It’s getting to that time when taking stock of the year that’s been is kinda a good idea. Thinking about what’s worked wonders for our business and reflecting on what hasn’t is a valuable exercise and one that can help us move forward into the year ahead. For me, the year has been full of ups and downs but overall it’s been a good one. I’ve worked with the most inspiring clients and have stepped up to really become the face of Resonant Imagery (because sometimes we have to take our own advice, right?!).
When I look back at the services/systems/processes I’ve invested in this year I can’t help but want to share them with you. Maybe you’ll be motivated to implement some of them in your business or at the very least I hope to get you thinking about your top 5 best business decisions of 2016 and then give yourself a pat on the back.
I invested in a business mentoring session
I started 2016 wanting to get next-level serious about my business but I really didn’t know where to start and what to focus on. I needed clarity, some tough love and supportive guidance. And that’s what I received. I met online with the lovely ladies from Sovereign Business, Sarah K Jones and Natalie Kent, and we had a power-packed session that was super insightful.
Amongst the many light bulb moments I had during our session, the biggest tough-love lesson was that I had been hiding behind my business and I wasn’t giving my personality a chance to shine through. As an introvert, I wholeheartedly agreed to this truth, so I committed to turning this around and I now feel like I have a definite presence in my business and it feels good!
I invested in good quality professional photos
How else was I going to be the face of Resonant Imagery?!
During a working holiday in Brisbane earlier in the year, I met up with friend and amazing photographer, Robyn Mill, and smiled A LOT in front of the camera. To be honest, it was exhausting BUT so worth it. A few costume changes, computer shots, yoga poses and locations later, I’ve come away with a catalogue of photos to play with.
You’ve probably seen the photos scattered throughout this website (there’s one featured at the top of this blog post) and they also show up from time to time on my Instagram feed. I’ve used them in business documents, such as The Welcome Kit, and they provide such a peace of mind knowing that I have them on hand for any project in the future.
If you’ve ummed and ahhed about getting some professional photos taken, trust me, it’s one of the best business decisions you’ll make.
I invested in an accounting software
I admit it, I like to do things the ol’ fashion way sometimes, which would explain why I’m still using a hardcopy diary, and my accounting has been much like this too…manual and a bit time consuming. After hearing all the (mostly) good things about Xero, I jumped in and pretty quickly felt a huge weight lift off my shoulders.
I’m now easily able to invoice my clients, and the software sends them friendly little reminders when invoices are close to their due by date. I can also easily see my business’ financial health month to month, which, even though it can be scary, is so important to keep track of. And I can use Xero’s app to record (and take photos of) my tax receipts without them piling up around me.
If you feel like there’s a mountain of paperwork to get through at the end of each quarter or you don’t have a clear indication of how your business is doing, jump on an accounting software and get in the know!
I invested in a project planning app
Trello is the best. I’m grateful to my friend and business mate, Nell Casey, for getting me onto this (and Nell also raves about Trello). Again, I used to plan website projects manually and tick tasks off on a (paper) list but the downside of this was my clients didn’t really know where we were up to on the project without me having to email an update regularly.
With Trello, each website project I work on has its own lists and tasks that I can either assign to myself or to the client. There’s an easy drag-and-drop function so it’s easy to move tasks around to get super clear on what needs to be done and what’s completed. Within each task, I can ask questions and give comments to my clients, which they’ll then get notified about and helps to keep their email inbox clear of our communications. All project documents and Dropbox links can be housed within the Trello project ‘board’, so everything’s in one place.
I’ve also started using Trello boards for my Support Package clients too and they are easily able to see how much time they have remaining of their package with me.
Pretty cool, right? Wanna see how it works? Just sign up for a website design and you’ll have a tailored Trello board ready and waiting for you 😉
I invested in an Instagram planning tool
Instagram is where you’ll find me out of all the social medias in existence and I love it. I find it creative, beautiful and inspiring. I try and post on Instagram regularly, which ends up being somewhere in the ballpark of every second day. When I looked at my Instagram feed as a whole though, it was feeling a bit all-over-the-place and lacking my personality and branding.
And then there was Planoly. This app allows me to plan my upcoming Instagram posts and visually see what my feed will look like into the future, thereby taking the guesswork out of ‘what’s coming next’. I can then schedule the future posts so that they’ll get posted at the times when my community is more likely to be checking Instagram. Planoly isn’t able to post on my behalf though so I get notified at the scheduled time and a few taps of buttons later, my post is live.
A bit of Instagram planning has made life easier; no more staring at my iPhone wondering what to post. If you can relate, jump on a planning tool.
Upon reflection, I achieved a lot in 2016 and my business feels a little more streamlined and professional. How about you? What are some of the systems or services that you invested in this year? Share them in the comments below as I would love to hear what’s working for you.