If this year has taught us anything, it’s that we can’t plan for everything. If someone had said this time last year we’d be learning and working from home, and cancelling overseas travel for the next few years, we’d have thought they were mad.
COVID-19 threw a massive spanner in the works. Living in South Australia, I have had it much easier than most people. I’m in awe of friends and colleagues in Melbourne and Europe who have endured multiple lockdowns.
Even if you haven’t been in lockdown, it’s been a tough year. Uncertainty about restrictions, watching friends deal with home schooling, being unable to attend funerals or celebrate special occasions.
I was tempted to burn my 2020 planner and wall calendar. But I knew I needed to make the most of the last months of 2020.
I wanted to share the ten things I’m doing to wrap-up the 2020 business year and get a head start on 2021. I hope sharing these ideas will be useful and will keep me accountable.
1. Writing a blog
As a copywriter, I spend a lot of time writing blogs for clients. Or telling clients how valuable a blog would be for their business. And yet, I haven’t written a blog since March.
Part of my problem has been making the time to work on my own business. But I’ve also struggled to find ideas. Who wants to read another post about grammar tips?
Hopefully, you’ll find this post more useful. And see below to find out how I’m overcoming a lack of ideas.
Action: Can you write blog post summing up your year? I wrote this one at the end of last year, which might provide some inspiration.
2. Writing a content plan
One way of dealing with my lack of motivation about blog posts is spending time to map out content.
There’s no point writing a blog post if you’re not going to use it. What do I mean by that? Well, unless it’s a really short blog post or article, you should be able to repurpose your blog post. Turn it into multiple Facebook posts, Instagram graphics and LinkedIn articles. You could even talk about it on Instagram stories or Facebook Live or video.
But content doesn’t just have to be from your blog post. Depending on the platform you’re on, there’s loads of different content you can share.
Action: Try to map out at least one month of content. You don’t have to write it all or come up with all the graphics. Just write an outline to save yourself time and stop yourself from procrastinating.
3. Being consistent on social media
Ok, this is definitely one I’m writing here for some accountability. This year I have found getting the balance right really hard. We might have embraced staying at home to bake and do puzzles, but the novelty soon wore off. It felt like there was nothing to post about.
Having a content plan and dividing content into topics or pillars is super helpful. Consistency doesn’t mean posting every day.
And if social media isn’t achieving a concrete business goal, it’s time to reassess the platform you’re on.
Action: Set some goals for your social media use. Looks at your insights. Where are your ideal customers? What content do they respond to?
4. Following up with previous clients and leads
I want to finish 2020 knowing I have work locked in for the start of 2021. I’ve contacted previous clients to give them first dibs on my time. I’ve also followed up people who have made enquiries in the past and gone quiet.
Action: Get in touch with your previous customers or clients or people who have enquired about your services. Let them know your plans for the holidays and when you’ll be back on deck. If you have an e-commerce or retail store, communicate your hours, provide Christmas shopping tips and shipping cut offs.
5. Reviewing expenses and subscriptions
The end of the year is also a good time to review your finances. The first quarter of the financial year has just finished. It was a good time to engage a new bookkeeper to make sure my finances are in order.
Thanks to some clever colleagues, I’ve reduced a couple of subscriptions where I was paying for more than I needed.
I’ve also made sure I have enough in my business expense account to cover me through the holidays.
Action: Review your budget. Do you have enough money coming in to cover expenses over the holidays? Are there subscriptions you haven’t used this year that you could cancel?
6. Catching up on training
I said last year that I would not buy any new training courses in 2020. It’s hard because so many people I know are doing great things. But I knew I had to focus on doing the work and applying all I’d already learned.
As a Clever Copywriting School and Digital Masterchefs member, I can access hundreds of hours of expert training. I blocked out time for training sessions each month, just as I would for a client meeting. But things come up, and so before the end of the year, I’ll be catching up on relevant sessions.
Action: Are there training sessions you signed up to and never did? Do you need to catch-up on professional development? Schedule time to catch up before you sign-up to anything new.
7. Planning a business building retreat
I am so excited about this one. In December, a friend (and fellow copywriter) and I are going away to work on our business.
We’ve got two nights and an entire day to make plans for 2021, develop processes and set-up systems.
This is something I haven’t done before. And I’m lucky to be doing this with a much more experienced copywriter and business owner. And it will be great to have an accountability buddy to keep me on track.
Action: Can you schedule some time (preferably away from your office or home) to work on your business?
8. Updating my website
Now this one is a little embarrassing. Surely as a copywriter, my website should be a perfect, shining example of the work I can deliver.
Yes, it should be.
I could make all the excuses about being busy and focusing on my client’s projects.
But the truth is, I have just the same problem that most of my clients have. I find it really hard to talk about myself. And yet, it’s not really talking about myself, is it? It’s just telling people what I do and how I can help them solve a problem.
Over summer, I’ll be using my amazing network of copywriters to help me knock my own words into shape.
Action: When was the last time you updated your website? If you’re not sure where to start, get in touch and we can talk through the options. We can start with my simple website review to help you identify potential areas to update.
9. Catching up with colleagues and friends
Fortunately, here in South Australia, restrictions have eased significantly, which makes catching up friends and contacts much easier. I’m looking forward to celebrating the end of the year with my co-workers at Workspace Barossa.
I’m also excited about the SA Woman Summit. A full day of fantastic speakers before the awards night to recognise some amazing women in business. And I’m also hoping to catch-up in with some of the Adelaide-based TCCS and DMC members.
After the year we’ve had, I think it’s important to recognise success and get inspiration for the year ahead.
Action: Can you organise an informal catch-up with colleagues, clients and staff in your area? It doesn’t need to be fancy. Just a chance to reconnect, wrap-up and celebrate a challenging year.
10. Taking some time out to relax
I am so excited about Christmas this year. I can’t wait to see my sister and her family. I’m already planning presents and food.
And I can’t wait to just lie on a beach with a book. Trent Dalton’s All Our Shimmering Skies, Richard Glover’s The Golden Maze and Chris Hammer’s Trust are all on my towering ‘to be read’ pile. If you want to see what else I’m reading, watching and cooking, follow me on Instagram.
Action: Take some time out, do something fun, rest and recharge.
Bring on the holidays
So, there you have it. The 10 things I’m doing to wrap-up 2020. While it has often seemed like one giant bin fire and a year we hope never to repeat, it hasn’t been all bad. But hopefully, with a little work and planning, 2021 can be even better.
Over to you
I’d love to know how you’re wrapping up 2020. If you have any other suggestions to share, I’d love to hear from you. And if you liked this article, please share.