There’s an exercise that comes up in Peloton strength classes that is one of my least favorites because I feel like it throws me off balance. It’s a backward/forward lunge in which you move fluidly from a backwards lunge into a forward lunge with the same foot, trying to never touch it down, all while holding 25-pound dumbbells. I find this to be one of the most challenging moves I do and actually feel fear when I know it’s coming because I don’t like to have to fight my own balance like that, it feels risky and like I’m on the verge of causing an injury. Sometimes I play it safe and put the weights down. Lots of times I touch my toe down between lunges – just to be extra careful. And sometimes I’m really brave and I hold the weights, keep my form and feel stronger.
The end of a year can feel like this exercise. We’re looking back and forward at the same time, trying to evaluate what went well and where we missed the mark all while planning how to soar into the new year and beyond.
For our team, we had some serious highs this year:
- I started the year by becoming a member of the Alice Houston Women’s Leadership Program through the Leadership Louisville Center. I was one of a handful of small business owners in the group among lots of women working in larger companies, managing departments and divisions. Through our large-group exercises and small-group conversations, we not only learn from each other, we network, we have fun and we serve as an advisory board to each other. My relationship with my small group continues (and more have joined us each month). It’s always been great to be a part of the women’s business community in Louisville, and I continue to feel strongly about my connection to it.
- We added ghost blogging back into our repertoire with a client who requires multiple pieces of long-form content each month. It’s a great way to tell the story of what they do for their clients and to showcase their work, all while threading in keywords and driving SEO. Don’t forget your blog. It’s a key piece of the marketing strategy.
- We’ve also relearned how to lay out a newsletter for printed mailing pieces. So add that to the list things we offer!
- Our videos – I MEAN – have you seen the videos we are putting out on Reels (not mine, silly, our clients’!)? Staying on top of Instagram trends and utilizing software and tools that up our video game has really made a difference this year. We’ve won at least two clients this year because of our localized capability to shoot footage, edit it into a beautiful piece of storytelling content and publish it at the right time based on data. This drives views, reach, engagement and leads.
- Our account management capabilities are evolving so that we can take on larger clients with bigger scopes of work. With the proper management tools and the right people, anything is possible.
- Our strategy-building has taken on a whole new level. We have a formula we have created and follow when developing a social strategy for a client. Whether or not the client needs outsourced services, our strategies are helping to hone the voice and develop the personas each brand needs.
- I’ve brought on a financial advisor to coach me. Fifteen years in and there’s still a lot to learn. I’m grateful to this extremely smart woman who has been digging into my Quickbooks files with me and helping me adjust things to make sense on both the input and output of the business. To that end, I collaborated with a small business bookkeeper to get our company moved to Quickbooks Online. Want his name? He’s awesome.
- I’ve also engaged with a graphic designer and I feel like I give her name out left and right. Lizzy is a WIZ at creating templates and newsletters for our clients. A great graphic designer listens, advises and is efficient. She is all of these things and I’m so glad to have her as a resource because it makes things not just beautiful but cost-effective for clients.
- On a personal note, I had to cancel… err… postpone a trip to Israel in October. Leading up to it, we had all systems in place for the team to handle it all without me for 10 days so we know we are capable of that when the time does come that I can board the plane for this trip of a lifetime. I also started putting myself back out there – my face included – on Instagram.
So this leads me to our plans for 2024….
- One of the things in the plans is to start a Monday Minute series in which I share a one-minute tip YOUR company can do to improve its social standing each week. These will be on my Instagram and LinkedIn pages. Later that week, I’ll expand on the topic in a blogpost right here so tune in.
- Now that the official program of the Alice Houston Women’s Leadership Program is complete, I’ve taken a step to join another community. This one is called the Marketing Made Simple group and its run by a woman I found through all the social content regarding the Israel-Hamas war, though I have listened to her podcast, Dear FoundHer, for a while now. I hemmed and hawed on this one because, really, aren’t I SUPPOSED to have a system in place for great marketing? Well of course I am, and I do, and it’s working for clients. But much like the cobbler and his shoes, even I need some accountability to up my game and get the business to a place where I can say to a client, “do as I do, not just as I say.” So I’m excited to get to meet women from outside of Louisville and share ideas and learn from them.
- I plan to dig into the Meta Ads Manager courses to take our paid-strategy for our clients to a new level. That’s coming up in the first quarter.
- As a team, we take our excellence seriously. We plan to collaborate as we always have and to continue to put the right people on the right accounts and come through for our clients.
So now it’s about finding the balance and making sure we keep all things steady as we move forward. That balance piece takes effort and work. Sometimes we take risks and sometimes we find a way to make it easier on ourselves – just like with those lunges.
Each of us on the team have a life outside of work with our own set of challenges, limitations and exhaustion. As a rule, I believe in work-life balance and being respectful of everyone’s needs, including our clients’. We are excited to keep going! Meanwhile, as far as those lunges go, I am within 1000 minutes of hitting 20,000 Peloton minutes for the year so we’ll see if I can pull this off.
Social changes every minute. The rules we work within are so fluid that it’s important we keep up with trends and topics. If there’s something you’re looking to improve on YOUR social efforts, let us know. 2024 is going to be a great year. I can feel it.
As I close out the year and head on a much-needed vacation, I want to thank our clients for their partnership and I want to give a HUGE thank you to my team for everything they do everyday to make our clients – and us – look good. I’m proud of us and I’m honored to get to work with you each day (except when I’m on vacation, please leave me alone. See you in January).