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Looking Back and Looking Ahead

The year is coming to a close, and I am coming up on ONE year since I officially registered my business as an LLC. As is tradition, I end the year with a chronological list of ten highlights with photos. This year I'm also using a list of journal prompts (from this Instagram post), to reflect on 2023 from a business lens. I appreciate the opportunity to use these prompts as a way to engage and think more in depth about what’s working well and what can be improved in my business. Starting off with the journal prompts, then ending with ten highlights from the year, cheers! 


2023 Reflection Journal Prompts

Where do you feel the most friction in your business?

Right now, I feel the most friction in the amount of time it takes to complete different tasks. Sometimes I feel like I am sitting at my computer for HOURS and have barely anything to show for. I’ll admit, in my role as a social media manager, I have moments where I get easily distracted while posting or looking for something on a client’s account, searching for trending audio, etc. The next thing I know, I’m scrolling through random/funny/relatable/engaging posts. This comes down to my own self-control, and perhaps I need to build in a scheduling system to prevent myself from wasting time.


Where do you feel the most ease?

I feel the most ease in working from different locations. I primarily work from home, but sometimes I feel more inspired or focused when I change my environment. Working at home also comes with other distractions like dishes, laundry, and random tasks that need to get done, though I know the workday is not necessarily when I should be tackling them. When I’m out of the house, I don’t have those other things pulling my attention. 


Which service/offer brought you the most income? Which brought you the least?

The service that brought me the most income this year was visual identity offerings, including logo designs, social media graphics, and other marketing assets. I developed different tiered packages that allowed individuals/businesses to select a basic visual identity (two logo variations) or a more complex offering that included print and digital assets. The offering that brought me the least income was my lowest social media management package, which I ended up modifying to reflect more value. 


Which systems/processes need updating?

I have a few systems/processes that could use a bit of attention for the purpose of efficiency. The first is my content creation system, for my own accounts and for those of my clients. This also includes blog writing. I have found that some clients are completely hands-off, while others want a little more involvement in what’s shared on their social media pages. Either way, I believe that the process should be collaborative to ensure consistency and authenticity. As for blog writing, I find it helpful to have a general topic or initiative to use as a jumping point, without repeating information the same way over and over.


Another process I would like to refine is my time management routine. I’ve heard of the Pomodoro Method and other strategies for effective time management while working, so I’d like to explore some of those methods in the future. As previously mentioned, I have a tendency to spend hours on several tasks with few to no breaks. Sometimes I forget to take breaks to eat, which I know is neither healthy nor sustainable, but there are several occasions where I get immersed in what I’m doing and lose track of time. 


Are there areas that need to be delegated out?

At this point, I don’t believe anything needs to be delegated out. I may eventually need to hire a small business accountant if my finances become more complicated, but they have been manageable so far.


Which marketing strategies were least effective for you? Which were most effective?

For me, the least effective marketing strategies were joining Facebook groups for small businesses and promoting my services there. I would get occasional interest, but no follow-through. Some of the most effective marketing strategies were joining and participating in local/in-person networking groups, where I met some clients and got leads/referrals. I have also been fortunate to gain work through referrals this year. I’d like to explore other marketing strategies to get the word out about my business and services.


Which tasks are time wasters?

This is a great question, and I’m trying to think of where I feel like my time is most wasted. As previously mentioned, I need to reevaluate my content creation process and the ways in which I spend my time as a social media manager (so as not to get sucked in!)


In what ways can your business evolve with the changing market?

My business can evolve through different service offerings. I believe that my skill set has expanded over the course of the year, and I have also adjusted what I would like to focus on. My goal is to continuously learn new ways to meet the needs of existing clients, while also attracting new ones. I strive to use creative problem-solving throughout various aspects of my work.


10 Highlights from 2023

Most of these memories/events are in chronological order, but I lumped a few that happened throughout the year into one category.


1. Building natural structures with James (he was really into the Three Little Pigs for a while)


2. Getting involved in the kindness rocks community


3. Gardening


4. Spending time in nature (last photo courtesy of J Holsey Photography)


5. Street Fairs


6. Vacations


7. Concerts


8. Date Nights


9. Family Celebrations


10. Cousin Trip


Other notable highlights and accomplishments from the year include writing an article for a local publication, running a 5K at six months postpartum, volunteering with a local creative community (Creative Mornings), organizing a community blood drive, and completing my breastfeeding journey after 14 months (30 in total!)


Indeed, this has been a year of change, growth, and discovery. This includes changes in the direction of this blog. My goal is to infuse business-related topics as they relate to my values and everyday life. I began blogging back in 2016, as part of a teacher professional development book study. Strangely enough, I didn't end up writing about the topics from the book. The blog fell more into the storytelling category, as I recapped events and wrote about different topics that were interesting to me. It was a bit laborious to reformat and update the posts when I switched platforms, but I'm glad they are still available to read through from time to time.


For those of you who have been reading since the beginning, thank you for sticking around through this journey. If you've read this far and you're here for the first time, welcome!


I am excited for what 2024 has in store. Four words I'm taking with me, as selected from others' Instagram post prompts, here and here: strength, connectivity, abundance, prosperity.


Here's to a great year ahead!


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