My 7 Biggest Lessons Learned in 2019
Ohhhh 2019 how I have loved you.
I’m sure part of it was due to the fact that 2018 had me feeling like I was on a never ending merry go round for a majority of it (you can find that over at: My 7 Biggest Lessons Learned in 2018) but still… 2019 was my boo in many ways.
First, let’s knock out the greatest hits of 2019.
On a business level (since, you know, that’s what you’re primarily here for):
- 2018 was our highest profit year. 2019 was our highest profit AND revenue year.
- We ran the first two rounds (and in-person retreats in Austin and Portland!) for the women in The Collective
- Our funnels were massively simplified, which allowed us to increase revenue while decreasing admin headaches.
- We added three new members to our team.
- Clients to Courses was created and finalized.
- Added two additional charities to are recurring monthly donation list.
- True Crime Connection was launched as our newest business baby.
On a personal level:
- We marked another MLB stadium off our list (13 down!)
- I got back into therapy and learned the life changing magic of this book.
- Traveled to the Bahamas for an amazing wedding.
- Finally got to take Joe to Texas for his birthday to see his first Cowboys game, at their home stadium.
- Started the SoleSisters Community group on Facebook as a way to bring together like-minded women to work on our health goals WITHOUT it being attached to a business (aka the reallll key here for me!)
- Saw Mean Girls and The Prom on Broadway, which both were EVERYTHING.
And, just like you….
I learned a lot in the process of it all.
About myself, my blind spots, what I want out of life and how I operate best.
So, let’s get into the lessons!
1. Don’t Settle for an “OR” life when an “AND” life is possible.
Have you ever completed the “Wheel of Life” assignment?
It’s simple enough, go through the areas on the wheel and evaluate where you fall in each.
When I first did, I loved the concept behind it.
No one has a perfectly round wheel because we all have things we can improve upon.
However, I also started to subconsciously create a story for myself.
The story? You can’t win in more than one area at a time.
This created an “or” approach in my mind.
“I can focus on business OR health.”
“I can have more fun OR earn more.”
Do you know what that way of living leads to for someone who’s multi passionate?
Once I realized this, I decided to start becoming aware of what I was choosing to “or” in my life.
“Are these both true priorities for me?”
If the answer was no, great, no need to move forward with this line of thinking.
If it was yes, then I asked myself how I can turn it into an AND for myself?
It didn’t take long for me to see that this new approach to fighting for the AND allowed me to see what was actually important, thus, eliminating the things I didn’t care about. It also sparked my creativity in order to find ways to get whatever I wanted.
“I’m super short on time today, do I work on this content OR go to the gym?”
“I could make my workout a little shorter so that I can workout AND complete my content.”
“I could keep my workout full length and do a quick shower vs full hair and makeup so I have time to jump into content.”
Either way, I’m doing both because both are priorities for me.
This approach is how I…
Continued to scale the business this year AND keep my time freedom.
Travel with my husband AND travel for business.
Workout 5-6 days a week AND be on time for calls.
Support my clients with getting results AND be their friend.
Cover over $5k in dental bills (thanks, teeth) AND book last minute trips for both of our birthdays.
The AND life is a choice and one that I’m excited to bring into 2020 as well.
2. Set goals for the action not the outcome.
This year we set our goals differently than in the past.
Partially because annual revenue goals don’t motivate me and partially because, after eight years in business, I know that no amount of breaking down your revenue goals matter if you’re not actually taking the everyday actions that bring them to life.
This meant that for each month and quarter, my goals were action-focused.
This included things like building and promoting evergreen webinar (vs selling $X off an evergreen webinar for X product), creating and launching Clients to Courses (vs getting X number of members by X date) and so on.
Now, this doesn’t mean I didn’t set sales goals going into a launch or new webinar, because I did.
The difference is that they became the unspoken by product vs the focus.
Because the work, works.
By focusing on the action vs outcome, I was making a choice to keep myself in the driver’s seat.
There are so many things we can’t control in business and this year, I made one conscious choice after the next to pay attention to what I can’t control…
And let it go.
3. You don’t have to scream your mission for it to be heard.
Back in my 2018 wrap up, I talked about a new offer I launched, called The Collective. At the time of that blog, it hadn’t begun yet so, while I knew who was joining, I didn’t know what the outcome would be.
The external promise was to help business owners shift their business from 1:1/DFY reliant to freedom driven success with scalable offers.
This included everything from messaging to visibility, creation, launching and funnel building. It was also one of the only ways to work with me in a 1:1 capacity as this container not only was curated to seven women who all had different areas of expertise to bring to the table to share with the others but complete access to me, my mind, my eyes, behind the scenes and my resources.
It also included access to an in-person retreat and 1:1 access to Becca Reed Smith so that we could be the ultimate tag team in the undisputed two vitals for business success: mindset and strategy.
By the end of January, I knew I had something special.
By the end of our event in March, I knew I had something magical.
By the end of the first round, I knew I had something that had to continue on.
As it’s a six-month offer, this gave me the opportunity to run two rounds and compare the transformations between them.
Outside of the business growth, they were asked about their biggest takeaways. When I heard their answers, my mouth dropped.
The leading answer was the fact that they can run their business however they want and still get to the end result (yessss to breaking those damn cookie cutter ways of business and doing it in a way that serves what YOU actually want to do and feel).
The close second was that they aren’t alone anymore. That, no matter what level you’re at, we all have fears, worries and inner mean girls in our minds.
Want to know why I’m ok with sharing the “mess” of my own business?Why I talk about topics that people think are taboo?
I have always wanted to show women that they aren’t alone in what they are experiencing. In life, in business, in any of it.
I did it back when my business was in the fitness industry.
I did it back when my business was in social media.
And I do it now, even though my business is around strategy.
I rarely talk about the fact that I do this.
Yet, it was all over the feedback and testimonials that came from The Collective.
I didn’t have to scream it on social with 7329 videos or 3830202 different posts. Heck, I didn’t even have to talk about it at all.
Because, when your mission is something that you truly embody, it spills out on everything you do.
4. Working from Heart vs Ego Always Wins
I’ve always been the type of person who rises to a challenge.
So much so, that after a messy 2018, RISE was my word for 2019.
This part of me can be a little fickle though because, if I’m not careful, my ego will take the wheel and I do silly things for the sake of “winning the battle.”
Like the time in September when I was going into the beta launch of Clients to Courses, and realized that my ads would be running alongside a huge affiliate-driven launch. A launch that would be targeting the same people I would.
This sent my ads costs through the roof, which also meant that the challenge sign-ups were coming in and a pace so slow that I thought something was broken.
What did I do?
I handed the wheel over to my ego and started dumping money into my FB ads account.
“Oh, they want to play with ME? Ohhhh I’ve got money to play with! MORE CAMPAIGNS! MORE AD SETS! GOOGOGOGO!”
Guys…. Do not try this at home. Ego-driven choices are NOT how we keep businesses profitable.
After a good night’s sleep, I woke up and realized I let my ego win.
I shut all the ads off and focused on how I would respond if I was leading with heart. If, instead of getting all wrapped up in what my numbers looked like, I served those who were right in front of me saying yes.
What happened next?
A launch that had me so connected to my audience that I got the kind of feedback that we all dream of —- feedback that clarified my offer in a way I wouldn’t have been able to see on my own.
You see, earlier this year, I let go of my previous membership, the Achievers Circle, and began building the Clients to Courses Society. This launch was the test run of putting it out there in a public way.
Since we had a smaller group for this launch, I was able to connect with them on a deeper level, which sparked conversations around their preference to buy into a program (even if more of an upfront investment) than a membership.
Within a day, I switched the Clients to Courses Society over to Clients to Courses (with the Society being a community for ongoing training, Q+A sessions, support and collaboration that’s included at no additional charge).
It simplified SO much for every side of the equation that I can’t help but laugh at the fact that I didn’t do it this way from the beginning of the launch.
Blind spots, people. We all have them.
5. What’s for you will not pass you.
If everything went as planned, I would be telling you that I officially have a best selling book and how much heart and energy went into it.
Except, I don’t have that.
Not even close.
And I’m SO thankful for that.
Why? Because the book I want to write isn’t ready for this moment in time, no matter how much I wish it was.
Sure, I could make myself ready.
I can set aside the time. I can hire the right people. I can do the things.
But I would be going against everything I tell you about freedom driven success.
You see, the only book I want to write has nothing to do with business.
It’s going to impact lives in ways I can’t even imagine.
And I’m not ready for what I know will come from it yet.
There are things I want to build and sustain first.
You see, this isn’t just something I want to put out there and wish the best for.
It’s THE vision.
It’s the thing my 15 year old self will cry on the floor in celebration over.
It’s the thing that will pull the audience and connections that have been built in every business together in one place.
It’s the thing that every single thing I do right now will be the story leading to.
However, there was a time this year when I let others get into my head about this.
“I’m going to miss my chance.”
“Too many people will have talked about this by the time I do it so it won’t be special anymore.“
“My friends are sick of hearing me mention this, I need to just do it.”
You name it, I probably said it.
So, I started getting on discovery calls with people who could help and got myself ready to invest.
Right before I went to pull the trigger on the first contract though, a thought came to my mind.
“What’s the rush?”
I didn’t like any of the answers (aka they were ALL fear-based) that followed so it stopped at that point because that’s all I needed to know.
When it’s time, I’ll know.
And the people who need to hear that message it will be there.
Until then, it will show on social and in conversations.
One thing at a time.
6. Your only responsibility is to keep failing forward.
This year, something came up that I couldn’t ignore.
It was a story around failure and how I was no longer allowed to do so at this point in my business.
“I have a responsibility to show people a win. If not, I’m letting them down.”
“What will those who work with me think if things still aren’t juuuust right, even at this point?”
These thoughts began paralyzing me.
I didn’t want to launch. I didn’t want to publically sell.
I didn’t want to do anything I could potentially fail at because I needed to be “better than that.”
(I know it sounds ridiculous because we all fail but this is the difference between conscious and subconscious thought… subconscious is running the show.)
Thankfully, I have created a way of business that can still run and profit without me being “on” so it had my back while I was navigating this. No one even noticed.
And I probably could have let it continue for quite some time.
However, I have to create to feel alive.
I come up with new ideas everyday. I thrive being in the thick of things and seeing what works and what doesn’t. I love challenging what’s happening in an industry.
Without being able to try and create new things and experiment, I feel lost. And that’s not a fun feeling.
In July, I attended a peer mastermind retreat, hosted by my friend Amber De La Garza at The Productivity Specialist and I shared what I was feeling with the group.
To be honest, I hesitated doing so because I thought they would think I was a weirdo.
Yet, at the same time, I also know there’s something so powerful when you put a voice to the chatter in your mind and I didn’t want to give up the opportunity to do so.
Each woman in that room held space for me to share my experience and help me to realize that this was actually a repeating pattern for me.
This ment it was time to break it as well.
It lead to me writing an email series (you can read them all here) sharing what I was going through and focusing the remainder of the year treating myself just like I do in the beginning of any business…
As someone who fails their way to success.
I also began surrounding myself with positive proof of business owners failing their way up, at all levels of business, with podcast like Business Wars, StartUp and The Pitch.
And let me tell you, business got exciting again for me.
Go figure, right?
7. Work with less and surprise yourself
2018 was out highest profit year, which was already a win. However, 2019 was our highest revenue AND profit year, which pretty much makes it my favorite from a business perspective.
How we got there?
Not by downsizing our team (we actually grew it from 2 to 6)
Not by sacrificing our service (we increased the amount we spent on our customer/client experience)
Not by increasing my work hours (we decreased that as we built the team)
Not by refusing to invest in what we need (we still purchased programs, memberships and resources as needed for myself or the team)
We got there with a heck of a lot of intentionality in doing less, better.
1) getting honest about what was truly needed in each individual quarter of the business and
2) removing finances and/or resources to do anything else but what was identified.
Yep, I continuously hid money from our expense account, simply for the sake of challenging myself to do more with less. I also said no to adding on new social platforms or offers so we could maximize what was right in front of us.
You know the saying, “when you think you’ve surrendered, surrender more?”
I’ve decided this now goes for simplification as well because the more I do it, the more I not only see us grow but grow in a way that aligns with how I want to live my life.
Staying connected with those I serve (both during and after) became easier.
Selling became easier.
Heck, even building a new business from scratch (like we did over at True Crime Connection this year) became easier.
We all have heard “less is more” a million times before but it was awesome to challenge myself throughout the year to fully embrace it at a stage in business where taking on more for the sake of…. I don’t know…. praise from strangers on the internet?? is encouraged.
It just goes to show that your intuition will always know what you actually need. Your job is to trust it.
What are you taking away from 2019?
If you’re anything like me, it’s a heck of a lot!
In fact, getting this list down to seven was the hardest part of this entire thing.
No matter what the year brought our way though, we have become better and stronger as a result.
Both of which we now get to bring into 2020.
I hope that makes you as excited as I am for it all!
Happy New Year!