It’s been *quite* the year, and then other times? It’s just, … been.
Been the highest highs.
[and the lowest lows].
Been the complete destruction of my confidence.
[and then the rapid rebuilding of it].
Been the introduction to really good eggs.
[and allowing them into my circle].
[and my God, that made my life infinitely better].
It’s just been, … a lot of good things, and a couple’a bad things, but nothing that didn’t serve a bigger purpose, i.e helping me to really get to know me [seriously? If you’ve not reintroduced yourself to yourself recently, I’d say it’s high time you really got to know yourself], and from there? I just grew. And I prospered. And I matured. And I learnt when to stay [dignified] silent, and then on the flipside? I learnt which particular situations commanded me to be more vocal, and so vocal I became.
In x4 years of business ownership? I’d say 2018 was transformative. I went into 2018 a shell of my former self, and came out so-much-closer to the woman I used to be [and loved], and more importantly? Far more recognisable to those who love me [my family; my husband, my Dad, and maybe even my children, … although perhaps they’re too young to understand, but it goes without saying that they’ve noticed Mummy is considerably happier these days].
So, what went up [and down, … and all around] for TDP in 2018? Let’s break it down in a [very] quick month by month summary;
January: all I remember about January is thinking that the year would likely end the way it started, i.e super small-time digital marketing agency, with x1 person working full-time [me], and the x3 other people? Part-time / sub-contractor.
How wrong I was.
February: on February 6th? We hired our first full-time employee [our Studio Manager, Cat], and I can distinctly remember worrying that we were about to bring on someone into a full-time role when there likely wasn’t enough work to fill into a Monday to Friday situation.
Wrong again, Cherie.
[the kid walked into a role that was almost immediately beyond full-time]
Don’t worry, … we later secured a Studio Assistant.
March: at this point in the year, I was still in a business partnership with my [now former] business partner, and she moved back home to WA, and I was so genuinely happy for her. I wanted her to be happy, because her unhappiness very much so impacted me. Regularly. And I desperately wanted that situation to change.
I really believed a return home to Perth would be the solution, but it very much so wasn’t.
April: a truly happy month for TDP. We welcomed not one, but two full-time strategists. Our Senior Strategist, Michelle, and our Social Media Strategist, Tess. In the space of just x3 months we’d gone from x1 part-time staff member and x1 sub-contractor, … to three full-time members within our team.
I learnt a lot about myself as a leader at this point. And I learnt about HR. And people management. And inductions. And how important it is to streamline the induction process.
But mostly? I learnt that success measures look different to everyone, and mine revolve around human beings, and their happiness. Their happiness? … my happiness.
May: this is the month we grew some “balls” [ovaries. #bovaries] with our content marketing, and began sharing some strong thought leadership content online, and holy sheet, … why didn’t we do this sooner; it elevated our content [and so subsequently, our business] to a whole new place.
Why didn’t I do this sooner? Because I was scared. That’s the truth. And I needn’t have been, because we’ve had zilch negative feedback, and only the most incredible uptake with regards to engagement growth / follower growth / social media conversions.
June: lol. Sh*t month. I workshop’d in Brisbane at a venue I’d not been to before, and through no fault of the venue, construction was happening all around it, so our attendees needed a minimum of 45 minutes to 1 hour to find a park.
Everyone took it really well, bar x1 attendee who arrived / screamed in my face [in front of everyone] / swore at me, … and then left.
Have you ever had to introduce yourself to a bunch of strangers who’ve paid to hear you speak, off the back of someone screaming in your face?
… not exactly an authoritarian kinda feelin’, lemme tell you, ha!
[hilariously? That workshop was some of the best workshop feedback we’ve received, … I’m convinced it’s because Australians love the “underdog”, and they all just felt completely sorry for me, ha!].
July: my business partner exited the business. I received an e-mail 2 minutes after I’d touched down in Melbourne from an Adelaide workshop I’d just presented, and I read it as I was walking out of the terminal, and you’d have to know me to know how non-dramatic I am / non-attention seeking I am, … but I kind of just … collapsed to the ground in that terminal that night.
I sat on my knees, and I cried [happy tears], and people from our flight just walked around me, but I remember thinking they were just … white noise to me, because that right there was a big thing that just happened in my little world, and we were an unhappy partnership, so I just knew some of my saddest days were about to be over.
August: we innovated. Me, individually, but also? My team. We went to an incredible Design Thinking workshop, hosted by My Naked Ambition, and following that? We took time away from the business as a team, and we innovated the sh*t out of this business.
Towards the end of my business partnership? I completely stopped innovating. I couldn’t be f*cked. I was feeling defeated, and completely amotivated, and the business suffered.
I learnt just how important it is to continue innovating in business, because the minute I began innovating again? … the business turned around.
September: so.much.change. We diversified our service offerings. We focused on profitability, … big time. We rolled out a VIP program for our graduate community [and it more than sold out, in x2 weeks]. We locked ourselves into a curriculum update tunnel, and as a result of that? We are [just today] almost ready to launch an entirely new e-learning platform [feckin’ YAY!]. We developed more advanced digital marketing workshops. We hit 1,000+ members in our private TDP graduate community [oh-my-GAHD, we love you all!]. We ran FB Ads for our clients that spent $1,800 in x1 month and generated an ROI of 61k [yea, BOI!].
We just … took off.
We also [finally!] brought in-house payroll / accounts into TDP and a Studio Assistant [yay RACHEL!], and we learnt that we as a company had been completely f*cking up our payroll, so that our part-time employees were receiving full-time benefits, and our full-time’ers were being paid overs.
Word to the wise? Don’t pretend to do payroll if you have no idea how to do it, … just outsource it to the professionals. #truestory.
October: we brought on a part-time Strategist to join our Senior Strategist and Social Media Strategist, and her name is Bobby, and we love her so feckin’ much. We also hit 30k followers on IG, and [squeal!] begun working with Smack Bang Designs who are in the midst of entirely redesigning our ugly, old website.
October was gewd.
November: our accountant brought us in for a meeting and advised me that in x4 months, I’d increased profit by 56%.
I can’t describe the feeling of pride, paired back with an “I’ve got this!” in that exact moment, and whilst we still have a long way to go, … there’s this quiet confidence within me that thinks I might just be able to pull it off?
December: our BDM landed the biggest contract for TDP in the history of contracts we’ve ever landed, and I’m going to go as far as saying it will transform this business.
She cried. I cried.
We all can’t wait for 2019.