Last January, January of 2018, I was working a full time job during the day and then going home and working on my business or client work in the evening. It was A LOT but I was fortunate enough to only have to do that for 8 months.
This January has been so different! I wake up in the morning and basically the day is mine to choose how I spend it. Some mornings I find myself ready to dive right into my client work. Other days (like right now as I’m writing this), I want to blog and spend a majority of my day working ON my business instead of IN my business. I get to choose though and it’s so different than where I was a year ago.
2018 + 2019 Comparison (projects + Finances)
Just like in 2018 Year in Review, I’m going to start off with a financial comparison (and project breakdown) between January 2018 and January 2019.
Here’s a breakdown of projects
I had a total of 2 clients in January 2018. They were broken down like this:
- Web design projects: 0
- Email marketing projects: 0
- Monthly support: 2
In January 2019, I had a total of 5 clients broken down like this:
- Web design projects: 1
- Email marketing projects: 1
- Monthly support: 3
(As a side note: When I started my business I was doing monthly support for clients which included web design, email marketing, blog management, and social media. I no longer offer this to new clients but I LOVE the clients I currently have so I still support them in this way.
One great thing about being an entrepreneur is when you decide you want to switch directions in your business, YOU CAN! No questions asked. You just go for it and see what works.)
Now for the financial comparison
As you can see, I increased my revenue by a ton (+453% to be exact). I also cut my expenses by more than half.
Last year I was paying for online courses, purchasing fonts for my website, and making specific investments you can’t really avoid when in the beginning stages of building a new business. This year I decided to get more intentional with the tools I’m paying for which meant cutting out tools and programs that wouldn’t help me in my business in the long run.
How did I increase my revenue by so much? Well… I had more time to dedicate to refining my messaging, writing good marketing content, and nurturing relationships. Read more specifics on what worked and what didn’t below!
What worked in January 2019
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” – Albert Einstein
I didn’t go at January 2019 alone. At the end of 2018 I was ready to make changes in my business. I wanted to increase my monthly income, I wanted to take on more web design projects, and I wanted to stop doing work I didn’t enjoy. I also wasn’t sure how to do any of this so in November I invested in the help of Ashley Enget.
January is when I really started to see changes from my investment. My website was completely redesigned with messaging that targets my ideal web design client, I raised my prices, I reached out to people I thought may need my help, and I started marketing myself more.
There are hundreds of thousands of web designers out there and I’m not oblivious to that. Last year I was messaging myself like any other web designer which made it really hard to stand out.
With Ashley’s help, I went through my entire process and she pointed out things that I do when I’m designing that other web designers don’t do. In January I relaunched my website emphasizing the fact that I use my education in psychology and my background in ecommerce when I’m designing websites.
This has helped exponentially with messaging and marketing myself. It’s brought in more leads and helped me make more connections than my old messaging did.
My advice to you: Find that one thing in your business that makes you different from your competitors and use it in your messaging. Use it on your website, on social media… everywhere. If you need help doing this, I now help business owners hone in on their differences and refine their messaging (for their website and marketing) in my web design package!
One of the most beneficial things I did was reach out to people I knew who would benefit from my services. I thought back on who I knew that ran their own businesses, checked out their websites, and reached out if I resonated with them and thought they could benefit from my services.
Not everyone said yes, but I did land an awesome web design project I can’t wait to share with you all! Plus, I got more confident in my outreach process and sales calls which was a huge added bonus!
Since I left my 9-5, I spend a lot of time at home. Maybe too much time… but there’s only one coffee shop close by to me…
When you work from home it’s easy to get distracted by the dirty dishes, Netflix, or your dog whose been sleeping all day but looks extra cute at that exact moment so you just want to snuggle her on the couch. It’s even easier to get distracted as an online business owner because social media and email is always within reach.
In January I decided to start time blocking. I tried this last year as well and completely failed. It made me feel drained so I decided to do it a little differently this year.
Last year my idea of time blocking was blocking off the entire morning to one client and the entire afternoon to a different client. Plus I planned out the whole week on Mondays. By Wednesday, my schedule was so out of whack because a call would be scheduled that interfered with what I planned or something urgent would come up with a client I had scheduled for a different day.
In January, with the help of my Passion Planner I’ve been blocking my calendar off for up to 2 hours at a time and I’ve been planning one day at a time. Noon to one is blocked off for lunch every day and I don’t add anything in past 4 o’clock. This way if something comes up that I need to get done, I have from 4 to 5 to work on it. After 5 PM, I no longer do client work and only work on my business if there’s something I’m super excited to get done that night.
Instead of working on 2 projects a day, sometimes I work on 4. I know this sounds like a lot but my mind likes to be doing different things, so frequent changes throughout the day actually keeps me more productive and energized.
In February I’m making another shift. Blocking out time for blogging and no longer taking calls every day of the week.
So last year I read the famous 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss and tried to take his advice of checking email once or twice per day.
This didn’t work for me. And it may not work for you either. It’s a good concept but my web design process relies on communication between two people at specific points in a project. Waiting to read emails means a project may go on for longer than it needs to.
I found that I would check my email in the evening and a client would have asked me a question that needed to be answered before we could proceed in a project. No it wasn’t life or death but I like to reply to things that will help me push projects along so this was kind of frustrating to me.
Now I check email throughout the day but ONLY EMAILS FROM THE CLIENT WHOSE PROJECT I AM CURRENTLY WORKING ON. If I get an email from a different client, I ignore it until their time pops up on my calendar. If their project isn’t time blocked into my calendar for that day, I read all remaining emails at the end of the day and reply if needed or wait until tomorrow when they’ll most likely be scheduled. This helped keep me focused on one project at a time.
what I would do differently
No one has a perfect month. There are always things we wished we would have done a little differently as entrepreneurs. January 2019, while good financially, had moments I wish I would have handled a little differently.
Beta Program launch
I launched a beta program toward the beginning of January which offered my web design and copy creation services at the price of just my web design package. It was kind of unplanned and I got a ton of interest. It completely threw off my work schedule for 2 weeks! I had so many calls that I hadn’t expected when I was looking at my January 2019 plans.
I don’t regret doing it. It was great but in the future I’ll be sure to plan beta program launches a little better so that I’m not completely overwhelmed with the amount of calls and work I need to get done at the same time.
Recap + Looking forward
January was the perfect start to 2019. It’s motivated me and allowed me to see the possibilities for the year.
February is going to be just as packed full of new things and constant learnings. Here are some things you can expect to see from me this month:
- The start of an email list
- A freebie for all my email subscribers called “How to Increase Sales & Attract High End Clients Using 3 Psychological Principles on Your Website”
- Tons of great content on the blog and in the inboxes of my subscribers
- Blog posts twice a week (This was another win for January! Consistently blogging twice a week was great for my website traffic.)
You might also like…
- 2018 Year in Review
- How Getting Laid Off Helped Me Start My Business
- February 2019 Recap of My WordPress Web Design Studio
- Business Advice: Balancing Your Full Time Job and Side Hustle