My idea for a “2021 Year in Review” was born from reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits. It is a practice he does and recommends in that book.
I decided to transform my hand-written year in review notes to a blog post for a few reasons:
- It raises the stakes if I publish my thoughts for anyone on the internet to find – even if it will likely only be read by the tens of readers of this blog. 😉
- The subject of blogging turns out to be part of my year in review, so it seemed relevant.
- Writing a blog post forces me to think more carefully about the subject matter. As I write and edit my thoughts, it often inspires greater clarity about what actions should be taken as a result of my analysis.
I’m breaking this review into three sections:
- What went well
- What didn’t go so well
- What I am working towards
Disclaimer: I’ve found that as I’ve become immersed in owning a business, that business matters have a tendency to overshadow personal when it comes to goal setting and priorities. So you may find that a lot of this is about my business, however, I tend to think that business and personal become impossibly inseparable as an entrepreneur. So there will be elements of both.
Without further ado, my 2021 year in review!
What went well
- My business grew tremendously in terms of regular monthly clients and one-time projects.
- I started work for a “dream client.” Or in the entrepreneurial space, what we call “ideal client.” I can tell you more about that if you’re interested.
- Per #2, this client initially was extremely intimidating to me. But we quickly developed a relationship of mutual respect and appreciation, and affection to boot. I can only speak for myself, but this client is someone I really like personally, which makes it all the more enjoyable to do work for her.
- I learned a lot about various elements of my craft(s) through trial and error on behalf of clients and myself.
- I was persistent in my efforts to improve the way I use my time. It is a continual work in progress, about which I could write an entire book.
- My workload got full enough that I felt comfortable outsourcing some of it to an independent contractor who was looking to get a start in the social media marketing space.
- I got my website “done” – a project hanging over my head for over a year. I say “done” because I’ve realized it will never be done. There are way more things I want to do to it than the time available. Even now, I am not happy with it. But I finally paid someone to do a few things I just couldn’t seem to get to. It’s “done” enough that I published it rather than hiding behind the “under construction” page that was up for close to a year.
- I exceeded my revenue goals by 60%! That is pretty amazing. To be sure, my revenue goals were pretty modest. So the exceeded figure is still humble, but the principle is worth celebrating!
- I quit my side job four months earlier than expected! The end of 2021 was my goal for leaving my 15-hour per week job helping a friend in his office. I was able to quit at the end of August, thanks to #1.
- I worked out fairly consistently throughout the year.
What didn’t go so well
- I was not as disciplined as I hoped in getting up by 6 a.m. every day. I was on some days, others not so much. A lot more could be said about that, but I’ll save that for another time.
- As a result of #1 meant I didn’t get nearly the amount of blogging that I planned.
- As the opposition to #5 above, I was disappointed in how frequently I did not honor the time-blocking plan I had set for the day. Related to that, keeping less than consistent records of how I actually used my time. “Planned vs. actual.” More on that in the future.
- There are a variety of internal business goals I did not get to, which relate closely to 1 and 3. That could be five subpoints, but I’ll spare you the details.
What I am working towards
- Building better systems that will address the time management imperfections I described above. I’ve got some ideas I’ll be working on forthwith.
- Structuring my time so that I can produce more content in 2021 and beyond. Blogs, videos and an email newsletter are all forthcoming goals.
- Figuring out the best way to scale my business. I never thought I’d see the day come that I might be at capacity with client work, but it is closer than I imagined. There are a number of ways I might scale, such as bringing on another independent contractor or two or shifting my business model. I’ll be working more with my business coach this year to tackle that.
- Improving how I consume content – amount and frequency. This includes reading books – both for business and personal growth, watching/listening to online courses I’ve purchased, podcasts, etc. I always have an enormous amount of material I am trying to get through, but I don’t take enough time to chip away at it.When I worked my side job it was easier for me to listen to podcasts. Working solely on my own business these days, I find that I need to work in quiet to be able to concentrate. Thus, creative solutions like listening to audio while working out are going to be a thing going forward.
Observations and conclusion
It is worth noting that the “things that went well” list is more than twice as long as the “not as well” list. That is something for which I am very pleased and grateful.
I tried really hard not to ramble too much on each of the points because there is so much more to say for each of them.
I’ll close with a few realizations I’ve had of late that I’ll couple with some unsolicited advice. 🙂
- Expecting perfection is a waste of time and energy. I’ve forfeited a lot of both in its pursuit. Just keep working towards your goals, observing what works and what doesn’t, and improving as you go.
- Being consistent is a bigger victory than you might realize. Even if you don’t have a huge landmark accomplishment to showcase, showing up every day and doing the work is what yields results over time.
- If you are on task more than not, persistently working towards your goals, living by your principles and treating people well, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish.
I hope you’ll find encouragement to keep working towards that which you see as the next advancement towards a more optimized life. Remember, it’s just about making continuous improvements. Here’s to new opportunities in 2022!
Thank you for reading! I truly appreciate you taking the time to read what I have written.