So it's nearly that time again when Big Ben strikes midnight and I try not to wake up with a hangover to start the New Year. But before I put 2022 to bed, I want to reflect on the last 12 months in Keppel Leopard Creative with some surprising revelations.
What went Well
I moved away from Social Media
This year I took the decision to move Keppel Leopard Creative away from social media. This was a big change as ultimately the business was launched using social media, and it was particularly helpful during my sort of maternity leave and the subsequent pandemic.
But as I continued to use it I realised it wasn't for me. I am not one for posting for posting sake, and that was really what social media needed me to do so that I could connect with you.
My first step was shutting down The Leap - my small but beautifully formed group on Facebook. I loved the community I created, but when active members were struggling to see my posts on their newsfeed I decided to call it a day.
The bigger step was removing the entire business off social media. I unpublished the Facebook Page and the Instagram handle.
Now the only social media presence I have left is personal.
Neither of these things would have happened if I hadn't invested in my awesome coach Viv Guy who specialises in teaching people to run their businesses without social media. With her encouragement (and a slight kick up the bum!), I am now enjoying marketing without the pressure of having to schedule content on a weekly basis, or feeling I need to apologise for my lack of "presence" because I went on holiday.
Instead, I focus on my mailing list and meeting people in face to face networking events. This way feels much more natural to me and allows me to talk to those who want to know more about branding, rather than trying to broadcast to the masses.
I sorta stuck to no work Fridays...
At the end of 2021 I made the decision to take Fridays off. It was something that always felt special when I was in the 9 - 5 and I would be able to get that "work-life" balance that everyone talked about.
To stick to my goal, I made sure that any planning for the week ahead was done on Thursday. I also scheduled in non-working activities on Fridays: meeting friends, going to the gym etc. That way I wouldn't be coerced into working because I had planned anything.
Taking a break from the business was beneficial. It gave me a chance to think and also do things that I wanted to do. But in the latter part of the year it slipped and I begun to occasionally work on Fridays.
But I'm not sad, because I love what I do
What I Learned
I launched a new service...and it was rubbish!
Back in January I launched the Easy Programme. It was a self taught strategy programme with the design side created by me.
I'll be honest, it didn't really work out the way that I planned. The design side of things needed much more of my input that I could give.
And although the client sort of got what they wanted, it didn't fit with the rest of my services and what I wanted my clients to experience.
It's frustrating when things don't quite turn out the way you planned. But, as I sit here now I realise that a lot of things in business are trial and error. The Programme may come back in later years, but for now it's not right for the business.
Communication is key when Collaborating
I have done collaborations before and it has been great. I love working with others who are experts to get an amazing outcome for the client. So this year, when I was asked to collaborate I immediately said yes.
From the collaboration I realised that ultimately communication was key. What initially started as great communication with everyone, turned into me having to chase others to do their job, and having to redo work because others had not specified what they needed (even though I had explicitly asked them).
This was not discussed at the beginning of the work and although the client got an amazing result, it made me realise how important it is to know whose responsibility it is for each part of the project.
Success comes through hard times
As I moved away from social media, alternative methods of talking to my audience had to "bed in".
For 3 months during the summer I got no new clients.
And, although our personal finances were okay, the feeling of not being able to contribute to the household income was tough.
Not seeing the return on the work I was doing was terrifying. At some stages I even questioned whether getting a temporary job might help, but at the risk of staying in said temporary job I decided not to pursue it.
So when money started flowing back into the business after those 3 long months not only was I relieved but it also proved that all my efforts were paying off.
What I will be doing in 2023
In 2023 I want to help business women feel confident in themselves. I have spoken to so many who have incredible passion and unique businesses, but are still the world's best kept secret. I want to show them how to get confident in a way that feels right to them - rather than templated strategies and suggestions found scattered across the internet and social media.
I will be going out and meeting more people, learning what they do and if I can help them I will.
And after a rollercoaster ride since the start (what with babies and pandemics!) I will be looking to get the foundations of the business set. This means focusing on how I can help, and ensuring that I give the best value to my clients.
There may be some changes as the year goes on - after all I am an entrepreneur with lots of ideas! But as I have found out this year business is a calculated experiment, and there is no right way to do it.