Rise to Courage: 2021 EOY Reflections & Into 2022

This time last year I was wrapping up my largest website project to date and figuring out how to navigate some client service issues that were really disheartening in the moment. I wrote more about last year in my mid-year review including noteworthy milestones, some financials, and other business numbers I wanted to remember and share with readers like you.

Looking Back at “The Plan”

…”time management & batch workingrepurposing of content for maximum output, making some changes to my Instagram Strategy, continuing to collaborate through guest speaking, and caring for & nurturing my email community.”

This is the list pulled directly from my 2021 mid-year review.

Time Management & Batch Working

I can’t say much went as expected in 2021, and a whole lot of changes and surprises found their way into my personal life, spilling over into my business. My childcare arrangements fell apart, several medical diagnoses within our family, and just the ongoing sh*t of the entire year, ya know?!

But you know what else? This is the the norm, not the exception. It’s why I believe that business plans must consult with personal life seasons and capacity at all times. There’s no separating the two.

What I did figure out is that as I started to create more consistent offers and the more my leads began asking for similar services, the easier it became to outline the concepts for batch working. This gave me great insight at the end of the year to map out new workflows, forms, processes, and offers for the new year.

Repurposing Content

One of my biggest “misses” on paper was my blog post output for 2021. Ideally I needed to be creating and posting a new post each week. I just scraped the 30% mark on this one. Ouch. I had a really hard time sitting down to concentrate long enough to complete all client work, maintain my own business, before even attempting to write blog posts consistently.

Heading into this year I have gained so much clarity on my blog content categories and how they support my actual business, lead attraction, authority & trust. Knowing my big picture vision for Abundant Collab Co. is how I know that this miss wasn’t a failure. It was a ramping up, data collecting, process refining, and great exercise in trusting myself to stay the course.

Here’s a general outline of my Content Workflow. Feel free to download + save it for your own future reference.

A Strategic Adjustment to Instagram

Starting in April ’21 I began tracking all of my social numbers including Instagram. Each month I recorded new followers, unfollows, content interaction, posts produced, and total reach. I also remove & block followers weekly for spam purposes. I only want genuine, interested parties following along in the content I work so hard to create and share.

A few things I began to watch for in terms of how I approached Instagram the last six months of the year:

  • Do certain posts perform better (carousel v. static v. video)
  • What impact (if any, beyond vanity metrics) do I see when I create Reels v. months when I don’t
  • Is there a tipping point in when my engagement peaks depending on how active I am on Stories
  • What is my engagement impact when I share significantly less feed posts

In April, my monthly report shows just over 200 followers with 11 feed posts & 82 stories shared for the month.

Wrapping up in December, I’ve logged a follower growth of 68% for 354 followers at year-end:

You can see the difference in the analytics when I have a Reel that performs well, verses a month when I don’t utilize Reels. I’m continuing to adjust how I present content on Instagram and I finally feel like I have a good grip on how I want to incorporate Reels into my overall strategy & content plan. Phew! That feels nice.

Guest Speaking & Email Community

Well, to be quite honest… I don’t have much to show or report for either of these yet. Getting over my fear of public speaking continues to prove harder than I imagined and the lack of hours to work outside of client projects made it easier to keep pushing it further down the list.

As for emailing, I didn’t know what I wanted to be emailing, but knew I wasn’t going to waste anyone’s inbox space with emails from me in the meantime. I’ve got a tentative plan in place to get this one going again with an up-to-date content repurposing workflow.

Designer faces white wall working on design components of project that are hanging up in front of her

Taking a Look at The Numbers

Data doesn’t lie, but numbers can be made to look like anything we want them to. Keep that in mind as other businesses showcase their most noteworthy numbers.

I’d probably feel like my business was a terrible failure if I didn’t record data to help me see through the lies of those feelings. Data is my north star when my brain is all sorts of mad at the previous decisions of my heart & intuition. That’s my own personal “why” for recording and sharing my own business numbers.

Looking at the breakdown of how I “planned” to reach my revenue goals compared to how I actually ended up earning my revenue is… well… let’s just say how I planned it on paper looks nothing at all like how it happened in real life.

Clients & Projects

+ I intended on working 1:1 with 20 clients while also selling a select number of digital products specifically for Instagram strategy. I ended up working with 10 clients, selling no digital products and adding in a new service for visual branding to my offer suite. Some of those 10 clients did book more than one service during the year. That’s 50% of the clients I expected needing to book.

Revenue Milestones

+ I have always struggled in my relationship to our family finances and how much I contribute. So to not only surpass the most amount of money I’ve ever made in a year, but to double the amount I used to make in my previous career is one of the biggest milestones in my business to date. My 2021 revenue nearly tripled from 2020 and my EOY revenue reached 92% of my annual goal. My “plan on paper” for this year is to be able to double my revenue one more time.

Marketing Growth

+ My Pinterest Marketing Strategy began in January 2021 with 1.2k monthly impressions. In my mid-year report I noted a monthly averages of 10.5k impressions and 100+ clicks to my website. In December, I’m averaging 41k monthly impressions and over 200 clicks to my website each month. My overall Pinterest growth for the year for Impressions is a 2828.57% increase.

A Moment I Never Could Have Imagined

+ In one month alone, I booked enough business to nearly match (just a $2k difference) my annual salary at my previous job. This is so wild, and monumental, to me because I did not simply start my own business in 2019 using the skills and job history I had from my previous years of career work. I’ve started from scratch, learned an entirely new career, self-taught, trained, and practiced in an entirely new industry at the same time I was learning how to actually open and run a business itself, during a global pandemic no less. In case you don’t already know, I have a counseling degree and I spent 1o years working in customer service, healthcare, and non-profit.

Expanding My Support Circle

Some days I’ve felt like my head is spinning in actual circles trying to hop between all the different tasks and responsibilities within Abundant Collab Co. Because the nature of my client work is so deep and focused I know that keeping everything in-house myself is not sustainable and will actually end up capping my growth potential.

In January 2021 I hired a monthly Pinterest Manager, Ayalie Marketing. We are heading into our second year and I’m excited to keep her expertise close. With good reason, she usually has a wait for her monthly management services but you can also book her for Pinterest Strategy Development or purchase her seriously good Pinterest Course.

Over the summer, I enlisted help from Megan King Services to work toward the launch of The Creative Analyst Podcast. When the podcast does eventually launch, I’ll owe much thanks to her for helping make sure it happened.

My final outsourcing for the year was a proactive move for this year. I reached out to a connection I had on Instagram, and ended up bringing Bridgett, Perfect Balance Financial Solutions, on board to manage my book keeping. Part of her services even included a clean-up and tax preparation. Hooray!!

I also enrolled, and will continue my participation, in The Sales Maven Society with Nikki Rausch. Entering year three of my business and I finally feel ready to actively include ethical, sleaze free selling into my business model. I can even see the benefits it provides to my leads and clients. I’m excited to continue growing this skill after years of avoiding sales at all cost.

Woman sits on stool with smile to toss colored confetti in air to celebrate

Kicking Off The New Year

My word-for-the year in 2020 was ABLE – deciding to believe I was able to run my own business successfully.

For 2021, I chose RISE – like a hot air balloon; untethered and free to soar as it’s intended to do. I wanted that same freedom and beauty for my own business.

In 2022, I’m choosing COURAGE. I’m intentionally stepping into bigger arenas and making bigger moves to help my business reach its potential. This will likely include more missteps, hearing “no”, and believing for the first time that I deserve good things.

Thank you for being here with me. Connect with me over on Instagram and join me for the journey into a new year.

Other Posts You Might Like…

+ Mid-Year Business Review Ideas (good for any time of year)

+ A full review of the design business course that changed everything for me

+ 3 quick tips to help you book more business

+ A list of my favorite questions to ask new clients

Hi there, I’m Katie Taylor! A website designer and brand strategist! I help service-based businesses take their websites from drab to fab with purpose, beautiful design, and strategy so they can stand out online with a better brand, easily book dream clients, and spend more time enjoying life. 

If you enjoyed this post, join me over on Instagram so you can keep up with more just like it!

Be sure to drop me a hello in the DMs so we can properly meet. You’ll notice my community is full of real people, like you. I remove the spam, advertisers, and anyone who doesn’t believe in kindness.

Find me on Instagram here!

© 2023 the outsourced coo

privacy policy