I love the week between Christmas and the new year as it’s such a great time to reflect on the year and focus on what you want to accomplish in the coming year. I wanted to share with you what this year looked like for me as a business owner, a mom, and a military spouse. I think it’s important that you see all the sides of running a business, wearing all three of those hats.
As I continue to develop and grow my business, it’s more important than ever that I create a family first business. This means that I’m very intentional with all aspects of my business, from the times I devote to working, the types of products I launch, the systems I use to run my business, the times I teach my classes, and the boundaries I create. It also means I can’t do “all the things,” all the time. Flexibility is huge as my kids grow, nap schedules change, my husband’s job changes with our moves, and of course, PCSing. Despite the challenges, each day, I take a step further to building a business and a life, I absolutely love. I’ve had SO MUCH FUN this year helping military spouses achieve their dreams, it’s what lights me up! I dedicated this year to develop a business that serves not only those who purchase but those who do not. I made it my mission to help as many military spouses as possible create a freedom based business. I added more free classes, more free challenges and stepped up my Facebook live game to ensure I was sharing actionable advice on a weekly basis. So here it goes, my year in review:
One of my goals this year was to grow my email list. As an online business owner, the email list is EVERYTHING. The more subscribers you have, the easier it is to connect with your customers and sell your products and services. In January I kicked things off with an epic giveaway! I grew my list by 1,000 in just two short weeks with The Work from Anywhere MilSpouse Giveaway. I have been meaning to do a full recap blog post on this for a year now to show you exactly how I did it. (Remember in the first paragraph where I said I couldn’t do, “all the things” this year, well, that post was one of them.) I’ll put it on my list for 2018.
This month, I also launched my BRAND STORY video. As you know, I’m a huge fan of video and how it allows you to connect with your audience so much faster than any other medium. I created this video on my front porch in California while my husband took the kids out for a walk. I actually had to do a complete retake a few days later because you could hear my dog barking the background. If you look close enough, you’ll see my hair is different! This video has been a key player in my success this year as it helps people get to know me better, learn what exactly it is I do, and how I can help. If you don’t have a brand story video, I highly recommend making one! (I also teach on how to do this inside the academy).
The month of love began my love for “GUESTING.” I started doing Guest Lives on other Facebook pages. This was an awesome way to get my message out in front of new audiences and help more milspouses. Guesting has been an essential piece of my business growth in 2017. Here’s a link to a blog post I wrote about it and all the different ways you can “guest.”
I also launched The Work from Anywhere Business Academy, (my Full Access, step-by-step program to build a PCS Proof Business) which means I opened the course for enrollment for a 14 day period and then closed it up. I ended up launching three times in 2017. With each launch, I was able to improve my launch strategies, my Facebook ads, my emails, and added 72 new members to the academy this year. I had planned on launching four times this year but we ended up having what I like to call “The Longest PCS Ever” (more on that later) so I only launched the Full Access Program three times.
I treated myself to a day at the spa. On the advice of my business mentor, I decided to reward myself after a long 12-week business sprint. The sprint began in December with the prep for the giveaway, then prep for the launch, and then the actual launch in February. It was INTENSE! It is so important to take some time off after a big sprint. I’m going to schedule more of these into my 2018 schedule. A special thank you my amazingly supportive husband for also agreeing that spa days are a priority.
In March, I also launched Basic Training-The Business Starter Course-which is my $97 program. It’s actually the first two modules of The Work from Anywhere Business Academy. This program was created because I listened to my customers!
After I launched the Academy, I had many people email me and say they wanted to be a part of the program but they didn’t have their business idea ironed out just yet. The first two modules of the academy are perfect for the person who’s not quite sure what business to start yet. So that’s where Basic Training came in. I launched this course in March by retargeting my email list with Facebook ads.
This is the month where things start to get a little crazy in milspouse world! The first part of the month, I took the kiddos on spring break! My husband was finishing up his thesis at school so we went and met my parents in Phoenix for the week.
Later that month, I flew to Alabama for one day in order to find a place for us to live. We bought a house that day. It was set to be done in June which would have been perfect timing for us….but **spoiler alert** it didn’t finish on time.
I launched the Academy for the 2nd time in 2017. This launch was not my strongest of the year. February and October/November were actually my two best launches. I learned a lot in May and how I could improve upon it next time. I decided to lengthen my launch timeline from 10 days in May to 23 days in October/November. I added more free classes, changed up my Facebook ads, and I also had few more affiliate partners. My visibility in May was much lower compared to February. I didn’t schedule any Guest Lives or podcast interviews, my content had slowed down as we prepped for the move, and my Facebook Ads were almost double the cost per lead compared to February.
This month I also laid the prep work for our PCS in June. To prep my business, I scheduled my social media, I planned out my content and I had an evergreen sales funnel for my Basic Training program set up. (Unlike The Work from Anywhere Academy Full Access which is only open 3-4x per year, Basic Training is available for sale year round) Anyone that signed up for my Free 3 Part Video Training Series, was also put into the sales funnel for Basic Training. This was a great way for me to keep sales coming in while we PCS’d across the country.
I invested in myself. In 2017, I joined Natalie McNeil’s Inner Circle and as a part of this program, we had a retreat in Napa Valley. This was a huge game changer for me. What I thought was going to be 2 days of me working on a new launch strategy, was actually SO MUCH BETTER. Natalie worked her “Natalie Magic” and of course I left the retreat fired up for my business, having a better grasp on being a mom and a business owner AND of course had some awesome ideas for my next launch. This program was not cheap but it was worth every penny. Investing in yourself to uplevel your business is one of the best investments you can make. Here’s a picture of me with the Inner Circle ladies.
Five days after I got back from the retreat, my husband graduated from Naval Postgraduate School. We packed out and attended his graduation ceremony. I’m super proud of hubs. He enlisted in the Navy 17 years ago and worked on submarines. While enlisted he finished up his bachelor’s degree and at the ten-year mark, he decided to apply for OCS. He was selected, deployed a few more times, and this year he graduated with a Masters Degree in mechanical engineering. He is an amazing example of what you can do in the military, utilizing all of the programs available, and simply going for it! He’s a huge supporter of my business and I’m super grateful for that.
We then said goodbye to Monterey, which was one of our favorite duty stations, and headed East. After we arrived in Alabama, we checked on our house, and the kids and I spent the next 6 weeks at my parent’s house in Atlanta. Hubs flew back to California for more schools. We were supposed to move into our house in June but since it was a new construction it kept getting pushed back week after week; hence, the longest PCS ever.
This month I truly embraced “The Work from Anywhere” lifestyle. I hosted office hours for the Academy members from my parent’s bonus room. Office Hours are where we get together each month an I help each member individually with whatever problems they are facing in their business. We also went to visit family in Michigan and I did Facebook Live from wherever I could get a good signal. I repurposed a ton of my old content so that I didn’t have to constantly be creating while we were in flux. I streamlined my social media system which resulting in a lot less stress.
We finally got to move into our new house and now I have an office!!!!! I was super excited to have my own space where I could regularly chat with you all. Now I mentioned earlier that I had planned on doing a fourth launch but only did three in 2017. Let me tell you why. We spent the whole month moving in and getting everything in order. The kids didn’t start preschool until the last week of August, I had no babysitters yet, we had a family vacation planned and hubs was back to work so there was no way in heck I was doing a full out launch this month. No. Way. Getting my family settled was priority one and my business had to wait. However, I was still growing my email list via Facebook ads, posting on social media (albeit a little less frequently) and doing Facebook live once a week.
We spent a week at our happy place in Rosemary Beach. My favorite “work from anywhere” location.
After I can’t even tell you how many interviews, I finally found the most amazing babysitter to help out with my youngest. It was very stressful in the beginning but I eventually found our very own Mary Poppins via Care.com. I’ve used Care and SitterCity for the last three moves and found great people each time. Now I was finally able to get a little more work done.
In September, I decided to launch a 5 day challenge “Plan Your Fall Social Media in 5 Days” and it was SO. MUCH. FUN. I shared my system for creating a simpler life and a thriving business. I loved the challenge style of launching as I was able to connect so much more with my audience and really dig in and do what I do best. I’m doing another “Plan Your 2018 Social Media” challenge coming up in January if you want in, here’s the link the register.
This month was all about connecting in REAL LIFE. I had the opportunity to speak at the Military Influencer Conference. I was so wonderful to hang out and meet up with other amazing military spouses and veterans. I highly recommend this event if you can make it next year. I spoke about “How to Cash in On Your Brilliance and Build Your PCS Proof Business.”
This month I also kicked off the last launch of the year for The Work from Anywhere Business Academy. It had been five months since I had last launched and it was the best for the year. Plus, I was MUCH MORE relaxed during the process. If you’re new to launching, it can be very stressful at first making sure everything is working correctly. Sometimes tech doesn’t work, checkouts don’t work or emails are sent with the wrong confirmation dates or times for a webinar (YES, it happened). But most everything is figureoutable or fixable.
Hubs and I had an overnight date night at the University of Georgia game (my alma mater). One of my goals in 2017 was to have at least one date night a month. Since we didn’t have any deployments this year, we almost made that happen. Except, you know, duty calls and he was gone for a good portion of the summer. But, it’s a great goal that will continue to stick with for 2018.
I wrapped up the launch on November 9th and then spent most of my month on the phone with the new members of the academy. Everyone received a call with me so I had a blast chatting with the new members. I am continuously impressed with all of the AMAZING military spouses that are doing such great things. It is a goal of mine in 2018 to make sure that these stories are shared.
This is also the time of year I work on annual media buys for my advertising agency. My agency is the first business I started 5 years ago and I still have clients I work with on their television and Facebook ads. I went back and forth with television stations and other media outlets negotiating rates for 2018.
Reflecting, prepping and Christmas programs! Around Thanksgiving, I decided to prioritize what I really wanted to do for the holidays. I didn’t want this to become a stressful month for our family since we had just come off a pretty large business sprint from September-November. I said YES to what was important and NO to the extras. This served me well and we ended up having a great month.
I appreciate you making it this far in my year in review. It’s because of you that I can’t wait to wake up each day and work on my business. So in summary, here’s what I really learned in 2017:
- You REALLY can work from anywhere with the right business model, automated sales funnels and leveraged social media.
- I learned the importance of designing a family first business. In the beginning of the year, my business was RUNNING my life. I now have figured out what works for my family and what doesn’t. My schedule is constantly evolving as my children grow, as we move to new places, and as my business grows. I’ve learned to be more flexible and be very cognizant of what my family needs at each stage.
- I can’t do ALL THE THINGS, ALL THE TIME. I’d love to have a new blog post out every week, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. I want to make sure I’ve got at least 5 days of social media scheduled every week, but sometimes that doesn’t happen. I want to make sure my kids have green smoothies every day and there’s no yelling in my house, but some days, that just doesn’t happen. I learned I have to give myself some grace and know it’s OKAY if I can’t do it all. I’m doing what I can, when I can. The cool thing about it, it’s my business, it’s my family, there are actually NO RULES I actually have to follow. I can do it my way, and I WILL.
- You must give yourself grace during a PCS. No matter how much you prep or how many times you’ve moved, PCSing can be difficult for everyone in the family. It takes a little while to get everyone settled. Do what you can to get yourself set up for success ahead of time but then once you’re in it, you’ve got to LET IT GO. When you’re ready, you can dive back into your business and rock it out.
- You’ve got to do what works for you and your business. NOT what everyone else says you should be doing.
- Don’t be afraid to try new things. I tried a TON of new things this year. From Facebook Ads, to Videos, to Webinars, to 3 Part Video Series, Calls, Emails, Challenges and even chatbots! Now I know what works best for my business and my audience so I’ll do more of what worked and less of what didn’t but I would have never known unless I tried
- Joint Ventures, Affiliates, and Strategic Partnerships are awesome and I’m going to do more of these next year. I love teaming up with other organizations and people that have the same mission as I do.
Whatever you want to do, GO FOR IT. If you have an idea, NOW IS THE TIME. Don’t wait another year. You can do this.
If you need help, I’m here for you. In 2018, I’m kicking off the year with a Social Media Challenge but I’m adding even more free classes to the schedule. I look forward to seeing what you do this year.
If you need help figuring out how to break down your big goals into actionable steps, check this out.
So tell me, what are you looking forward to in 2018?
Best wishes for an amazing 2018. Anchored in your success,