I love learning from small business owners, artists, and anyone who is Making Their Own Way. I thought I'd give you a behind-the-scenes look at what went on in my business in the past year, partly because things were pretty quiet on the surface. I didn't do anything Big & New; 2017 was about doubling-down on what was already working and testing my assumptions about what was possible.
Here's a look at my 2017 behind-the-scenes:
The Big Picture
I refined the essence of my mission and message, which meant new branding, logos, headshots, copywriting, and website design for both my Laura Simms website and the Your Career Homecoming website. It all feels lean, light, and right. And amazingly: it was done very affordably. I paid only for headshots and new logos/style guides, doing the rest myself. I love that I get to bring my creativity to this part of my business.
I stopped offering one-on-one coaching. I've been off and on with one-on-ones for the last few years. I always enjoy the sessions, and clients have reported that they're happy afterwards, but the sessions feel like half-measures. I found that if I was really honest, I wasn't satisfied offering tune-ups and nudges in the right direction. This year, I committed to only full-service, full-measure, let's-get-this-fixed-for-good offerings, which are Your Career Homecoming and 90 Day Business Launch.
I stopped holding group coaching sessions on nights and weekends like I have for the past several years. Most of my clients have day jobs and I wanted to be sensitive to their work schedules, so I worked nights and weekends to accommodate them. That's just not a schedule that works for my life with a young child (whose bedroom is right next to my office). I was nervous about this change, but it's been fine. Most clients work with me for 2-3 months, and they are able to make accommodations for that length of time instead of me being on the hook for nights and weekends all year long.
I practiced essentialism and let a lot of non-essentials slide. I didn't post on social media very much. I sent fewer newsletters. I scrapped my plans to start a podcast. This didn't always feel good, but it did allow me to reach my big goals.
My VA quit in the spring and I didn't replace her because I knew I'd be making some big changes to my business and wanted to see what help I'd need before I hired someone new. That means that every little thing was handled by little ole me. See essentialism, above.
I did hire a bookkeeper, amen and hallelujah.
In 2017, my business turned 6 years old and it was my most profitable year yet.
Your Career Homecoming
I revamped the entire curriculum of Your Career Homecoming, adding more resources to help with the emotional aspect of career change. I added video trainings for the lecture-y parts and kept the discovery parts as printable PDFs. I paired down the material to only what was essential to reach the desired outcome of each module.
This also meant a brand new membersite with updated branding and course materials. In the second part of the year, I cut the length of the program in HALF, with success. This means that clients get results more quickly and aren't left hanging in the emotional limbo of discovering their Homecoming Career. I had always feared reducing the length of the program because I believed that "transformation takes time." I challenged that belief and learned that it takes less time than I thought.
I also began admitting people to the program on an invitation-only basis. That means that instead of throwing a sales page up and accepting applications, I spoke with every single person before enrolling them. This was fun, refreshing, and helped me get to know each client well before their first day in the program.
Guiding clients through the program was an absolute delight, and I was thrilled with the care, earnestness, and hope that clients brought to the process.
90 Day Business Launch
Michelle and I co-created 24 business launch plans in 2017, and launchers reported more success than ever before, like getting 5 clients the first month of business and selling products in their first week.
We added workshops to the Launch League implementation stage, teaching copywriting and a Squarespace tutorial, and these additions seemed very valuable to our launchers.
We kept our resolve to keep all things 90 DBL as no-fuss as possible, selling out quickly without doing A Big Launch. Our post-mortems and looking at what was actually working instead of basing our launches on assumptions made a tremendous difference.
I loved the diversity of businesses we were able to work with, and seeing them launch as as beautiful, cohesive, and strong new businesses. Michelle and I agreed that these new businesses launched with the clarity of mission, message, and offerings that it had taken both of us three years to achieve.
What's Coming Up in 2018?
I'm starting the year off by catching up on all the non-essential stuff I let slide last year. That's mostly creating and cleaning up systems, taking time to plan Q1, and do some groundwork that should make the rest of the quarter and year more organized.
Some new free training is in the works!
I'll be quietly returning to social media more regularly.
I'll be rolling out a free program for my Your Career Homecoming alums.
Other than that, it's Your Career Homecoming, 90 Day Business Launch, hopefully some speaking events, and making progress on some bucket list projects.
How about you?
What were your themes and discoveries in 2017? What are you hoping for in 2018?