Follow up: Big Things I'm Doing Differently in 2018

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I always start out the year with high hopes and great aspirations (as evidenced by my last few blog posts and emails).

I love planning and goal setting, but it’s often the easiest part of the process. It’s fun scheming up ideas and making plans; it’s much harder to actually take action and bring them to fruition.

So in today’s post, I’m following up on my goals and plans from last year and giving you a transparent look at how they panned out.

Follow Up: Big Things I'm Doing Differently in 2018 | Elle & Company

The plan:
Stop scheduling social media posts

The outcome: An almost 1-year hiatus from social media

Social media has become increasingly tricky these past few years.

When I first started using Instagram and Facebook for business 5+ years ago, there wasn’t as much pressure to have perfectly curated feeds, professional images, and witty captions.

It was easier, less scripted, and more personable.

Over time, more and more businesses started catching onto the benefits of using social media, especially creative small businesses.

Everyone began pouring more time into Instagram, trying to grow their following and expand their reach.

And naturally, along came social media scheduling platforms and tools like Buffer, MeetEdgar, and CoSchedule.

I used many of them and found them helpful. They allowed me to be intentional about my content, batch tasks, and curate my feed.

But one of the best advantages of sharing content on social media is the ability to interact with people. And when you schedule your posts, you miss out on that interaction.

So in an attempt to get back to the two-way conversations I used to have on Instagram and Facebook, I took a break from scheduling posts and planned to post more organically.

The result? An almost 1-year hiatus from social media all together.

Granted, the hiatus wasn’t just because of parting from social media scheduling tools. Having a baby also shifted around priorities and caused me to be on my phone less.

But posting started to fall by the wayside when I didn’t intentionally set aside time for it.

Now that I’ve been out of the posting loop for so long, it’s been difficult to get back in the swing of posting and sharing content on social media.

This is a topic I plan to share about more in an upcoming Ellechat episode, but my goal for this year is to figure out how I want to use social media (or maybe not use it at all). Stay tuned…

The plan: Emphasize live content

The outcome: Hardly any content (live or otherwise)

Hindsight is 20/20.

I’m trying to give myself grace with this one and remember that I couldn’t anticipate all of the ways that having a baby would change my life.

But how in the world did I honestly think I would have time for more live content after having a baby?!

Those of you who are mommas and either heard or read that goal last year probably got a good laugh at that one.

The idea of live content and the benefits that come along with it are great. That’s the direction a lot of social media outlets are going.

But it isn’t realistic for my current season of life with only 10 hours of uninterrupted work time each week.

If any content is to be created nowadays, it happens through batching tasks like recording multiple Ellechat episodes in one sitting, writing blog posts and newsletters on the same day each week, etc.

Maybe someday I’ll get back to live content. I hope to!

The plan:
Delegate more tasks

The outcome: More delegated tasks! Hallelujah!

I’ve never relied more heavily on my assistant Marisa than I have this past year. I truly don’t know how I would continue to run Elle & Company without her.

She helps me with:

  • Emails

  • Content scheduling, editing and setup

  • Online course management

  • Administrative tasks

  • Marketing

The list continues to grow.

Having Marisa’s help has allowed me to focus on the tasks that require my touch and outsource tasks that either aren’t in my wheelhouse or that someone else could tackle.

And the more I delegate, the more tasks I want to delegate and outsource.

Marisa shared her perspective on what it’s like to work for Elle & Company in this recent blog post, in case you missed it!

The plan: Work less hours

The outcome: Working less hours

This was the most realistic of all my 2018 goals, and one that was easily achieved.

I went from working 40+ hours a week to working a rough 10 hours a week.

It’s been quite the adjustment and one that I continue to struggle with. I didn’t expect to feel quite so stretched between caring for my little one and trying to keep Elle & Company going.

But now that uninterrupted work time is harder to come by, I’m much more diligent and focused in the time that I do have.

The plan:
Cut back on content creation

The outcome: Hardly any content

2018 taught me that I cannot do it all.

I can’t create as much content or take on as many clients and give my son the attention and time I want to give him.

My priorities are different now. Elle & Company is no longer my baby.

That doesn’t mean I don’t love what I do and the people I serve. It just means I’m not able to give it my undivided attention and pour as much time into it.

I’m still figuring out how much content is realistic in this season and I haven’t quite gotten back into a rhythm. But I’m working toward finding it and I’m hopeful that I can find a new normal for content this year.

The plan:
Redo my website and offer more resources

The outcome: An updated website with the same resources

I’ve always said that websites are “living;” they need frequent updates and attention in order to serve their purpose and their audience.

This website is no different.

I was able to make some updates at the beginning of the year and I’m happy with how they turned out! I have more I’d like to do and I’m hopeful I can tackle it in the coming months (like new photos, updated copy, etc.)

And as far as resources go, I’m sticking to the same Elle & Company resources many of you know and hopefully love, like the Library, Illustrator Basics, Freelance Academy, business coaching, and brand & website design.

I did, however, add a new course to the mix that had been a long time coming.

I’ve learned that I don’t have to reinvent the wheel or keep adding to my list of offerings. Instead, I want to stick to my “bread and butter” offerings and continue to improve them.

It’s a little humbling to look back at what worked and didn’t work last year, but it’s helpful moving forward.

What worked and didn’t work out for you last year? What was one of the biggest business lessons you learned from 2018? Leave me a comment and let me know!