I absolutely love the end of the year because it forces me to stop, breathe and acknowledge everything that happened.  If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly moving forward and thus oftentimes forget to learn the vital lessons the past has to teach us - and therefore guide us in our next moves ahead.

 

So, I want to take this opportunity to share with you - in true, RAW Katie style - my year in review for Biz Women Rock.  I’m sharing the tools I loved, the best investments I made, the things that worked really well...and all the things that DIDN’T work and the ginormous lessons I learned this year.  

 

My purpose for sharing all of this is two-fold.  

 

First, I want to key you into some of the great tools and strategies that worked for my business so you can be aware of them to use as you see fit for yours.  These are tech tools for organization and productivity, education and courses I invested in that created big changes and practices I habitualized that made deep impacts!

 

Second, my intention is that by sharing my own authentic business journey, you will feel a little less alone on yours...and thus, feel inspired and connected to move forward purposefully and powerfully!  I want you to learn from my mistakes, use strategies that worked for me and ultimately allow my journey to give you what you need to enhance your own.  We’re all in this game together!

 

So, here we go…

TECH TOOLS THAT I LOVED THIS YEAR:

HiFutureSelf:  An app you can program to send yourself messages in the future and on a regular basis.  For example, I have a message that gets sent to my phone every morning at 6:00am that says “Money comes to me easily and daily!” and one at 8:00am that says, “Show your man some love today, beautiful...he’s amazing and deserves it.”

 

Why I love this app: Automated affirmations!  It’s an automated way I can send little bursts of love and positivity to my mind throughout the day.  Life happens and these little messages that pop up (right at the time that I know I need them!) are incredibly powerful in training my mind to live in abundance, love and positivity!

Asana: Project management software that I (finally) started using to manage my team.

 

Why I love it: First, let’s talk about why I finally decided to grow up and use it.  Because I noticed that way too often, a project I would talk about with my social media manager one week would get overshadowed with in-the-moment needs and pretty soon, two weeks later, I would ask her, “where are we on project x?”  And she would have to go back into her emails or Facebook messages and we would both have to start from scratch.  Getting these projects into Asana helped me not only keep both of us on track, but forced me to shift from the “in the moment” marketing mentality to (gasp) pre-planning quality marketing campaigns and projects!  I’ve implemented the entire system for my team - all of whom were on different communication channels with me.  I love it because it keeps the forward movement of my business organized and concise!  And it gives me ONE PLACE to talk to my team.

Lucky Bitch Money Tracker: a free iPhone app (sorry android users) created by Denise Duffield-Thomas, whom I’ve featured on the show a few times).  She’s the founder of Lucky Bitch and everything she does - her courses, her books, her events - all revolve around helping women bust through money blocks to create lives of financial abundance.  Her Money Tracker app is one of the two programs I use to track every single cent that come into my life so I know where my money is at all times.

 

Why I love this app: Because it is simple to use, I can use it in the moment of receiving a notification that someone has purchased something from me and - most importantly - it has a slew of categories that have nothing to do with business.  Which means that I am recording ALL money that comes into my life, not just in business.  I record gift cards people give me, money I randomly find, rent that my tenant pays me...anything!  Which means that I am honoring and feeling gratitude for all the financial abundance around me!  The best part is that everytime I enter something into the app, it makes the cha-ching! sound! :)

THE BEST PERSONAL & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS I INVESTED IN THIS YEAR:

Private Coaching: In 2017, I invested $10,000 in private coaching services.  I’m not going to lie and say it was easy spending that money.  I did the pros and cons list like you probably have.  I had those questions come up in my head, do I really need to spend that much?  Will it be worth it?  I can really do this on my own...do I really need to hire someone to help me?  I’ll just wait until I make a bit more money and then invest it in a coach.  But despite these thoughts, I invested the money anyway because I just knew.  I knew I wanted to speed up my learning curve.  I knew I wanted my business to grow in ways that were out of my zone of genius.  Ultimately, I knew I needed to evolve into the person who was ready to experience the results I wanted...and that I needed customized help in that evolution.  

 

The Results: Without a doubt, my business would not have experienced the results it has this year - both in revenue and in me, it’s leader - had I not made that investment!  While we talked strategy, what my business coach really did for me this year was establish a mindset practice.  A way for me to productively create the life and business I truly love showing up to every day!  She did not feed me fish...she taught me to be a fisherman.  And having the customized access to her was vital as I had my ups and downs and needed feedback for pivoting at a moment’s notice.  

 

Giving business women customized coaching and strategizing is one of the ways I love providing support to the Biz Women Rock community!  If you’re ready to seriously uplevel your business, then let’s work together in 2018!  Just a few more private spots remain!

Money Bootcamp: This is Denise Duffield-Thomas’ signature course.  It’s 6 weeks of identifying money blocks and creating habits that welcome in financial abundance. It’s a self-study course, although she does offer live versions of it twice each year, which is one of the sessions I came in on.  The investment was $1,497 and I was happy to make it.  I’ve been following Denise for years and have loved all of her free content.  So, I knew her bootcamp would be amazing.  This year, however, was the year I knew I was ready for it.  Because I was dealing first hand with big money blocks.  Because I was ready to up my own game in business.  Because I finally GOT that the money I make in my business is directly correlated to the depth and breadth of women entrepreneurs I am impacting the world over!  And in order for me to live vibrantly in my mission of helping biz women grow purposeful, productive and profitable businesses, I was going to have to re-program my mindset on money...big time.  

 

Money Bootcamp delivered that and then some!  The best part of the course is that it is content I am continually going back to because I’m ready to take on a new lesson.  

 

I’m most likely going to be refreshing myself through the course in the New Year, so if you have any interest in doing it with me, let me know and I’ll create a Biz Women Rock Money Bootcamp session!

Outsourcing: This was the year I shifted from “I’ll do it all myself” to “I’m the CEO of my business.”  And it showed up in my commitment to hire out the jobs that I can do, but should not be doing as a CEO.  Specifically, that meant hiring 4 different professionals:

 

  1. Executive Assistant.  Best.  Move.  Ever!  I’ve been avoiding an assistant for a long time because frankly, I’m really good at administrative, technical tasks.  I’ve had assistants in the past and it was always a sore point for me that I seemed to spend more time training them to do something than I could do it on my own.  And it would get done better!  But this year, I decided I needed a mindset shift around this.  Because no matter how good I am at administrative tasks, I will never live into my mission of making a global difference for business women if I play small like that!  So, I hired Jody.  My Executive Assistant.  As of the time I write this, I’ve paid her around $3,500 for the year, which has been well worth the work she’s taken off my plate!  She’s taken over a handful of regular tasks that would take up hours of my time every single week and does them better than I would!  Being the control freak that I am, I am continually challenging myself to give her more and she continues to show me she’s capable of more.  

 

  1. Podcast Producer: Why did I wait so long to outsource this?!?!  As of today’s date, I’ve spent about $2,500 on podcast production for a weekly podcast show (and sometimes some bonus episodes) and it has been worth every single cent!  Danny Ozment with Emerald City Productions (http://www.emeraldcitypro.com/) is incredible, has helped to make my podcast sound better and has freed up time for me to dive deeper into all those non-editing activities (including spending 2 days a week with my little one) that I really love! ;)

 

  1. Social Media Manager: Kim with KiMedia Strategies has been working with me on and off for years now.  When I brought her back onto the Biz Women Rock team at the beginning of the year, I knew I would have to stay on top of my OWN game as CEO of my company in order to make that investment worthwhile.  Because I’m a big believer that you can’t just “outsource” anything and expect it to work perfectly without your eyes on it.  Social media especially because not only does IT change all the time, but how I’m choosing to leverage it is constantly evolving.  This year, I spent $4,800 on social media management services with Kim and it has been amazing!  As much as I LOVE social, I can’t be everywhere all at once.  The way we work it is that I handle my private Biz Women Rock Facebook Group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/bizwomenrock/) and private Facebook Groups I create for specific programs, my personal Facebook profile and my personal Instagram account (these are the social platforms where I really LOVE being and is easy for me to show up every day!).  Kim takes care of everything else - my LinkedIn, my Twitter and the majority of my Facebook Page (which includes any Facebook Ads I create).  Not only does she help me strategize, but she implements and makes sure the Biz Women Rock brand is out there!

  1. Accountant & Bookkeeper: Having an Accountant is not a new thing for me, but this was the year that I implemented the attitude of ME being the owner of my finances and leveraging my accountant to help me manage my business better.  Many business women (myself included) have made the mistake of putting their finances in the hand of an Accountant or bookkeeper, which means they don’t know what’s really going on with their money all the time...they just rely on the accountant to keep track of everything and let them know if a bank balance is low or if anything strange pops up.  This year, I started with a new Accountant, with whom I have a standing call every 3rd Monday of the month.  During this meeting, we go over two reports - the month’s prior P&L and the Year to Date P&L.  I look through everything and instruct her on any changes she needs to make on categorization and bring any questions I might have to the table about charges, income and anything else that may be on my mind.  This simple act of meeting with her monthly, combined with my daily tracking of my own money has been instrumental in the financial results I’ve seen in my business this year!  

BOOKS THAT SHIFTED THINGS FOR ME THIS YEAR

Code of the Extraordinary Mind by Vishen Lakhiani: A progressive “self-help” type of a book that had way too many golden nuggets for me to list here.  The author is the guy who founded Mindvalley and A-Fest and thus, I love the entrepreneurial slant.  The BIGGEST take away for me, however, was the the core message that our level of happiness is directly correlated to our ability to forgive.  I have since made it a practice to forgive others and forgive myself on a regular basis.  SO much toxicity stays inside of us when we hold onto things - whether we would consider them “big deals” or not.  And practicing forgiveness on a regular basis has acted like an emotional and spiritual cleanse that enables me to connect with happiness with ease.  

Profit First by Mike Michalowicz: I’m not 100% done with this one yet, but the concept is simple and profound.  Create dedicated accounts for your business (income, profit, taxes, shareholder for example) and every single month, portion out monies into each of these accounts.  It could be a percentage of your income every month or a set amount.  The idea is that it doesn’t have to be a large amount and you won’t actually miss it each month.  If you can run your business off of $1000/month, the author states, you can run your business off of $975/month.  It works the same way as paying out medicare and social security first before you get your “take home” amount on check from a job.  The regular distributions add up and all of a sudden, the tax bill you’re hit with unexpectedly can be paid with no problems out of your tax account.  So powerful!

THE LOWS & THE LESSONS LEARNED FROM THEM:

I Almost Quit: Okay, I probably shouldn’t be so dramatic.  I didn’t almost quit.  But I actually considered it for a brief second this year.  If you’re a part of the Biz Women Rock Academy (http://bizwomenrockacademy.com), you know the intricacies of this from the Facebook Live I did in our private group.  If you’re not, here are the cliff notes:

 

* I wasn’t achieving everything I wanted to (i.e. I felt really behind the eight ball).

 

* I felt really far away from a big goal I had and thus started judging myself.

 

* I was in the midst of rebranding and thus was in a strange space of trying to figure out “what I stood for” and what made me so different and was holding the pressure of what that needed to look like.

 

* I was comparing myself to every...other...women entrepreneur who supports women entrepreneurs.  (and hint...there are a lot of us!)  I was feeling the yucky angst of ugh, why am I not doing that like she is? And she’s doing that SO much better than me! And, that’s SUCH a great idea, why didn’t I think of that?  I know...super ugly.

 

Anyway, the combination of these all spiraled into a really emotional season of self-doubt.  And I considered stepping away from Biz Women Rock.

 

What Made Me Stay: I journaled.  And I got quiet with myself.  And I asked myself a lot of probing questions about what I’m here to do and why I was feeling so junky about myself.  

 

And what it revealed was magical.  

 

There is no one exactly like me.  And while I’m beautifully flawed, I come with my own set of gifts that have helped so many people and flood my heart with fulfillment and love.  And all of those negative thoughts that creep up and tell me that I’m not good enough or that someone else is better or that I’m not doing anything important...those are all teaching opportunities for me to evolve and grow up and overcome.  Because if I don’t live in my gifts and shine my light, then I have robbed this world of my contribution to it.  I have chosen to shrink and play small instead of living purposefully.  I have chosen fear instead of light.  

 

And that is just not okay with me.

 

I owe it to myself, to you, to every single woman who is a part of the Biz Women Rock community and to everyone I love to live courageously and unapologetically as myself.  To keep pushing forward when I doubt myself.  To keep focused on my journey with myself instead of looking at the journeys of others.  To keep on growing and giving and growing and giving.  To make mistakes, learn and share.  Not because that’s what other women entrepreneurs’ paths look like, but because that’s what I’M HERE TO DO.  

 

That low moment was transformative, not just for my attitude, but for how I show up to everything I do...with INTENTION, with PURPOSE and with INTENSE FOCUS on who I am and what I’m here to do.

My relationship was messy:  I have no intention of airing my dirty laundry here.  Nor do I want to give you any reason to believe that my hubs and I are on the outs.  We’re not.  We are 1000% committed to each other and our family.  But I will share that we had a rough year this year.  Chalk it up to a combination of still getting used to being parents, being fully engrossed in our own separate businesses (we had been in business together for a loooooong time), and a slew of other things.  Point being, we spent more time out of flow with each other than in flow.  Which directly impacted my business.

 

Private clients, mastermind participants and Academy members alike have all shared with me throughout this year some stories of “life” going askew - divorces, major finance issues, kid challenges, health concerns, etc.  And as I’ve coached and listened and facilitated those conversations, I’ve come to firmly believe that nurturing our lives outside of business is a part of how we nurture our businesses!  More than that, when one is off, it is almost impossible to truly thrive in the other.  

 

The big ah-ha hit me one day as Chris and I had just finished a big fight.  It was minutes before my mastermind was starting and as I got my computer ready to start the meeting, I was struck at the juxtaposition of the moment.  I was so distraught by the fight and yet needed to show up to be present for my ladies.  My ego wanted to compartmentalize all those negative vibes and get onto living in my happy place facilitating the mastermind.  But something struck me…

 

My ability to thrive in my business is directly related to the health of my relationship with my husband.  

 

I knew I had to swallow my ego and access peace with my hubs in order to show up powerfully to my mastermind.  

 

So, I called him up and apologized (remember the book?).  The pain of our egos immediately dissipated and we promised to talk things through later that night.  And as I started the mastermind, I felt relieved, grateful and completely capable of being my best self for those ladies.  

 

The Lesson: Our businesses are just one part of our lives.  And I’m going to bet you want to truly thrive in all areas of your life like I do!  Which means that, while there are times we have to compartmentalize and put all of our focus into ONE AREA, we ultimately do ourselves a disservice if we don’t take the time to show love and care to all those other areas of our lives that are important to us.  Because, ultimately, the business success we want does not happen in a vacuum.  

 

This is a holistic journey, my friend.  

MY AREAS OF FOCUS THIS YEAR:

The Mindset Olympics: This year was the year of hard core training for my mind.  Most mornings, I spent journaling affirmations, visions and declarations about what I wanted to experience, what I wanted to have, what I wanted to attract and who I wanted to be.  This has been the most transformative habit I have cultivated, as it’s shifted my paradigm from “one who is on a journey” to “one who designs my journey.”  Very big difference.  

Money: As you have probably gathered, money was a big focus for me this year.  How to make more of it.  How to bust through money blocks.  How to manage it.  How to grow it.  How to give it.  I’ll never forget the core concept of Virginia Woolf’s book A Room of One’s Own that states that every woman must have money of her own and a space of her own in order to live a fulfilled and independent life.  And since FREEDOM is a huge value of mine, taking full ownership over my own money is vital for me to live the BIG, purposeful life I’m here to live.  I’m still learning, but holy cow, have I stepped up my game here!

Experimentation: Looking back, I can see that 2017 was a year of a lot of experimentation for me.  I tried a ton of different ways to grow my community, to give to you, create valuable offers for you and deepen your connection to me and your fellow biz women.  As I sit at the end of the year, I can see the value of this experimenting.  I learned what worked and what didn’t.  What resonated with you and what got no response.  What I loved and what I don’t ever want to do again.  And through this experimentation, me, my message, my offerings and my brand are a hell of a lot more succinct and clear than they were a year ago.  

 

Keep leaning into what works.  Keep leaning into your gifts.  

I hope that my reflections have been helpful for you to hear!  Mostly, I hope that it sparks a desire in you to recognize how far YOU’VE come in 2017!  So you can keep leaning into your own gifts and keep shining your light even brighter in the year to come!

 

Congratulations on a phenomenal year and I can’t wait to see what’s ahead for you in the year to come!