December is always a great time to take stock, as I begin my new revolution around the sun. And so here is my 2021 year in review.
It’s important for me to acknowledge where I’ve come from before I decide next where I want to go.
Taking time to think about the year that has just passed is a critical component of my annual planning process.
My 40th year provided me with a lot of opportunities for growth, both personally and professionally.
my word for 2021
The overarching theme for this year was ‘enough’.
I did A LOT of work on myself and my business in 2020 and I wanted to carry a new belief into the year that would help me to kick any imposter syndrome to the side. And so I consistently reminded myself…
- I am enough.
- I have enough.
- I earn enough.
- I work enough.
With the BIG, audacious plans I had for my business, I had to shift my mindset to accept the bigger role that I was about to step into.
2021 started strong
I had a running start on January and went straight into the launch of the first cohort of Simplicity.
Simplicity, my 10-week business accelerator program, has come from 8 years of my working one-to-one with business owners, and working in incubator and accelerator programs all over the world.
I finally had a group program that I could offer, teaching the MOST essential business skills that people really need, so they can start to make a living doing what they love.
Class began with 10 students in early February and it was a huge success.
In January, I was also fully booked with one-to-one clients in my new VIP Experience.
This invite-only program is a strategic partnership designed to get business owners to the next level, no matter what level they’re currently at now.
With revenue guaranteed for the first quarter of the year, and both of my programs fully booked out, I was super proud of myself.
All of the strategic work and investments that I’d put into my business in 2020 were paying off. It felt REALLY good.
but then came burnout
After the launch period for Simplicity, I was exhausted.
During that period I could only really focus on the essentials – client work, course development and team management.
It helped me realise something really important for my business: when I get exhausted, there are certain tasks that I just can’t force myself to do, no matter how much I may be good at it.
And for me, that was around creating consistent content.
I love to create, but not on a schedule.
so I made internal changes
I made my first strategic hire – someone who I wasn’t just hiring to pass on tasks to, but someone who would be able to bring strategic thinking and decision-making to the role.
As business owners, we can’t be the only thinkers on our teams.
I brought Natalie on board to be my marketing coordinator, to create written content and oversee that communication is consistent across all of our marketing channels.
Then I hired Mushi and Josie to help me with administrative tasks and graphic design respectively.
These internal changes permitted me to focus on what I am truly good at – strategic direction, business development and client delivery. As a result, my business grew exponentially.
but I was still exhausted
The second lockdown really affected me mentally and I had some personal issues that needed my attention, too.
I found it hard to focus on business, and so I decided to postpone the second cohort of Simplicity from June to August.
I needed to focus on some self-care. So from May to July, I significantly scaled down my hours.
I travelled outside the country for the first time since March 2020 and spent a few weeks in the US to reconnect with my important people.
it wasn’t so great for rest
I held client sessions in the middle of the night, managed my team in the early morning hours and tried to keep up with basic admin tasks in the hours that I could.
I also had a lot of fun and spent lots of time with people that I love.
Then I came back to Nairobi straight into the launch for Simplicity.
And it flopped.
With the numbers we got, it didn’t make sense to run the cohort at all.
things didn’t go as planned
I cancelled the August cohort of Simplicity and announced that it wouldn’t run again until 2022.
I thought I would lose out on the projected revenue, but in the same week, I simultaneously sold a white-labelled version of the exact same program at a far greater contract value.
All was not lost.
In the end, I was able to support the same number of women in business on the continent and there are future opportunities with this partnership into 2026.
we exceeded our targets
For the first time ever, I set some serious monthly revenue targets for my business and tracked them diligently.
We didn’t hit that target each month and in other months we exceeded it. Some months were slow, while others were busy – busier than expected.
Overall, our average monthly revenue exceeded our targets and we trebled our revenue over 2020.
It has been a phenomenal year!
but I am still exhausted
Q4 was an incredible quarter but I am overworked and need a break.
It’s time to take a step back and recharge, so that I can again hit the ground running again in January.
2021 has taught me that I need support and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking for it.
We can’t do it all forever and expect our businesses to thrive.
And so in 2022, I will continue to identify the resources that I need to support me and my business and be unapologetic in asking for help!
If I could give my younger business self a piece of advice sooner, I’d tell myself to focus on what I’m good at and to hire for the rest.
I know that when we’re early on in business, we worry about where the money is going to come from to pay someone else. And so we take on the burden of doing every single thing ourselves.
We think we’re being financially wise by doing this, but honestly, it causes our businesses to grow slower.
When we invest in other people to do the work that we don’t really enjoy, we can focus on what we are truly good at.
And this is also why a year in review is important; it helps keep track of these lessons.
some words of gratitude
Thank you for being here and reading the words that pour out of me.
Thank you for supporting my business.
And thank you for being my reason to do the work that I love doing!
over to you
What’s your 2021 year in review? What are you taking from this year? What are you most proud of achieving? Drop a comment below and let us know.