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.

Here they are:

You can have success without the overwhelm.
As my business grew leaps and bounds in early 2017, I worried my life would burst at the seams trying to contain it all. I worried that I’d give up the freedoms I loved like being able to go for a long trail run in the morning or pick my daughters up from school. I worried that my health would suffer, my relationships would fall apart and my daughters would resent me for pouring more energy into my business. In real life, none of this came true – and now I can see why. Before my business grew, I set myself up for success by investing in an amazing team member, by getting systems in place and by simplifying my business so I could focus on the important stuff and let the rest go. Yes, there were some growing pains but I was able to maintain an amazing quality of life, live in line with my personal values AND grow my business without the overwhelm. 

Time is your most valuable resource.
Before I got smart about simplifying my business, I squandered a lot of time on tasks that didn’t matter and projects I had no business doing. This year, I got focused. I noted the things that were big time sucks for me and stopped indulging in them (ahem, scrolling Instagram and creating Canva graphics). I learned to say no to extra obligations in work and life and be more protective of my time. I set up simple systems, like an easy client onboarding process, to streamline day to day tasks. And I discovered the power of passing things off so I could spend more time doing important things – the things that actually made my business grow.

Your flops still serve a purpose – if you choose to see that. 
This summer, I created an online course all about getting ready to get featured. I poured a lot of energy into creating and promoting it but sales fell flat. I could have sunk myself with negative thinking but instead I looked for the silver lining, which helped me see that the course had a ripple effect. It got me on a prominent podcast. It became a great bonus for 1:1 clients. And, it was how I connected with some truly amazing women who went through the sales funnel for that course but bought a 1:1 package instead, bringing me more revenue in my business and more fulfillment in my work. 

Asking for help is a sign of strength, and smarts.
I used to think that asking for help meant you weren’t smart or skilled enough to handle everything. This year, I’ve learned that smart people are actually the ones who always ask for help. I learned this when I stopped pretending I could be a one-woman show and hired my first team member, who has helped me execute so many ideas this year. I learned it when I started outsourcing all of my design work, which freed up my time and created far better looking content than I could design myself. And I learned it every time I posed a question to my peers and got an immediate answer from a trustworthy source. Now I’m clear that getting support can accelerate your growth and relieve the burden of building your business alone.

Making connections is essential. 
People used to tell me that connections were key to growing your business but I didn’t listen because I wanted to earn success without a handout from someone else. I now know that was foolish because, this year, I decided to swallow my pride, create new relationships and let my community support me just as I longed to support them. This shift boosted my business in a myriad of ways. My connections have sent referrals my way, helped me brainstorm new ideas, promoted my stuff to their audience, connected me with industry influencers, had me on their podcast, become clients and so much more. This is why making connections – and nurturing them – is now a cornerstone of my growth strategy and something I encourage my clients to do every day.

Now that you’ve seen what my reflections uncovered, you may want to do some yourself. To help you get started, here are two questions you can ask yourself:

1. What was your biggest win in business this year, and what did you learn from it?

2. What’s one mistake you made this year or disappointment you experienced, and what did you learn from it?

If you’re open to sharing, I’d love to hear what you discover. Just comment below and let me know how you answered those questions or what you learned from doing a year-end reflection this month.

With love,

Ashley