Mid-Year Business Review Ideas + AC Co. Reflections on 2021

“‘Some people do have a more positive outlook, but almost everyone remembers negative things more strongly and in more detail.”

There are physiological as well as psychological reasons for this.

“The brain handles positive and negative information in different hemispheres,” said Professor Nass, who co-authored “The Man Who Lied to His Laptop: What Machines Teach Us About Human Relationships” (Penguin 2010). Negative emotions generally involve more thinking, and the information is processed more thoroughly than positive ones, he said. Thus, we tend to ruminate more about unpleasant events — and use stronger words to describe them — than happy ones.” source

I take time to celebrate and reflect because these types of memories + milestones fade quickly.

I’ve spent most of my life acknowledging my own shortcomings, goals not yet reached, and ways in which I could be better. Turns out, I’m not alone. We are all wired to be more accommodating to the negative thoughts ruminating around our minds. So no, in case you thought I had some kind of magic positive thinking ability, I definitely do not.

It has been an intentional journey that I continue on to take time and energy to pull the positive experiences and successes to the forefront of my mind more regularly than I’ve done in the past.

Reflecting on 2021 and prompts you can try yourself.

Here are the questions I wrote down before beginning my own reflection + review. For me, it didn’t feel inspiring to answer them one by one, so I made lists, jotted down thoughts, and answered them as different things came to mind.

What has gone well the last 6 months?

What could be improved upon?

What wins have I celebrated?

What am I looking forward to over the next six months?

What is my vision for the rest of 2021?

What am I envisioning for 2022?

What resources do I have or need to finish this year and prepare for next year?

I believe we are so much better when we come together and break down the barriers that keep us distanced from one another. That’s why I’m choosing to share my own reflection more publicly in this post than I have previously done.

Things that have gone well & that are worth celebrating–

Laying Out Offers I’m Excited About

I was not at all impressed when I heard that it can take two years to really hone in on what you want your new business to offer. Not at all. And yet, as I near the AC Co. two-year anniversary in September I am sitting back and noticing that it has been nearly a two year road to really feeling excited about the offers I have landed on for this business. Hindsight, right?!

Brand New AC Co. Brand + Website

This is a pretty big milestone for me! I’ve previously designed my own website and client sites beginning from a template. I had gotten pretty good at editing and redesigning features of the template to provide a more customized finish, but I still had to give template credit at the bottom of every website to whatever designer had first created the template.

Earlier this year I was feeling doubtful about my abilities to create websites from scratch and my confidence was taking a hit because of it. Just this month I hit publish on my own, brand new, custom designed from scratch website + blog and I am in love with how it turned out!

It’s not about whether I want to provide from scratch websites to my clients in the future, but about knocking out that doubt and really trusting my design + marketing skills to succeed. And they did.

Successful Website Launches For Clients

This will never not be exciting and I learn new things every time. I know that all of the work, experience, and obstacles that come with a project ultimately continue to sharpen my skills, grow my tenacity, and elevate my outcomes.

Booked Out Designer Course Founding Member

This was absolutely one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business, ever. You’ll be able to listen in to my episode with Elizabeth McCravy to hear more of my thoughts and experience or you can read them in my full review of the Booked Out Designer Course!

Spoiler Alert: Winning the BOD Case Study!

Long story short-ish… When I launched AC Co. in September 2019 I hosted an in-person workshop for local businesses to learn more about Instagram. What I discovered was a very serious and real fear of publish speaking. The anxiety was debilitating and it’s taken a long time to work through. When I first signed up for BOD and read about the case study I knew that if I were to win, I would be a guest on Elizabeth McCravy’s podcast. I decided it was the perfect opportunity to give myself a new chance to practice all the work I’d done to dismantle this fear. And then, to my absolute and total surprise, I did win! And I’ll always remember that podcast interview as the moment as when I “finally made it past” the frustration of that workshop experience.

Being On My First Podcast

See above! Also, just for reference… this had been on my business model goals list since January 2020! This was NOT a quick win for me in my business journey. I had some real work to do behind-the-scenes to get here.

Offering Brand Design services

Getting some clarity and much needed organization in other areas of the business gave me the confidence to re-introduce branding design into my service offers. I could list all the reasons why I had decided to stop offering it at the end of 2020, but the important thing is, it’s back! And I am LOVING the chance to create this way.

Partnerships & Outsourcing

In June, I partnered with another website designer to manage the visual brand design (see above) portion of her client projects. I am honored and excited with this partnership and marking “create some type of collaboration/partnership” off my 2021 goals list.

I’ve also outsourced my Pinterest management entirely which is a big step. It’s the first thing I’ve decided I don’t need to manage myself and I am so happy with this decision.

Surprise Coming Fall 2021!

Obviously I’m not spilling all the beans on this one yet. But I am excited, the progress is going well. AND, if you listen to my podcast episode on Booked Out Designer you’ll hear me announce the surprise there before anywhere else!

Other Numbers I’m Noting & Clapping For

In January 2021 I had a community of 124 followers on Instagram. Today that number has doubled to 249. (Edited to add: Just after this post was published, I went through and removed inactive accts, bots, and spam followers. I removed 30 accounts. i.e. 10% of my following. In case you happen to notice a dip in my numbers when you read this. #qualityoverquantity)

I also began to pursue a Pinterest Marketing Strategy at the beginning of 2021 and the first month had 1.2k impressions. I’ve now surpassed monthly averages of 10.5k impressions and 100+ clicks to my website. Hence the importance to give the website the makeover it needed.

As of this month, my 2021 revenue has surpassed my annual salary of my previous job! Guys, overnight success is not the happenstance, common thing others may like us to believe it is. #ITTAKESWORK

In my finance projections for this year, I estimated needing 20 clients to reach my revenue goal. As it stands, with 6 clients in 2021 I am 45% to my revenue goal (and 30% to my stretch goal if you’re in to that kind of thing). This means I’m on track to work with HALF the clients needed. As someone aiming to work a maximum of 25 hrs/wkly– this is HUGE! I wondered about sharing these numbers. We are so accustomed to thinking more clients equals more success and worth. Would you think I’m less credible because I’ve worked with fewer clients this year than someone else has? But, I’m fighting back on that narrative because my worth is so much more than someone’s judgement. I use the time between client projects growing my own sustainable business through ongoing education, building out systems and processes, and different design practice so that I am 110% ready for the right clients when they come along. And also, spending time outside, reading, and doing life offline with my family.

Things I’m Still Working On

To wrap things up, I’ve got a pretty solid list of things I want to continue working on and finding improvement for. Those things include my time management & batch working, repurposing 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.

Continuing to RISE in 2021 and Beyond

My Word of The Year for 2021 is RISE. As in, like a hot air balloon; untethered and free to soar as it’s intended to do. I imagine the beauty, stillness and awe that comes from those moments of the sky’s journey. And then I imagine my own business doing the same thing. What can I say, I’ve gotten a little woo in my mid-thirties and I’m never going back.

With that, here’s a big ole CHEERS to the rest of this year. All that is to be experienced, wisdom to be gleaned, celebrations to be had, tears that may need wiped, and the surprises that will be better than we ever imagined for!

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