5 Lessons Learned in 2020 & Where We Are Going in 2021
2020 has left me feeling tired but strong. I poured everything I could into my businesses this year and continue to do so, and I feel proud of the way I handled this year. Were there mistakes? Were there failures? Yes, absolutely. But I played full out, and there were some pretty big wins in 2020.
So, let’s recap the top 5 lessons that I have learned this year:
Commit To Your One Thing
I started the beginning of the year claiming that our one thing and main focus would be The Foot Traffic Formula, and I am proud to say that my team and I accomplished that.
I am very proud that we stayed with the plan and it paid off in massive ways. In November 2019 I launched Foot Traffic Formula with 7 members. We now have over 100 clients in the program and are continuing to grow. In fact, 2020 is the year that Foot Traffic got on the same playing field and brought in more profit than my brick and mortar studios. We were even on track to do so had the pandemic not happened. This amazes me even more because my online business is still really in it’s startup phase, being only five years old, while my brick and mortar business has been around for 18 years. It is so clear to me that putting my focus into my “one thing” was instrumental in the success I have had this year, and I definitely plan to do the same for next year as well.
You Need Multiple Baskets
Earlier this year when Covid-19 first hit I asked a friend, “What if my brick and mortar tanks my online business?” and my friend replied, “What if God had you build your online business five years ago to help your brick and mortar right now?” My mind was blown. So many lessons were packed into her one sentence reply:
- Surround yourself with the right people
- Reframe your thinking to help get you out of a funk (and I was in a funk!)
- There is security when you don’t have all of your eggs in one basket
My real estate, my studios, and my online business are all different baskets, so when one doesn’t do well it isn’t the end of the world because I have others. However, there are baskets within baskets. When I was evaluating my studio “basket”, I realized that we needed to be more diverse. While we were selling different programs including dance, music and preschool, they really all fell into one basket of in-person lessons. This is what left me fragile and has now inspired me to diversify my businesses (A.K.A. put my eggs in other baskets) and increase my security by doing so.
I Can Come Back From The Worst-Case Scenario
Thinking back to Mid-March and the thoughts going through my head, I can truly say that I had NEVER been that scared or stressed in my life. I really thought that I was going to lose it all. I pictured myself moving in with mom and dad, sleeping in my childhood bedroom, and filing for bankruptcy. After I let my worries run wild, I collected myself and thought, “So then what? Where would I go from there?” That is when the old Stacy came back and a million new business ideas came flooding into my mind. And then, it hit me: I know how to build a successful business and nobody can take that away from me. And let me tell you… that realization was life changing. It is thoughts like these that are giving me the confidence to make bolder decisions for my businesses. When I was lost in a sea of “what if’s” and worst-case scenarios, I wasn’t allowing myself to think what could come next. How many people can really say, “If I lose it all, I will just rebuild”? Not many. We as entrepreneurs have a massive opportunity that most people don’t have, and that is what I am most grateful for as I look back on 2020.
Letting Go Is More Important Than Adding
This could be taken in so many different ways, but for me, I learned this lesson while focusing on building our dream team. I have hired a lot of people over the last 12 months, but we have also let a lot of people go. Every time I feel someone holding the team back, I know that they have to go. I don’t have the energy in 2020 to carry anyone. Before 2020 I used to allow the wrong employee to drain me. Maybe because I could handle it? To be honest, I’m really not sure. But not this year. I am realizing how having the wrong person on your team slows everyone and everything down in the business, and that is not something that I have the tolerance for anymore. I have had to make a lot of tough decisions and had a lot of hard conversations this year, but it has only made me and my businesses stronger. Some new changes that happened with the team this year are:
- We only hired employees and are no longer bringing on contractors. This way, I know that the people I have hired are putting my businesses as their first priority.
- We added commissions and bonuses to many of our departments and I love that they get to share in the success of what we are creating. When we have great months they get to feel that and be rewarded, which has been incredibly motivating for everyone.
- I also see the incredible value in creating diversity in our team. When the Black Lives Matter Movement exploded in June – I was happy to say that I had diversity on my team at my studio and my online business, but I am sad to say it wasn’t intentional. I was extremely undereducated in this area and that meant that I needed to take the time get informed. As I continue to learn, I can’t undo what I know and I don’t want to.
Staying in the theme of letting go, I am also letting go of certain activities. As much as I dislike to say this… I hated my calendar in 2020. I would get into my office to start my work day and more often than not I would dread what it looked like. It wasn’t that I disliked the activities on my calendar, I just hated that I didn’t have a break to breathe, take care of other daily necessary duties that weren’t fitting in, and be creative. The good news is that 2021’s calendar looks 10x better. I overcommitted to things in 2020, and not knowing a pandemic was coming didn’t help. This helped me realize what should and should not go on my calendar going forward. For me, this means setting better boundaries so I can prioritize the right activities.
You Have To Celebrate The Small Wins and Focus On The Journey
This year has been intense, but I would still consider it my most successful. Going through this year and still owning your business on the other side is a huge feat. Many businesses have already had to close and that is so heartbreaking. Even if you are struggling right now, take a moment of gratitude that you are still here and you held on this long. That is an accomplishment in and of itself. I want you to know that I have massive dreams (I think you could probably guess that if you have followed me for any length of time). While you can see some of the big things that I have done, what you aren’t able to see is all of the goals I don’t hit and how I treat myself when they aren’t reached. I set enormous goals and I don’t hit them. In fact, I would say I miss my goals more than I hit them. But what I don’t do is beat myself up for it. Instead, I acknowledge the hard work I’ve put in and reward myself for the small wins and the progress I made. I will never be content. I understand that about myself – I will always want more. If you are reading this right now, I bet you are very similar. If that holds true and you are the same way, I want you to know that if you don’t start to enjoy the journey, you are going to be miserable. I don’t want that for myself and I don’t want that for you, either. You CAN have fun and build your business at the same time. It’s possible. To wrap up my top lessons learned, I will share a sneak peek into where we are heading in 2021. A few of my plans for this coming year are:
- Experimenting with the top of our funnel for my online business to make sure it is automated, systemized, and seamless. We know the bottom (Foot Traffic Formula and Powerhouse) is here to stay and will get more refined, but we need to continue to stay cutting edge and maximize our top of funnel strategy.
- Building our team – focusing on fulfillment, finding accountability coaches with specific specialties, expanding our sales department, and making sure that our hires will help get our customers the best results possible.
- Cleaning up my studio and giving it a refresh! Covid has made us a little messy and it is time for a facelift. I have put more time on my calendar to work with this business to help us get stronger and remain that way.
It was good for me to reflect on 2020 and what the year has taught me. I encourage you to think about five things you’ve learned and then take some time to write down where you are planning to put your focus for the new year ahead.