For the past 9 years, I set aside time in late December to reflect on the past year and choose a theme for the year ahead.
Last year, my word was Adventure.
For 2023, my theme is Level Up. ✨
- In December, I realized I’ve now been working for myself longer than any individual job I’ve ever had. 🤯
- I sent my newsletter consistently each month (Barely) 📝
- I recorded 25 episodes for The Remote Work Tribe Podcast. (Related: it blows my mind that people in 93 countries that have listened to this podcast. 🎙)
- I grew my business revenue by 10% YoY. This was less growth than in 2021, but considering I worked at a much more sustainable pace for the first three quarters of the year I’m thrilled by this outcome. 💵
- I hired a freelance marketing assistant in Q3 to help with my own marketing, particular as it relates to The Remote Work Tribe. 💪
- I traveled a lot more in 2022, including many new-to-me places like Steamboat Springs, Minneapolis, Milan, Rome, and Cabo. ✈️
Now for some of the cons:
- At the beginning of 2022, I raised my prices for the first time in a long time for new clients and had some growing pains that I had to iron out, particularly as it related to onboarding.
- I got COVID for the first time in August.
- My struggles hiring and retaining VAs resumed when my best and longest-running assistant, who was great, quit at the beginning of Q4.
- While super fun, I overdid it with business and personal travel in Q4.
So why did I make my word for 2023—level up—and what exactly do I want to achieve this year?
Up until 2022, the only way that I’ve been able to increase my revenue was to work more. This leads to a tenuous relationship between making more money and overworking. This was the first year that I started to break away from this slowly and with some setbacks.
If I want to grow the business, it became clear that I need to invest more in building up and training my small but mighty team to:
- Cover the areas that I’m less skilled at or don’t particularly enjoy (like operations and design)
- Build more and better systems and processes so that projects and tasks get the same or better results while being able to delegate more parts.
- Free up a little time each work to focus “on” the business instead of “in” it.
- Be able to take vacations without having to work like a crazy person before and after.
So, here are some of my goals in 2023.
- Speak at 2 business conferences / events in 2023. I did a fair amount of speaking at in-person conferences in 2018 and 2019, and then a bunch of virtual gigs in 2020 and 2021. I want to get back to doing more of these! Here’s my speaking page. Hint, hint. 😉
- Hire and train an operations coordinator to buy back some of my time and take over many administrative, research, and internal ops tasks.
- Continue to refine my systems and processes so I can show up at best for my clients.
- Double my email list again.
- Publish The Remote Work Tribe podcast and newsletter twice per month.
- Travel to either South America or Africa for the first time. (I’m thinking Argentina, Morocco, or Tanzania, but open to any and all suggestions!)
When I think about the goals that I want to achieve this year, the common thread is a need to level up my systems and processes (and to a certain extent my mindset) so that I can grow sustainably without compromising quality.