For the last four years, I've taken a day in December to review the previous year and create a general plan for the upcoming one.
I look at all areas of my life—professional, personal, avocational, etc.—and see what worked, what didn't, and what I can do to keep moving forward.
It's during these times of reflection that I see exactly how much has changed. In the moment, it doesn't always feel like we're making progress; looking back allows us to appreciate how far we've come.
So how exactly did 2016 go? Let's find out ...
The Growth of a Business
Although I've been running my own businesses since 2008, I haven't gained much traction because I keep quitting. But this year, I wanted things to be different.
At the outset of 2016, I set a business goal/theme for myself of Keep Going, No Pressure. Both parts were important: "keep going" was a reminder to maintain momentum and DON'T QUIT, while "no pressure" was encouragement to simply enjoy the process, no matter what the outcome.
If you look strictly at the Markers I set for myself, I did not achieve this goal: I did not post one article per week, I did not send at least one email per week, and I did not conduct one interview or submit one guest post per quarter.
However, if you consider some of the other factors, I didn't do too badly:
- I published a total of 10 guest posts for various outlets, including the Huffington Post, Verily Magazine, and MindBodyGreen.com
- I met my Q1 revised Marker of not taking down anything that I put on offer
- I ran several free challenges and offered a handful of free trainings that required more frequent emailing than once per week
As a result of not quitting and keeping going, I experienced some pretty significant business growth over the year. Not necessarily in terms of revenue—I landed in the same range as my historical numbers, which means that I have some factors to explore and adjust in 2017—but in terms of audience.
Unique Website Visitors
During 2015, I welcomed a total of 117 unique visitors to LynnDaue.com, for an average of 9.75 readers per week.
In 2016, on the other hand, I welcomed 4,090 unique visitors (as of Dec. 26, 2016), for a growth rate of 3396% over the year. Or, if you want to get super fancy, I experienced a growth rate of about 34.5% per month.
If this continues, I can expect approximately 143,000 visitors in 2017. So, I guess I better upgrade my server!
I started the year with 20 wonderful people who elected to receive emails from me. Those numbers have skyrocketed, relatively speaking, with an all-time high of 178 for an annual growth rate of 790%.
The biggest jump occurred in October, when I redesigned the Audacious Life Master Plan. If you don't have a copy, grab it now, then get excited for the re-release coming in Q1 of 2017.
Even though I've had several business Facebook Pages over the years, I had to start over with this one because of my tendency to scrap things when I get frustrated or bored.
As such, I didn't even have a Facebook Page until February, when I closed out the month with a whopping 26 Fans. (And I love you all!)
As of this writing, that number rose to 414, for an overall growth rate of 1492%.So, using my fancy monthly growth rate of 31.9%, I can expect something like 11,480 Fans by the end of 2017.
A Year of Adventures
2016 was a highly adventurous year, both considering the things that I planned to do and the things that popped up out of the blue.
Starting with the things I planned to do, as laid out in "16 Fabulous Ways to Shake Up Your 2016," here are a few highlights:
- I did not make it to a Korean spa this year, despite putting it on my calendar twice
- I did try stand-up paddleboarding—and a word to the wise, don't try this for the first time in the ocean on a windy day with a strong undertow
- I did do a back flip on a big trampoline—on Mother's Day, no less!
- I did not go to a charity ball, despite being members of two organizations that throw them
- I did invest in something totally personal
- I did get some really fabulous pictures taken of myself—and I learned a lesson in specificity as well
- I did go on several spontaneous, spur-of-the-moment vacations, including to NYC and the Atlantic shore
Additionally, I spent two weeks in Hawai'i for both business and pleasure, performed in our hula school's bi-annual recital (yay!), and spent a LOT of time poolside with my kids.
What's Coming Up in 2017?
While I can't reveal everything that's coming up for 2017, I can definitely give you a peek behind the curtain into a few things!
On the business side
The biggest thing for you to know on the business side of things is that programs, products, and social media are getting slashed by 60-80%.
Yes, I know it's dramatic. I also know that in sticking to "keep going, no pressure," I had to allow everything that was published remain available until the end of the year. But NOW, I'm cutting the things that are either not working, are draining my energy, or are otherwise not a good fit.
Let's take a look:
I have a small selection of books published on Amazon ... and they all refer back to what I was doing in my business in 2012-2014. Not a single publication has anything to do with what I currently do, so they all have to go. (Grab copies right now if you want them—I'm pulling them down on the 31st!)
- Byline: A Brief Guide to Breaking Into Writing for Magazines
- The (Social) Proof is in the Pudding: Get National Media Coverage, Write for Well-Known Websites, and Promote Yourself Online
Programs and publications
If you get emails from me, then you already know that Release & Refine is unavailable until the New Year. But what's news to you and everyone else is that the following publications are also getting the ax, and these ones are for good:
Social media is a bit of a bear to deal with, especially if you're a one-woman band like I am. So, instead of trying to be everywhere and do everything, I'm severely limiting my online presence in 2017. Here's where you won't be able to find me after Saturday:
- The Audacious Life Community on Facebook
- The Release & Refine discussion group on Facebook
So what's left?
Only five things remain as we roll into 2017:
- The Audacious Life Master Plan
- Release & Refine (available in January 2017)
- Lynn Daue on Facebook
- the Reach out Initiative Facebook group (membership reopens in March 2017)
- Lynn Daue on Instagram
Is this a bold move for someone in online business? Yes. (Some might even call it audacious.)
And it opens things up for a whole new batch of programs, products, and content, including something I've been brewing since 2015.
On the personal side
I'm not slashing and burning as heavily on the personal side of things—namely, because I did that several years ago, and now it's just a matter of maintaining equilibrium. Trim here, tweak there, and we're good to go.
On the personal side of things, I'm mostly in the stage of adding to my life. And with a personal touchstone of JOY, I expect 2017 to be a lot of fun.
12 Months of JOY
- I'm finally going to make it to that Korean spa!
- I'm also going to attend a ball or gala in a beautiful gown—with my husband, while he's wearing a dinner jacket (specificity is key here!)
- In 2017, I'm going to camp in Iceland
- I'm also going to learn at least 20 words and phrases in Icelandic
- I'm going to go sailing—or, at least take a ride on a boat
- I think I want to visit the island where Big Fish was filmed
- I definitely want to visit my parents for Thanksgiving
- I also want to take at least an overnight vacation on Maryland's Eastern Shore
- But I ALSO want to see the ponies of Chincoteague
- And I ALSO want to take at least an overnight vacation on Rehoboth Beach
- In 2017, we're going to increase our charitable donations by about 75%
- Finally, I'm going to write and publish at least three (3) books or programs in 2017!
Over to You
Do you conduct an annual review? And how was your 2016?
Leave a short synopsis of your year and/or a link to your published annual review in the comments section!