I don’t often write particularly personal blogs but I also really value the process of evaluation and reflection.
I often tell my Blog Starter clients that one of the main advantages of blogging is the possibility to reflect, whether it is on a service you offer, a product you make or on knowledge you ‘think’ you know! When you come to write a blog, you soon find out what you do and don’t know if you have to explain it clearly and logically. When it is down in black and white, it is much easier to assess, reflect and evaluate.
Therefore, as I wrap up my working year (I am taking a good break over Christmas after spending most of last year’s break in bed…with the laptop!), I thought I would spend a little time evaluating some of my highlights and sharing plans for 2019.
Highlights of 2018
My favourite bit…training and learning about other people’s businesses
I think my favourite bit of 2018 has been all of the trainings I have run. This includes both my Blog Starters and the Business Planning Workshops I have run with my friend and business partner, Samantha Hunter. It is amazing to run a workshop and share knowledge, however the bit I love best is hearing about other people’s businesses. I always worry before a training about what I am going to say and what knowledge I can impart which will be useful and practical. However, what I have noticed this year is that most people actually enjoy the opportunity to talk about their business at a training session. Talking of the opportunity for refection, it seems the trainings/workshops have been the perfect time for the attendees to describe what they offer and evaluate highs and lows; things that are going well and things they want to change. I love the chance to ask lots of questions and help them to ‘explore’ their business further.
When I discuss starting a blog with a client, one of the main parts is to discuss topic ideas and this is a great time to ‘deconstruct’ a business and to identify all of its elements. Hearing about other peoples’ businesses and asking questions about their values and goals is so interesting and I really look forward to doing it more in 2019. It helps me to think about my own business too.
Developing a brand
Another highlight for me has been developing The Content Consultancy not just as a business but as a ‘brand’. I want people to not only know about my business but have an emotional reaction to it…hopefully, to think, “Oh yes I trust it”; “That looks professional”…and also “yes, it looks welcoming”.
I want people to want to work with me. I had some professional headshots done in the summer with the wonderful Donna Slater Photography. I highly recommend having professional photography done. It was a wonderful way to spend a morning, great for self-esteem and the photos were overwhelming. It is very rare to like a photo of yourself and it was nice to experience!
I have also recently received my new logo – which I am delighted with – as well as a full colour palette and fonts to help with consistency across my ‘offerings’! My designer, Lorlei Breeze, was swift and really ‘got me’! This is also an amazing feeling. As a sole entrepreneur, I have come to realise that I am my brand. I am my business. So the fact my designer got this from just a couple of short meetings and was able to portray what I feel I am through my logo, means so much.
I am my business
As I said my brand is me and, therefore, I am my business. Therefore, my final ‘takeaway’ for 2018 has to be the importance of putting myself out there, of realising how important it is to go and meet clients (at least, to talk on the phone and not just via email), furthermore to attending trainings, talks, networking events and conferences. And I plan to do it a lot more in 2019.
I know trainings, workshops and networking can seem daunting, but in business you really get out what you put in and investing in yourself in this way can never be underestimated. You never know who you are going to meet and what you may learn. It is not always about instant gains, but it is amazing in the last 12 months how conversations I thought had been ‘one-offs’ have turned out to be really useful and true connections made.
Plans for 2019
I want to continue to grow both my business and myself in 2019. So these are my plans so far (…and written down here so that I can check them and I can be accountable!):
- Continue to blog weekly
- Continue to post and engage on social media – growing my following on all three platforms – Instagram, LinkedIn and Facebook – to help fellow small businesses through useful tips, advertising my services and sharing useful articles
- Start a ‘grammar tips’ video series – sounds exhilarating, I know!!! But I really hope by helping people to better understand the English language and its structure I can help people with their own reading and proofreading.
- Expand my workshop offering
- Create free downloadable items for helping strategy and content creation
Hopefully, that little list will keep me busy….!
So finally, all I have left to say is a big thank you to my blog readers, my followers and wonderful clients…and a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!