A couple years ago, I was part of an entrepreneurs mastermind group that ended every week by sharing Peaches, Pits, and Fuzz.
🍑 The Peaches were the good things that happened during your week. Pits were the bad. And the Fuzz was something unexpectedly good.
I miss this type of reflection. As someone who races from one task to the next and who has an easier time remembering the bad and embarrassing, it helps me to make myself slow down and reflect on the good. (any other Enneagram Type 3s out there? I think you’ll get it.)
This Year in Review is just that. An opportunity for me to take a deep breath and look at the year. Did I accomplish my ultimate vision for where I wanted to be in December 2018? Not yet. But I bet there are more Peaches than I even remember.
2018: The Peaches 🍑
Developing a Line By Line Budget
The biggest, most impactful thing I did in my business this year was develop a line-by-line budget.
At the end of 2017, I sat down with a report of all of my business income and expenses for the year by account. Based on the year’s expenses, I forecasted every income account and budgeted every expense line for 2018. Yes, every line.
I asked myself—”Do I expect to increase Web Design income in 2018?” “What should I realistically shoot for for SEO Income?”
Then I asked—”How much can/should I spend on things like Office Supplies, Conference Travel, and Recurring Software expenses?”
It looked like this:
Was it tedious? Oh yeah. But—It’s what allowed me to make the big decisions I needed to. For example:
- How am I doing vs expectations for specialized SEO income? Is niching down really working? (good! Exceeded forecast by 19%)
- Can I go to WordCamp US? (yep! Under budget on travel expenses)
- Can we afford to let go of our biggest client? (yes, if I work hard for 8 months to replace that income with SEO income)
I will definitely be doing this again for 2019. I’m not sure I can do business anymore without a budget to follow.
Healthy Income & Recurring Revenue
The good vibes of this were felt in 2018, but it started way back in 2014. That was when I decided that all of our website projects would include a mandatory ongoing service component. For all of our clients since about 2015, we manage their website’s hosting, WordPress updates, plugin updates, and ongoing changes.
In 2018, 37.6% of 11Web’s revenue came from recurring monthly service packages. This provided a really strong basis from which to make some pivots.
In case you’re curious, here’s our breakdown of income by service:
|Design Project Income||7.0%|
|Social Media Management||5.2%|
|Monthly Package Income||37.6%|
In 2018, we beat income forecasts by 9.7%, and revenue was up 24.5% from last year.
I talked more about recurring revenue in this post and video.
Loving My New Niche Service
Enough numbers, I know. One of my favorite Peaches of the year has a lot more to do with fun. Late last year, I decided to actively pursue specialized, focused work in SEO for the wedding industry. And I have LOVED IT
I love that I can help with something business owners find intimidating, I love the significant measurable results, I love learning every nuance of something really specific, I love how much easier content creation has become.
I worked with 22 wedding-related businesses in 2018, and I look forward to even more in 2019.
So much so that (big announcement hiding here real small because I’m scared)… I’ve decided to take on only wedding-related work for the next 3 months. Wish me luck.
The Business of WP Slack Team
My last big ol’ Peach of the year is the wonderful Business of WP Slack team. Tara Claeys and I started this group late last year as an off-shoot of Carrie Dils’ Office Hours Slack group when that group was being decommissioned.
I didn’t even mention Business of WP in last year’s Year in Review, I think because it was so new, and I didn’t know if it was going to work. But I really think it has.
The people in the group all use WordPress in their work, whether as service providers or plugin or product creators. I’ve really appreciated the great conversations there about client management, Gutenberg, tech support, design feedback, and more.
One of my favorite aspects has been the small group who has taken on goal-setting and weekly accountability through following the 12-Week Year method. I look forward to starting my next 12-Week Year with the group in January.
To everyone there, I am always learning something new from you or looking at things differently because of something you said. Thank you for being there and giving your thoughts and advice. I loved meeting so many of you at WordCamp US.
If you are looking for community, we welcome you. Just contact me for an invite link.
2018: The Pits 👎
Inconsistency with Content Creation
I won’t dump a bunch of negativity here, but I do want to say that one thing I’ve been disappointed in this year is the inconsistency with my video series and this blog.
For the last few months, I have been posting maybe 2 videos maximum per month on my YouTube channel and blog. I’ve been even less consistent with my email newsletter. I used to post consistently every week, so I’m disappointed in myself.
I think a lot has to do with how much content I’m creating for my specialized business since I hired a PR firm and have a guest blog post due almost every week. I also think I just got tired of doing a couple hours of video editing and blog writing on Monday nights after dinner.
A couple months ago, I outlined a plan to delegate much of the process to my virtual assistant, Rev.com for transcripts, and a video editor, but I haven’t taken the time to follow through with it. I will make this one of my first goals of my January 12-Week Year. I still have a lot to share about how my specialized business has been growing and evolving.
2018: The Fuzz ✨
(the unexpectedly good stuff)
My Mastermind Group
I joined a wonderful online mastermind group in 2017, and this year I have leaned on this group even more. Unexpectedly, a lot of our conversations this year have become very personal, discussing big shifts and personal issues. I am so thankful to have this group that can connect on a deeper level than I even expected when I joined.
The Genesis Shapers Group
Just formally announced this week, I am beyond thrilled to be included in WP Engine’s Genesis Shapers initiative. I’m still not sure what I’m doing there, but it was super cool to sit in a room full of people whose courses I’ve taken, tutorials I’ve followed, code I’ve borrowed, themes and plugins I’ve used, and work I’ve admired. A truly unexpected experience, and I’m looking forward to absorbing more of their awesomeness in the future.
Extremely excited to announce the creation and results of the first meeting of the Genesis Shapers! Continuing our commitment to an open collaborative community for Genesis. https://t.co/4xWeiTkPTU
— Jason Cohen (@asmartbear) December 20, 2018
WordCamp US 2018
I didn’t think anything could top my experience at last year’s WordCamp US, but I was wrong. Someone there said “This feels like a giant family reunion.” After making 2018 a year of connecting with WordPress friends at local WordCamps, WordPress meetups, on podcasts, in Slack, and on Twitter, I really agreed.
To everyone I finally got to see and hug in real life, you made my whole weekend. Thank you for a wonderful time.
To the #WordPress community, I’m so grateful to know you, learn from you, and call you friends.
— Sara Dunn (@Sara11D) December 9, 2018
You couldn’t pry me away from the next WordCamp US with a 10 foot pole.
My husband, Bud, and I usually set annual goals together, and I think we’re going to reassess our process for next year. I would like to consider writing down a compelling, exciting vision for the future and setting quarterly goals instead of annual, to allow us to be more flexible.
My vision for the future…? It definitely includes continued niche work, digital products, a focus on recurring revenue, more travel, improving my photography, and starting a podcast that Bud and I have on our hearts. I think even I’ll be surprised by how it all comes together 🙂
Happy New Year from us to you. ❤️