As we barrel into the second half of the year, I decided to check back in on my lofty 2018 goal. It’s been a crazy first half of the year.
One that created challenges I never would have imagined. But, I’ve also achieved far more already this year than my old self would have thought possible.
My big goal for 2018 was to hit $24K per month in recurring revenue by the end of the year. As of the end of June, our monthly average revenue is $23, 741. February came in at the lowest with just over $19K and April the highest at a smidge under $29K. Two years ago when I started my business those numbers were unimaginable to me. My only plan was to replace my salary after plans fell through to continue my job in Germany. Now, I’m making plans to manage a team of 10 people and support clients in new and intriguing ways.
Revenue-wise, we’re on track to increase 2018 revenue by 70% over 2017. Personally, I’ve given myself one substantial raise and am on track to give myself one more raise in the fourth quarter. I also have plans to give my primary assistant a raise towards the end of the third quarter. We’re also investing time and resources into additional training so she can step into a bigger role in the business.
So let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the year so far.
I’ve grown my team substantially over the start of 2018. I now have 7 team members who support client work and three members who only work on tasks for my business. While I’ve managed people before, this has been a huge undertaking for me and the business.
But, after a few months of getting acclimated, all my team members are doing amazing work for me and my clients. A huge win for me was realizing I needed to outsource higher level tech. Things like automations, web pages, order forms, and integrations were something only I could do and that was taking up too much of my time. It was also sucking the life out of me – so it had to go. Any time a task is an energy suck, it’s good to see what you can do to outsource it.
I’ve worked on identifying my ideal clients and focused on ensuring new clients are a better fit towards these goals. I’ve had a few long time clients exit as my business, or theirs, change. While it’s always sad to see people go, I know it’s what’s best for them and for me. I am not a good fit for everyone so it’s important to focus on attracting new clients that I can serve to my best capacity.
I have spent a lot of time and energy figuring out how best to structure my time. On a trip to Nice with a team member, I had a realization that helped me totally revamp how I work. It was the perfect reminder that as business grows and changes, so too should our scheduling boundaries. My new work plan is so much more conducive to a sustainable schedule that I’m excited again to plan the week.
Too much travel
This is probably my biggest lesson for 2018 so far. I started the year with an ambitious travel schedule but I had no idea how difficult it would be in reality. I’ve had a blast with all my trips but I’ve realized I can’t be away as frequently or for as long at this stage in the business. It’s also compounded by the demands of two growing girls who want their Mama!
So, the plan is to split some work commitments for 2019 with an amazing team member who I know can serve the client’s needs impeccably. This will reduce my long trips by at least half. I may plan to do some long weekends here or there in Europe – gotta take advantage of living abroad! But, the demands and duration of international travel will certainly lessen.
Struggling With Capacity
Working with a variety of business types that all have different needs is challenging. Identifying how much support we need for client work is always a work in progress. Some unexpected client issues and needs made the front half of the year a bit of a bear. But, we’ve really honed in on how to solve those problems as the year progresses.
Similarly, it’s hard to always predict when clients or internal needs will spike. This has lead to some long nights and weekends. But again, every situation has given me tools to better tackle future needs so I’m more excited for the future than ever.
Letting people down
June was an epic disaster on so many levels. Personal issues and travel meant I didn’t deliver excellent service to everyone. This is always a huge red flag to me that something has to change so I’ve definitely learned from it already.
I had to be very transparent and honest with a few clients about what led to these issues which was tough. As someone who hates failing, sharing such vulnerability with anyone is always hard for me. But, I also believe 100% in owning my failings when they happen and learning what I can from them.
The Ultimate Win
Perhaps the most important thing in all of this was realizing just how far I’ve come. When you’re dealing with slow, steady and incremental change, it can be easy to discount everything you’ve accomplished. But when you stop and really look at the big picture, you start to see just how badass you really are. A dear friend asked me to compare where I am today to two years ago and it’s hardly recognizable.
So why am I sharing all of this publicly?
Because I think — actually, I know — how important it is to be real when we can. So many business owners report feeling isolated and alone. So many feel like they’re always failing. A huge part of that stems from only sharing our successes publicly. So while I’m obviously doing that, I’m also sharing the mistakes and problems as well.
Building a business is hard, probably harder than we ever realize when we got into it. But, getting the right inputs goes a long way.
For me, getting coaching from Alex Rudnicka, business mentoring from Maggie Patterson, and building a network of friends, colleagues, and clients helps make it manageable. And my stellar team helps with the rest.