13 simple actions I’m taking this year
At the end of last year, I wrote a post reviewing 2021. You can check it out here. I mentioned a couple of things I was planning to do this year, but I wanted to share a more detailed post on the things I’m doing to set myself up for business success in 2022.
Before I start, I want to make a point about success.
Success for me is continuing to build a solid business in the time I have available. Renovations, one child finishing primary school and one starting high school, will mean I have limited time.
For me, business success is about being consistent and growing incrementally. It’s making my clients happy and making sure I look after my health and wellbeing.
1. Allocate time to work on my business
In the first few years of my business, I’ve been lucky to grow without too much effort. Sure, I’ve networked and posted on social media, but a sizeable chunk of my work has been from referrals.
While I’m fairly disciplined about having a ‘to do’ list, as my client base has grown, the tasks on my list that were focused on my business, have been the first to drop off.
So in 2022, I’m going to allocate time each week to work ON my business. This means blocking out time on my calendar to work on my business. The goal is that working on my business is no longer an afterthought or something that gets done on weekends.
Blocking out my calendar is something that my Online Business Manager Steph has encouraged me to do, and it definitely helps me be more realistic about what I can achieve each week.
2. Track my progress
It would be easy to blame COVID-19, but the fact is, I haven’t really set any goals for the past few years. As long as I was improving my work, securing bigger projects and earning more than the previous year, I was happy.
I think part of my reluctance to set goals was imposter syndrome. I mean, if I didn’t set big lofty goals, I couldn’t fail.
But I know to achieve (my version) of business success in 2022, I need to set business goals and track them. Once I’ve set them, I’ll be hanging them front and centre above my desk. And I’ll make time to track them.
3. Focus on my health and fitness
Towards the end of 2021, I realised that my lack of attention to my health and fitness had not only affected my waistline but also my work. I was tired, cranky, and definitely not the best version of myself.
Making time to eat well, exercise and sleep has made a huge difference.
If you’ve been neglecting yourself while you run your business, this is a friendly reminder that if you don’t have your health, you can’t run your business. Even if it can limp along, what’s the point of being in business if you’re not healthy enough to enjoy it?
4. Plan time off
When I block out my calendar, I’ll be blocking in holidays. It’s linked to looking after my physical and mental health. While I’ve tried to keep Fridays free this year, it hasn’t always worked. So I’m going to aim to do that better and also factor in some time for long weekends and school holidays.
Again, our renovation will no doubt need some attention, but given that we’ll be living with Mum, I think some short breaks might be essential – for everyone!
5. Continue to work with my Online Business Manager
I’ve already mentioned what a game-changer Steph has been for my business. It’s been amazing to have someone else looking at my business, helping me set goals and holding me accountable. Sure, I knew what I needed to do – but just like working with a fitness coach, Steph holds me accountable and helps me celebrate the wins. As we wrapped up 2021, Steph was the one encouraging me to write blogs (including this one), plan and schedule my social media posts so it wouldn’t be a distraction in 2022. We could use a period where I had deliberately scaled down client work to set a good foundation.
This year, I’m really excited about working with Steph to improve my workflow and scheduling of client work.
6. Invest in training and networking
My membership of The Clever Copywriting School and Digital Masterchefs provides hundreds of hours of training each year, not to mention the huge library of past sessions.
In the past, I’ve been guilty of signing up for new training because I’ve doubted my skills or just because I was a bit bored (hello, shiny new object syndrome).
This year, any training I do will be targeted and I’ll definitely be focusing on in-person opportunities because I have missed the face-to-face contact.
I’m super excited about CopyCon in October. The line-up for Australia’s dedicated copywriting conference looks amazing and I can’t wait to catch up with lots of other copywriters in person.
7. Invest in my business without overspending
Financial success will be a big part of my business success in 2022. In 2021, I really focused on removing expenses like pretty stationery (when I already have drawers full) and subscriptions I don’t use. For those essential business tools like Asana and Canva, I converted them to annual subscriptions, saving loads of money. I’m now more disciplined to only buy what I really need to move my business forward.
8. Build my profile
As part of building my business, I want to raise my profile this year. That includes pitching to speak at events and on podcasts, and writing guest posts and articles.
I love public speaking, thanks to years of training as a kid. After giving speeches in Danish as a teenage exchange student and in Chinese and Vietnamese as a diplomat, I’m more than happy to get up in front of people.
Now the only challenge left is to decide on the topics that I have expertise in – AND that people are interested in.
9. Apply for an award
While there are lots of awards out there that aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, there’s no doubt the right awards can be valuable to raise your profile.
In 2020, I wrote award applications for clients and in 2021, I sponsored an award. So I’ve decided in 2022, I’ll apply myself.
I don’t really care if I win, because I know that just applying for an award is a useful exercise and a good way to review my progress.
10. Ditching comparisonitis
Like many small business owners, I’ve fallen into the trap of comparing myself to other business owners. It happens too easily, even when the logical part of my brain reminds they are at different stages, with different responsibilities and hell, sometimes even in different industries.
At the start of this post, I said that success was an individual thing. So what business success in 2022 looks like for me will probably be quite different to what it is for you.
We’ve all got to run our own races and build businesses that work for us – at this point in our lives.
11. Trust myself and stop self-rejecting
I saw someone talking about this concept of self-rejecting recently, and it hit home. We often stop ourselves from applying for a job or an award because we think we won’t get it. Instead, we just need to take a chance and let others decide.
If you’ve struggled with imposter syndrome, it’s probably something you’ve done. I know I have. And I think it’s partly a protection mechanism. You can’t be rejected if you don’t apply.
But as the saying in basketball goes, you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.
12. Say no to things that don’t serve my business
So while I’ll be saying yes to things (even if they make me nervous), I will say no to the things that don’t help, grow or serve my business.
Not every client will be the right fit, whether that’s because of their budget, timeline, or the type of copy they want. It’s ok to say no. Being a member of a community of over 300 talented copywriters, there will always be people I can refer them to.
I’m also going to get better at being realistic about when I can start a project. It’s a trap that’s easy to fall into. A dream client comes along, so we say yes, even though we know we’re overloaded. Sure, the occasional night or weekend is fine, but more often than not, it ends in tears – yours or the clients. Missed deadlines are stressful and the dream client scenario quickly becomes your nightmare.
I admit, I am a people pleaser. But having my calendar blocked out and a clear schedule will help me be honest about start dates. That means I can give every client the attention and quality of work they deserve.
13. Ride the highs and lows
One of the most important lessons I learned in 2021 is that no matter how successful I am or what stage of business I am in, there will always be highs and lows. The trick is to enjoy the highs without getting too caught up in them, and to let the lows go.
Success, as well as personal, is also incremental. One win won’t make your business, nor will one failure destroy it.
Now it’s over to you.
What do you think of things I’m doing to set myself up for business success in 2022? Is there anything on my list you’re going to do in your business? Is there anything on your list you think I should do?
I’d love to hear from you.