I’ve never done a year in review post before. Mostly because…I’ve never had a year to review for my business! This is officially the first, full year I’ve been around the interwebs as a business strategist and coach. And the truth is? I wasn’t planning on doing one. But I figured since 2014 was my year to take things seriously, then this is one of the ways to do that. I’ve noticed that this is a great way to chronicle a business over the years. I mirrored mine loosely off Chris Guillebeau and Marie Poulin. So here you have it…
MAKENNA JOHNSTON’S FIRST YEAR IN REVIEW POST EVARR!
Business Then, Now, and Future
What went well in 2014:
Learning to take myself seriously
2014 was a new era for my business. I hired my first business coach, joined a mastermind, and did the Desire Map for the first time. Previously, I hadn’t ever really put much stock into my business, it just was. I had no lofty goals. I just plugged along, and created stuff. 2014 was the moment where all that shifted.
I quit all my bridge jobs. All three of them. And that felt awesome. It was proof that this business I’m running is indeed viable.
I started advertising a bit on facebook, then a lot. The returns were worth every penny spent. I discovered a long held belief that advertising works, actually is true.
The Audacious Business and Life Catalyst Launch
I held my first live event with a slew of incredibly talented women. I was so jazzed by the event, that I kept it public. Sent it to my list. And really just glowed after it was all said and done. The event was for the launch of my first e-course I was incredibly proud of, The Audacious Business and Life Catalyst. I sold out, since I only wanted 20 people. And the responses were pretty ding dang amazing. People loved the material.
Booking out in advance
In August, I booked out for the first time ever. Thanks to the genius of Halley Gray. We reworked my one-on-one sales page in a powerhouse one hour call. And just a few months later, I was booked out. Solid. No space. Woah.
My first business retreat, and letting go of things that no longer served me.
On the way to Bali for a business retreat with Natalie MacNeil, I ran into some plane snafus.
During the layovers, something magical happened. Everything that hadn’t served me for the past six months disappeared. I was let go from an assistant job, a job I had loved but was eating my energy to smithereens. My ‘boss’ reminded me to believe in a higher power than money. And I did. Over the next two days in Bali (before the retreat), I enrolled three new clients, giving me a huge influx of cash. And as such, I was able to refund every member of the first course I ever produced. (More on that course in the ‘what didn’t go well’)
The few days leading up to the retreat caused me a great deal of anxiety. Let’s just say I wasn’t particularly popular in my formative years *coughnerdcough* and I still get nervous about collegial groups to this day. But the retreat was the single most transformative experience I’ve ever engaged in for my business. I found soul sisters galore and a support system of amazing women.
I found a divine support system in my mastermind group (because holy shit, they rocked my world). And a ton of support especially from Laura Hames Franklin, Kate Marolt, Kylie Patchett, Courtney Johnston, Cat Marshall, Natalie MacNeil, and Sara Wagers. They have been my rocks this year. And I am ever so grateful.
Also, to be perfectly honest? My own group The Bliss Brigade has been an amazing support system too. Each of the women in there have been so amazing to work with, and they fill me with so much gratitude. And THEIR gratitude helps me want to be better, reach higher, and do more in that space.
Guest Posts and Interviews
I had a ton of guest posts this year, and guest interviews. They were all a ton of fun, but the one that was the most important was my post on Tiny Buddha. It catapulted my list from small to medium overnight.
What I could have done better:
The rise and fall of CLEAN
In 2013, I released a course called CLEAN. A coaching and consulting course to help people encourage others to engage in healthy eating and wellness. The first three months of the course were awesome, the next three occurred while my life hit the fan. And I just wasn’t into the content anymore. So the minute I could, I released the course. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. But I gave full refunds, so I felt pretty dang good once it was released. For some members of the course, it made them doubt me. For others, it endeared them to me even more. What I learned was that ultimately I need to create content that makes me light up, not just content that I think people want.
Growth isn’t the end all be all of success
I was too obsessed with growth. I spent too much time angsting over my numbers, rather than enjoying my time with my current clients, and current list. I learned to really sink into my love for my current situation and not to over reach. I released expectations and attachment, lo and behold it created more growth.
Because of this, I started curating a 6 Figure Success Myth series, which will be out in early 2015.
The Business Bliss Posse
I had a flop of a launch with The Business Bliss Posse, which was supposed to be my signature program forever. It was an utter flop. I had three people sign up for the Posse. BUT, the interest was huge! I had over 150 people email me about it, but no one wanted to actually sign on the dotted line (except for those three). Talk about crickets. With nearly 1000 people signing up for the ‘interested’ list, it just didn’t resonate at the end of the day. And I was gutted. I lost over $1500 on the launch between advertising, creative professionals, and service fees. My revenue? Only $650. Womp womp. BUT, from the muck I did find a couple clients. And that proved that it was still a worthy endeavor.
And the Future?:
My word for 2015 is limitless. I’m borrowing the word from my mentor Natalie MacNeil and reminded by Marie Poulin in her own review post from 2014. This word didn’t resonate with me in 2014, but hot damn it does now. I believe in my heart of hearts that we are limitless, and our potential is limitless. And I want to embody what limitless feels like in my business.
In 2015, I will focus on three launches. And that is it. I want to create the single best programs that anyone has ever taken–integrative, mindbody connected, coaching, and strategy all rolled into one. (This is launching in January! YAY!) I want people to feel like they need these courses, and that I know them each individually. I want to know people’s names, their struggles, their businesses. I don’t want to create a program and leverage it in a way that doesn’t feel good. My income goals this year are in the mid-six figures, but not if it means I can’t know my clients personally.
This is a LOFTY goal. The reason why coaches create online programs it to leverage their cash flow, but the truth is that isn’t appealing to me if I can’t really truly get to know them. That means learning to expand my circle of who and what I hold space for and keeping my programs on the smaller side.
I will finish writing my book. I will publish it. I will put it out into the world, because hot damn it is so needed.
I will work only 4 days a week, I will turn off my phone at night, I won’t allow my business to be my sole purpose.
Personal Review and Goals for 2015
What went well in 2014:
I took care of myself as much as possible
2014 was hard. But I coped well. I engaged in a ton of self-care. I worked hard at making sure I didn’t hit overwhelm too often. I wanted to make sure that I took care of myself as I spent a good deal of the year taking care of others. Part of that was getting my darling puppy Mabel. She’s a whippersnapper but I love her. (Photo above)
Went to two new countries, saw many friends, and bought the Bliss Bus
Oh hey Indonesia and South Africa. You made 2014 quite adventurous. We also had the luck to travel to Washington, Boston, and Macon to see friends. This was the year of travel and friends. And it was epically awesome in that way.
We bought a mountain cabin
In April, my wife and I made a goal to move to the mountains of Colorado upon her retirement. Funny thing happened and retirement happened early. So we took it as a sign and moved. I have never felt more at home than I do in my cabin. So that has been amazing.
What could have been better:
I spent the majority of 2014 caring for my grandmother.
This was hard. I won’t sugarcoat it. In February, my grandmother fell ill rather unexpectedly. Just three weeks before she and I were to take the train to Texas to spend 3 months together at my bungalow. So I bought a one-way plane ticket, and flew out 12 hours after I found out of her hospitalization. I spent nearly three weeks in February and March with her. Then I spent two and a half months with her over the summer.
While this has a lot of good in it (I wrote about it here), it also meant a lot of time away from home and my wife. That was hard.
My wife lost her job and we sold our first ‘dream’ house
2014 was a bear of a year personally. Due to bureaucratic nightmares, the US military let my wife go. And for no fault of her own. After 12 years they said “thanks but no thanks”. It was hard. We sold our house, and upped and moved quickly. While it hasn’t been easy, the results and future look amazing.
I want to read 100 books in 2015. While this seems like a lot, I used to read five books a day as a high schooler. And I had far more to do back then. Granted, I had 8 hours of class a day (often where I snuck literature) but it’s time to remake friends with books. I’ve been hiding from them for the past few years.
I want to go out on one date a week with my dear wife. Now that she is my Chief of Operations, we spend a lot of time together. A LOT of time. But the quality has diminished because we are often talking about plans, goals, and strategy. Not about our dreams beyond my business.
Health, Fitness, Food
What went well in 2014:
I cooked a lot
I really wanted to be cooking a bunch, and I did. I held a great deal of dinner parties (maybe 20 or so?). Each of them brought together people I loved. And it was magic. That is my favorite part of my personal life. But I’d like to do it more.
I moved, a bit
I did move. I did a few classes. Did some yoga. Loved into a 5 Tibetans practice.
I quit smoking. For good.
Thanks to Wholly Shift and some magic, I suddenly quit smoking. I have smoked off and on for 13 years, but I quit. And did it with ease. Which was crazy. But I believe Wholly Shift was the magic pill that made it work for me.
What could have been better:
I had a scary two months of health
I’m a cancer survivor (another good reason to not smoke, obviously). I had malignant melanoma in 2002. And this past year, I had a very strange sickness that lingered for 2 months. The doctors were terrified that it was something super not ok. The words recurrent melanoma, metastasized cancer, lymphoma, and many more were thrown around. In the end, it was innocuous, and a disease passed from my outdoor cat. But for two months, it was terrifying.
All of it MORE
I need to cook more, move more, spend less time sedentary. When you work from home it is so easy to just sit at your computer, slouched over and work work work. I did waaaaay too much of this in early 2014, but got loads better towards the end. Next year, I will do even better. Because there are no choices. 🙂
I will only eat out 2 meals a week, except over the holidays and/or we are invited to dinner. I love to cook, and I have hundreds of easy meals I know how to prep. But even then, sometimes I opt to go out to dinner. (EVEN if the meal was batch prepped.) So this year, I am being intentional about eating home cooked more often. This is both health and cash flow driven.
I will work on moving a lot more. I have built a movement schedule into my work schedule. And there is space every single day for being outside–either skiing or hiking–and inside for weights, yoga, rowing, and more. Even if I don’t use the space everyday, I’m a big believer that the intentions create the habits.
I will ski at least 50 days this year. And it will be marvelous.
And that is that. Phew.
Some Lessons learned:
Working hard isn’t the same as working smart
I learned this by March. My 13 hour stretches of work went by the wayside quickly. I learned how to budget my time effectively, and spent time well.
Intentions are the start of habits
This year I laid the groundwork for expansion. But didn’t quite get there. I had a great time laying the groundwork though! And now I am prepped to grow rapidly. My mindset, my goals, my schedule are now all in service of growth–both personally and professionally.
Gratitude can cure all ills, except for a two months scare of cancer
This year has been a year of gratitude. But even gratitude doesn’t cure the panic that comes with the big C word. All my meditations, my eating healthy, all of it helped. But it was still terrifying. Becoming ‘superhuman’ in your habits doesn’t mean you’re actually invincible.
Launch it and they will come? Bullshit.
Launches are way more complicated than just build the thing and people will flock to you. Launches are strategy. And while I knew that, for some reason I believed I was above that because I had so many believers of the Business Bliss Brigade. Sometimes you just gotta take your own strategy advice. 😉
Move now, so you can move later
My grandmother’s failing health has a ton to do with her being sedentary. She hasn’t moved in years, at all. She barely liked to walk 10 years ago, let alone now. Seeing her frozen muscles and joints was a huge wake up call. Move now, so you can move later.