If I don’t rein myself in, the start of the new year can be a time when I overdo it on to-do lists and grand ideas just to disappoint myself halfway through the year when I haven’t checked them off yet. So I didn’t let my overachiever brain jump in. This year I’m trying to focus on what I need in order to have more ease and joy in my life — and to simultaneously better serve my current and future clients.
Here’s what’s on my list. What’s on yours?
Having a more-scheduled, less-stressful social media posting plan.
I’m pretty quiet on Facebook and don’t even have an Instagram account for my business. I don’t expect posting on these platforms to change my business much, but I’m interested in showing up and sharing resources a bit more frequently this year.
To minimize the cringe feeling that comes whenever I think about social media, I’m committing to taking it easy and seeing how it feels when I:
- Schedule out posts for 1-2 months at a time
- Aim for one post a week
- Don’t analyze engagement, followers, interactions, etc. at all
- Don’t worry about following “the rules”
- Only do what feels good; re-evaluate my plan if it ever feels like a drain
Building on what has worked well this year.
I’ve gotten to check in with a lot of current and past clients through my monthly email newsletter this year — and I’ve enjoyed it, which feels like an almost bigger win. A few clients this year reached out and said my website made them feel at ease and inspired, and that motivated them to reach out to me. I got a few clients through a few different Facebook groups I’m in, ones where I try to show up and be a resource for folks asking questions about website design. And I got a few inquiries from people searching for a local website designer (thanks, SEO!)
I’ll continue to put time and energy into these marketing tools that are already working for me and try not to go down the rabbit hole of shiny new marketing tools too much. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
Improving my client & project systems.
I’m finding that most website design projects have the same friction points where things slow down. I don’t enjoy rushing people or creating a sense of urgency, but there are also costs (energy/brain-space especially) to these no-progress-made gaps in the midst of projects. And many times, my commitment to not rushing us along is the cause of these gaps.
In December I started using a content-gathering tool. This fall I started using an invoicing system that auto-sends reminders and easily sets up monthly auto-pay invoices. This spring I started using Calendly. Each of these tools has made work much easier for me and made it easier for my clients to interact with me.
This year I plan to take a closer look at my systems, where things are falling through the cracks, and what processes I can put in place to reduce that.
Getting my build-your-own-website courses done and into the world.
I’ve been talking about this one since 2020 but life just keeps happening! This year I want to finish the content and get them published sometime this spring. My plan is to have 4-5 mini courses that can be bought individually or as a set based on what each person’s support needs are.
Service is key to my business, and I currently feel like there’s a missing piece at a super low price point. Many people aren’t ready or excited to pay a web designers a few thousand dollars to build a great website, and they may have the time and excited curiosity to try it themselves. These courses will walk them through each important (IMO) step of building a website that will not only look nice but function well for them and for their website visitors.
Being more open with my community about what I do and what kind of work I’m looking for.
I assume people in my life know that I’m a website designer and that I’m open to new clients, but many people just don’t know… often because I don’t tell them. So this year I want to take opportunities as they naturally arise to share what I do and who I work best with.
This felt hard in 2021, and I’m hoping it’ll feel easier into 2022 as I do it more, but I’m trying to ground into what I know… for the right people, our working relationship is mutually beneficial. We both feel like we’re getting the good end of the deal. They want to find me as much as I want to find them.
Taking more breaks — true breaks.
I ended 2021 feeling pretty tired and burnt out. I slacked on my rest, made myself work through weekends, even planned to get work done while driving 38 hours across the country (lol).
I had to keep my foot on the gas to get through overbooking myself around the holidays, and I know those times will happen. But this year I’m going to try planning breaks every few months so I can take a step back before I fall too deep into the burnout hole. I’m considering playing around with 8-week work blocks. However the scheduling works out, I want to be truly off when I’m off and on when I’m on.
That’s all I’m planning — now to stick to it! Welcome, 2022!