Episode 195: November Recap and a Look Ahead at 2020
Another month has flown by, and it’s time for another recap. In this episode, I’m sharing my updates and lessons from November and giving you a sneak peek at 2020 and what’s to come.
I arrived back from my vacation on November 4th and was greeted with some unexpected complications. As I typically do, I planned for a light week as I knew I’d have jet lag, but I struggled that entire week. I had a rash on my torso, I was nauseous, and didn’t feel great. I chalked the rash up to my sensitive skin and the rest to jet lag. By the end of the week, I was a mess, and I went to the doctor. The diagnosis was shingles.
From there, I promptly canceled everything in my life and business for the week to come in order to get better. And now that it’s over, I’m glad I did because I was able to recover relatively quickly.
I share all of this because this month has been seriously weird on multiple fronts, and it’s definitely not what I planned. I was ready to come back from vacation and fire on all cylinders. But the universe — and maybe Mercury Retrograde — had other plans.
November delivered up some massive lessons to me about being flexible, listening to myself, and more. Let’s dive into the details for both Scoop and Small Business Boss.
This past month has been trying in multiple ways. Overall, things are good, but there are definitely some ongoing growing pains that are making me take a long hard look at things. (Or maybe it’s the time of year — maybe both!)
New business-wise, despite so much time off, it was a decent month with us landing a new ongoing client from a past relationship and then another project, which may have been one of the more intense client pitches I’ve been through in years. I’m excited about both of these projects. Plus, we have a number of new prospects that are in the pipeline and looking good, that when they land (because I’m planning for the WHEN, not the IF) will start us off in 2020 in a great space.
But then there’s the flip side. One of our long-term clients has made internal changes, and they’ll be gone at year-end. It’s a very amicable parting, and I’m hoping they’ll be back. And, yes, there was a lesson in this too around our positioning as a company. They hired a bigger agency, and I honestly think they didn’t realize that we would be in a position to serve the expanded scope of what they needed.
I’ve known, as we’ve evolved over the last year, that the brand and message had to as well, and we’re in process with a new website, look and feel, and all of that right now, so this validated how important this move is for our client base.
With limited time this month, a lot of my energy went into new business. As perspective, I spent over 20 hours this month on conversations, calls, proposals, and other back and forth to get things lined up, even with this client leaving. January isn’t looking exactly like I hoped, but the good news is that I’ve got time to course correct.
All in all, agency-wise, goals are on track — even if my bank account doesn’t quite reflect it. I’m still adjusting to the longer payment timelines of these bigger companies, and I’m not going to lie, it’s caused me some angst. I need to follow-up more, talk about money more, and I don’t love it. But it’s factual, and I don’t want surprises.
The money is happening — just not quite on the timeline I’d like. As part of this, I’m working with our lawyer to tighten up contracts (yes, again), so we’re planning for longer payment timelines, late fees, asking for contacts in AP, and more.
Looking ahead to 2020, I know what we’re doing is working extremely well; now, it’s a matter of refining things to improve on them. And December will be a month that’s all about systems, so we go into the new year really solid.
Where I’ve ended up for this month is lots of reflection and thought as I process everything I’ve learned. And I know more changes are coming in order to simplify and streamline what we’re doing.
Small Business Boss
November was all about the Agency Mastermind launch. And I hesitate to call it a launch as it wasn’t much of one. It was some emails to our list, as well as some personal reach-outs, and we’ve hit the goal I wanted, so I feel good about all of it. I really appreciated that it was easy as I had so little energy in early November.
I’m really excited about the new members joining us for 2020 and the returning ones. It’s going to be a great new direction for the mastermind!
The other thing we focused on this past month was content planning for next quarter. I’ve gotten super clear about the editorial direction for Small Business Boss — especially the podcast — and I think you’re going to love some of these changes.
For recaps going ahead, I’m going to really tap into what the lessons or insights were from the month versus talking about events. My goal is for you to find something you can put into action for your business, so these aren’t just an audio diary of me spilling my guts.
I’m also going to be adding a deep dive episode each month where we get into the nitty-gritty. For Q1, we’re going to be looking at lead generation, proposals, and how I actually spend my workdays with numbers and an epic blog post that includes all of the details to back it up.
As part of this update, I’m done talking about making more money as my trojan horse message. OVER IT. I had a moment this past month where I realized everyone talks about planning or making more money, and it’s so freakin’ tedious, that I want no part of it. I will always talk about money, but I want to have a conversation with more nuance. I want to talk about what it looks like to build a thriving business as a freelancer or agency owner — because that’s about you defining what thriving means to you.
Plus, I’m sick of people pitching me for this show to talk about passive income or courses. So I’m just putting that clearly on the application form, as I want guests that are in service of you — not ones with a cheesy agenda.
More to come as I figure this all out, but that’s where we’re heading as we look towards the new year. I’ve got some planning days in December, where I’m going to work on mapping more of this out.
On a personal level, I’m about ready for some Hallmark movies, shortbread, and to add to my reading list for the year. During the next couple of weeks, I’m going to give it my all (especially as we have a big client project due before the holidays), and then I’m going to chill out for the rest of the month. If you’ve not booked days off for the holidays and let your clients know, go do that now. You’ll be happy you did.