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My Biggest Lessons Learned This Year
As the holidays are winding down and the new year is about to begin, I wanted to make sure I document some things that happened this year. I do this every year and this year was another huge year! Having another baby was a huge personal change that affected my life, my family and my business. I learned a ton and wanted to share what I’ve learned. I’ve also learned a ton as a CEO and managing people was probably one of the biggest growth areas for me this year.
Here are my biggest lessons learned this year:

1. Lessons Learned About Hiring Staff

This year I learned that no employee will love my company as much as me.  As much of a bummer that is, because I love our mission so much, it’s just not possible. Employees don’t have to stick around and may not be with you forever. This year one of our contractors whom I trusted a lot, quit abruptly. I was shocked and had no idea how I was going to be able to handle it at the time since I had delegated so much to her.
We had very little turnaround as we decided it was better to end things quicker rather than prolong them since this person had a huge impact on our community. Initially, I felt terrible. But, what I learned after giving myself some times to process it all was that it was completely my fault. I had given her a lot of new tasks because I thought she was able to handle them and was doing an excellent job. But, I never updated her job description so there was a huge lack of oversight and communication between us. Totally my fault. I learned big time that if there is an issue on my team, it’s usually my fault. I will not blame her or anyone else for things that go wrong. I may not like how it went down or give a recommendation but it’s always the manager’s fault when there is a clear lack of communication. And in this case there was.
It truly was a bummer and one of the most stressful and frustrating times this year especially since I was 20 weeks pregnant and planned to have her help with my maternity leave. But, by the end of the year, the rest of the team had completely absorbed that role in other ways and we got rid of a lot of tasks that didn’t need to be done at all so that I could have a 3 month maternity leave.
We realized that the role wasn’t even needed. We had added a lot of work to our team and I had put a lot of management requirements on myself like extra calls and communication. Once that stopped, I was honestly relieved. I had to pick up a lot of her tasks but I had less to do. Sometimes, an employee can put a lot of pressure and extra assignments on you that you don’t even need. YOU DON’T NEED A BIG TEAM! Just because someone else has a team of 20 doesn’t mean you have to. Try to do more with less and cut tasks that aren’t needed. Find the BEST people for the job not just the people who are doing OK.
And an even bigger lesson learned this year, sometimes employees don’t fit the brand you are trying to create. This was a big eye opener as I am working on a rebrand and website update early next year. What I want to communicate and HOW I want to communicate is not what we were doing when this employee was on our team. This is why hiring right is so important and if/when I hire again, I will be watching for so many more things to ensure I hire the right people who fit our brand and mission.

2. Lessons Learned About Growing Your Business Income and TAXES

As you grow your business, your needs change. I am no longer running a hobby blog on the side of my day job. I am running a business that has grown to support my entire family. What this means is that the experts and contractors that I hired to help me with finances and accounting when I first started (and wasn’t making enough to survive) are not the same experts I should be using today unless they are growing with me.
This year we got to tax time and had a tax bill that was thousands of dollars. Unplanned. Out of nowhere. Holy cow.
First of all, if you have a tax bill it means you made a lot of money and this is a good thing! Except when you weren’t prepared for the bill like we weren’t.
I’ll never forget getting the email from our CPA walking out of church and telling my husband. He immediately started thinking of ways to make extra cash on the side. We are usually pretty awesome at managing our money and our cash flow but we weren’t prepared with thousands of dollars on a rainy day to throw away on our taxes.
After some evaluation, we were able to do some research and review of our available balances ourselves. Through that research, we found out that we were able to contribute to our retirement accounts instead of paying the IRS. Thank God!
The lesson learned here is to make sure you have the right people supporting you as you grow and hire the people who will watch out for you. We had an incredible year and made a lot more money. We needed someone helping us to avoid a last minute tax bill that we weren’t prepared for. This year, we are working with a CPA who manages companies with multi-millions of dollars. Before the end of the year, we know what we need to do to avoid a last minute crisis and how much we need to set aside if needed.
As you grow, celebrate that extra income. But also hire the right people so you know what to do with it. 🙂

3. Lessons Learned About What I Offer

For many years I have put my attention and focus into creating affordable and quality online courses and membership sites. Overdelivering at every step and providing as much value as I possibly can is what I love to do. For this reason, my focus has been OFF of coaching and working one-one-one with people and even in group settings but this year I brought it back on a whim.
My mentor, Stu McLaren, gave me a push and said heck yes people would love a higher level of your membership site. Why don’t you ask them if they would be interested first?
So I did. I sent out an email to my Corporate Rescue Plan members in April and got over 25 responses from people interested in a group coaching program. We kicked off CRP PLUS in April and it’s been an incredible 8 months of diving deep with a smaller group of women and really help them grow their businesses. I love getting to know these ladies and seeing their progress since April is astounding and so exciting.
We are kicking off next year with a new group of CRP PLUS members and for 48 hours on Jan 1-Jan 2nd, I’ll be opening enrollment to the public. This happens only ONCE a year to the public so if you want to learn how to join my group coaching group, add your name and email to the waitlist here.
What I learned is that I love going deep with a small group of people. I learned that I love group coaching and the energy that comes from getting the right group of women together that is encouraging and supportive. I still offer so many affordable ways to work with me but now there is something to strive for and work towards in our group coaching program. I am opening the door for these ladies to say yes to themselves and invest in getting extra support to create the businesses of their dreams. This is exactly what someone else did for me back in 2013 and my business TOOK OFF. Getting support and guidance changed everything for me and helped me turn a hobby into a real business. There’s only so much I could learn and figure out myself and there was a time when I had to take the leap and really invest in myself.

4.Lessons Learned About Content Creation

This year I had to make some tough decisions about content creation. Planning out a 3 month maternity leave made me really focus on what was important. Towards the beginning through mid year, we were pushing out a ton of content. We had guest contributors posting 2-3 times per week and I had a contractor helping me with coordinating the schedule, communicating with the writers and editing and publishing the articles. The good part about this was that we got a ton of content out there throughout the years and on weeks when I didn’t have time to publish a blog post, content was still going out!
The bad news is that not all the posts fit our brand and style. While on maternity leave, we published an article that was not in our voice and did not fit our brand. I hated that I didn’t know what our brand guidelines were anymore and how to communicate this with our contractors and writers. A few weeks later our contractor who was posting the guest articles told me she had to take a break to focus on school work. I made the hard decision to say no to guest articles moving forward. Without her help and on maternity leave, I didn’t have the time to take on the work. And I wanted to start producing higher quality content myself when I returned from maternity leave. So for a few months, we had little content posted on the blog each week. But I was ok with that.
I decided when I returned from maternity leave that we would focus on quality over quantity in everything we did online. Less blog posts but put way more time in making them great. Less podcasts. Less instagram posts. I would only put out content that i was 100% proud of. This has changed everything. I am now proud of everything we create and passionate and excited about our brand again and where we are headed next year. I started taking my own photos and planning out the creative part of our brand. I hired another contractor at the end of this year to help me create and plan out this high quality content and I’m excited about where this will take us next year.

5. Lessons Learned About Motherhood and Working

My daughter is 5 months old and we are inseparable. My days are a mix of work and life. I read a quote by Richard Branson when he was asked how he maintains work-life balance. He said, “Work? Life? It’s all the same thing. I call it LIVING.”⠀
That’s how I feel. There’s no balance. It’s just my life. It’s two of my passions mixed together all day long. I don’t have a schedule. I don’t get that much work done each day. ⠀Definitely not getting as much done as I used to get done. But I get the few RIGHT things done each day. I don’t sit at a desk for 9 hours. I do a lot of catch up between 8-11pm. My morning work hours are long gone with Sienna waking up between 3-6am repeatedly. But it’s ok. I’m soaking up the cuddle time focusing on what does matter while still doing what I love here and there throughout the day.
My biggest lesson learned about becoming a working mom again for the second time around is that I can’t do it all. I’m an achiever but I can’t achieve as much as I used to. Focusing on my tasks and priorities is the only way to reach my goals and dreams. I’m not answering emails (sorry). I’m not wasting time. That’s the only way that our planner got launched in December. After two years of thinking about it I finally said I’m making it happen. I didn’t have time. I had a newborn but I was determined. I made a list of just what needed to be done. And each day I kept taking 20 minutes to move myself a little closer to making my dream happen.
And it did. A highlight of this year is launching our first physical product, The Create Your Future 90-Day Planner. When you achieve your goal you have been dreaming about for over 2 years, what can’t you do. Watch out next year! 🙂
Lesson learned: Don’t do it all! Stay hyper focused on planning out your priorities and only doing the most important things each week.
I love sharing my lessons learned and do this each month with members of our group coaching program, Corporate Rescue Plan PLUS. If you are interested in learning more about joining me when we open for just 48 hours to the public on January 1st and 2nd, click here to add your name to the waitlist.

Hi, I'm Anna!

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