Reflection: “2018 the year that was.”
When we run our own business, we look forward to working with amazing clients, we look forward to building a team, we look forward to earning what we are worth and we look forward to doing it all with a smile on our face.
“Naive? Maybe. Or am I just asking too much of myself? Probably.”
2018 saw some big leaps for our Financial Coaching, Accounting software training (MYOB, Xero and QBO) and bookkeeping business. Leaps I am super proud of. But for some reason, I can’t let go of all the niggling “injuries” our business had.
What people don’t see, is that every happy moment and every win, has some behind the scenes shit that comes with it. The hard yards, the negativity, the snipey comments from others, the long (ridiculously long) hours. That kind of stuff brings me to my knees. 2018 may as well be nicknamed the year of tears, as there has been plenty. Has anyone seen the tears, probably not. I am too bloody busy!
In 2018 our team increased to 4 staff members (myself included) and I am so happy to support working mums who want to return to the workforce after having children. Women who can’t commit to full time roles, but still want to work and utilise their skills. I am proud to offer flexibility, freedom, training and be the boss I never had in my former corporate life.
What people don’t see is the comments from competitors calling my recruitment choices sexist. The messages I receive personally on social media attacking me and saying I am not choosing the right person for the job and I am only hiring women to make a point.
“I have always, and will always, hire the right person for the job. End of story.”
We were nominated for several awards, both on a personal and business level in 2018. One of the highlights was being nominated for “Employer of the Year – Small Business” at the Women in Finance awards. Yep – I gave myself an all mighty pat on the back, a true team effort. Nope – we didn’t win any awards (and whilst totally gutted), I am still proud that our contributions to the industry and to my team were recognised.
What people don’t see is the comments on social media, when I announced we were a finalist in another award, saying things like “Stacey, you are just an awards slut”. Whilst I try to see the positive in everything, when people say words and comments like that, it is really hard. It makes me question why I am doing this, am I really just not good enough, am I just a joke? Words hurt. They can really hurt.
Whilst I am not focused on revenue as a “business success indicator”, I am happy that during times of artificial intelligence and software becoming smarter, our revenue continues to grow. We continue to do no paid advertising, not even social media advertising, and are proud that our work comes from referrals and social media (yep – social media contributes to 50% of our new business).
What people don’t see, is the cost and effort we put in to train our team and the time we invest in building those online relationships. Sadly in 2018, my personal health took a beating due to working myself into the ground, ending up with an viral eye infection. When I visited the GP for a referral due to the pain, only to be told “are you sure you haven’t suffered domestic abuse”, I realised I had well and truly pushed myself too far and I had to reign it in.
As our business continued to grow during 2018, it came at a huge cost with our amazing administration superstar Kirsten resigning. She finishes at Christmas and it honestly feels like I am losing a third arm. She just gets me, gets my business and keeps the ship steering in the right direction. We are ending on fabulous terms and she needs to focus on her own business and her own family and health.
So I researching hiring a full time administration assistant in the Philippines. Controversial – maybe? But I just see it as a smart strategic business decision. I can hire someone full time, meaning my current bookkeeping staff can focus purely on client work and they can up-skill to take on more consulting work. Whilst clients will receive more regular updates and communication, and we can respond to new leads in a far more precise manner. Our service levels will increase. As far as I can see everybody wins.
“So my thoughts on 2018 are that it was a year of lessons. Some of those lessons (like I really must look after myself properly) were hard to learn, and fabulous staff leaving always breaks your heart a little. But those lessons are also valuable.”
So yes, we survived 2018. Just. But boy am I happy to see it end.
2019 brings a fresh start for our business as we continue to evolve, build our team, our skills and our services. Our bookkeepers are keen and excited to be taking on more higher level work, meaning we can continue to services more clients.
I am excited to spend less time in medical centres and more time working on client relationships.