2021 Year in Review: Five Business and Life Reflections on the Year That Was | The Course Cartel

2021 Year in Review: Five Business and Life Reflections on the Year That Was

December 21, 2021

In this podcast episode, I give you a behind the scenes sneak peek into the year that was and five big business and life lessons I’ve taken from 2021.

Listen On: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

I’m not sure 2021 has been the year everyone hoped it would be.

In the wake of the C-Word in 2020, many of us were hoping for a calmer 2021, perhaps a sense of things “getting back to normal”. Oh, how NOT normal 2021 has turned out to be. 

On a personal note, 2021 has been a year of work. 

The set up and scale of my group coaching program Launchpad has been a full time job since its foundation round in December 2021. It hasn’t been an ‘easy’ year, but I’m not sure that the process of creating something great – something you’re truly, deeply proud of – ever is. 

In some ways, it reminds me of the year prior to the launch of my first flagship social media course, Hashtags Aren’t the Answer. Switching business models. Learning to do something from scratch. Doing the up front work to create something leveraged.

There’s set up involved in that, and just like in 2018 it consumed much of my attention this year. 

And, just like in 2019, at the end tail end of it I’ve fallen pregnant! 

That seems to have been my business journey to date. 

A big hallmark business year.. followed by a big hallmark ‘motherhood’ year. 

Business. Then baby. Business. Then baby. 

The magical thing is that the way that I have SET my business is up accommodates beautifully the baby part. I couldn’t imagine a service based business with a full client load with a little one. Is Launchpad a service business? Yes, but it’s leveraged, systemised and streamlined to the hilt. That, I made sure of in 2021. 

And that’s okay. 

As this year – one that felt long and short all at once – draws to a close, I want to reflect on some of the things I have learnt this year. Some of these are related to courses and online business, some moreso life lessons.

Let’s go!

Lesson #1: You Learn By Doing

I still reflect on my decision to launch Launchpad in 2020, and wonder what I was thinking.

Not in a ‘god, why did I do that’ way because I truly feel that it is my life’s work – but more in a ‘god, you were really throwing yourself in the deep end there’ kind of way. I’d never created a high end group coaching program, although I did know what I personally craved in one.

I didn’t have a roadmap or a clue, but I did have a burning passion and desire to share with others in a more personalised way the roadmap to the business model that had changed my own life. What launching Launchpad has solidified for me, though is that the magic is in the doing. In the throwing yourself in the deep end and learning from the process. It’s not perfect.I didn’t always get it right.

But the level of knowledge and competence I have now, a year later, in what it takes to truly create a high end group coaching experience is just levels and levels above what I did a year ago. Like, I had no idea. I’ve learnt SO MUCH, and I’m grateful for the thing in me that just makes me close my eyes and take action. Because it’s from that bit that allll of the rest follows.

Lesson #2: Working More Doesn’t Serve Me

I’m a type A personality. I’m a generator. I thrive on achievement.

And I have never, ever been afraid of rolling up my sleeves and doing the work. The thing is, though? There comes a point where working MORE truly doesn’t serve you. When you are working for the sake of it. Because it is an ingrained habit.

And to the detriment of other areas of your life. 2021 has necessarily involved a lot of work. I’ve created a full and comprehensive curriculum from scratch.

I’ve created selling systems and funnels from scratch. I’ve built a big, grown up business with back end systems, standard operating procedures.. the works… from scratch.

That takes time. Now, though? The magic isn’t in me doing more. It is, in fact, in actively looking for opportunities to do less. I’ve made it a competition for myself, and perhaps my approach will be helpful for other high achievers. Every day, I log my time in ClickUp.

Every task I do – even if it’s a two minute job, is time tracked. At the end of the week, I look at the time and I divvy it up. What are the tasks that light me up, that truly move the business forward and that NEED to be me? Those tasks, I add to my position description.

With those tasks, I still split them up. Like, if its curriculum development – how much of that was creating curriculum, and how much of it was tinkering in Canva on slides, uploading a video to Vimeo.. etc?With the tasks that someone else could do, I check whether there is an SOP for it. If there’s not, I slow down and step it out.

Then, I assign it to someone else, or add it to a “Work in Progress” position description for a role I want to hire – at the moment, I have an almost full time job description for an Operations person in the business, a part time one for a Marketing Coordinator and ad hoc hours for a copywriting coach. I know that these are the next roles the business needs, and when they are filled I will be ready with exact what those people need to do.

Finally, I log my hours. How many hours each day did I work? Based on those hours, what is my hourly rate?

This year, for me, it has been low. That’s normal, there is always hustle at the start of something new. But by intentionally approaching it this way, I start to reduce my hours and increase my hourly rate and it becomes a game my competitive nature can get on board with.

Lesson #3: Business Will Always Be There, But Family Time Won’t

I blinked and my little baby was 2.

He’s so beautiful, and magical and truly – although I found motherhood the most difficult transition of my life – I now feel just so blessed and incredibly grateful to be his mummy.

Every day is a magical adventure through his eyes, I LOVE our little toddler chats and hanging out with him with no agenda or plan (okay, there’s always a plan – a toddler needs activities) is my favourite thing in the world to do. Squeezing him into the spaces of the business just isn’t an option for me anymore.

My priorities have shifted and family time is infinitely the most valuable thing in the world to me as a person these days.

As I look towards 2022 and what I want for my business and my life, the word spacious comes to mind.

Beautiful, sunny days at the beach with my little man – and of course, soon to be little girl and partner.

Actively cultivating this has been a priority for me in my 2022 planning in a way that it never really has been before. I think, mostly, it’s because it’s so possible for me now. I’m not chopping and changing and consistently creating new offers. I’m focused on making one thing incredible; the same thing I encourage my clients in Launchpad to do.

It means up front set up ONCE. Hard work ONCE. And then ongoing and consistent optimisation of that one thing to make it incredible. This is where the magic is. Creating one thing really well means better testimonials, better results, better outcomes. It means a refined selling system that you know works.

t means less stress, more predictability and the ability to balance your business with your life, which ultimately – now a lot of the hard work and set up is done – means more time with my little magical fam bam.

That makes me happy.

Lesson #4: Your Own Results Are Nice, But Your Client Results Are Life Changing

As a digital course creator, I used to share my sales results a lot. In fact, it was fairly normal for me to talk about my $100k launch, my $400k sales month.. and so on, until as recently as early this year. And, that made sense.

Until it didn’t.

Working with clients in a much closer capacity in 2021 to help them achieve leveraged digital course businesses shifted my priorities in terms of my vision of success.

Seeing a client achieve a $10k, or $25k, or $50k or $100k launch and the possibility that opened up for them in terms of the future they could see for their life was literally the most fulfilling thing for me about this year. In December, my CLIENTS collectively brought in $300k in revenue.

THAT almost made me cry.

The impact that has had on their businesses, the ripple effect it then has on their families, the impact on the students THEY are now impacting in their courses – all of which are positively transforming the lives of THEIR students – is something that deeply impacts me on a personal level.

When I speak to a client and they tell me that they made 30 live sales on a webinar and they couldn’t have imagined that ever being their reality, or how a launch has given them a possibility portal into an entirely new life, or seeing them cry after a webinar because they know how deeply they are now impacting people makes me realise that I am truly – without being corny or silly – doing my life’s work.

Lesson #5: The Problems Don’t Go Away, You Just Get Better At Learning to Ride the Waves

This year hasn’t been problem free.

What HAS happened, compared to earlier years, is that over time I have gotten infinitely better at learning to ride the waves.

Sometimes, when someone says to me that they want my business, I smile. They want the achievement and reward that comes with it, perhaps. But the business?

Well, that requires you to be READY to handle the level of success you want, and I don’t know that ANY of us are when we are just starting out. Things aren’t always smooth sailing.

The business of being a business owner requires you to grow on a personal level in a way you can never really imagine or anticipate when you are starting out. This year, we have implemented systems that have helped us establish clear boundaries.

We are clear with communication timeframes, delivery turnaround times, contractual terms.. all of the things a “real” business of course has, but which take time as a small business to develop. I am infinitely more careful with who I trust inside of the business.

I carefully curate our Launchpad community. We are application based and intentionally so.

Problems in business are inevitable, I do truly believe as a business owner you are handed the level of success you can handle and that’s WHY explosive growth isn’t always a great thing.

Scalable, sustainable growth for me all the way, thank you very much.

Summing Up

And so closes out another chapter in business, and in life.

It’s all become one big, messy jam sesh for me and I no longer try to separate out the two. Sometimes, my toddler breaks in in the middle of a coaching call. Sometimes, the business needs me more than the family, and sometimes it is very much the other way around.

In 2022, I intend to embrace that more, rather than trying to compartmentalise my life into separate boxes. On a personal note, 2022 is the year I have my beautiful little girl.

We’re moving out our house shortly, and into a yet-to-be-found rental ahead of our house build in 2022 which I’m just over the moon excited for – or at least, I will be in a year when it’s all done.

My word for next year is “spacious”, and my mantra is “continued success, doing less”.

Business wise, whereas this year was more about building, next year is more about sustainable scale. Less pressure on myself for the next big revenue goal, because honestly?

I’m REALLY happy with where I am in that department for now.

And, more focus on a business ecosystem that feels light – something we are almost there with anyway. I love when the up front “build” phase of a digital program is done. It’s where the magic begins for my Launchpad clients, and I see the magic ahead in this next season for our own business too. It’s not easy to get to this point, but that’s why not everyone does it.

Oh hell, is it worth it though!Here’s to a happy, healthy 2022 for all of us.. whatever the year may hold.

Links and Resources:

1. Apply for My Free, Advanced Private Training on How to Swap Clients For Courses: https://www.steviesayssocial.com/launchpad

Apply for Launchpad now and get access to a free advanced private training where I hand you my ENTIRE process for creating, launch and scaling a course along with all of the details for Launchpad.

2. DM Stevie on Insta – let’s chat! https://www.instagram.com/steviesayssocial

Mentioned in This Episode:

Every year, I create a year in review. Want to check out previous years?

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