I recently completed my first “12 Week Year.” Overall, it was a productive and more importantly, focused experience. I was able to connect my daily tasks to some overarching goals, and to think about other long-term goals for the next year.
To Grow or Not To Grow
As an entrepreneur, I love connecting with other entrepreneurs and sharing ideas for how to improve processes, increase revenue and to be happier and more satisfied with my life and business. Part of being an entrepreneur is having a passion for growing and getting better at we do, or expanding our services. While I definitely share these qualities, I also have been struggling with the idea that I am generally satisfied with my business and my life. I have been asking myself if I really WANT to grow my business. I am fortunate that I don’t have pressure to make more money, but I worry that if I don’t continue to expand, I will fall behind and will not only struggle to be competitive for new business, but also to fit in with my colleagues.
The 12 Week Year has helped me create a vision of what I want to improve about my business, but more importantly, about my life in general. Setting goals that include how I will help others and become a better person, as well as to live in the moment and appreciate what I have, are more important to me than the bottom line of my business at the moment.
To that end, my first 12 Week Year included starting piano lessons, volunteering by reading to children in an after school program and traveling to Japan to visit a dear friend, while exploring an amazing country and culture I would not otherwise have seen. I also ran a 10 mile race and improved my time from the year before.
While I focused on some personal goals, my first year was not without business achievements as well. I expanded my service offerings to include some basic SEO audits and keyword research. I brought on a new client and am redesigning websites for two existing clients. I hired an Operations Manager to help manage my client relationships and back me up on proofreading proposals and other administrative tasks.
I also launched this “personal” blog, moving content not directed to clients to a blog where I can write about my struggles and wins as an entrepreneur, wife, mom and productivity geek.
Next Year: New and Continuing Goals
As I return from a wonderful week in Japan, I have established goals for my next 12 Week Year. A key to the goal setting process is to be realistic. It is easy to have eyes bigger than your stomach when it comes to making lists of things to do.
I have set the following goals for Year Two:
Serve Current & New Clients with Improved Processes
This goal includes refining my new SEO reporting process, completing an outline of my process in Tallify and delegating some steps and reporting to my staff.
I have several projects on deck for Year 2 and may look into outsourcing some work if it becomes overwhelming.
My priority in the coming weeks is to help my nephew graduate from high school and prepare for life after graduation. He has a challenging home life and needs support and guidance. I have made a commitment to help him, even though he is far away, and I am hopeful that I can make a difference for him and his future. It is likely this commitment will expand over the coming months, and I am prepared to regulate my client work to allow me to do what is necessary to help him succeed.
In this second year, I am also going to begin the process for establishing the first Website Weekend in the Washington DC/MD/VA area. I have coordinated with the founder, Natalie Maclees, and need to start with setting up the website, finding a venue, picking a date in 3Q or 4Q of 2018, and gathering a team of volunteers.
I will continue to read with Aspire After School Learning as much as possible, with time for my nephew coming first.
I am also on the organizing committee for WordCamp DC, but am not sure how much time I will have to dedicate to this during this quarter.
Finally, I continue to host/organize the Northern Virginia/Arlington monthly WordPress Meetup. I am looking for a better venue for this, but in the meantime need to establish a schedule for the coming month’s topics and speakers.
Improve/Maintain Personal Health
I have scaled back my stretching and meditating goals. I had set them for every day in Year One but this was not a realistic expectation as it turned out. I am going to aim for every other day in Year Two.
Importantly, I have set a lofty goal of detaching from my cell phone and devices during meals and when I am with my husband. Like many people, I rely heavily on my phone and have a hard time putting it away. This affects my relationships and attention span. Even though I know this and have tried to limit myself in the past, it is a very hard commitment to maintain. I am going to try again and am hopeful that writing it down, making it part of my weekly goals/tactics will increase my success in meeting this goal.
After taking a couple of weeks off between years for planning and vacation, I am motivated to kick off Year Two!