For the past few years I’ve written a year in review post and usually when I sit down to write them my first thought is that I haven’t done or achieved much this year. Every year, without fail, that’s where my first thoughts go.
That’s why it’s so good to write these posts, because it’s a little wake up call and shows me how much I have actually done and achieved.
Even though I’ve made less money this year, I’m pretty grateful for what I have made and achieved given the time constraints with a baby (now toddler). At the start of the year, at 10 months of age, Alana started daycare 1 day a week so I had one full day to dedicate to my business.
In March we celebrated her first birthday and spent a whole month in Europe. Once we got back we added a day at daycare so now I had 2 days to dedicate to my business and in August we added another day so I now have 3 days of toddler free time to dedicate to my business (and some much-needed self care and me-time).
Money wise I’m pretty happy with my profit margin, which sits at 63% right now. Next year my focus will be to increase my profit margin and bring my expenses down from 37% to 25%.
That’s a little bit of this year’s background, now for all the things I have achieved. Yes, this might be a little self indulgent, and it is, but I’m hoping it will also help some of you with your year in review or even some inspiration.
I was going to write a post with a month by month break-down but to be honest, I’m not sure what I did when and as I only had 1 day a week at the start of the year plus we spent a month away, the first quarter was pretty slow. So I’ve decided to list all the things I did without worrying when I did what.
Every few years I try to give my website a much needed revamp and because the last one was in 2017, it was time for a refresh. My previous website was a custom designed site and with all the WordPress updates and plugin updates it was starting to ‘misbehave’ and I had to get my web developer to fix things all the time because they didn’t look the way it should.
In the past I used template websites because it’s what I can setup myself and manage easily. I’ve been using Divi on WordPress for a while now so I was on the hunt for a Divi theme and stumbled across the amazing Kayden Theme by Superfly. It’s seriously rocking my world!
Kayden is not only an amazing looking theme, it’s also super easy to use and works with pre-designed ‘blocks’ so you can create the website you want without the need to code. Or if you like the look of any of the Superfly themes but don’t want to build it yourself, get in touch with me because my team might be able to help.
New focus & website copy
At some point during the year I got the message loud and clear that it was time for me to pivot and focus on launch strategy in addition to Facebook ads. So while I designed my website, I also crafted new copy with a focus on launching. I’m not going to tell you that writing my website copy was easy and it still feels like a work in progress but I’m super proud that I actually wrote it myself. I’ll tell you my little secret though… I wrote the copy while doing Jay Crisp Crow’s Crisp Copy Class.
I’ve been a fan of Jay’s work for a few years and had the Crisp Copy Class on my radar so when the 2019 round rolled around I pounced at the opportunity and I don’t regret it one bit. It was the nudge I needed and the support to pull it off. I’ve been blogging since 2005 and while I’m ok writing blog posts, I’d never felt comfortable writing website copy. It either felt bland or very ‘same, same’, but not anymore. With Jay’s Crisp Copy Class, and the office hours in particular, I now have copy that I’m pretty proud of.
As for the new focus, I’ll get into that next.
New focus & offer
For quite some time I had this feeling that there was something else I was supposed to be doing. A feeling that while Facebook ads is great and I’m really good at it, it’s not all that I’m supposed to be doing in this world. Normally I’m super impatient when it comes to these things but I sat with it, waiting for clues or messages.
It has probably taken a good year of waiting for the message but then I received it loud and clear around May/June so I joined Ingrid Arna’s High End Empire to flesh out what I wanted this new pivot and offer to look like.
My initial thought was that my calling is to offer launch strategy but then it all fell into place. My passion and calling is launch strategy but not the way everyone seems to be doing and teaching it. I’m here specifically to support women in their launches by harnessing their innate power.
My new offer came together with ease and flow as I tapped into the intensive support opportunities in Ingrid’s High End Empire program. Then when I had most of it worked out, I connected with Alyssa Martin to write my sales page copy.
If you’re curious about this beautiful and 100% aligned offer, have a peek here. You’ll start hearing a lot more about it in 2020.
Most years I invest in some sort of professional development and 2019 was no different. At the start of the year I didn’t think I’d be joining any programs or masterminds but as the year progressed I identified gaps and opportunities.
Coaching skills diploma
Firstly, I enrolled in the Coaching Skills Diploma ran by my mindset coach and business buddy Lorraine Hamilton. Lorraine runs Coach School and although I had long wanted the skills that coaches have, I didn’t want to do a coaching certification because I don’t want to work as a coach.
Lorraine gladly paid attention to what I was saying, and what lots of other strategists and other professionals were saying and created the Coaching Skills Diploma. It’s the PERFECT program for people like me, who want to have the skills but don’t need (or want) the full certification.
I’m so glad I enrolled in this first round of the Coaching Skills Diploma and to be honest I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect but I’ve gained so much from it. While I haven’t fully utilised all the skills I’ve learned, in my work with clients, I have 100% benefited from them in my personal life. Conversations with friends and family are easier, more meaningful and have more positive outcomes. The diploma has given me a framework for strategy calls that allows me to create a bigger impact and more aligned campaigns for my clients.
High End Empire
In the past I have been part of masterminds or group programs each year, which have always made a big difference to my business growth. Last year I was part of a small mastermind and that was all I needed because I had my daughter to focus on. This year I realised the ‘gap’ and decided to join Ingrid Arna’s High End Empire.
The high vibe and extensive support through live coaching calls was exactly what I needed. During the time in High End Empire I crafted my new offer and created life long friendships and connections.
At first I was a bit overwhelmed with the fast pace and short timeframe of the particular package that I joined, but in hindsight it was exactly what I needed to get me moving and create momentum. Luckily there’s the option to continue with the program and stay in the group, which for now I declined but I know I’ll want to rejoin in the future.
The thing I loved most about being in the paid High End Empire program is the amazing community. I’ve seriously never been in a group that is SO supportive and uplifting. The other aspect that was beyond my expectations was the amount of support on offer from Ingrid’s amazing team. When I joined I had the option of submitting my work for review by coaches that are specialised in various areas such as packaging offers, sales page copy, sales and technology.
I’m really grateful to have found Ingrid’s work and her awesome Facebook live from the ski slopes of Japan was what sold me on joining her program (haha, yes I’m a snow lover and never saw myself as a diva until I joined Ingrid’s program).
Crisp Copy Class
I already mentioned the Crisp Copy Class before so I won’t say too much more about this program besides mentioning again how awesome it was. You can see the result here.
Jay’s course helped me write a brand new about page and home page, plus I have more confidence in my ability to write content. The best thing, however, was that Jay would do copy hacks and help us with our copy in a live zoom call.
This past year I’ve selected more programs that offer live calls so that I can get my work reviewed. This has made a big difference to the outcomes I get from programs. I’m reasonably self driven and often excited to get started with courses, but I do procrastinate at times and need a gentle kick up the butt. Having access to office hours and ‘done with you’ options is now my preferred way of learning.
Moved my courses to Thinkific
In 2019 I moved all of my courses to Thinkific. Over the years I’ve tried MemberPress, Gumroad and WooCommerce to host my online courses and all of them have had pros and cons. In 2019 I moved away from WooCommerce because there were too many issues with plugins interfering with the WooCommerce extensions, plus I had to have some other software options to fully utilise the capabilities of WooCommerce which was getting pricey. Moving to Thinkific meant that I could cancel WooCommerce, the Membership extension and the Subscription extension as well as Vimeo.
After doing some research into different course platforms I decided to go with Thinkific and have been really happy with it. It’s very easy to navigate, hosts all of my courses with the option of hosting videos, adding documents and writing text. It also offers the option to create simple landing pages, payment plans and has an affiliate function.
New sales page for FB Ads for List Building
The Facebook ads landscape constantly changes and as I gain more knowledge and expertise I decided that it was time to update my course sales page to reflect this. I spent quite some time writing copy for the sales page (thanks Crisp Copy Class!) and then asked Jay Crisp Crow to cast her eyes over it to make it awesome.
I’m super happy with the end result and if you haven’t already had a peek, head on over to see if for yourself.
While we’re on the topic of FB Ads for List Building, I’ve also added a 10 month payment plan so there really isn’t an excuse for you to delay Facebook ads any longer.
At the start of December I re-recorded the ENTIRE course so ALLLLLL of the content is fresh and up to date. If you join now you get the latest strategies and tactics.
Sold a business
When my daughter was 12 weeks old I started an e-commerce business selling baby shoes, bibs and other adorable baby items. I loved building the business but in the end it was too much for me to run my marketing business, an e-commerce store and look after a baby, now toddler.
I made the decision to sell the business so that it could get the love and attention it deserves. Two Little Steps is now in the very capable hands of a lovely lady and I couldn’t be happier that it stayed on Australian soil.
Blogged less, filmed more
Last year I wrote less blog posts and did more videos. I still did created way less content than in previous years and I’m blaming my post-baby-brain for it. With my focus on tuning into my calling and pivoting my business I simply didn’t have the energy or head space for blogging.
I did, however, do more Facebook lives and videos which is a pretty big deal for me. For so long I’ve had the excuses of ‘my hair looks crap’ or ‘I don’t know what to say’ and in 2019 I had a bit of a f*ck it moment and I just did it.
In 2020 I want to get back to regular blogging because I love the process and my step by step posts help lots of people. I also want to keep doing Facebook lives and need a more structured approach for topics and consistency, so that’s what I’ll be putting together early on.
Did another photoshoot
My last photoshoot was in 2017, when I created my previous iteration of the website and so much has changed since then. While I still absolutely love my photos from the last round, I also wanted some fresh shots to rotate into my social media and website.
When I saw Gemma Carr’s offer for a mini branding shoot come past I jumped at the opportunity. I had never seen any of Gemma’s work or worked with her but all of the selling points in her offer spoke to me. Being a mum I don’t have that much time so a ‘quick’ photoshoot was right up my alley.
I loved the process of the mini shoot and of course I couldn’t decide on 10 images (which I knew upfront) and bought the whole lot.
Gemma does these mini branding shoots regularly so if you’re interested in updating your images, or starting from zero, check out her site.
Started an agency
Quarter 4 was a big one and a quiet one all at the same time. For the past 5 years I’ve been offering marketing strategy and running Facebook ads all under my own brand and while I absolutely love it, I recognised that I can’t keep up with the demand all by myself. For ages I held off on ‘the agency model’ because I wasn’t quite ready but 2020 is the year of change.
I’m opening a digital marketing agency. When I say this, it really just means that I’ll keep doing what I’m already doing but with a team of excellent marketing geniuses by my side. The services are still pretty much the same. The fabulous results for clients will remain. The only thing that’s changing is that clients now get a team of marketing brains rather than just mine. How exciting!
To find out more, head on over to Ostara Marketing.
What is changing in 2020
The past year has been great and a continuous learning curve in terms of balancing business with motherhood. I’m pretty sure this will continue so I’ve given the upcoming year some thoughts after reading Pia Silva’s Badass Brand book.
With a toddler in tow and less time to spend on my business than I had before becoming a mother, it’s all about working smarter and not harder. I’m laying the foundations for Ostara Marketing, training my team and will be focusing on working with clients on launch strategy.
These are some of the changes that I’ll be implementing in 2020:
In terms of Facebook ads for launches I’ll only be working on a project basis and have created packages to cover 3, 6 or 9 months. To give each project my full attention I’ll only be accepting 2 clients per month.
I’ll be bundling the launch strategy packages with Facebook ads management simply because one compliments the other. In the past I’ve managed ads for clients who didn’t have a complete launch strategy and although the results were good, I know that with a launch strategy and plan that covers much more than the ads the launch can do so much better.
All retainer clients’ ads will be managed by my team with me as the account manager (at least early on). To start, the focus of Ostara Marketing will be on running Facebook ads for e-commerce businesses and on-going list building for service based businesses. In the future we’ll also be adding Pinterest advertising and possibly other marketing services. If you’re looking for a dream team, please get in touch with us today.
Most of my clients launch after March, so January is usually a month of planning and preparing but I did this in December so I have some time for 1:1 consultations. If you want to talk about Launch Strategy, Facebook ads strategy, pick my brain or have any other business questions – I’m opening up my calendar for 1:1 consultations for the month of January and you can book an hour with me here.
As always, I actually did quite a bit and am glad I wrote this post and ‘prove my mind wrong’. I’m looking forward to 2020 and have chosen my word for the year to be EQUILIBRIUM. To me this means steadiness, calm, balance and stability.
Wishing you a fantastic year ahead as well!
There may be affiliate links in this post which means I may receive a commission if you purchase something through a link. However, please be assured that I only recommend products that I have personally used and love!