7 Things I'm Doing to Prepare My Business for the New Year

I know there’s nothing magical about January 1st.

But every time December rolls around, I can’t help but look forward to the fresh start that a new year brings. Especially this year.

2018 was a year of many firsts for us with having our first baby and buying/renovating our first house, and I underestimated how long it would take to get into a regular rhythm for Elle & Company.

Now that my son is 8 months old and we’re all moved into our house, I finally feel like we’re reaching a new normal. The new year couldn’t be coming at a better time.

But before I dive into some exciting new ideas and projects, there are 7 things I’m doing to tie up loose ends, cap off the year, and start 2019 with a clean slate.

7 Things I'm Doing to Prepare My Business for the New Year | Elle & Company

1 | Evaluate what worked and didn’t work this past year

If I’m honest, I don’t particularly enjoy taking an objective look at my business.

It’s not so bad thinking back on the things that went well, but my perfectionist nature cringes at the thought of dissecting the things that didn’t.

But it’s necessary.

So in preparation for the year ahead, I took a look back at 2018 and evaluated six primary areas of my business:


Are my current offerings in line with the mission of my business?

How are they performing?

How can I improve them?

Are there any I need to get rid of?

Are there any that I could potentially add?


Which channels am I’m currently using to market my business (blog, email list, social media, etc.)?

How am I spending my time on each?

How can I improve my efforts on each one?

Are there any I need to get rid of?

Are there any that I could potentially add?


How am I currently communicating with my team/clients?

Which channels am I using for communication?

How can I improve communication with my team/clients?

Time management:

What did my schedule look like this past year?

Which tools did I use for time management this past year? How effective were they?

What boundaries do I need to put in place this upcoming year?

What can I pare down on to make more time in my schedule?


What were the main categories I spent money on for my business this past year?

Which expenses can I get rid of? Pare down on?


Which processes were most effective this past year?

Which processes were least effective? How can they be improved?

Which processes need to be created and implemented this upcoming year?

There are many other categories and questions that can be asked, but this was a helpful starting point for my assistant, Marisa, and I as we reflected on this past year.

2  | Plan out launches

I may dread the evaluation step, but I always love taking a look at the upcoming year and mapping out launches for each of my courses, services, and products.

I find it helpful to look at the entire calendar year when I plan out launches so I can account for each of my offerings, spend adequate time planning for them, and space them out.

Here’s a peek at this year’s launch schedule:

January + February - Adobe Illustrator Basics/Brand Challenge

March - Free

April + May - Freelance Academy/Coaching

June - Free

July - Library

August - Free

September + October - Zero to Squarespace

November - Free

December - Brand + website design

You’ll notice that I set aside two full months to prep and host my courses and planned for off months to recharge between launches.

I eventually create more concrete dates and plug them into my schedule, but having this outline helps me have an idea of what the year will look like before 2019 begins.

3  | Map out content

Once my offerings are planned out, I try to come up with relevant content for the blog, newsletter, and social media that correlates to the launches.

I don’t map out every single blog post and email for the entire year, but I do like to create a detailed content schedule for the upcoming quarter based on the product or service I’m trying to promote.

For January, you can expect to see a bunch of posts on organization, productivity, and processes to help you streamline your business for the New Year.

In February, I’ll be sharing a ton of design and brand-related posts as I host another Brand Challenge and launch my Adobe Illustrator Basics course.

Marisa and I have fun brainstorming ideas and trying to make all of our content fit together on each platform. Once we’ve listed out a bunch of ideas in a Google Doc, we schedule out the posts in our Content Queue in Asana.

Related post:  How to Use Asana Boards to Plan Your Content Calendar

4  | Clean up apps

While I have systems in place to keep up with files, emails, and documents throughout the year, things always seem to get unruly by the time December rolls around.

So before the New Year kicks off, I like to start with a clean slate by cleaning up all the apps I use.

7 Things I'm Doing to Prepare My Business for the New Year | Elle & Company

Asana projects.

Gmail folders.

Slack channels.

Google docs and folders.

Calendly events.

Adobe Illustrator files.

ConvertKit tags.

Chrome bookmarks.

Even iPhone apps.

I don’t necessarily enjoy this step, but it allows me to start out the year on the right foot and saves me a bunch of time in the long run.

5  | Wrap up projects

Nothing is worse than starting the New Year with a bunch of excitement and motivation for new projects… but having to put them on hold because there are still a bunch of items left to do on old projects.

I’m currently putting the finishing touches on my last 2018 client project so I can give all my attention to the exciting things in store for 2019.

6  | Get a headstart

I usually gain a lot of motivation as I plan out launches and content for the upcoming year.

So as my 2018 to-do’s wind down, I like to capitalize on the excitement and get a headstart on my to-do’s for 2019.

I’m setting up Google Docs and outlines for all of my January content, writing blog posts and newsletters, and setting aside time to go ahead and record some new episodes for the Ellechat podcast (finally!).

7 | Take some time off

And last but not least, I’m throwing in the towel and taking two entire weeks off to soak up every second of my son’s first Christmas and visit family in Virginia.

I’ve found that nothing recharges me and gets me more excited to get back to work than unplugging and reminding myself of why I started this business in the first place.

Because my brain functions as one big Google Drive, I like to create a “2019 Brainstorm” Google Doc to house all of the above information and organize my thoughts in preparation for the New Year. I return back to it at the start of each quarter to refocus and course correct.

I’ve also used the Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets these past two years to map out my goals and create a game plan for the New Year, and they’ve been super helpful for me, too.

What kind of projects and content would you like to see from Elle & Company in 2019? Are there any specific posts related to organization, productivity, and processes you’d like to see in January?