and teach my clients how to use their website to strategically support their businesses. I was happy to niche down and work with more small professional businesses and develop a more robust portfolio in this area.
This year also saw my first foray into diversification. I launched my first digital product, the Website Growth Tracker spreadsheets, and am thrilled that it was a success! I hum’ed and haw’ed about creating a digital product for literally months, and I’m so glad that I finally sat down, cranked it out, and pushed it live for the world to see.
I also dipped my feet into online marketing by guest posting for industry peers (examples here and here), started a Youtube channel, sent out weekly emails to my newsletter subscribers, appeared on a podcast, was featured in several publications and quoted online, wrote articles, etc. This all pushed my outside of my comfort zone in a major way but the results have been worth it!
Looking back on the past twelve months, I see that I learned A LOT about time management, setting up systems, pitching myself and my services, and getting more comfortable with failure, pivots, and rejection. #realtalk
This is all well and good but you know what they say - there’s always room for improvement. I have BIG plans for my business and how I want it to grow this year, and I know that it’s possible if I work hard … at the right things.
Related : My 2018 Goals
As I sat down and planned out how I want 2018 to look, I knew there would be things I would have to do differently in my business in order to get the results I want.
Let's take a look.
1. Get more visible
I’ve shied away from really creating a personal brand that supports my services and product(s) but that really needs to change in 2018. I plan to do this in a few ways:
- pitch more guest posts/podcasts/joint webinars
- collaborate with industry peers
- get active on social media. Actually get a Facebook page and Instagram account!
- new headshots that I proudly display online
- show my face more on Youtube tutorials
- lean into live video
All of these things are super scary to me as I’m an introvert who likes to hide behind my computer, blog on the down low, and generally create websites that make my clients happy. But if I want to build up my digital product offerings and get them into the hands of people I know I can help, I need to build a brand and get noticed.
2. Streamline my services
Over the past few months, I’ve thought a lot about what type of work I enjoy, where my strengths are, and how my time is best spent. I also looked at the tasks that I outsourced more than once and why I did that. I came to realize that branding is not my favourite thing and I just don’t love creating logos, mood boards, and marketing materials. Plus, I had several occasions where the client didn’t end up wanting any of the branding aspect of my package anyways! Maybe that's a sign that it's no longer the right fit?
I’m going to remove branding from my design & development package in 2018. It will now be an additional service that clients can still choose to hire me for and I will oversee it, but it will no longer be something that I advertise and promote.
3. Create more digital products
My first digital product, the Website Growth Tracker, was super successful, especially considering I launched it without any real promotion. The whole process showed me that I have valuable information and resources that I could share with my audience, and it would save them time, help them learn something of value, and empower them with their websites. I’m thinking an online course, recorded masterclass, more digital resources, etc.
Imposter syndrome is something that I’ve struggled with and has held me back in the past, but it felt so good to push past that and launch my first digital product. I’m choosing to rewrite that narrative and create more. Yay!
4. Become an affiliate and promote products I already love
My online business friend Justine Grey is a total whiz with affiliate programs and she has been encouraging me to do this for ages but I haven’t prioritized it or taken the time to do it. And yes, it’s a dumb move and I know I'm leaving money off the table.
If I use and love a product/service, why wouldn’t I share that info with my audience? There are so many companies and small business owners whose products/services I use on the regular and most of them have affiliate programs, so I might as well promote them! Who knows, I might actually get some coffee money out of it! If nothing else, I can feel good knowing that I’m spreading the word about my fellow business owners' offerings.
5. Get ahead on content
This is something that I’ve been SO bad at but in the past but it needs to change. I see and know the value in posting consistently and now it’s time to put fingers on the keyboard and actually create, create, create!
I’m guilty of batch creating a ton of blog posts/video tutorials that then get published all at once, leaving me high and dry for the next few weeks. This isn’t a good look and the irregularity means that people don’t come back and check out my site as often as I’d like.
I brainstormed a list of thirty (!!!) ideas across six topics and now I’m going to crank those out. Focusing on content for my website is always worth it because it will help set me up as an expert in my field, expand my reach, grow my brand, increase signups to my newsletter, etc.
Looking forward into 2018, I’m going to use “discipline” as my guiding word so that I stick to my plans and grow my business in the way I want. These pivots in my business are all totally do-able and will benefit me in the long and short run, so it’s time to get started!
Now it's your turn to tell me, how does your business change year after year? Do you make a conscious effort to change the way you do things, or do you adjust as needed? Any business practices that you’re particularly proud of that you’d like to share? I’d love to know so leave me a note in the comments below!
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