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Whoohoo, happy new year and welcome to 2023! With it being a brand new year, I know many entrepreneurs are ready to hit the ground running towards their new goals. But before you do, I highly recommend you do a full end of year review for your online business.
In this episode, we’re going to cover how I do my own year end business review, which questions to ask every year and what to do before you start planning for the months to come. Tune in to learn how to make this your best year yet!
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(Note: This is a formatted AI-generated transcript to make it easier for you to read through, but is not an optimized blog post. Please excuse any spelling or grammar errors and filler words – it’s just how I speak LOL)
Whoohoo! Happy New Year and welcome to 2023! With it being a brand new year, I know many entrepreneurs are ready to hit the ground running towards their new goals. But before you do, I highly recommend you do a full end of year review for your online business. In this episode, we’re going to cover how I do my own year end business review, which questions to ask yourself every year and what to do before you start planning for the months to come. Are you ready to have your best year yet?
I’m sure you are. So let’s jump right in.
Hey, I’m Lucy Reyes, your host of the Cheerful Productive Chats Podcast, where I’m on a mission to help online entrepreneurs like you focus on all the right things and kiss overwhelm goodbye. Here, you’re going to learn strategies that will boost your productivity so that you can scale your online biz and impact lives sooner. It’s your time to shine so let’s get started!
Hey, welcome back to the Cheerful Productive Chats Podcast. I am so excited to be back after, I don’t know, maybe a month or so of not having recorded any new episodes for you and taking a little break.
But, oh my goodness, welcome to 2023! I feel like we have so much to catch up on. December was a crazy month. And so I am really, really happy that I decided to step away from the podcast for a month to give myself a little break because, oh my goodness. I did not really realize what I had in store for myself.
So my family got sick in December. We got sick just a month before that. So we all kind of got sick and it goes in this very, very slow circle. It typically starts with my son who brings it home from school, and then it very slowly goes around through the whole family. And there’s this moment of overlap where we’re all sick at the same time and it’s just exhausting and horrible.
So that’s how we started December. And after that, I was getting really, really worried because we had booked a trip to Disney and I was like, oh my goodness, like, we need to feel better. Like we need to feel better before our trip. Otherwise we’re not going to be able to go. We’re not going to be able to enjoy yourselves. Like what is going on??
Well, thankfully we did get better. We did not have to cancel the trip and all that. Like, we all felt better. We went to Disney during the Christmas season, which has always been one of my dreams. It was beautiful. It was so, so amazing to have been able to finally go during Christmas and is something that my business has allowed us to do. So that was amazing.
In addition, we came back and we were starting to feel a little bit sick, AGAIN. Thankfully we just kind of got over really fast. It seemed to be just like a quick cold. And then Christmas week came about So we go all out for Christmas. It’s my absolute favorite holiday. We decided to host this year, it’s going to become kind of a tradition since things have been changing in my family.
So we’re hosting Christmas and we’re having to get the home ready, and prepare some of the food cause we do potluck style and we have a big family so that feeds a lot of us whenever everyone pitches in some food. Anyways, it was just amazing. So I did end up taking a lot of time off in December, which was great.
It was much needed. I took some days off, even on top of the days that my husband took off just to really lay in bed, catch up on Netflix shows, not to do anything. So there were maybe a couple of days after Christmas where there were still cardboard boxes and gifts are still downstairs. And I was okay with it. I said, you know what, I’m just not going to do anything. We’re eating out and I’m going to lay in bed and not feel guilty about anything. And I highly recommend that you do the same because it was so, so needed.
And I am very, very happy with the fact that I have implemented systems in business that have allowed it to run without me actively working on. And even though I’ve worked much less this month, then every other month, this month has still been one of my strongest months. It usually is, but it still grew from last year too.
So episode 11, I talk all about using and implementing strategic systems so definitely go listen to that episode, if you haven’t yet. All right. So that is an update on how my life has been the past month, but I know that you probably didn’t tune into this episode just to hear what my life has been all about in December.
How To Do an End of Year Review for Your Online Business
We have some things to talk about for your business, like how to do an end of year review for your online business. So, I actually use a combination of my Annual at a Glance System along with a Google doc that I then attach inside of that specific Trello board system.
So in this episode, I’m going to go through the different things that you should do when doing your end of year review. So you can really do these in any order, but we are going to have a specific order that I’m going to cover them in and this is really kind of the order that I do them in. But just know that if you feel like changing the placement of some of these tasks, then, go for it. All right.
1 – Get Your Data Together
So the first thing is to get your data together. So this means gather all your numbers for everything that you can in your business, that’s important to you. So only if it’s important to you.
This can be things like your email subscribers, the number of sales, break that down per product, the number of followers you have on a specific platform, how many contributions you’ve made maybe in a summit or a bundle, how much blog traffic you got, how many podcasts downloads you got. Any numbers that you were actively trying to work on is something that you should collect and try to break it down as detailed as you can possibly get it.
If you do monthly review, then this should be a little bit easier for you because you’re not having to go through every single month of the year. But if not, then I do recommend that you try to get that breakdown because it’s going to be really interesting for you to see when numbers seem to kind of change.
And as you do the rest of the review, you’ll be able to tie certain things, certain tasks, certain projects that you did in a certain month and you’ll be able to see if that had any impact on your numbers for that given time period.
Only track the data that you actually care about. Okay. So just because you’re on TikTok and Instagram and Facebook and all of these different social media platforms, if you weren’t really active on any of them or you weren’t actively trying to grow or improve any of them, then you don’t really need to pull like a full, detailed report.
Maybe you could do just like the final number and that’s it, just-in-case you want to do something with it in this upcoming year. But if not, don’t worry about it.
But basically get all of your data together, grab a spreadsheet and put it all together, so that way you can really have numbers to support everything that you’re about to review.
2 – Make an “Everything Accomplished” List
The next thing is you really want to make an “Everything Accomplished List.”
What I mean by this is you want to look at your wins. What did you achieve and accomplish in 2022 or the previous year? Keep it high level. You don’t want to get super, super detailed here. You just want a high level, what are all your accomplishments for the year?
And I’m going to challenge you to really aim for no less than five things. You could really even aim up to 10 things, but no less than five, because I know, and I can guarantee that you have at least five big wins.
It’s so easy to look at your goals and to say, “oh, I didn’t achieve my goals. I wanted a thousand Instagram followers and I didn’t meet that.” But when you look back and you see how many followers you actually started with at the beginning of the year, instead of looking to see if you met any goals, look to see how much you improved, how much you increased.
And that can be a static number, you know, like let’s say you started with a hundred followers in January, and now you have 700. Well you grew, you gained 600 new followers. That’s a huge percent increase, right? From a hundred to 700. That is huge.
So whenever you’re making your everything accomplished list, don’t look at which goals you achieved. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I am talking about what did you accomplish? What is something that you did this past year that made you feel good? What made you excited? What did you do that was new? What did you try that was new? Did you get out of your comfort zone?
Take a real good look at the past year and think about what you did and what you’re happy and proud of. Doesn’t mean that you had to reach your goal. It just means that you did something. So really think about what you accomplished and write it out.
And I do like to do this kind of early on in the annual review process because it just puts me in a good mood. It kind of lights me up. It brings up this energy in me before I start cracking down on all of the things that didn’t work. So I do like to keep this kind of towards the top when I do my annual review.
3 – Break Down Your Business Review Into Categories
The next thing is to break down your business review into categories.
So, what I mean by this is you have a lot of different parts of your business, right? So while you can most definitely do a review, like a high level review at your business overall, I really like to get detailed and break it down into the different categories that I specifically focused on.
For me, for example, I was actively working on Instagram. So Instagram is one of my categories and the next things that I cover in this end of year review is going to be broken down into the different categories as well.
But first you want to choose your category. So what are the things that you’re actively trying to improve? Some other examples are like your blogs. If you have a blog where you’re trying to write blog posts? If you have a podcast like me, that’s another category. Any social media platform gets its own individual category. Any contributions or collaborations like summits and bundles, that could be its own category. Any big projects, so course creation or product creation.
Think about the different things. Email marketing. That’s another one. But those are different types of examples of how to break down your business review into the different categories.
4 – 3 Main End of Year Questions to Answer Per Category
From there, the next thing that you’re going to do is there’s particularly three main end of year questions to answer per category each year.
This can also be done every quarter or every month, but definitely each year. And remember, we’re going to review these three questions per category.
Question 1: What worked and why?
The first question is what worked and why? This is really referring to all the good things and the accomplishments.
So basically you already wrote some of those down, so you can go ahead and fit those in wherever they fit in your categories. But for example, what worked on Instagram and why? So what did you do on Instagram that worked?
For me, for example, it could be that, oh, I created a 9-grid strategy and I liked it. It worked for me because it saved me time because I’m not having to create posts and carousels and stuff. And that worked for me and I liked it.
So you would think about that specific category and what is something that worked, whether in your favor that you liked, a goal was reached or something improved. And then you really want to think about why you think that is.
In the example I just gave, it would be more like I created a system to be on Instagram that allowed me to be more or less consistent with creating reels and towards the end of the year, creating more stories.
Question 2: What didn’t work and why not?
Question number two. What didn’t work, and why not? So this is going to be more like your lessons learned. So we’re still breaking it down per category. Okay.
So per category, what didn’t work and why not? So still on this Instagram example, what didn’t work could be like I didn’t post as many stories as I wanted to. Why not? I didn’t have a strategy. I haven’t deep dived into what I should be doing on Instagram. I didn’t set any reminders or didn’t schedule any stories to automatically post on Instagram. Right?
Those are the different things that didn’t work. And again, we’re still looking at it on a per category basis. Okay.
Question 3: What can be done differently next time?
The third question is what do you want to improve, change, do differently or experiment with, for that specific category?
So still on the same Instagram example. Let’s say you haven’t done the 9-grid strategy. You’ve heard about it. You’ve seen people do it. You’re enticed. You kind of want to give it a try. That would kind of fit here.
This question is really the question that’s going to get you to that next step. Like, what do you want to do? And based on what you know has worked and what hasn’t worked, what should you do differently to get better results next time?
For me, the thing I could improve on is coming up with a story strategy, right? Scheduling out my stories that I want to post each day. Things like that. So based on what’s worked, what hasn’t, that’s the information that you’re going to use to really help you answer that final question, which is: what can be improved, changed, done differently, or what’s something that you want to experiment with for that particular category?
In episode five, Five Key Things to Review Before Starting Your Quarterly Planning, is the podcast episode where I talk about these questions a bit more, so definitely go listen to that if you haven’t heard it yet.
5 – Write a New Year Brain Dump Wishlist
Now the fifth thing that you’re going to want to do is to write a New Year Brain Dump Wishlist.
So, what I mean by this is that you’re going to write out everything. Everything that you wish you could do in the next year. So anything, any task, any projects, any ideas that came up in the previous year that you didn’t get to do. Anything that comes to your mind when you’re thinking about the next year, write it out. Just write it.
Don’t worry about prioritizing. Don’t worry about eliminating anything… yet. Not yet, not in this step. In this step, you just want to get it all out of your head because if you don’t, what’s going to happen is you’re going to go into the new year, a month is going to pass and you’re going to be like, “oh, I forgot that I wanted to do that this year. Ahh. Now I have to figure out where I’m going to fit it in or when I should do it or whatever.
Like, you know, I already forgot to, I left that out of my annual plan, like whatever.” So you don’t want that to happen.
So this is where you’re really going to take some time to really, really think about all of those things that if you had a clone of yourself, what is everything that you wish you could do and achieve in the upcoming year?
And just warning, okay, it’s going to change as the year progresses, this list is going to change, and that is completely okay. However, you do want to know what at the end of this year, or at the end of the previous year, you went in thinking I want to do this, or I want to do that.
So, write it all out. Every single product idea that you’re like, “oh, I wish I could do this.” And then this next year.. Write it.
Any ideas. Anything, anything, anything, go ahead and write it out. Don’t worry about prioritizing or taking anything off of the list, which you will need to do at some point when you actually start planning for the year, but in this exercise, we’re just doing a review. An end of the year review so for this step, just go wild. Go wild, but just know that you’re probably not going to be able to get through it all.
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6 – List out the New Year Predictions or Trends
And finally, this is kind of new. This is something new that I’m going to be doing this year and just doing in the years to come because it’s really, really helped me with the way that I will start planning for the next time period, and that’s to list out the new year predictions or trends.
This is really going to be based on anything you have noticed yourself in your industry and based on what other experts are saying.
So throughout the year, you yourself are noticing trends and things changing in your specific industry. Hopefully you’re taking note of those things, but if not now is a time to really think back and say, “Hmm, I have noticed that more people are, I don’t know, getting into keto diets.” I really have no idea if that’s true, but for your own industry, think about it.
Like, think about what you have noticed, kind of starting to become a trend. And it doesn’t mean that you have to jump on this trend. It’s just something good to be aware of because when you start doing your own planning, then you’re going to maybe have to adjust your strategy to help either go with the predictions and the trends, or figure out a way to not struggle so much, if you’re going against them. Hopefully, that makes sense.
So in a few episodes, I will be sharing my own new year predictions and trends based on things that I have noticed myself for this specific industry, but take a moment to do this exercise for yourself for your own industry.
And in many cases, around this time of the year, a lot of experts in your own industry might have already given their own 2 cents on what they think is going to happen in the upcoming year. So definitely go listen to see what they’re saying.
You don’t have to believe it. You can make your own evaluation, and you can decide whether like, “huh, yeah, that’s true. I have noticed that.” Or you can be like, “uh, no, like, I don’t think that’s going to happen.” You can make your own analysis.
But just go ahead and write them out because when you actually start planning out what you more or less want to actually do in the next year, these predictions and trends could really, really help you make some of those changes. So definitely tune in, in a few episodes where I will give my own.
Recap on How To Do an End of Year Review
And that’s basically it. So that is more or less how I do my own end of year review. So to recap, the six things that you can do when doing your own review for your online business each year is:
1- Gather your data.
2 – Mke an Everything Accomplished List.
3 – Break down your business review into categories.
4 – Answer the three main questions per category.
5 – Write a New Year Brain Dump Wishlist
6 – List out the new year predictions and trends.
And that’s it my friend. Don’t worry if it feels like it’s getting too long.
I am a strong believer that the more detailed you can be with getting stuff out of your head and onto paper, the more helpful it’s going to become for you in the long run. And it’s going to become something that you can come back to and review throughout the year, as the year just starts to evolve.
Related Post: 2023 Annual Review – Nothing Went as Planned
So tell me. Have you done your annual review yet? Is there anything else that you include in your own annual review process? Send me a DM on Instagram @cheerstoblogging to let me know because I am definitely curious.
And in the next episode, I’m actually going to reveal a part of my own 2022 Annual Review to give you a glimpse of what’s to come in 2023. So I will catch you at the next episode.
Thank you so much for listening to the Cheerful Productive Chats Podcast with me, Lucy Reyes. To view the complete show notes and all the links mentioned in today’s episode, visit cheerstoproductivity.com/23. And before you go, make sure you subscribe wherever you’re listening so you know once the next productive chat is released. Talk soon and cheers to your productivity and success!
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