happy little biz

2017: a year of finding purpose and new focus

Happy New Year!

I hope you've all been doing really well so far this year! Did you do anything exciting over the Christmas and New Year's holiday period? Did you get to eat some delicious treats? Or if you're like me, did you eat too many delicious treats?

candice eats frozen chocolate cake

Now that the year is in full swing I wanted to take some time to reflect on how 2017 went for my business. Maybe you guys are interested in reading that, and maybe it’s something you’d like to do, too?

I can say from the experience of doing it for the last few years that it’s helpful to reflect on what went well and what could be improved. That way you've got some structure for your 2018 plans - business and otherwise!

Without further ado…

What went well in 2017?

Podcast

My podcast, Life Beyond the Massage Table, has been going very well. I’ve really enjoyed the process of scripting and recording it and I’m currently taking a deep dive into new episode ideas.

In 2017 I saw a 5x growth in the listener base. Now, to be fair, the podcast only existed for half of 2016, so it was almost a given that there would be growth in 2017. But even taking that into account, having 5x the downloads in 2017 vs 2016 is still awesome.

The podcast will be one of my focus areas for 2018 and I’m really looking forward to continuing with it!

On that note, I’m considering taking on sponsors. If you or someone you know runs a great brand or company that would be a good fit - something massage therapists and other people working in health and wellness would be into - get in touch.

Build Your Own Website e-course

I originally launched this course in 2016 and was happy to add new students in 2017. I had originally planned to do two launches, one in the spring and one in the fall, but things got really busy late last year and I knew a second launch would not get the attention it deserves. That said, I’m perfectly happy with how things went and am planning bigger things for this course for 2018. Stay tuned!

My Framing Word: Purpose

I start each year off choosing a framing word. The idea is to choose a word that will help set your intentions on what you’d like to focus or work on.

My word for 2017 was Purpose. My intention was to get clear on what direction I was taking my business and to be more authentic in all my interactions, business or otherwise. To really come back to my core purpose for running happy little biz in the first place.

This was an extremely helpful process and out of that has come a rebrand and a shifting of my offerings for 2018. (Spoiler: more on that below!)

Client Work

I launched some really lovely websites last year and had the opportunity to work with some great clients. I also saw my students in my e-course launch some great websites! It really drove home that working with those who have healthcare, wellness or fitness careers is the right fit for me, especially given my own background and how I spend my spare time.

Audience

My little newsletter list kept growing in 2017. Thanks for your support!

My 356 Project

For 2017 I decided to embark on a 365 project, where I would create a small piece of art - a drawing, doodle, colouring, painting, whatever - each day of the year.

This really got me thinking creatively and allowed me to practice my hand lettering, a hobby that I really love.

heart not hustle hand lettering

What didn’t go well in 2017?

My 365 Project

Wait, didn’t I just say this was a success? Well, it was! Except I never finished all 365 days.

The issue was at certain times of the year I simply didn’t have time to do it (despite my best intentions!). By the time October rolled around I was very behind, and by December I was so behind that it felt stressful. After some reflection, I realized the project had done what I’d set out to do - get me creating things and having fun with art again, something I hadn’t really done since I was a little kid. So while I didn’t complete the entire year, I’m ok with that. And I plan to continue to go back and create new pieces in my book from time-to-time until I do complete all 365 days. It just might take me another year to do that. And that’s perfectly ok!

Client Work Outside My Niche

There’s a good reason why I encourage everyone to focus on an area of specialization, and it’s not just because it’s smart business, especially for your marketing efforts. It’s also because I’ve experienced both sides. Working with clients in health and wellness was great. I had lots to offer those clients and that produced great results. Working with clients outside of that niche, however, didn’t go as well. This was certainly a case of me ignoring my own advice, even though I knew better. Lesson learned.

Experimenting with Instagram for Business

I decided last year to convert my Instagram account to a business account and experiment with running ads. Now, I know some people in some industries have awesome success with this. I also know it can be an extremely useful tool for interacting with your ideal clients. This is still true! However, I gained little from my experiments. The ads weren’t profitable and I’d actually say my account got less attention as a business account vs a personal one. So I’ve switched my account back to a personal one and will continue to interact with you all there, and probably won’t bother with ads anymore. At least for now.

A little update since I originally wrote this: I've split my Instagram presence into two accounts, personal and business. Both are still the 'personal' account type, just one is focused on marketing advice for health and wellness practitioners, and the other is focused on pictures of food, my cats, and my running adventures.

Follow me on Instagram here, y'all!

Social Media in General

It’s a great marketing tool but it’s also a time suck. Too many hours wasted surfing social media when I should have been working. Guilty as charged.

Focus

I did a lot of experimenting last year with a large variety of things: my newsletter, podcast, blog, free digital downloads, my e-course, and of course client work. This was far too many things for one person to take on without burning out and only lead to me feeling unfocused and too divided. So that is going to change for 2018.

Speaking of which…

What’s ahead for 2018?

A focus on the possibilities

Possibility is my word of the year for 2018. For me, it’s all about being open to what life throws my way, whether it’s a business opportunity, a personal opportunity, or a million dollars. Well ok, that last one isn’t likely to happen. Although if you know someone with a spare million lying around, you know where to find me!

In all seriousness, in order to allow myself more freedom to explore possibilities in my life and business, I’m also getting things focused and streamlined so I’m not so all over the place (as I mentioned above).

Now you might be thinking, hey Candice, doesn’t focus and streamlining make you less open to possibility? In my case, no. Once I pare things down to a much more manageable set of tasks, products and services, I think I’ll have more breathing room to allow that exploration into my life.

Streamlining my business offerings

I’ll be writing more about this soon, but I’m currently working on a rebrand and will be shifting focus towards my podcast and teaching (which includes plans to reopen Build Your Own Website later this winter). I’ll still be doing one-on-one client work, but that will take a bit of a different form.

For those interested in the branding process, here’s a peek at my brand mood board and colour palette. From those will come the rest of the brand, including the logo and other visuals! As you can probably tell, it’s not going to be a huge change in look and feel - just a much-needed tweak.

happy little biz rebrand moodboard

Higher Education

I’m back in school! Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Starting today, I’m doing a part-time certificate in Fundraising Management. Working with non-profits and charities has been something important to me for a long time, and I’ve done it on a volunteer basis for almost seven years. So I wanted to get more education in this area.

happy little biz isn’t going anywhere, so no worries there! This is just another tool in the toolbelt.

Travel

While we don’t have anything booked, I’d like to do a bit more travel this year. I always make a yearly trip out to British Columbia and am thinking I’d like to do a trip to California. As well, I turn 40 later this year and would like to mark that with a trip of some kind. Suggestions welcome!

My Newsletter

You may have noticed where I said I’d be streamlining my offerings that my podcast and paid offerings will be my focus. And the newsletter wasn’t mentioned. That’s true.

However, I do plan to keep writing my newsletter - only differently! My hope is to make it a weekly or twice monthly roundup of articles and links you guys will find helpful in running your businesses. Some will be things I’ve written and posted here on the blog, others will be things that colleagues have linked me to or that I just saw on the internets.

And what about you?

Have you done a post or newsletter reflecting on your own year? If you haven’t yet and would like to, feel free to follow the same format I did. So ask yourself these questions:

  • What went well in 2017?
  • What didn’t go so well in 2017?
  • What’s ahead for you in 2018?
  • What’s your word of the year this year?

I’d love to read yours, by the way! Send me a dm on instagram (@happylittlebiz) or just email me.