What your 2018 goals are missing

By this point in January, you’ve probably made some goals for the upcoming year. Maybe you made a list of New Year’s resolutions for your business. Maybe you picked a word for the year. Maybe you created some audacious goals, wrote them down on a big sheet of paper and hung them in your office where you’ll see them every day. 

I’m a hell yes for all of that. BUT I also want to jump in here and share a little piece of advice because, too often, I see creatives and entrepreneurs stop too soon in the goal-setting process. I see them set their goals, then forget to take the next steps – the very steps that will increase their likelihood of getting where they want to go.

Want your business to feel easier this year? Here’s how.

So many of you shared your goals and intentions for 2018 this past week. As I read message after message, it became abundantly clear that you all have one goal in common: you want to keep growing your business without feeling like everything is so complicated.

You want to find your focus. You want to have a clear direction moving forward. You want to make your business work without feeling like you’re spinning on the hamster wheel of entrepreneurship. 

I completely get it because these are the exact things I wanted when I set out to radically simplify my business last year. And now that I’ve experimented with how to simplify and know what works and what doesn’t, I’m sharing what I learned with you in my new guide, 5 Steps to Simplify Your Business

with so much gratitude

It’s been an incredible year – and while I could say so many things in this final note of 2017, only one thing feels truly important. 

And that is to tell you how grateful I am for everything this year has held. 

I am grateful for a business that provides me with the means to do work I love. I am grateful that it brings me the kind of fulfillment I was always searching for in my first business but never found. I am grateful that coaching connects me with amazing women around the globe, women who are owning their gifts and finding ways to share them with the people who need them most. 

5 lessons learned in business this year

I’ve always believed there’s power in the pause – especially in those busy moments when the calendar turns from December to January. It’s then that we have the opportunity to sit and reflect on the year that’s passed and use that information to guide us into the new year.

Pausing to reflect is how we uncover what worked and what didn’t work in our business. It’s how we remember what we accomplished and how we celebrate our wins. It’s how we can reflect on the highs and the lows, the goals achieved and the efforts that missed their mark. It’s how we make note of the things we want to revisit in the coming year.

In short, a little reflection is a simple way to end the year and start the next one off right.

That’s why I want to take you behind the scenes in my business today and share 5 lessons I uncovered as I did my year end reflection. I know they’ll be valuable for you too.

5 Podcast Interviews That Influenced My Business This Year

You guys know me – I’m a podcast junkie, always listening to inspiring shows that are relevant to business and life. 

But I have to say that the podcast episodes that made a true impression on me this year did more than inspire me. They were actionable too. I think you’ll find value in them as well so today I’m sharing my list of the top 5 podcast episodes that influenced my business this year. 

Here they are:

5 Books that Shaped My Business This Year

If you head into a bookstore this holiday and go to the aisle on entrepreneurship, you’ll find hundreds of titles to choose from. (And if you go on Amazon and do a search, well, be prepared to be even more overwhelmed.)

That’s why I’m sharing a curated list of books that helped me shape my business this year. I know the time you have to read is limited (after all, you’re growing a business) and that the titles you pick up need to be particularly impactful. 

So here it is, my list of 5 titles that influenced me this year, and earned my "worth your time" recommendation: 

I’ve been waiting and waiting to share this with you…

About a year ago, I learned that the host of one of my favorite podcasts, The Startup Sessions, lived just a few miles away from my home in Portland. 

So, even though it felt a bit uncomfortable and a little fan-girl of me, I sent the host, Michael, an email to say thanks for creating such great content. Then I asked if he’d ever like to meet for coffee and tell me more about the podcast and his work. 

He said yes.

So we met and chatted about simplicity in entrepreneurship and about growing a business that suits your lifestyle. (These are two big things our coaching practices have in common.) It was such a rich conversation that I left that coffee shop wishing I could have recorded it to send to all of you. 

That’s why I’m excited to bring you something even better today.

how to create more freedom this holiday season

As we officially head into the holiday season, plenty of entrepreneurs are talking about closing shop, taking holiday trips and enjoying scheduled time off with friends and family. 

You might hear about this kind of freedom-filled lifestyle and feel a little ping of jealousy because you too crave freedom. It is, after all, one of the reasons you opened your business and became your own boss.

But you might not be there yet – and that’s ok because you’re far closer to enjoying these kinds of freedoms than you think. It’s just that something is holding you back and, from my viewpoint, it’s probably one of two things. You’re either…

a coach is not a silver bullet

I hired my first business coach when I was 31, close to a decade after I’d gotten into creative entrepreneurship. I was at a crossroads in my professional life and, as I got ready to launch my second business, I knew I couldn’t go at it alone.

I was right to seek support BUT I made one mistake that first time I hired a coach. I went into it thinking that investing in coaching was going to be the silver bullet that made my new business work. 

I now know how naïve I was because a coach is not a silver bullet. Hiring a coach isn’t a magic solution, and a coach isn’t going to hand you the blueprint to overnight business success, solve all your challenges or give you “all the answers”. It’s just not how it works (though you might have heard otherwise).

how to get more clarity in your business

Creatives and entrepreneurs often tell me that having clarity is the thing that would make the biggest difference in their businesses.

They want to know who their people are and what their target audience wants. They want to better understand the value they offer through their services or products. They want to be really clear with their messaging and have their elevator pitch dialed in. And they want to stop searching for answers so they can finally explain their purpose, their mission, their why.

It's easy to understand why clarity is such a covetable thing. Just think about it for a second. When you lack clarity in your business, everything feels messy. Unclear. Hard. Complicated. You have to put in a ton of time and energy trying to figure things out. And, even so, it still feels like you're throwing spaghetti at the wall because so much of what you put out there falls flat. 

Yet when you have clarity, it's like a light bulb goes off. Suddenly, you know exactly what you do, who you serve and how you help them. Suddenly, you know where to find your people. Suddenly you feel like you have a sense of direction. Suddenly everything flows and it's much, much easier to…

getting featured on podcasts doesn’t have to be so hard

It's not surprising that trying to get featured on podcasts feels overwhelming. After all, there are about a million of them (or so it seems every time I log into iTunes). And when you're just getting started, it's hard to know what to do first. 

Plus, honestly, there just aren't many people teaching creatives and entrepreneurs how to make this process less complicated so they can land guest interviews and start using them to boost their credibility, reach a new audience and position themselves as an expert in their field.

Or at least that's what my clients are telling me. They say it's hard to figure out how to make this whole thing easier and that, most of the time, they just end up feeling stuck and overwhelmed. 

Maybe you've felt this way too?

would you please give yourself a little credit?

It's easy to get down on yourself in this crazy entrepreneurial world. It's easy to get stuck in comparison or think that you're not far enough along. It's easy to question if you have what it takes. It's easy to wonder if you're doing the right things to make your business work.

But let me be clear: doubts like these won't serve you. They'll just keep you feeling stuck.

So today I want to invite you to give yourself a little credit for all the energy and effort you're putting into your business. Because I bet you're doing far more than you think – and if you can acknowledge the work you're doing, I know you'll find the motivation to keep going.

are you curious if I practice what I preach?

If you've been wondering if I walk my talk with this whole simplicity in business thing, the answer is yes, absolutely

That's because I really believe that growth stems from simplicity – and I've seen it work time and time again for myself, and my clients too.

I also know that growing my business by embracing simplicity lets me be the kind of entrepreneur I want to be. Choosing simplicity means I get to have freedom and fulfillment in my work. I get to have space in my schedule to practice self-care, not be a slave to the hustle mentality. And I can decide to kick off at 3 in the afternoon on weekdays so I can spend the afternoon playing in the fall sunshine with my girls.  

That kind of lifestyle isn't possible when you overcomplicate things and end up feeling confused, overworked and overwhelmed.

Right now, you're probably wondering what's the difference then? So rather than just tell you that I've learned to simplify, I'm going to share four ways I've actually done so in my business so you can steal my strategies for yourself. 

how to simplify your to-do list (plus a free gift)

When I first launched my coaching business, I started each day by making a to-do list that no human could have completed. It was an ambitious list filled with detailed breakdowns for big projects, notes about my many ideas and daily to-dos both large and small. 

It was also the source of a lot of stress. 

At the start of each day, I faced my to-do list with a feeling of utter overwhelm as I tried to figure out where to start; at the end of each day, I felt like a failure when I saw how many items I hadn't crossed off. No matter what I did, I just couldn't make a dent in that list.

But I kept making my massive to-do lists because I thought that's what productive people did. I thought I had to do all the things and have a huge list if I wanted to make my business work.  

Sometimes though, you have to do things the wrong way to figure out a better alternative.

how to make the last quarter your best one yet

I have to admit it: when the calendar turned to October this weekend, I got pretty excited. Because now that we're in the last quarter of 2017, the fall goal setting and project planning can officially begin. 

Yet, I'm noticing a trend when I'm talking to creatives and entrepreneurs lately. Almost everyone says they're feeling like 2017 is almost over so they've decided to wait to get started on any new projects or set any big goals until 2018 arrives.

That decision baffles me because we still have 3 more months in 2017 to make a difference in your business. That's 3 more months to grow and hit those income goals. That's 3 more months to get more clients, create more offers or products and make more sales. That's 3 more months to get more visible and position yourself as an expert in your field. 

It's 3 more months that you could use to knock your goals out of the park – if you make the time to set them and create a plan to see them through.

why outsourcing feels hard (but doesn't have to be)

When I first started my business, I did all the things. I wrote my copy. I designed my web site. I created my social media posts and workbooks and landing pages. And I managed my admin – the client onboarding, the invoicing and the accounting – too. 

I don't share this to imply that I was superwoman back then (far from it) but rather to share what a HUGE mistake I made when I decided to keep trying to do it all after my business got off the ground.

Because once I had a few clients and a modest income coming in, I also had the means to let go of a few things – things that would free up my time to focus on growth and revenue-generating activities instead of all those day-to-day operational tasks.

how to grow your business by doing less

I know you've heard that you have to hustle to reach success. That you have to do all the things, wear all the hats and work round the clock to make your business profitable. That you need to be visible on all the platforms and attend all the networking events and take all the trainings and courses if you want your business to work. 
That isn't the message you'll get from me. 
Because I believe that growth stems from simplicity – and I know that you won't get better results by doing all the things. The real way to make your business work is to stop overcomplicating things and instead embrace a simpler, more focused approach to building it day after day.
Now I know that's not as flashy as some of methods you've heard about. But I think you care less about that than you do about finding a strategy that works to grow a sustainable business that supports your lifestyle.

That's why I want to introduce you to Anna.

these three tools will save you tons of time

When you're dedicated to running a business that's profitable and that provides you with plenty of freedom, your most precious resource is usually time. That's why clients often ask me how they can save more time while tackling to-dos in their business – and why I'm sharing the tools I always give them with you today.

So here are the 3 main tools I use to streamline my to-dos and simplify the day-to-day tasks in my business.

the simplest way get clients

Creatives and entrepreneurs are always telling me that their biggest struggle in business is getting clients.

I'm never surprised to hear that because we all need a steady stream of clients to bring in revenue and run a sustainable business.

What shocks me is how those individuals think they should go about getting clients because it's always something big and complex and (often) expensive too.

how I had a freedom-filled summer (and still grew my income)

I don’t know about you but at my house, we are in full on back to school mode. We’re stocking up on supplies, shopping for school clothes and sneaking in a few more trips to our neighborhood pool and favorite picnic spots. 

It’s been a good summer, for sure. But, more than that, I can finally say it’s been a freedom-filled summer, which is something I didn’t always think was possible in my life as an entrepreneur. 

You see, for many years, I thought that you could either have freedom and flexibility OR you could have success. 

This year, a little experiment showed me you can have both.