Can you believe it? This is our last episode of 2023!
So, what else would I do other than reflect on how the year went and look ahead to next year?
I'm always a little hesitant to do episodes like this because some of my listeners don't care at all about these behind-the-scenes or reflection episodes. But I know some of you love it, and since it's the time of year when people are only paying attention to things they really want to pay attention to, it felt like the perfect time to fit it in.
To wrap up the year, I'm sharing:
I hope you enjoy this little behind-the-scenes peek!
Prefer to listen to this post instead? Use the links below to listen on your preferred podcast player:
First of all, as I look back at 2023, the first thing I have to say is a nice, big cheesy. "Thank you!" to everyone who has supported us. Whether that means listening to this podcast, telling someone about us, or sending me a nice email or message... I can't even tell you how much those mean.
And especially "thank you" to those of you in Summit in a Box and the Launch with a Summit Accelerator. I would not be here without you guys. I'm so grateful for every one of you who sees the potential, believes in yourself, believes in me, and dives in. I do not take that lightly.
Every single time someone joins one of our programs, I stop and pray. I give thanks and pray for you to have successful summits and for you to see your impact grow the way that you want to. I'm always cheering for you and always grateful for you.
With that being said, I want to start by thinking back on the year, sharing the highlights and what sticks out to me, what I want to keep doing, and what felt good.
#1 Working Less and Doing Less
I never really saw myself being in a place where I could or would want to do this until the beginning of this year. I've always just been really driven by work. I love what I do, but for a long time, I didn't have any hobbies outside of work and my kids. For a while that was okay, but then it got to a point where it was more unhealthy than fun. I felt the pressure, I was working extra and felt like I wouldn't succeed unless I put my all into everything, all the time.
Nothing else lights me up in business more than talking to all of you, encouraging you, seeing progressing breakthroughs, and things like that, so that's why the launches have always fit. But it just got to be a lot after a while. I just felt like I wanted a break and I gave myself the space to take a break. I saw that it gave me space to do things that were more beneficial for my business than just launching on repeat. We were able to make things better, support our clients better, experiment with other strategies that worked really well for us and will be able to keep us out of the constant launch cycle, which I'm excited to be able to tell you more about as time goes on.
So after working with Kaitlyn Kessler, who I'll continue to gush about, I've gotten a much healthier relationship with work going on right now. I'm working less with no nights or weekends. I'm taking random days off. I take Friday mornings off. I don't push myself.
#2 Finding Our Groove with the Launch With a Summit Accelerator
Another big highlight is really getting into the swing of things with our Launch with a Summit Accelerator program. We launched in April 2022, and I knew the program was going to work and be great, but it didn't happen right away. We got the results for clients that we promised, but I wasn't sure it was going to sustain our business or if I'd be confident enough to keep it going as our main program.
But looking back, that's exactly what it did!
It's been incredible to coach our clients and I never thought something would have a more special place in my heart than Summit in a Box, but this allows me to build a deeper relationship with our clients, have my hands in more events, and keep a closer eye on the impact that it's making for them and their people. I love that this became our core offer and look forward to continuing to offer it.
#3 Talking to More of YOU
The next highlight I've had is talking to more of YOU this year. I've never really done any type of 1:1 calls with people the way I have this year. I'm getting on 1:1 calls and illustrating the power of summits, walking through framework stuff, talking about how we can support them if that's something they're interested in, and things like that. It's never a sleazy sales call or anything, but I've never done anything like that before, and I've been doing it a lot these last couple of months.
I love it! It's given me a much better idea of what everyone wants and needs and how I can help and support them, even if that's not with one of my own programs.
#4 The Return of Summit in a Box Q&A Calls
Another highlight was bringing back Q&A calls to Summit in a Box students. I don't remember exactly why we ditched the calls, I think it was when we launched the Accelerator. I wanted to make it very clear how different the programs are: Summit in a Box is a DIY program and the Launch with a Summit Accelerator is where you get support.
Previously, we had a VIP group where we were answering people's questions all the time, hosting monthly Q&A calls, and allowing for reviews and critiques. Honestly, I was basically running a self-study course as a group coaching program, but charging a regular course price. And it just wasn't sustainable. So I got rid of everything.
But as I've been talking to you over the last few months and making connections, I hated the idea of you joining Summit in a Box and me being like, "OK great! Welcome! Good luck!" I wanted to be able to offer support and keep up with our connections, so I brought back the Q&A Calls. We've only had a couple so far, but people are coming to them and I love answering questions and supporting my students in that way.
#5 My First In-Person Business Event
Another highlight was my first in-person business event. I did a "mastermind" type getaway back in 2018 where a few of my business friends and I went to Palm Springs together, but I've never been to something bigger.
I went to my first one in October and there were 40 people all part of the same business program together. It was great! There were some things I didn't love. The introvert in me was a little iffy about an in-person event, but the energy of being in the room with people who are aiming for the same things as you are is way more powerful than I expected. I can't wait to do more of those.
#6 Hiring a New Team Member
A big highlight for this year was hiring another team member. Even a month before we hired someone, I was sure we weren't going to be hiring anyone. I didn't want to expand, I didn't want to train anyone else, support anyone else, and I didn't want to worry about paying anyone else. That's a lot of pressure on my heart to be supporting other people!
But it was the right move! I'll give a full overview of our team growth in the coming months, but it's been so great. She's such a joy to have on the team, so much fun, and it brings a smile to my face every day.
#7 Finding New Strategies That Work
When you're in constant launch mode, you don't have time to experiment with anything else. For us, it was rinse and repeat with a few things sprinkled in to try. For example, we hosted a paid conference in 2022, and in 2023 we did a 3-day paid workshop, but all I did was big, live launch events.
So it has been really nice to find other things that have been working, and I'm interested to see if they keep working. You all know the story of how that goes. But it's been fun to play around with other things. My brain really loves organizing and making processes, and when I add something new, I get to do that. So I'm kind of in my happy place right now.
#8 On Track To Be Our Biggest Year Yet
As of recording this, we're on track to having 2023 be our biggest year yet, which is exciting! The numbers definitely aren't the biggest part of what motivates me in this business, but it's fun to see that something I built from the ground up is continuing to grow. I thought I maxed out in 2021. That was a big year for online business. So that, to me, is really saying good things that we are continuing to grow. We'll see if we can do it again in the coming year.
I always like to share the lessons I've learned with you guys, so here's what I've got for this year.
#1 My Business Fits In The Container I Give It
First up, and I take zero credit for this, but the lesson is that my business fits in the container I give it. All credit for that goes to Kaitlyn Kessler, my amazing coach. Like I said earlier, I was working all the time and was worried had to do that for things to keep growing, but she taught me that your business will fit in the container that you give it. If you reduce your time, it will fit in that time. That has absolutely been true! I may be more choosy about the things that I do, but that's a good thing. I'm not wasting time spinning my wheels.
#2 I Can Grow Without Being Discontent With Where I’m At
For the past year, I didn't think I wanted to grow. There was even a time when we closed enrollment to the Accelerator because we know we can only support so many client summits per month and going above that was hard to keep up with for our current team. I didn't want to bring on more team members, just to support more clients. I was happy with how much we brought in, my current team size, and being able to support the causes that mean a lot to me.
But, the in-person event I went to showed me that I can work towards growth and be perfectly content with where I'm at. And that was a huge weight lifted! I'm being really careful about being intentional about it. I can grow while being really intentional about it. I can grow while keeping my business and the hours I give it and only doing what feels good.
#3 A Mindset Shift When It Comes To Growing My Team
Part of what I've been so hesitant about when it comes to growing is that to grow my team, I have to make more money. And then it's more pressure to make more sales so that I can continue to support that team. Right after I had this realization that I can grow and be happy and I can add new team members in a way that feels right, I literally hired a new part-time team member a month later. And it has been great. So I'm going to keep that moving forward: I'm not going to let my fear of growth hold me back from growing, because that's not how we should do things. We shouldn't let fear hold us back. I'm gonna let excitement push me forward instead.
#4 I Can Serve People Better By Getting My Offers In Front Of Them
I've always said that I believed that, but I don't know if I actually believed it. I've always been really scared of selling and of talking about my offers because I don't want people to perceive me as pitching them or being money-hungry or anything like that. But now I know for a 100% fact that I can get people better summit results in my programs and I have been trying to own that. I've been emailing my list more, posting on social media more, and talking to people more. It's a better use of my energy to tell someone about my great offers than to be afraid of sharing about something I've worked so dang hard on.
#5 I'm Not Here To Save Anybody's Business
We made some shifts to our messaging this year after realizing that our old messaging was based more on scarcity and talking about hosting summits as a way to get out of a crappy place in business. I didn't mean to do that, but I realized parts of our messaging were coming across that way. It doesn't serve anyone well, and I hate the pressure of that. Summits are a lot of pressure on their own, and I don't want our clients to have that added pressure. I actually found myself getting good at marketing and selling best when they were in that difficult place and I had to stop myself. That's not what I want to be doing. I only want to bring someone in if it's going to be good for where they're at mindset-wise, even if I do think a summit can save their business in some cases.
#6 People Don't Care As Much As I Used To Think They Did
I used to be afraid to post on Instagram. I was afraid to post in our Facebook group. I thought, "Someone is not going to like this and be really annoyed that I posted and say mean things." But guess what? People don't care. I have a task to post every day, but if I don't, it's okay! I post whenever I want to. It's been such a freedom to have this realization. Now, I email whenever I want. Maybe it's 3 times a week, maybe it's only once. And although I'm being very thoughtful every time I send an email, I'm not going to hesitate to say something. These people are signed up to my email list to hear what I have to say and to learn about summits. This also gives me the freedom to launch whenever I want and skip it when I don't have the energy. No one cared or probably even noticed that I didn't launch in Q4 of 2023. That was good for me and my team to get a break, and I'm not going to overthink it from now on.
#7 It Is Not Worth It To Try And Force Tasks
I hate to think back at how much time I have wasted over the past 8 years sitting at a computer, forcing myself to get enough momentum to do something. There've been times in the last few months when I've grabbed my phone, Voxed my Coach, and said, "Hey, I have this task to do, but I'm not feeling it. Can you help me with that?" And it would surprise me when she'd say, "Well...no. How about we table that? What if we do something that you DO feel like doing?" And oh man, when I come back to those kinds of things with a fresh mind after doing something I wanted to do, my work is 100% better and faster because of it. As much as I love checking off tasks on the original day I set them to be done, it's so much better to just pay attention to your energy and work with that.
Looking back on the year, there are 3 key strategy shifts we made.
#1 We've Gotten Back Into Facebook Ads
At the end of 2022, we cut way back on our ads strategy because things weren't working well. We're starting to see them working better again for us, whether that was the algorithm in tech changing or Elli finding the sweet spot that worked for us. But we're starting to see them working for us so we're leaning into that more. (That's another reason why I love having the freedom and space to only launch when we want to!)
#2 Fewer New Things
I know I've talked about this a few times now, so I won't go deep into it, but doing fewer new things and really trying to just rinse and repeat what works has been so good for me. I try to keep myself focused when all those new ideas pop into my head and really reflect on whether it's actually a good idea and make more intentional decisions around that.
#3 Having More Conversations With People
In my first 8 years in business, I did not accept a single sales-related call. But when you go into calls with the intention of serving people, it just makes it so much better. I ask about their goals and what they need help with, and if I think I can help them, I ask if they want to hear about my offer. And only if they say yes, will I say a single thing about our programs. And that has been great; to talk to people, hear feedback, answer questions, be able to customize experiences in our Accelerator program for people based on their questions, because we have the power to do that with a group coaching program.
I don't know!
Overall, it's going to be fewer big things. I have an idea for a new course, but I have to figure out where it fits and be very sure that launching it isn't going to force me back into the hustle mode.
I want to host a summit again. Our last summit was in December 2022, but our summits for Summit in a Box I think are hard for me just because like the audience and the positioning just aren't as good as so many of our clients. I see our clients' B2C niches and they get to do such fun things with summits, get high conversion rates, and get thousands of people signed up. It's just not going to happen for a summit about summits, so that makes it less exciting to be. But they are powerful, and I'm guessing in 2024 I'll feel the need for some momentum and a summit will happen.
We'll definitely be doing our challenge again because those are so easy for me to run and they always get good results and serve people well. We might bring our Beyond One and Done training back again, which is a workshop for people who have already hosted summits before. And I foresee us needing to grow the team again with the way the Accelerator has been growing and welcoming new clients.
I hope this was interesting for you. Let me know if it was! And as always, let me know if you want to hear more behind-the-scenes stuff or if you have specific questions. These posts are really fun for me, but it's easier when I know what you want to hear about!
I hope this was the encouragement to fit your business in the container you want to give it, be content with where you're at while also growing, and give yourself some freedom because people just don't care as much as we think they do.
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