I’m NOT one for end of year shenanigans, but there’s something about running a business that makes me WANT to be that person – especially a business that just rocked out its second year. SO much can happen in one short year, that I feel like it’s almost part of my JOB to assess where I was a year ago and have a little looksie at what actually unfolded in 2013.
At the end of 2012, I was returning from 7 months of living in a van on a rock climbing trip, during which I worked super part time on my business, so things were starting to gain some legs, but it wasn’t like I was killing it (not even CLOSE) back then.
And because I know how voyeuristic everyone is, here is a straight up look at 2013 and my plans for 2014.
Before I dive into my review, here’s a really honest look at the numbers in my business, because I know everyone is curious, you curious little cats, you.
Income in 2012: ~15k
Income Goal for 2013: Triple my income
Actual (gross) income for 2013: ~$85k
Income goal for 2014: $100k
List size end of 2012: 258
List size end of 2013: 2180
List size goal for 2014: Don’t have one/don’t really care
Pageviews on TheUncagedLife.com in Dec 2012: 3861
Pageviews in Dec 2013: 17,800
Pageviews goal for 2014: Don’t care, as long as it doesn’t drop significantly!
Weekly hours I worked in 2012: 10-12
Weekly hours I worked in 2013: 40+
Weekly hours goal for 2014: 20
Programs/courses I created in 2013: Ongoing one-on-one coaching, Purpose Sessions, Pick My Brain, The Single Session, Discover Your Uncaged Career audio training, Discover Your Uncaged Career one-on-one coaching program, 3month open coaching program, Message Therapy Sessions, Coaching Business Jumpstart, Mentor Group, Nailed It, Make Money! course, Catalyze Retreat, Free 15min Uncagings, Email coaching, Uncage Your Business, BrandBurst, Biz Shiz
Anything else you wanna know? Ask in the comments!
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2013 end of year review
My theme word for 2013 was: HUSTLE
This year, I accomplished: Increasing my income by over 5 times from last year (bling bling!)
...And: Creating my first retreat. We leave January 25 to do business and shit in the jungle. Activities include rockclimbing, caving, and ghetto spa (shhhh, the participants don’t know about that one yet!)
…And: Creating two amazing partnerships (Coaching Business Jumpstart with Ellen and BrandBurst with Lis and Lyndsay). Because working with someone else is WAY more fun and less stressful than doing it all yourself.
I did not accomplish: Balancing my time well during the week (womp womp). I worked WAY too much. It was all good, but I’m ready to step it down a notch/try out this whole “work smarter” thing people are always yammering on about.
What got in my way was: Loving my work (and making money). I love my work and I love money (in the most non-douchey way possible), so when those two things are a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’. Or I guess DO come a knockin’. It’s hard to stop working. Which I guess isn’t the worst problem in the world to have – work you like so much you never want to stop.
I am most proud of: Having the guts and drive to stick with it to the point where I am living fully off my business income. Coming home from the roadtrip in December 2012, I actually went out and GOT a job because I wasn’t sure how things were going to go. So I served tables one day a week to make enough to pay my rent, and hustled my business the rest of the time. But as of April, I was able to leave that job and never look back. I remember dreaming of the days where I’d never have to go to work wearing pants, and am happy to way I am currently living the dream. As in, right now. No pants guys. Seriously.
I worked hardest at: Creating a community. The Uncaged Lifers private community is SUCH an amazing group of people, and while I can’t take credit for all of THEM (though wouldn’t it be cool if we could control other people’s levels of coolness?), I did spend a lot of time in that group – answering people’s questions, helping out, sharing, and chatting with the people who are really showing up and doing the work. Now (in less than 6 months!) the community is 800+ strong and growing! And while I’ve stepped out a little to focus on my paid clients, the group is so supportive of each other that no one ever has that feeling of being picked last in gym class, even without me there all the time. Pretty cool that I created that!
I failed most epically at: That little word called balance. Not that I think it’s a real thing (my life is about as balanced as a tilt-a-whirl). But 2013 was definitely a work cycle. I think I want 2014 to be a FUN cycle – more travel for work-related stuff and more DIY home projects (homemade lip gloss anyone? how about a bath scrub? or an all natural toothpaste, which may or may not turn out to be a total disaster).
And what I learned from this failure was: I do what I want when I want, and if I want to work a LOT, I’m going to do it. The few times I tried to create set work hours, I ended up not really sure what else to do with my time (and yes, I realize how lame that sounds, hence the new obsession). Everything goes in cycles, and 2013 just happened to be work cycle. But it took that hardcore work cycle to get me to a point where now I can chill the fuck out a little. And let’s be honest, most of that “hardcore work” was me messing around on Facebook, soooo, it still wasn’t all that bad.
What I would have done differently this year is: Dropped long-term one-on-one clients WAY earlier in the year. I love wham-bam kind of work, and taking ongoing clients was exhausting to me (but clients, if you’re reading this, I still love you!! It’s not you, it’s me. Promise.) I wish I’d given myself permission earlier to work fully and completely MY way.
The biggest lesson I learned was: That a lot can happen in one year, and if you stick with it and put yourself out there, you’ll be surprised. Also, working for months on end while sitting on a couch with really mess up your body.
My biggest challenge was: Getting one-on-one clients near the beginning of the year. I wasn’t focused in enough, even though the whole idea of Uncaged is pretty niche-y in and of itself. It wasn’t until I got laser focused on only working with a really specific type of client that my business started to really take off. So if you’re still doing super vague work, focus that shiz in harrrrd. Even if you think you’re already focused, I bet you’re not as specific as you could be. Yeah, it’s scary, and yeah, it pays off. In fact, this is exactly what I do with people in my Uncage Your Business program – help them get real nichey and solid in your message.
The biggest risk I took was: I honestly can’t even think of anything that feels like a risk! Maybe it was moving to the Dominican for a few months? Or letting go of my longterm client services? Or putting ALL my eggs into my Uncage Your Business basket? But none of these felt risky to me after living in a van for a year (and even that never actually felt like a risk), so I guess it’s all perspective.
This year I tolerated: A shitty website… at least until this month! I’d done a $1000 revamp last year, and knew that eventually I’d have to get the whole thing done properly, but at some point you have to let it go and just focus on your work. So that’s what I did. My site did the job, but was a hot mess behind the scenes and let’s be honest – it pretty much gave everyone who saw it a migraine. So I tolerated it until I couldn’t tolerate it anymore, and bit the bullet and paid for a full upgrade. It was worth it.
I kicked serious ass at: Creating a thriving community. I am really really proud of that, and am often told that it’s one of the best communities around.
I became a different person this year in these ways: I learned that the more I let go of all the rules and stop trying to do what the business gurus tell me to do. I can take what they tell me and then twist it to work for me. So I’m more confident in my business than I was last year. I also finally feel like my business will sustain me (something I couldn’t say last year when I made $15k and wasn’t sure how I’d ever pay my bills with my biz). I now feel like a real, legit business person (minus the power suit. Or maybe I should bring back the power suit?). Not that you need to make money to be legit, but well… you kinda do, or else your business is really just an expensive hobby. I definitely felt the need to make a legit income, just to prove all those big jerks wrong who were like “One day you’ll have to get a real job, you can’t just keep gallivanting around the world all willy nilly .”
I learned this year that I am: Good at what I do. I didn’t really believe it last year. I had a big case of imposter syndrome. But the more I stopped doing my work the way I was taught, the more confident I became. Funny how that works.
I am uber grateful this year for: The constant and unwavering support of my sweet sweet boyfriend Mike. He has NO idea about this whole online business world (he works for the Government doing some amazing work of his own), and I constantly feel like a superhero when I tell him my accomplishments (even though they often feel teeny tiny to me). He’s the best!
And: Meeting Lis Dingjan. I hired her after she pitched one of her services to me (it really works! Try it – find someone who needs what you have and tell them how much you want to help them!). She designed the Catalyze retreat page for us, and it was instant friendship. Lis works her ass off for her clients – more than anyone I have ever met. In fact, TOO MUCH. We have had many talks about boundaries and setting expectations. She’s getting there 🙂 I went to visit her in real life in November all the way in Holland (with a little side trip to Morocco when it started getting too cold in Tilburg), and it was proof that you really can make lifelong friends online (awwwww, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it).
If I remember one thing from this year, I want it to be: That this is the year that everything clicked.
My theme word for 2014 is: LIFE
This year I will commit to doing more of: Creating courses that are online and require less of my attention on an ongoing basis. Right now I have Biz Shiz and Coaching Business Jumpstart, and I know that a lot of what I do has great potential to be turned into online material, so I can get out and enjoy my Uncaged Life more, instead of working like a 9-5er (ironic, right!?)
I would be most proud of myself if: I could get to the point where my biz runs smoooooth like butta’ and I can stick to 15 hour workweeks. Right now I’m at about 50+, so wish me luck!
I will commit to accomplishing: Creating a little book that I have just started thinking about thanks to the amazing Illana Burk. Also, the homemade body care products. Keep your eye for Uncaged toothpaste in 2014.
And… Setting a schedule for my marketing so that I have one day a week where I am doing all things marketing related, because marketing is fun and important.
And… ONLY taking client calls on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and taking Mondays and Fridays off like a bawse.
I will STOP doing: Spending so much time on Facebook. I love it, and it serves me well in my business, but I am committing to setting my self-control app on the regular and getting the hell off the crack.
I anticipate my biggest challenge to be: Growing my reach big enough that I can sell out my group program every single time at the pricepoint I’d like. Hence the marketing focus early in the year.
I will make it easier on myself by: Committing to one day of marketing a week, because for some reason I can’t seem to work on things in small chunks if I have an hour here or there. I’d rather hunker down and do it ALL at once. Are you bored of hearing about my marketing plans yet?
This year I will not tolerate: Tons of back and forth emails. I’ve already greatly reduced the number of emails I get, but this year I plan to be super vigilant. I’m all about getting to the point, so my emails tend to be 1-3 liners (if you’ve ever emailed me you’ll know what I mean). Pretty much every week I get an email from someone telling me LITERALLY their whole life story, along with details about how their parents want them to become an engineer, they have dreams of travelling the world, but maybe they should get an MBA instead or maybe go into acting or actually I guess engineering doesn’t sound all that bad and what do I think? This is of course back from when Uncaged wasn’t super focused on businesses. As hard as it is, I usually send a kind but succinct 3 liner with a referral on to someone else. It’s all about training people to NOT email me for every little thing. Seriously. If you get a ton of emails try it. They always say you have to tell people how to treat you, and email is no exception.
This year I will take the risk of: Pitching myself to bigger platforms! Eep!!
This year I will go to: Belize, for the Catalyze retreat! And to Portland for WDS (but just to hang out at the after-parties, I don’t actually have a ticket). Also, Spain in the fall for a 3 week climbing trip! And likely some other mystery destinations that have not yet revealed themselves.
I will have: Lot of fun… and hopefully no babies.
I will be: Vigilant about LIVING more. Also, you guessed it – making my homemade bath products.
I will have a relationship that is: Assuming this means a relationship with my work… It will be one of those relationships where we don’t smother each other and we get looooots of time apart so we can really appreciate what we have when we’re together, but when we’re away from each other we don’t really miss each other that much because our lives are filled with so many other fulfilling things but we’re still very much in love. Yeah, that kind.
I will have friendships that are: REAL. I have met so many amazing people through my business and I’m excited to make some new friends. Because let’s face it – online friends are no longer reserved only for ICQ.
I will have a body that is: Bangin’. As in, strong and healthy bangin’. Because I’ve been working so much I haven’t been going outside NEARLY enough, which means the old body of mine has been hurtin’ (and since I literally work on my couch everyday, well, you can imagine). Less computer time and more play times makes Becca’s body happy.
I will have a career that: Makes people jealous but also inspired to go out and finally do what they want to be doing.
I will hold myself accountable by: Keeping it going strong with my mastermind group. And, dare I say it, PLANNING ahead. Gulp.
This year, I’ll never, ever: Get stuck in the trap of comparison… for longer than a few minutes.
And I’ll always, always: Aim to do better.
Here’s to another year.