I remember the first business review post I ever read.

It was mid-December 2014. I had recently read the book Get Rich Lucky Bitch after making a concerted effort to read more from female business owners on the topic of money.

I devoured the book in an afternoon, signed up to Denise Duffield Thomas’s mailing list, and over the subsequent days binge-watched her YouTube Channel.

Then her review post came in via email and it was the most fascinating post I’d ever read. I was so grateful to see such transparency, someone who actually shared her numbers, how much she had made, what she’d spent money on, what mistakes she’d made.

A few days later I signed up to her Money Bootcamp programme…best decision in my business EVER!!!

So this year I thought I’d write a business review of my own, mainly because I find the review process quite useful, but also because it might be interesting or useful to other entrepreneurs.

Where to start?

I started 2019 in a bit of a muddle. My running business was ticking along, and my work as a life coach was building in momentum, but I felt like I was still missing a trick…I didn’t feel completely aligned.

Was still working all the hours and despite already being at 6 figures of turnover, it still very much felt like feast and famine.

So in January, I headed off to Orlando to spend a week with business strategist Dawnna St Louis in a million-dollar mansion (as you do). I was great to work on the business, not in the business…and I left with a pretty robust plan for a whole new business based on expertise that I’ve had (and kinda ignored) for 20+ years.

Community Building.

Every job I’ve ever had and every business I have set up has involved some kind of community creation, development and management…why was I not teaching people how to do this?

So in February I launched Tribe Builder and welcomed my first cohort of 22 entrepreneurs.

Looking back, I can’t believe this programme is still only 11 months old…70 business owners have been through this part online course, part incubator, part mastermind all about building a community around your business.

Tribe Builder has brought more than £50K into my business this year…and that blows my mind.

And what about my running business?

Well, Too Fat to Run has been in flux for a while. It brings in income no doubt and has an enormous impact, more than 1500 women took part in one of my online programmes in 2019…and my online running club (which is now FREE) has almost 1000 members.

2020 marks ten years of my running blog, the blog which saved my skin when in 2012 I was made redundant from my job on the London 2012 Olympics while 7 months pregnant….this blog transformed my life and has given me opportunities beyond belief.

That business taught me so much, and continues to. We have some big plans for the ten year annniversary, and I am currently looking for investment or a business partner to help take things to the next level.

I have 52 women in my Marathon Training group…and in a few days time I will launch my annual 5 weeks to 5K January campaign…which last year helped more than 300 women start to run.

For me…impact is equally important as income…but I am also aware that I am now saying that from a position of privilege because I have enough to live on (now ha ha).

Plus I’m still a runner, and I’m not done in this sector yet. Here is my running business review post, I wrote yesterday

Travel

There has been some travel this year for work. There was of course my retreat in Orlando at the start of the year, my annual fitness retreat in Greece in May, and I spent a week with Lisa Nichols in Mexico working on my stuff ha ha. Yes, this was a personal development retreat “a place where superheros take off their capes” and it was exactly what I needed.

In September I keynoted at the German Speakers Association conference in Frankfurt with a talk entitled, “Leading from behind”, I haven’t done an awful lot of speaking this year because I have been focussing more on my coaching programmes, and repositioning myself.

And then in October I joined the Association of Transformational Leaders Europe headed up by Marie Diamond of The Secret, and had an incredible weekend in Krakow, Poland.

In 2020 I will be looking for more opportunities to share my no-bullshit approach to business growth, but I don’t imagine my business model will change much…the getting paid to speak model of speaking is a tough one, and I just think there are easier ways to leverage your expertise…especially when you are a single parent.

Like online programmes.

I’ve worked with 2500 women virtually via my running business, 300+ women have been on one of my life coaching programmes and I’ve worked with around 250 entrepreneurs in my online programmes for small business owners, including

  • Tribe Builder – My signature 6 month programme (next cohort starts in January)
  • Dare to Dream – a 5 day vision and goal setting challenge
  • Batch Like a Bitch – Content batching programme I’ve been working with Daire Paddy on

I have delivered 21 different programmes this year, some automated and some live rounds, I’ve had 3 major pieces of consultancy, I’ve had 12 speaking gigs, visited 7 countries for work, and appeared on 9 TV, radio, or podcast programmes.

I’ve written around 100 blogs across my 2 websites, and probably a few other articles for things I forgot I wrote. I probably posted close to 1000 social media posts. And sent out probably around 150 different email communications.

Which coaches have I worked with?

I always have a business coach of some description on the go, sometimes these are short term programmes, and sometimes masterminds. This year I’ve worked with,

  • Dawnna St Louis
  • Denise Duffield Thomas – Still in her bootcamp and saw her live in October
  • Marie Houlden
  • Suzy Ashworth

I’ve also been doing a Life Coaching Qualification with Animas…I am one lesson and an essay short of qualifying, and I have really enjoyed being back in a learning environment. I do believe the skills I have learned on this year-long course has made me a better coach.

I’ve spent around £30K on coaching this year, although some of this came out of last years budget.

So let’s talk money

I didn’t hit my sales target this year. However, I’m not sure that tells the whole story. I made just short of £100,000 and trust me as someone who just 5 years ago was signing on, and couldn’t afford a new pair of jeans, I’m pretty OK with that.

My business expenses have come down this year, I don’t have any staff overheads, and I am not working anywhere near the kind of hours I did a year ago…so I call that a win.

For sure my goal in 2020 is to increase my revenue, in fact, I want to double it…but this won’t be at any cost. Making money is a priority for me, as I have had 4 years of under-earning and this has had an impact on all kinds of things…namely having to stay in a 2 bed appartment that isn’t right for me.

So yes wealth creation is an important driver for me, and I will be speaking more about this for sure next year. I’m sick of people saying “money isn’t everything” and “money doesn’t make you happy” I am in business to make mine and my daughter’s life better and at the moment that requires some hefty income generation to secure some stability.

Other highlights?

  • Friendships – This year has been a great year for developing my friendships, folks who I have met through business, but gone on to become great friends with. Being in business can be lonely, really lonely…cos people in business often just don’t get it.
  • Freedom – My business has given me a lot of freedom this year, to take time off, to go on holidays with my family, to upgrade my car, to get a new kitchen fitted, to be present with my almost 7-year-old (like how did that happen)
  • Creativity – I’ve been able to really explore my more creative side this year. My Is there a different way promo video was the start of that, a 4 minute spoken word inspired video made with filmmaker Justina Rosu. I have 2 degrees in arts-related subjects, so why wouldn’t I use this side of me more?
  • Face to Face Coaching – I started doing something called Face to Face Fridays, and this will be coming with me into 2020…so if you can get yourself to London, I will be available for in person stuff. I have launched a new thing called The Million Lives Club which is a mastermind for female business owners on a mission to impact a million lives in their life…this has a monthly in person element…cos it matters.

Final Thoughts?

The last month has been a bit of a challenge. Trying to hit my sales target (and I hate to hustle) and then some health and personal issues to deal with.

I’ve had to do some real soul searching about where I want to go next with my business….luckily I have had the luxury of having money coming in, without always having to be in full delivery.

I’ve had time to think.

Looking back I realise it was a bit of a big task to completely reinvent myself in just 12 months, and sometimes I am quite hard on myself.

In my running business, I am seen as a global expert, and the brand is unique, and so there is something quite comforting in that, even if it is a tough market to monetise..from a PR perspective its always been a dream.

Tribe Builder has been more challenging, there are heaps of people doing audience growth stuff, and more often than not people make assumptions about what my work entails…that it does not….I still have a way to go with my messaging.

I am about organic audience growth…not the sleazy automated shit I see all over the online world…and sometimes I get overwhelmed with all the noise just like everyone else.

Everyone says you need to niche and just be known for one thing…but I’ve never been excited by that idea…and I am much more of a creative generalist, with skills across a wide range of business growth areas.

And so I came to a realisation this month, is that I will be rebranding in 2020.

My clients already know me as The No Bullshit Business Coach…and so from next year I will be going all out with than umbrella brand, because here’s what I see that is total bullshit.

  • Business owners doubting their expertise
  • Business owners taking far too long to build their business
  • Businesses stagnating because of fear
  • Business owners not dealing with their money shit, therefore leaving wealth on the table
  • Business owners wasting time each week on bullshit marketing tactics
  • Business owners never reaching their potential
  • Business owners not having enough resilience to weather the bad stuff (and trust me we all have bad shit happens that rocks the boat)
  • Business owners wasting money online

Whether you came to business through choice or circumstance, chances are you did so with the goal of making life a little bit easier for you, your loved ones and possibly the wider world.

It should be easier.

Business should improve our lives, not be our lives.

Wishing you all the health, wealth and happiness you deserve in 2020

Love Always

Julie

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