When 2020 arrived, I had recently split with my husband of 17 years, sold our family home, and moved into a new apartment. The problem was that during the year of getting the house ready and sold, I turned away work. And I started the new business year in a bit of a slump.
I chose DOUBLE as my one word for 2020. I remember being a little nervous about publicly announcing that because it’s very specific.
In January 2020, for the first time in over 10 years, I decided to actively prospect for new clients. With Mary Jane Copps as my coach, over the next few weeks, I developed an outreach and follow-up process and worked on pulling together a list of prospective clients. Admittedly, I struggled to get the right mindset and start cold calling. Then the pandemic hit and I had an excuse not to make those calls.
Of course, that didn’t solve my revenue troubles. Yet I knew that the services I provide could help small business owners ramp up their online presence and communications. So I started using my marketing to attract new clients. Early on, I gave away a lot of time in free consultations but that led to lots of paid work. And when I told my network that I was looking for new clients, more referrals started coming in.
OK so I didn’t manage to “double” everything in 2020 but the year did turn out to be successful (from a business standpoint):
- My 15th year in business was my best yet for gross sales income.
- My regular client base doubled.
- Website projects almost doubled.
- Newsletters sent – 150% more than in 2019.
And then there’s the annual Social Media Day Halifax Conference which, of course, didn’t happen at all (but we’re hopeful for 2021).
I can’t move on without a personal note here because I know it was not a successful year for many. Several small business owners I know shut down their businesses and started full-time jobs. Others had to quickly pivot to adjust their offerings – at much expense. Former student and friend Suha opened a new retail business in March, only to close again for several weeks. 2020 sucked.
Onto my one word for 2021. When I started writing this article, I wasn’t sure what it would be. I’d been tossing around a few words during the holidays but hadn’t settled on something that inspired me. Now I know what it is: HELPFUL.
Of course, I can’t give away all my time for free but this fits perfectly with some new ideas I’ve been working on. Later this month, I’ll be launching a Newsletter Starter Kit for DIYers. And I’m going to start doing a bit of free group training. And… you’ll have to wait and see. (If you aren’t subscribed to my monthly newsletter, you can do that here to get the news.)
Last but certainly not least, my hope is that you are able to find your own inspiration – whether it be one word or 10,000 – to jump into 2021 with vigour and a positive mindset.