At this time of year, you’ll see a lot of tips, tricks and strategies for “vision, planning, goal setting,” etc. and that’s all great but one very underrated topic is how to end the year off strong.
I firmly believe that a strong start to the New Year really begins with thinking, reflecting and learning from the previous year and in this episode, I’ll cover 5 tips to help you do just that.
In this episode:
02:05 – Feature review shoutout
05:46 – 1) Top of Mind W/Clients
11:10 – 2) Keep income strong
13:55 – 3) Plant money seeds
17:40 – 4) Learn from the year
22:07 – 5) Plan intentionally
27:21 – Recap
You can also view the full transcription of this episode below.
Featured links mentioned:
I want to help you in the year strong in 2020, which has been a wild year, end it well, and then that will give you the momentum and set you up for starting 2021 in really good fashion.
Hey, everybody, welcome into the podcast. This is Episode 80. And in this one, I’m just gonna kind of talk casually with you about how to finish the year off strong. And I want to give you some tips on how to do this like practically because there’s so many resources and different ideas and strategies for goal setting and planning for the new year. But one thing that I find is slightly underrated and not talked about as much as how to actually end the year strong, which I think ending something is often the precursor to planning something out and starting the next year. So all that to say, I want to help you in the year strong in 2020, which has been a wild year end it well, and then that will give you the momentum and set you up for starting 2021 in really good fashion. So I’m excited to do this for you. This is actually a lot of what I’m going to talk about is kind of taken off of a presentation that I just did for my members of my web design club. So if you’re not aware, I just released my web design Club, which is kind of my membership mastermind type group. And I do a monthly training in there, we just got done doing the first monthly training, which was a much more robust, intensive topic, or much more intensive presentation with this topic of ending the year strong and planning out the next but I figured I would do something for everybody to take take some of the top points from that to give it to you as well. So yeah, that’s what we’re going to do in this one. And if you like this and you decide you know what I’d like to I’d like to hear this full presentation I’d like more go to Josh hall.co/membership all the details will be there and I’d love to have you in my web design club and we can really take your journey to the next level. And before we dive into this, I’ve got five main tips for you.
I do want to give a quick shout out to a recent podcast review. I’m not sure who left this there is no name but it is from Flying Scotsman, which I just love that. And Mr. Flying Scotsman says “Great knowledge sharing from a great brand. I’ve been listening to Josh since discovering his website when setting up in business Josh has a clear and easily identifiable or excuse me identifiable brand and a fantastic persona for communicating his extensive knowledge.” Thank you for that Flying Scotsman. “I have no idea why his YouTube ranking is not much higher as so many people are missing out. He also has a range of online business courses to get you up and running without making the same mistakes he did.” That is the truth. “Great work Josh. Let’s promote his efforts and spread the knowledge.” Flying Scotsman thank you so much for this awesome review. This was such a cool one to, to hear and to check out. First of all, thank you for taking the time to review.
Second of all, let me just address the YouTube thing real quick. Because I do have a fairly modest YouTube channel right now I’m almost 20,000 subscribers and closing in on to 2 million views, which is cool. I mean, that’s, it’s pretty awesome. However, if you look at a lot of my competitors, it’s very, very modest. But there’s a few reasons for that. Number one, my YouTube channel if you didn’t know if you’re listening to this on any podcast app, like Spotify, or iTunes, or whatever. I do video versions of the podcast on YouTube for my interviews. So if you’re new to the channel, and you’re new to my stuff, and you’re not aware, my solo episodes are just audio, but my interviews are all recorded on video and posted up to my YouTube channel. I say that to say the majority of my content over the past handful of months has been mostly the video versions of my podcast. Where my channel really grew quickly was with my tutorials and my trainings, I still plan on doing a ton of those for 2021. I’m going to talk about an episode coming up kind of what I have planned for the new year and where I’m going to be headed with a lot of my content. So I do I’m not going to stop doing Divi tutorials and WordPress related trainings and stuff. I’ve just been focusing much more attention on the podcast. And most of you know, I sold my web design agency a little while back. So it’s been a it’s been a big year. It’s been a lot of things. I’ve really just tried to feed my podcast and I was also updating a lot of my courses and doing a lot of work there on top of launching my membership recently. So that’s kind of why my youtube channel has not I don’t want to say suffer, but I just haven’t posted as much tutorial related stuff, which is why my rankings, I think are not as big as some of my competitors who basically live on YouTube. I am not a YouTuber necessarily. I mean, a lot of my content goes there, but I put a lot more emphasis on my courses and my podcast and now my membership. YouTube is just kind of one channel. It’s not like my main thing. So I think that’s why The YouTube rankings aren’t as high as they could be, but we’ll get there. And for me, I’m all about quality over quantity. So I’m not, I’m not necessarily like dying to get to 100,000 subscribers. I’d rather have 10,000 subscribers that are actually enrolling in my courses and are good quality like minded web designers who want to make a difference in their communities and in the world to do better with with web design sell that much more. You know, I’m much more happy with where I’m at right now. Plus, I’m living a very balanced lifestyle, which is great. So in any case, I don’t mean to ramble on this subject. Thank you so much Flying Scotsman for the review. As a reminder, if you do, leave a review, leave your website, leave your name in there, and I’ll make sure to link it back in the show notes, because you can check out all the reviews and I’ll give you some SEO juice if you do that.
1) Keep Top Of Mind With Clients
Alright guys, well, let me just dive into these tips here for ending the year strong. Again, these are just kind of scratching the surface from a presentation that I just did in my membership, where we go into this in a lot more detail. But I’ll give you the outline as a loyal listener. And we’re going to start with number one, which is to keep Top of Mind with your clients. This is one of the most important things you have to do at all points of the year. But definitely during seasons through holidays, or typically slow periods, which let’s be honest, typically, web designers are going to have slow periods during the holidays. This can be intentional or unintentional. Like I’m big on you know, taking a break that I’m releasing this episode in December 2020. This month, I’m taking it pretty easy. I’ve worked really hard this year. And I’ve got two little girls I want to spend time with. And luckily, I can do that all the time working from home. But this these next few weeks here in December, I’m intentionally working, you know, pretty few hours and just doing the things I have to do to keep going. But I say all that to say, you know, I’m being intentional about slowing down this year. But there were December’s where I didn’t want to slow down. And a lot of that came from keeping in top of mind with clients because it’s very easy to disappear. But I want to encourage you in this season, to be creative with how you stay front and center and Top of Mind with your clients. There’s a couple different ways to go about this that I found to be super handy. One idea that I’ve done since 2016, is to write a personal letter, not some jank standard Christmas card or email like Merry Christmas from our agency boo that is no one wants that do something out of the norm. And write a personal letter, try that out write a letter to your best clients. If you have maintenance plan clients try writing them a letter in my presentation in my web design club. Recently everyone saw this, but I actually show one of the letters that I wrote. And in short, basically, what I like to do is to to keep it personal and real with clients by letting them know maybe what’s going on with the family. But then also planting some seeds as far as what’s ahead, like I might get really real and genuine on the type of work we did for them over the past year, letting them know how much I appreciate them, and then say, you know, we’ve got some really cool stuff we’re rolling out in the new year, I’m excited to let you in on to kind of spark some interest. That way projects may not necessarily move forward right away, or you know, they don’t have to worry about signing up for something right away. But they’re going to be interested to hear what’s going to happen in the new year. So you can plan a lot of seeds like that, which is something we’ll talk about here in a little bit. But make sure you keep in touch with your clients, but don’t do it in some corporatee generic way stand out, be you be real. And one of the best ways to do that is by a personalized letter that you actually send like something real that you either write out or something that you in the case of myself, I had to type my letters out and then sign them just because my handwriting so bad. But a personal letter will go a long way. Do that with your best clients, your a clients, I promise, if you keep it real and share your gratitude and your thankfulness for them and just have some fun with it, it’ll really go a long way. Because how many people get actual letters, not many people and if they get that from a business, wow, what a What an amazing impact that makes. Another stage you can try out is to send a video, this could be something additional to a letter or something separate but use Loom or whatever video software you’re comfortable with with sending something over but actually send a personal video to your clients. It doesn’t have to be an upsell or anything like that just send something that’s personalized, and that’s real. And that somebody you know, would it would catch them off guard, it’s not going to this isn’t something you can do at scale, you’re probably not going to send 100 videos, but if you have like 12 or 15 really good clients or even a couple dozen really good clients, send them something just send them a quick video to say how much you’ve appreciated them how much you’re looking forward to working with them. That will go a long way as well. You can do this instead or in conjunction with a personal letter. And then one thing I would really encourage you guys do as well is to do like some sort of year in business review for yourself in order to keep in top of mind with clients. So if you have had a really good year if you complete a lot of projects and maybe you did like a couple big commerce projects are something that you can share as kind of a case study, or success stories, share those with your clients. There’s no shame in doing, you know, just kind of recap of the year, you can keep it personal. But you can also showcase some of your work that will, was going to feed into the next couple topics we’re going to talk about that will really plant a lot of seeds and other clients minds do more work with you. So you can actually take this period, we’ll talk about keeping income strong next, but you can actually plant a lot of seeds and get the idea for clients that, you know, once January comes around after the holidays, we’re going to move forward big time with some of this stuff. A lot of that has to do with what you do right now. So those are some strategies for keeping Top of Mind keep do some personal stuff, whether it be write a letter, send a video, and do some sort of review, share some wins, share some business, personal and or business and personal if you had a baby this year, or maybe you went full time with your business or something like that, share that with your your best clients, that will really go a long way. If if you have a lot of clients, you can do this via an email campaign, if you just want to send this personally to a couple dozen or less, I would do that just keep it personal. But that’s a great way to go all those strategies will help with keeping Top of Mind with clients.
2) Keep Income and Sales Strong
Number two here is to actually some strategies for keeping your income and your sales strong through this time. So like I said, this month, I’m intentionally kind of stepping back and taking it easy. But a lot of people wonder, you know why income dips around holidays through November and December. And yes, a lot of businesses are taking it easier. Some people are, you know, intentionally spending more time with family and stuff. But let’s be honest, a big reason is you actually stopped promoting yourself, if you don’t promote yourself and you change what you’re doing on the regular, then income is going to dip and you’re not going to get as many sales through that period. And just remember, a lot of clients do want to buy something for the end of the year. This was actually I showed this in my presentation in my web design club. But shout out to Lisa Williams. One, once she we have a thread in the membership for wins and successes, and she had a big one. And she posted in there. And she actually kind of copy and pasted a part of the note that their client or client sent. And it said we want to pay by the end of the year because a lot of companies want to get their expenses out by December 30 for tax purposes. So just remember, just because you know, you might want to take some time off in December, or just because you plan on it being a slower month, that doesn’t mean that income has to stop. In fact, you can, you can still, you know, take a couple weeks off and keep things at a slow pace, but still get proposals out and still get some income coming in now for clients to get that stuff off the book. So just remember that a lot of clients do want to pay by the end of the year. And there’s no reason for you to stop what you’re doing right now. So I’d also encourage you to you know, if you have any promotions or offers, don’t be afraid to keep on going with that. And you don’t want to be annoying, but business does not have to stop right around, you know, Christmas time and holidays times, because a lot of people are still working. And a lot of people again, want to get stuff off the books. So that’s something I would highly recommend you do to keep income strong, and keep sales strong. And just remember, you don’t have to kill yourself and work 90 hour weeks. But you can get proposals in and schedule those out. For those of you who have been through my business course. You know, you’ve heard me talk about the idea of spacing and staggering, which means you can get proposals out get project started in the space and stagger those and create deadlines and keep yourself at a reasonable sustainable pace. You can absolutely do that through this time. And those are some strategies for keeping your income strong, if it typically dips Around this time, which is not again uncommon for web designers. And just remember, I’ll say one last time, a lot of businesses want to get expenses off their books by the end of the year for tax purposes. So don’t be afraid to send out those invoices second, third week of December.
3) Plant Money Seeds
Now number three, we’re going to talk about one of my favorite little subjects just briefly here, which is what I like to call money seeds. And basically everything that I’ve talked about to this point will plant what I call Money Seeds, which like I just mentioned, sometimes it’s mentioning something you’re going to roll out for the new year or get clients excited about what’s coming ahead because that’s going to plant something in their mind. That’s going to make them ready to go in the new year, which is what I like to call money seeds. So if you give a sneak peek or an update of kind of what’s ahead. This is a great way to kind of prep and prepare clients to pay you in the new year for something that way, once January starts because here’s another little thing I’ve experienced that I’ve found with a lot of businesses is typically after the holidays after Christmas and New Year’s. Once January starts a lot of people are thinking about their business and they’re working on their goals, their processes. So I’ve actually found that in my experience with building websites for clients over a decade. A lot of projects didn’t necessarily start or close in the beginning of January. It was typically February, that first month, a lot of clients were focused on their business, which makes total sense. So they may not be ready to invest or prepared to invest in a website until February. Whereas if you plant some money seeds, intentionally kind of prep them for January, kicking the new year off strong, they’re going to be much more apt to buy from you. And you can do this by like I mentioned, doing like a recap, or doing something personal to give them like a sneak peek of what’s ahead. And if you say, you know, in January, we’re going to be launching a new, you know, SEO platform, or we’re going to be doing digital marketing, and helping out with social media, or we’re going to start helping videos, or maybe we’re going to start building online stores and January, then those are going to be little money seeds that people are going to be much more apt to take advantage of, if you let them know a little early. And the cool thing about that is it’s kind of like a sale before the sale. Because you can plant that money seed give folks an idea, but it doesn’t lock them into buying something right away, or it doesn’t even stress them out. They’re like, Oh, man, you know, I’d like to do this. But you know, I want to take a break or buying presents, I want to do something right now, maybe we could do it in the new year. For those people who don’t need to pay for something immediately get off the books, this is a great way to kind of plant that money seed for them moving forward in the new year. So plant those Money Seeds, you can practically do that, by sneak peeks doing updates, one thing I would recommend you try out as well, is to offer some sort of consultation or strategy call with your best clients, whether you do that in December, or whether you schedule it for January, that can be a big one, too, if you just get something on the books, if they say yeah, you know, I don’t want to do a call the next last couple of weeks of December. But yeah, I would absolutely love to do one in the first week of January, what a great chance to upsell something or to really go above and beyond for your clients. And they’ll be much more apt to that and you can kind of lock them in, in December. That way, you know, first couple weeks of January, they’re going to be much more apt to listen to you. And it’s a great way to kind of get those money seeds planted. So do some sneaks peak, excuse me, give them an idea of what’s ahead, plant some seeds. And like I said, do a console or strategy session where you give some really good value about what you’ve learned. You could call this like a strategy session with your clients or free business consultation, you can do it paid as well. But I would probably recommend for your best clients doing something for free. Just to really take things to the next level, it’s a great way to catch up and it will really, you know, build up a really solid relationship for you and your clients moving forward. So try that out. Those are things I’ve got more that I talked about my presentation in my web design club, but I’ll leave it there for now for planting those money seeds.
4) Learn From The Year
Number four, this is a big one. This is something that I think most people don’t do, and as I mentioned in the outset, is easy to look over when starting a new year. And that is to reflect and learn from the previous year. That again, most people are concerned about moving forward and planning and goals. And I’m all about that. That’s great. However, I think one of the biggest things in business in general, that’s overrated and overlooked is that time to just think and reflect about what had happened this year. Good and bad, what worked? Well, what didn’t. So I really want to encourage you, whatever that looks like for you, whether it’s going to a coffee shop, or or you know, just clearing some time out wherever you’re working at home or in a shared office space or something, put it in your calendar and take some time to just think and reflect. Some people call this a CEO day. I have this in my calendar right now, I have a day planned out to where I think my wife is going to join me, we’re going to go up to one of our favorite coffee shops. And we’re just going to take some time to reflect and plan you can do this on its own. Like you can just have a session a segment of your day for thinking reflecting. You can also excuse me merge this in with planning the next year. But take some time to intentionally think and reflect look at what went well look at what didn’t go well, we’re all going to be able to do this with what this crazy year of 2020 has been. We’ve all had to pivot, we’ve all had to learn a lot. So I don’t want you to miss this opportunity to be able to think about that and to really reflect on that. So don’t let that opportunity slip by think about this year. What you can do better you can do this from a business perspective. You can also do this from a life perspective, your habits like what is your day to day look like? Do you want that to look different in the new year we’ll talk about planning next. But thinking and reflecting about this year is really the start of that. So I really want to encourage you take some time, put it in your calendar, go somewhere or set some time to be distraction free. It doesn’t have to be that long. You could do this for a half an hour, one day if you want and just write some stuff out, get it out of your head, get it out of your your, your your your nugget, your noodle, get it onto paper, get it on file and just reflect on what’s worked well. Another part of this also when it comes to reflecting, is to celebrate. This is another thing that’s really overrated, or excuse me underrated and that is to actually celebrate what you did this year, like if you accomplish some projects, I want you to celebrate that whatever that looks like for you, if it’s going out for a drink or going out to dinner or whatever celebration looks like to you do that if it’s with somebody, if you’re a part of a community, or any sort of forums or anything like that, I want you to celebrate your wins. In my club, like I mentioned, we have a thread for wins and success stories. That’s where I want everyone to post their wins. I also for those of you who are students who are in my Facebook student groups, you can post them there as well, I encourage you to post your wins. But regardless, even if you’re in other communities, I want you to really, you know, embrace the community you’re in and get some feedback on your wins, you know, celebrate something, there’s no shame that’s actually really inspiring for a lot of people when it I don’t look at it as vanity, I mean, it could come across like that. But if you do it intentionally, and to just say like, Man this year has been incredible. Here’s some stuff I’ve learned, I want you to celebrate that I want you to a lot of people can take a lot of inspiration from seeing other wins. It’s a great way to kind of look at what’s worked and get some ideas to celebrate those wins. I really, again, 2020 has been quite the year. And I want you to reflect and learn from it. And I want you to celebrate More importantly, the things that went well, because I’m sure we’ve had a lot of things that haven’t gone as well. And we’ve had to change things pivot things, but one thing we can do is to make sure that we celebrate those wins. So do that now big time to end off the year, I’d also encourage you to make that kind of a monthly thing as well moving forward.
And then finally, this last idea, as far as reflecting and learning is is look at your like numbers and your services really concentrate on what’s worked well for your business, look at your expenses that are coming in, or your income that’s coming in versus your expenses coming out and look to see if you need to change something for the next year because this will help with planning. But really, in order to effectively plan your income and your revenue and your services, you have to reflect on what is happening right now and what has has happened over the past year. So So think about that, look at what your numbers are saying look at your services, see if there’s something you need to change or pivot.
5) Be Intentional About Planning For The New Year
And then we can move on to the tip, the fifth tip, which is to plan for the new year. So again, everything that we’ve talked about right now is kind of ending the year strong planting seeds for the new year. But the trick is to plan now, we could do a whole segment of videos and series of excuse me podcasts for planning, because there’s all kinds of resources for goal setting and planning. And but let me just give you a few things that I think will be really beneficial for you that I’ve kind of implemented that’s really helped me. Number one, you you have to intentionally plan like you can’t just assume that you’re going to plan out the new year unless you actually intentionally plan to plan that’s a quote, I heard a while back that I love plan to plan. Like I mentioned, I put a day in my calendar. Some people call this a CEO day or a planning day do the same, it doesn’t have to be a full day, maybe it can just be a segment, but plan to go somewhere and intentionally Think about your business. That’s the biggest problem that most web designers faces. We’re all gogogo we don’t sit back and just think about our business. So I really want to encourage you to plan the plan. Again, you can take everything we’ve talked about up to this point and factor it in here you can think and reflect but then think about the new year. Let’s talk really quickly about goals though, because most people set an annual goal and then work towards that I have there’s there’s a lot of emphasis on different types of goal setting. But I have found for me personally, and I think that most web designers are finding this and entrepreneurs in general. Sometimes an annual goal can number one be really tough to think about because it’s kind of a it’s a big goal. I mean, you it’s okay to do that. But I found there be a lot of power and doing goals by quarters, meaning every three months. So it’s good to have an annual idea of maybe what you want to bring in for your family or what you want to do revenue wise, but sometimes you can be so locked into a goal that it changes what you actually should do month to month, particularly in times of like a pandemic where we learned that we had to pivot. So my goals stayed similar this year. Although I pivoted big time once the pandemic hit because I had no intention of selling my web design agency this year. That’s not something I was thinking I was going to do until maybe the end of like 2021. But because I saw such an influx, I knew I wanted to pivot and I knew I wanted to go for it. So I had to completely realign my business goals with what I wanted to meet with my family goals, which we’ll talk about here. So I think there’s a lot of power in doing things by three months. So I knew kind of what we wanted to make total revenue wise and income wise for my family, but the actual steps and the processes that it took to get there completely different from the beginning of the year and 2020. So I want to encourage you to maybe not be stuck to a certain plan all year because it’s likely going to change what design changes come and sometimes your goals can be limiting. Some people I’ve talked to a lot of my students and members who hit their goals halfway through the year, like they wanted to make 50,000 for a year, and then they hit that six months in. So then it’s like, well shoot, I hit my goal for the year, maybe I need to adjust my mindset and really raise it for 2021, I’d really want to encourage you to think about that. So try, you know, you can do an annual goal, but really set more tactical and strategic goals by quarters by three every three months, as far as launching a new service getting a certain number of clients, it’s it’s easier to track that way. It’s kind of like weight loss, if you say I want to lose 100 pounds, it’s gonna be very overwhelming. But if you go, you know, 10 pounds at a time, one week at a time that is much more sustainable. And building momentum, creating those small habits in a business sense for goals is huge. So think about that, do you know every three months instead of a year, make it practical, make it realistic. And then you could think about this from a business perspective, in personal as well. Sometimes, like I mentioned, the goals for what I do in my business is likely going to change my my strategy, the content I produce, I’m getting ready to again to think about 2021 for myself, but I’m not as concerned about that, as I’m concerned about, you know, just making sure my family is taken care of. And I’ll have kind of a financial goal for us. But that’s going to be different than the financial goal for the company itself and for the business end of things because you have to factor in expenses and taxes and changes and everything else that come into play. So separate business and personal as well. That’s kind of another thing I’m big on when it comes to goals and planning. You can plan goals separately for personal and family stuff versus business and vice versa. But either way, take everything that we’ve talked about so far to to kind of help plan for the new year. So let’s recap this real quick. These five tips.
Again, this is just kind of an outline of a recent training I did in my membership. So if you want the full thing, go to Josh hall.co slash membership. I’m also happy to answer any questions you might have about joining the club, there is a 14 day money back guarantee. So there’s no risk to join to see if it’s right for you. And I also want to make sure you’re right for the club, we’re not going to let in just everybody will want to make sure that you are a good fit as well, because it is like minded people who are serious about making a good impact with their web design businesses. So that sounds like you check that out. And you can access this full training but let me just recap the tips for you.
Just remember my favorite quote, “Plan to plan”.
Number one was to keep them Top of Mind with your clients. Again, do something personal, do something unique. Don’t do the generic corporate digital Merry Christmas from our agency. Do something cool, do something unique keep on top of mine with clients keep that income strong. If you feel like you’re it always dips this year, it’s likely because you’ve dip right now so you can really get some income and sales going strong. And just remember a lot of companies do want to close off their final expenses before the year end. So you can do that. Number three is to plant those money seeds. Give some sneak peeks give some tips, you know keep it personal. Reach out to your clients plant those seeds for going strong in the new year do a consultation strategy are something get it in the book schedule it so you can start the year strong. Number four reflect and think about this wild year that has been 2020 What can you learn from what can you improve that will really set the stage and the foundation for you to number five plan for the new year and just remember my favorite quote, plan to plan, put it in your calendar, make it a project. Get there, get it done, have some fun, who knew I was going to start rhyming this one. So there you go guys. Hopefully this gives you a good idea and some encouragement, some strategies for ending the year strong. We got some really cool stuff coming up the rest of December and then I’ll fill you in on what is gonna be the plan for ending the year here in December and then starting 2021 which let me just let me just tell you real quick before we sign off here, the podcasts will keep on going until December 21 that’ll be the last podcast of 2020 and then I’m going to take the rest of that week after Christmas and New Year’s and then we’re going to kick off on January 4, Monday January 4 with the podcast so they’ll just be about a week and a half break between podcast but this is going to continue to go up until the 21st of December so that’s my plan before I plan to plan get ready for the new year so if you like this let me know drop a comment go to Josh Hall.o/080 drop a comment let me know if you enjoyed this and if it helped out and really excited to help you in the year strong and start the next one even stronger. Alright guys till next episode. See ya Have a great one.