May 2019: One-Year Business Anniversary!

About this time last year someone paid me to create a website for them. It wasn’t a friend or a family member who enlisted my services. An individual I didn’t know put their faith in me to create them a website. And they paid for it.

I’ve heard that one’s business becomes real when money is exchanged. That exchange marks the difference between a dream or a hobby and a business.  

There had been many times last year that my business did feel real, months before I was paid by someone else. However, I can’t argue about the feeling I got from seeing my website deposit paid for the first time.

Earlier this month, I celebrated my first business anniversary!

In honor of this occasion, I thought it was high time I started writing and sharing reviews of my business each month. In this I will give a behind the scenes look at what worked, what didn’t and of course, things I learned.

Let’s get started!


With the acknowledgement of being in business for a year came the need to reflect. Analyzing where I have been has informed a lot about where I’d like to go for year 2.

You know when the New Year begins and that feeling of planning kicks in? There’s a lot of activity around goals, and of course, resolutions.

I rarely consider January to be the kick-off anymore. For me, it just doesn’t work. Though I attempted to sketch out some rough ideas about different quarters, January starting Q1, there wasn’t any feeling behind it.

Hitting the year one mark and being even more excited about year 2, the planning bug really kicked in. This month I did the following:

  • Created a business plan

  • Revised my marketing plan

  • Changed my ideal customer avatar (ICA)

  • Conducted a competitive analysis

  • Gave thought to establishing routines


Business Planning for Creatives

A couple of years ago I joined Skillshare and participated in Faye Brown’s class, Business Planning for Creatives. At the time I was still heavily involved in Digital Marketing and utilized her information in a different way.

I like Faye’s class because it is quick and to the point. In previous situations, I’ve spent anywhere from a full day to 12 weeks learning about business plans. Business Planning for Creatives gets down to it in less than 30 minutes.

After about a week of working through my business, I came up with a solid plan and direction forward. Creating a business plan feels like there is a solid foundation beneath me and a framework for my business. How about that!

One Page Marketing Plan

Another helpful resource I used this month is Melanie Lea’s One-Page Marketing Plan. Rather than signing up for a membership, Melanie Lea grants access to her vault of resources in exchange for your email address. Not a bad deal.

I utilized her one-pager prior to creating my business plan. One of these documents, either a marketing plan or a business plan will often suffice but, I appreciate both of them in my business, so I use both.

Having a business plan gives greater breadth and depth, like a bird’s eye view of the course ahead. I feel the marketing plan is a strategy for combating shiny object syndrome online.

A business does not have to do #allthethings online. My one-pager helps keep this in check in a quick, actionable way. It’s so easy to get distracted and pulled in many directions. This one-pager is my shield against it, lol!

 

Ideal Customer Avatar (ICA)

There is a lot of advice on this topic. Until recently, I went about determining my ideal client in a way that did not suit me or my business. Since I hadn’t found an alternative yet, I moved forward with the information I had and made the best of it.

Recently, I reviewed a video training I’d received from Stephanie Gilbert, the woman behind Social Media CEO and CEOYeah! I joined her list a couple of years ago, and thankfully, I’m still on it.

In just a few moments she spends on this topic, I was able to redefine my own ICA. Now, my ICA is in greater alignment with my brand and my vision. Stephanie shared the most actionable advice I’ve encountered on the topic. Fabulous!

Competitive Analysis

As part of the business plan, I completed a competitive analysis. This felt strange at first. Even though I’ve done these before, it seemed weird to peek around other people’s businesses and analyze them.

I do believe in benchmarking. It’s an important strategic action to take in one’s business. It helps to measure success, not compare success, and see what is working and what isn’t.

From competitive analysis, I discovered my offerings need to be refined. Coming up, I will be switching from two services to one. Offering one service makes the most sense for me and my brand, and I’m super excited to roll this one out.

I like to offer a lot of value to my clients, and take care of as many details as possible. Rather than struggle with which service level gets what, I’m offering one, problem-solving package to meet my client’s needs.

Routines

An on-going thought I’ve had is about routines. I’ve read about successful women having and holding space for their routines.

There are a few things I do, ritually, but I can’t say I have a solid routine. This past month it has become very apparent that I need one in my business life.

I’ve prioritized organization in my business, and productivity makes me swoon like no other. So, why haven’t I implemented a routine so I don’t feel like I’m missing out on important things or have enough time for other helpful activities?

A routine for both the morning and evening seem like the answer. I plan to schedule time for reading, participating in online groups, exercising, and eating. No more skipping meals because of work!


Conclusion

I’m really excited about entering my second year in business as a web designer. I’ve done a lot in the past year, and wished I’d done a better job of recording it.

To remedy that, I will be sharing some of the highlights from last year, here, in my business review blog posts. Also, I will be sure to share deets as I move forward.

Stay tuned for my behind the scenes of a female-led and founded web design business that helps other female entrepreneurs and small business owners.


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