Some Thoughts Re: New Year’s Resolutions

I love the idea of clearing the mind and setting those all important goals but I’m weaker when it comes to following through.

I have so many interests and ideas that I  tend to feel overwhelmed. So it’s better for me to break things down.
Resolutions are about the spirit of the resolution and not the goal. But goals are important too.
Here are a few ideas
Fluent
  • I will publish 3 new written or course based collections of what the blog already contains.
    • I will work with a ghostwriter who drafts this.
  • I will recognise my own value and charge for my own time.
    • Goal 1: estimate how long something will take me and set an income goal based on that
    • Goal 2: estimate how long the promotion will take and plan it all out in advance
    • Goal 3: triage every single Monday
  • I will be on top of understanding my income streams every month.
Teaching HQ
  • I will not give up on the Teaching HQ
    • I will publish a blog post every two weeks and explore making video a key part
    • I will give every product the promotion and attention it deserves
  • I will feel adequate and qualified for this
    • I will continue learning the things I need to know and sharing what I’m learning
    • I will enjoy sharing without worrying if people think I’m good enough, because I am and because me doing it means I am good enough
  • I will stop worrying how much money this makes and remember that I’m investing and I can get booked for consultations.
  • I will not fear the other people in this space. There’s someone for everyone.
    • Like one of my fitness instructors says “not everyone’s preferred instructor but that’s ok cos there’s room for us all”
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I can’t even..

Today I’m skittish. I keep switching my attention from one thing to the next, unable to hang on to any thought for very long. There’s a lot going on. I’ve been wanting to update on this blog for a little while now, so maybe this is a great opportunity for me to bring order into the chaos that’s going on in my mind.

Often this works. Writing about what’s going on helps me make sense of it, as I go through the process of making sense of it for other people.

So first of all, let’s just face the fact that you won’t get a full update on my wedding. It’s too long ago! It’s already been 3 months on Sunday since the German celebration. I want to acknowledge that it happened though, and perhaps give you a very quick summary.

It was super hot, there were lots more planning voices to consider, it ended up being beautiful, but also it was more emotionally exhausting. That’s a good summary of a wedding at home, I suppose? How do you think it would go if your mum played a big part in the event? I am very happy that we were able to make my parents the proud hosts of such a day. But England was ours, we played the hosts. Does make a difference.

Moving on from that, our honeymoon was exactly what the doctor ordered. I can’t tell you how much joy it brought me to spend a few weeks travelling around Europe with this guy. We spent a week exploring hammocks and beaches on an Italian island.

Retrospective of My Business

In terms of business, the year is coming to a good conclusion at this stage. I’ve been able to put out several products, most recently two German language courses. And it feels like for now I’m done with that part, and I’m looking to move on. The progression of how I work is clearly visible in retrospect, even if it sometimes feels I’ve no clue where the next corner is going forward.

I started as a 1-to-1 tutor offering lessons in English and French. Didn’t have a clear idea of who I’m tutoring, just pretty much anyone who was up for it. The first 18 months were full of experimentation. Group classes, local promotions, and my first learning videos.

I quickly found a clearer idea of my audience, and learnt that Fluent’s blog (and my enjoyment of blogging) attract a nice big bunch of people. So this is how my business started shifting to more online activities, I realised that making more products is a way to satisfy my creativity and joy of writing just as much as starting to take the pressure of lessons as the only thing that helps me earn money.

And this year felt like the shift to more online products was a significant aspect. I’m not yet able to do anything super special as a result of my blogging, but the philosophy of Fluent has become clearer. As I write my books and create my courses, I get closer to how I want them to be. The answer to “why do I make what I make?” is the idea of a business philosophy or motto or whatever you want to call it. This really helps me put new projects on the map and work out where I want them to fit into the big puzzle.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t take on things, ideas, projects, deals, that don’t align with the goals. Not quite, not yet. But it does mean that I’m better at setting priorities.

Prospective to 2016

Is a pro-spective the opposite of a retro-spective?

Anyway..here’s where I am at.

I feel more closely aligned with why I’m doing this “solo business” thing than I have felt in a good while. Financially, there are many more corners to turn but at the same time my confidence in why I make specific choices is high. Just hope I can keep this up.

It’s challenging to put my goals for the next period in writing. It’s even more challenging to publish those goals and tell everyone on the internet about them, so this section won’t be the largest one yet. But my idea right now is that I want to make diary entries to see how far I’ve progressed in each sector once a month.

The core business goals, as in “things that would make me happy in 2016” are:

  1. To run German Language Retreats – events where I can dedicate the right amount of time to German learners who want an intense, unique and fun week in Germany. I’ve already made some big steps towards this. Next step: Set the dates.
  2. To double Fluent’s revenue and traffic, so that I can spread my core philosophy of slow, enjoyable language learning.
  3. To run more offline and online events like I did in the first half of this year, before wedding madness.
  4. To become a uni guest lecturer.

And that’s the four, for now. What are your goals for 2016, internet?

My Wedding Photos – The Prep

Since I enjoyed my recent post about the wedding and the flowers we used so much, I wanted to continue and share a few more images from our Big Day. You might laugh, because you might know that I have another one coming up in just two weeks and I should be focusing ahead, but maybe this is all part of the process. Experience the joy we felt on our wedding day all over again, mentally getting ready for it.

Like my mother says to me, this is not a time to be exhausted and say “oh God, we have to do it again!”. This is a time to start getting happy and excited, so here’s to another great experience.

Oh, and I’m in the middle of a launch period. Just cos. *exhausted*

The Wedding Prep

On my wedding, I woke up criminally early and had about 4 hours to kill before everything was starting to kick off. Like really, I was prepping final deliveries at 7am and running in the gym by 9. The gym was a great thing to have in our hotel by the way, just because it gave me something to busy myself with before nerves kicked in.

My nervousness was all about making sure the day went as planned, much more than any actual jitters about whether this is the right man. That’s the good thing about marrying on your 10th anniversary. You probably know what you’re getting. After 10am, suddenly everything went very fast and here are a few impressions from our photographers after they arrived.

My Wedding Photos: The Flowers

I’m married!!

Phew, and it’s already been 2 months. The last two months have really been very busy, with working life coming back into focus very much straight after our wedding and a real manic kind of a summer. I don’t know where to start, so much happened and I’ve not kept up with this blog and I haven’t even taken the time to talk about how fantastic the day was!

There were:

  • Cute kids
  • Beach Huts
  • 30 mile/hour winds
  • Wine glasses
  • Beautiful Bridesmaids
  • Dancing People
  • Touching Speeches

So instead I ask you to check out my photographer’s wedding report, and my German language one over on my good friend Verena’s blog. See, I did write! I’ve also been miss super productive, attending a conference in Glasgow, visiting friends, travelling to Sweden and creating more products. My new German course (my first German course!) is about to hit the digital shelves and I could not be prouder.

But enough talk. Let’s do what we really like and look at the pictures. I’ll start with some flower pics from our lovely wedding.

My own bouquet:

Buttonhole for the Groom:

Bridesmaid bouquets:

The Maid of Honour:

Confetti:

Looks good:

Smells good too:

And we kept it simple in the evening:

Let me know how you liked these pictures and the flowers and if you can, why not share your own wedding pics?

When a Plan Comes Together

In the writer’s chair today, you may imagine a woman whose brain is just taking the break that she seemingly needs. I’m kind of unproductive today a state that always bothers me. There’s a lot to be sorted out and a lot on my mind, and usually I’m able to create a lot of content and value at quite a clippy pace so maybe it’s time to take that break and view what’s going on.

  • Personal Life is going on, yo!

Today it’s 9 days until my wedding day, which means there are 8 days to get everything tucked away and ready, and the sense of tension is rising hugely. This morning I posted the invitations for our second wedding which is taking place later this year in Germany. They look awesome, C really did an amazing job designing them and they’re bilingual too. With such an important event looming on the horizon, it’s almost too easy to get lost in worrying ahead and forgetting about the big event that’s right in front of me! Of course I’m also keen to work hard and produce everything I want to produce, and the to-do list is one higgeldy piggeldy chaos of wedding things, work things, life things. It’s BIG STUFF.

Right now, hang on..I just have to take a second to add a few to-dos.

Just in case you’re interested, we planned our wedding ourselves and used Trello and Google Docs extensively.

  • Savvy Brand Bounced Back

In my last post on this blog that follows my personal and business and both journey, I shared the experience of an unsuccessful launch and how I ended up moving on from it. I created the Savvy Brand Toolkit because I wanted to keep offering the value and helpful notes that I know my course offered, but without freaking out about no one turning up on a specific sign-up deadline. Overall, the sales have been pretty positive for the last 2 months. I organised a live Facebook event to support more teachers and also shared my knowledge of practical teaching matters over at Udemy in a new course called Live Lesson Strategies for Online Teaching. Both of this had two really great effects on me: First of all I felt a return of my mojo and enthusiasm for helping online teachers through my experience. Secondly, I felt that sharing more of my knowledge and experience really helped me consolidate the brand.

The most important move I conducted was a shift back to Fluent, my core website about language learning and personal development. I simply took the Savvy Brand Toolkit and started talking about it on that website, and the teachers in my audience were very grateful, and AFAIK none of the language teachers took offence. This helps me become a more authentic language blogger, since I’ve been writing from the tutor’s perspective for years.

  • I’m an Educator, Still

Of course live services still form the heart of my work, and I’m feeling a strong pull to online education. I want to keep supporting live teachers and reach out to the thousands of people who are currently creating online courses about all kinds of great topics. After speaking to an inspiring friend who confessed to taking weeks of agonizing over a simple workshop, I realised that this is an area where I can and I want to help people! I’m a pretty good knowledge organizer and project manager, making me suitable for working with books and online courses. Obviously, I’m on number 6 of those in just over 2 years by now, and I don’t want others to stand in their own way when they could be reaching out and teaching already. In the past, I was very curious about becoming an online course consultant but I was intimidated by established big names in the field. But now the time feels more suitable, and I have a better sense of the market holding a little space for me. I have some packages and test clients ready, and a wonderful strategy for them that the amazing Audra Wilke helped me build. I’m ready for business and feeling pretty positive about this, so watch this space and contact me if you want to get in early.

That was kind of my speedy update. The challenge for this month is still course production and marketing, boosting my Udemy portfolio and revenue and looking into the best options for selling courses in the future. I’ll keep you posted..

My Grit post: One step back. Two steps forward.

Hello there, world, today I come to you with my head in my hands and ready to do some introspection kinda work. Or something. For the last 2-3 weeks, I’ve been looking at a professional experience that kinda sucked: I launched a course, and everyone stayed at home. Or in other words, the spring intake of Savvy Brand Academy sadly didn’t recruit enough people to run it as a viable course. I know that this is just a thing that happens, and it’s not the end of the world at all. In fact, in today’s article I’m going to sit down to kind of summarize all the learning I’ve been able to gain from this and to show how I’m moving forward and turning it into an advantage. So if you happen upon this article and by the end of it, you still think I’m awesome, then I am grateful to you. I’m working hard on avoiding harsh judgement on myself, which is something I have a tendency for.

It’s hard not to lose heart and do the old “I’ve failed, wah wah, obviously I need to retreat” thing. And honestly, I have indulged in that a little and maybe I had the right to do that. Let the bad feelings out, get catharsis, right? But now it’s time to take back a sense of being a pro, of bringing in that distance and going 3 steps forward for the 1 step I took backward.

Step 1: Examine What Happened

This can be broken down into practical and emotional roadblocks.

PRACTICAL

On the practical side, my promotion period for the course ran from early February to mid-March and I would say I had not allowed enough time throughout this period for people to really engage with what the course is all about. It’s a pretty in-depth process of brand building, and it takes commitment and work over the course of about 2 months. So in addition to the short launch period (or arguably as a consequence), the timing wasn’t right. A lot of people set their goals for the first quarter of a new year way before the new year starts and then it is very difficult to fit in a course that is truly a foundation for future action when they are already in the stage of taking action. In other words, autumn is an excellent time for me to promote this particular course and running it from November to January might just be ideal.

I also fell victim to certain assumptions about the course content’s quality being the course’s main selling point. Instead of using case studies in the way I did (as boosters), I should have built them into the cycle right from the start. Again, this one relates to allowing more time for the launch period. I should have obtained all case studies before I even started promoting, and then thought about where they fit in most logically and how I can take advantage of them. I loved hearing what my first group thought of the course because it was very positive. This course truly does work. But assuming that what people need is necessarily what they want at a specific point in time was an error. So as a consequence, I guess assuming, in general, is a dangerous route to go down. It is a lot more beneficial to work off the basis that you know nothing, even if things worked out before.

There are a few other practical matters that were trials this time, and I wouldn’t carry them on into future launches, such as giving three package options and losing the course’s core group through renaming it. And ultimately, one last practical note is that you disrespect the sales cycle at your own risk.

EMOTIONAL

Eeek, I don’t like this but ok, here’s the emotional side of what may have happened. I’ve discussed this with a few people including my absolutely invaluable mastermind group and am mostly noting this for my own future reference.

Firstly, rushing the practical aspects of the launch and doing it all on my own while attempting to step up and show “value through pretty”…that didn’t really work for me. It caused a disconnect between my confidence levels and those I tried to project. One of my friends is very design focused and always keen that the image of what you share should be part of what convinces your customers to buy, but for me that didn’t really work as I think it jarred with a sense of integrity that I’ve got. When you are trying to big something up beyond the energy levels that you can give to it (again: more time allows for more energy), the promotion becomes kind of weak. I ended up projecting “hesitant” rather than “exuberant”. I tried to achieve too much in too little time.

Underlying those emotional actions are perhaps two symptoms of the same insecurities and self-critical tendencies. I did what I thought I was supposed to do, instead of doing what I wanted to do. And I failed to look at my product and get the promotion from a place of pride about what I had actually created. In short, I temporarily lost my sense of fun and creativity because I was too worried about how I can make money and be “worth something” in a material sense. Rubbish. Don’t get trapped in that shit.

Step 2: Move Forward

Hmm, okay, are you still with me? Maybe? Probably not, so I might as well just write for myself.

In a short term “remedial” sense, the best advice I got was to stop this pressure of being on a deadline for people to sign up for the live course. Instead, I’ve created a compact self-paced option that people can buy as and when they are ready. Going from that, I will be able to grow the base of truly interested people and take them forward to a mastermind when they are ready, not when I decide I’m supposed to do this. I also found that the work of improving and rebranding the handbooks helped me reconnect with what the course had been about and remember that actually this was pretty awesome and I wasn’t trying to sell something that doesn’t help. This is really important.

If you’re ever going to try to sell something, convince yourself FULLY that it will be absolutely awesome for the people who buy, and then throw yourself into delivering, and make sure you never produce anything sub-standard.

That’s my motto. So really, if I bear that in mind I will be a so much better sales person for myself. I have learnt and remembered an awful lot of incredibly valuable stuff from this, which is worth every bit as much as the money I didn’t make. I learnt that I should plan in depth and follow the plan, take time to reconsider and regroup after an experience like this, and celebrate what it taught me. The resilience and grit I have inside me is worth a million bucks. Just you wait, you universe.

And here’s something for you:

I made myself a little picture for my mobile phone after googling failure quotes to cheer myself up. Let’s have more goes.

2015-02-25 23.49.19

Feb Recap: A Month of Decisions

I know there’s lots to do. I really do know this, and I also know I should just get started on something. But it’s Saturday and I feel like I’ve not written for days and also the new series of House of Cards has just come out. And the other thing? Oh, the wedding! Yes, I’m also still preparing for a wedding. This blog tends to be mostly focused on my business goals and struggles and successes, and I don’t want to drive it away from that too much. But on the other hand, it’s so evident that your personal life can totally affect the results and successes in your business. So here is a quick February recap:

  1. I made a new friend through this blog, even though I don’t publicise it very much at all. Tammy runs a language school in Shenandoah Valley and interviewed me for her podcast. I love Tammy’s transparent, open, positive approach to business and I’m so glad we connected.
  2. I fell out with my seamstress, learnt something about how I want people to communicate with me (and what can go wrong when they don’t) and finally decided that I have to take some drastic wedding dress action. Within the course of the last week I put my original dress up for sale, visited four bridal shops, tried on every sample going and bought another dress. It’s been stressful, but again it taught me something really valuable, which is this:

    When it comes down to brass tacks (an expression I only have just learnt) I can totally make a decision. Decision making is what I got completely stuck on when purchasing dress 1, and it generally is something I do not do well. I hate excluding options, I hate trusting my gut, I don’t know how to say no. But when you have a week to buy a wedding dress because you simply do not want to go on looking, you get on with it.

    I used to have this technique of scoring my options on made-up categories, which I dug out again yesterday. Totally works for me. LISTS. Also, this might be the world’s greatest worksheet. And come May, I am going to look like I’m wearing a cloud.

  3. My Savvy Brand Academy launch isn’t succeeding in the way that I would like it to succeed, so I’m having to adjust here and go with plan B: A cool self-paced option, adjusted messaging to return to my original target group, and again basically making a decision. The amount of times I say that appealing to everyone means connecting with no one! Time for me to make a stand.
  4. Taking action is cool! I’m challenging myself to speak in public 10 times before the start of June – so far 2 webinars are done, and the third one is running on Monday. I’ve also held a workshop on Blogging and have interest for a second one that I’m bringing out later in March. I’ve learnt how to run Facebook ads, and I love how this is growing my community and saving time. The problem that I do run into right now is that a lot of my activity on visibility becomes disjointed as I haven’t got a clear product or programme to promote. Savvy Brand Academy is closing its doors next week and going self-paced, which requires a good bunch of work behind the scenes. If you happen to be someone wanting to build your online teaching brand, contact me and let me use you as a guinea pig.
  5. Another decision made: I’m going to face up to VAT MOSS. I’m going to get a VAT number. I’m going to take those damn hurdles that were thrown at digital entrepreneurs and try to make it work. Bastards. I’m also going to keep campaigning, writing to parliamentary representatives and raising my voice because just because the law hasn’t changed yet I still think it could be improved. In fact it must be improved. Please keep an eye on this awesome blog.

For the coming month, I am not really ready to set goals as such. I have no new initiatives, instead I need to take this time to ride out the ones I set in motion earlier in the year. Adapting Savvy Brand Academy, running the planned workshops and figuring out my 1-to-1 offerings will be enough to handle in one month. And that’s just the business side before things really do get wedding-serious and exciting.

What have you got planned, and how was your Feb?

Goal Update: My first month of 2015

Well hello there ambitious people, once again I find myself catching up on my personal blog on a Monday, and it really is a good time for a review. The first month of the new year is over, time to revisit those goals and ideals and see where it has all led to. And to take a deep breath, remember that everything coming up next is possible. Like many others, I have that dooming sense of panic when I glance at my to-do list and the scribbled notes that add up in a busy week. It’s important to put in days like today. Officially I’m not working at all, but of course that’s kind of out of the window within minutes. I want to spend my day focusing on “wedmin” and find I have to force myself to do this. It’s hard to think “table decorations” and “Pinterest” when you constantly worry that your income depends on how good a marketing campaign you can come up with for your latest endeavour.

So there. Time to look at how them goals went.

Not Working More than 5 Hours a Day

This was a late addition to the resolutions, added during the peaceful relaxation I felt in my winter holiday. I was able to pull this off without suffering productivity letdowns for the earlier part of January, but as the month end and the deadlines came closer I was unable to stick to my limits. Lesson learnt: Self-control breeds productivity, and 5 hours a day is more than enough but only when you do focus.

Language Book Club

After “March to a Bestseller”, an online event run by and from independent authors, made a big impression on me last year I was keen to try out running a language-focused version. I went with my plan, roped in a language podcasting colleague to co-organise and actually pulled this off last week. Language Book Club was an 11 hour Facebook marathon, intense and at the same time wonderful for all the content we created in a short period of time. My core goal was book promotion for my slightly fledgling second book The Vocab Cookbook, which I gave away for free on the day very successfully. With 255 free copies claimed, I want to generate more reviews during February and show Amazon that the book really is very good. Lesson learnt: Bigger projects are better done with others, video chat is exhausting and events like this one are what makes you stand out from others. Oh, and this stuff is more work than you think.

Ending my First Online Course

My first online course for independent online teachers wanting to build their brands was very successful. I gathered lots of positive feedback and reassurance that both the concept and the content are worth a lot to people. 6 graduates, and hopefully more to come. Main lesson learnt: When running an online course, build in live elements for extra value (the live calls were awesome) and allow “reading weeks” to allow everyone to catch up with the content.

Running the next Online Course, Milestone 1

Really this should be right at the top, it’s the next goal going forward anyway. In January, I wanted to complete all Case Studies, the Sales Page and the Full Concept for my second run of the online course. I achieved most of this by creating the copy and info page for Savvy Brand Academy, a course I am super proud to promote. The case studies are a little slow (because the course finished 3 days late?) and I am experimenting with different versions of them, i.e. video interviews, email interviews and a survey. I’m excited to be featuring my successful participants in the marketing for my next course and to have their support. Main lesson learnt: DO NOT put a major goal milestone deadline into the same week as a big event like Language Book Club.

NEXT GOALS 

My big goal is to sign up at least 15 participants to Savvy Brand Academy in February. 

I was glad that I ran a smaller pilot group for this course in the first instance and now that it’s legit, it’s time to kick things up a notch. The registration period is officially open right now but I’m behind with my marketing and really do need to spread the word a little more here, so February will be focused on helpful guest posts, interviews, challenges and other things I can run to help people for free and tempt them with my course.

Launch Period

The launch period starts on 9 February and will run until the end of the month, and feature a bunch of promotional events. I’m speaking locally and running a few workshops, and will also contact more people on a 1-to-1 basis to see whether they are ready to get involved. The hardest thing here is to reach the right people. I have been asked if the course is for online teachers only, and in spirit I want to say “no, it’s not”. It’s for people who believe in their own brand, their independent spirit. People who are sick of working for others and want to start running their own show. I want to have artists and coaches in this course, but the key really is to hit those people who want to understand the concept behind marketing and brand building. It’s not about what you do, it’s about what you want to learn. This is my big challenge, to communicate it right.

Phew, and now to go hunt for a wedding dress appropriate bra…

Hey, It’s Ok…

Welcome to the new year, and in addition to a first check-in on my professional goals or growth or news I also need to focus on my personal feelings today. Last week, I lost a grandparent, for the first time in my life. He was the youngest out of the lot, and an all round happy, smiling, peaceful and friendly person. Everyone in my family is in pain. We are deeply shocked and I think it’s hard to believe that this has happened. So here I am now, sitting down on a Monday afternoon to do some work and my whole mind is refusing to put itself to the task. This is damn difficult. I am unsure what I can share that would be of interest to other people, except that I am once again fighting my own tendency to keep truckin’ and work right through anything that hurts. I feel guilty because I can’t concentrate. I walk downstairs and end up watching a Buffy re-run. I stare at pictures of this wonderful person and the hurt comes right back. Well, what can I say except to share that this is how I am feeling and every day from now is going to be different, but I’m sure it will be fine eventually. Have you experienced anything similar, and found yourself unable to focus as a result of such a bout of grief? Here is a reminder, hopefully as valid for you as it is for me:

It’s okay to focus on recovering without work, to let a few tasks lie and put them to one side, and come back to them when you’re ready. I am reminded of the Hey, It’s Ok… campaign by Glamour magazine. Of course they’re going about it in a light-hearted way, but the magazine has an underlying message in there about anxiety, sadness and feeling inadequate. They bring it out now and then when it’s Mental Health Awareness Week. So here are a few Hey, It’s Ok… thoughts that I need to give to myself today.

  • Hey, It’s Ok…to sit at your desk, zone out and stare at the picture of a loved one and admire their smile. That’s more important than work right now.
  • Hey, It’s Ok…when you need the third cup of tea and you wish someone else was in the house. Where is that cat!
  • Hey, It’s Ok…to cancel an appointment until you are ready to tackle it with your usual verve and power.
  • Hey, It’s Ok…if on the other hand working makes you feel better during a tough time.
  • And Hey, It’s Ok…to be grateful and sad at the same time. They were awesome – yay. They are gone – not yay.

No matter how you are feeling right now, I hope that these thoughts make sense to you and give you a bit of positivity in your day. It’s okay. No matter what.

And if you’re still with me and curious about the business, why don’t we take a deep breath and go focusing on those goals and processes for a bit!

First of all, I am getting a great sense of what exactly I’m about and how I’m helping out other people as I go along and start working with the first few bunches of them. I am always the kind of person that discovers and learns by just jumping into the process instead of spending a lot of time maturing ideas and getting “ready”. I sort of jump in before I’m pre-ready, and then learn as I go along. This process is certainly messier and it does lead you along a few pretty stupid detours, but I’ve learnt that if “throw it at the wall, see if it sticks” is my style, then I’ll take that.

So in that spirit I have learnt and benefited LOADS from the pilot run of my course, and I’ve also gone ahead and renamed the whole thing. Or maybe not, I’m not quite sure yet but I think now I’ll just run with it. It doesn’t matter what it is called in the end. I am getting rewarding and encouraging messages from my participants who say “thanks, this helped me loads” and that is EXACTLY what I did this for.

My person is feeling discouraged, apprehensive, worried, and my materials and what I do is meant to encourage and sort of help them build some wings if flying is what they’re dreaming of. And most people don’t. Most people only want 2 more clients or perhaps 100 more dollars – come on people. We can TOTALLY do that.

2015 Goals, Edition 1

This has been a year of discovering and planning, exploring and producing, and working and failing and sometimes even succeeding. I know we’re not quite at the end of 2014 yet, but to be honest I actually feel like it’s time to turn over a new leaf now and I don’t see why we need to wait for a calendar to tell us to do this.

One of my favourite podcasts, the completely out-of-my-industry Evolve Your Wedding Business podcast actually agrees with me. If you are also in a position of wanting to plan your 2015 right now, then I recommend you start with these helpful questions. I’ve worked my way through them to my best abilities in the notebook, and kind of want to spare you most of my thoughts and rambles.

But in the spirit of clearing my own mind through writing this blog, here goes:

Top Accomplishments of 2014

  • Writing (editing) and Publishing two books: Fluency Made Achievable and The Vocab Cookbook
  • Shifting my personal brand from “language teacher” to “online business mentor”, very slowly and gradually, but visibly.
  • Adjusting the first instance of my Compass course. I had first envisioned this online teacher training course to be a big, all-encompassing 3 month programme with lots of attention and a premium price tag. After it launched to polite declines from lovely people, I refused to give up and instead broke it down into four modules. The first one is recruiting well right now, and each still makes plenty sense.
  • My language blogging identity really grew this year, I got featured in the UK Guardian, wrote guest posts for bigger blogs (Fluent in 3 Months being the standout one, but not the only one) and put more of my own angle on things.

Things I Didn’t Accomplish in 2014

  • I spent so much time agonising over “rebrand” that I forgot, once again, to actually make money. Financial freedom it ain’t.
  • I also got caught up in “my videos have to be awesome” thoughts, and basically made hardly any videos at all this year. That could have been another Udemy course.
  • Some other business avenues weren’t explored properly and might have worked if I’d committed more, but ah well.

Things I Recommend You Try for Your Own Business

  • Do a 100 People Project or 50 Calls Project. It’s great fun, it helps people out and it grows your network. And it’s market research, which we all overlook way too much.
  • Listen to your customers when they complain about what’s difficult.
  • Go along with what you enjoy doing, even if Mrs Guilt Voice tells you not to. For example: I love public speaking, but was not brought up to put myself into the centre of attention. This next year will be the first year I will actually suggest myself for lots of speaking gigs AND ask to get paid, eventually.
  • Allow 48 Hours of Cooldown after any lightning strike genius idea. I wasted some good money on impulse ideas this year.
  • If you don’t want to use WordPress, don’t use WordPress.

And finally, here are my goals for the next year. I’m trying to be bold here, I will break them down later.

  • I have an earnings goal, which I’ve broken down in lots of different ways. I don’t want to share it online. It’s more than twice of what I made last year. Even if I just qualify for paying tax, it will be great.
  • Write all four modules of Compass, deliver four courses
  • Then create this amazing online library as a membership website, where online teachers can simply access the resources and study in their own time for a smaller monthly fee
  • Be a kick ass public speaker – give 20 talks or workshops next year!
  • Launch another Udemy course
  • Attend Pioneer Nation again. This is obviously connected to my earnings goal. Pioneer Nation is taking part in November next year, allowing me a little more time to grow both my airmiles account and my bank balance.

Oh, here’s another one

GET MARRIED ❤

I would love to hear from others about what they have planned and how they fared in 2014. How’s the year been for you? I tell you, it’s difficult to be so public about my goals in this way but I hope it will encourage you to share your own ideas, hopes and achievements.