My business review 2022
I write a review of my business every year.
I find the process of writing them cathartic, I enjoy reading the previous years and seeing what has changed, and one of my driving values is transparency…so I love sharing the behind-the-scenes of my business and life PLUS, a lot has happened in 2022.
So let’s dig in.
2021 was a difficult year…I was coming off a year of massive growth in 2020 and had huge plans, but severe burnout and a whopping case of COVID saw pay to that, but it was just the jolt I needed to wake up and smell the coffee…and so I knew 2022 would be different, it had to be.
With a new and improved website for my fitness business www.toofattorun.co.uk, the first refresh I had had in more than a decade. I launched a new book, a new online programme AND a new global partnership with charity Streetchild.
I started my career off working with and for young people to improve their life chances, so this felt like a perfect partnership…even if I did promise to run the worlds craziest marathon as part of it.
I felt so connected to my mission and vision for my fitness business and so a lot of focus over the year was on that. AND on being a more present mum to my daughter Rose.
The thing with building your own business is you often focus on the future…you make compromises knowing you are building something that will (hopefully) benefit everyone, but we might just have to wait for it. My run-in with COVID made me realise that tomorrow isn’t promised and that I wanted to spend more time with my 9 year old.
In April I took her to Ibiza for a long weekend for some girlie time, and it was just what we needed.
It was around this time that I started to notice certain behaviors that led me to believe that Rose might have ADHD, and I started the process of getting a diagnosis. I have long suspected I too have this neurodiversity…and yet the more I read up on the topic, the more sad I felt that nobody had ever picked this up in me as a child (easier to label me as a problem child) and the more determined I felt to support Rose, and never have her feel that she can’t be loved exactly as she is.
Things in my business coaching business had been a bit weird for a while. I launched a few things. Started doing more 121 work with VIP clients, but also started to enjoy Instagram Reels as a way of showing up online, which I began teaching to other entrepreneurs…and I realised that I was having a bit of an identity crisis.
I am a creative.
I love leveraging new marketing tools, helping people with their brands, showing up online in provocative ways.
BUT I am also a strategic bloody genius. A serious business growth strategist with the insight to really get to the crux of whats holding folks back…be that mindset, strategy or structure.
As an experienced consultant, mentor and coach…with more than 25 years worth of experience, I think I had perhaps been downplaying myself.
Most people in my world know me through my work online, not realising I have two degrees and a heap of experience and expertise working on global projects, with massive companies and organisations.
There is so much bullshit online in terms of the way people market themselves and I was starting to question if I even wanted to work with solopreneurs anymore (wait, wait don’t judge me, let me explain).
The message of “We can all be millionaires” has created a feeding frenzy, and I could see the damage it was doing, particularly people who had already suffered some kind of trauma.
I started taking a step back from it all.
Not knowing what was coming, I started slowly winding things down. I took a pause on my Bigger Than You Podcast, I stopped running my Go Big or Go Home programme, I even closed my FREE facebook group…I just needed to stop all of the noise. In the midst of this crisis I went and spent a few days in Derby with a new business buddy Sam Rathlin, who has been a wonderful influence on me this year.
I didn’t get any specific answers but I got the support I needed while figuring it all out, and rather than worrying about my business growth, I focussed on my partnership with Streetchild, training for my marathon, and getting things in order to finally move out of London.
A big driver for my business growth the last few years has been being able to move from my 2 bed apartment in East London, which I bought back in 2007. I had only really intended to live there for a few years, and then before you know it, I became a mum, lost my full time job, and got into a bit of a pickle trying to raise the money needed to buy somewhere bigger…add a global pandemic to the mix, and I well and truly felt stuck.
I put the place on the market anyway…not knowing what I’d be able to afford, or where I would even move to…I literally just had to trust the process.
My trip to Africa in June was EPIC
I always knew it would be. It changed everything about everything. And I came back even more determined to get clarity over what impact I really want to have on this planet…and how I want to live while doing it.
I used to think that to do good work, you somehow had to suffer.
Working in the voluntary, charity and public sectors in my early career kind of installed that in me, and then working as an entrepreneur where there are no real limits…let’s just say it was all starting to get a bit confusing.
It took me a while to come back down to earth after the marathon in Sierra Leone, and I took some time out to write a new book called Half Crazy, all about how I have used the 13.1 mile distance to manage my mental health over the last 2 decades.
I just had to trust that I would find clarity on my next steps from a business perspective…and I did.
Because, just before I went off to Africa, I got an offer of a full-time job.
At the time I didn’t really take it too seriously, as I was still very much focused on my BIG trip, and if truth be known I was wrapped up in my own ego, and the stories I was telling myself about working for someone else.
But in July when I sat down and really explored it…it made perfect sense.
So in September I joined Oakwood Management Consulting, as their Executive Director of Business Growth…a 40 hour a week job, with a great salary, bonuses, and best of all a boss that I respect, and a growing team where collaboration and cocreation are expected.
Oakwoods new strapline is “We are in the business of change” and we are.
I guess I always have been.
I have always been driven by the art of the possible, the concepts of space, place and identity, and seeing where things can be made better by involving the right people and looking at problems more creatively.
The scope of the work at Oakwood is exciting, I love working with Emma Shenton the CEO and I am excited about expanding my divisions work over the next 18 months.
But what about my businesses?
I guess you could say I now have the portfolio career I always longed for.
Too Fat to Run is very much a viable business, and I now have a VA doing much of the admin behind the scenes. In January I will run another live round of Kickstart Your Running, and I have a new creative product entering the marketplace which I have great hopes for.
I am still supporting solopreneurs, with a handful of VIP clients, and the occasional workshop/offering….and of course my speaking….but nowhere near to the extent that I have before.
In October I attended the Global Speakers Federation conference in Dublin, where I won their comedy night competition, with a 5 minute set that will NEVER be recreated ha ha
The BIGGEST shift this year though has been a personal one.
I finally moved out of London, into the most incredible barn conversion in Hertforshire.
The barn was built in 1850 and was converted just 2 years ago, and it has just the most incredible energy….and so much space.
The life I am building here with Rose feels like a lifetime in the making, and I am literally pinching myself multiple times a day.
This year has been a lesson in trust. It has been a lesson in allowing myself to receive. To notice when you can have what you want, even if it is packaged somewhat differently.
I know this year will prove to be a pivotal year in years to come, even if it didn’t pan out as expected.
And the stuff I review year on year….???
My numbers for the year
- I welcomed around 500 new paying clients into my world…a lot less than in previous years
- I grew my audience by a few thousand…primarily in my running business via Instagram reels
- I wrote around 20 blogs…far, far less than normal…but then I have also written 2 books this year, with a third about to go live this week
- I did 5 live in-person speaking gigs…including one at Roses school
- I hosted (ie was the Emcee) a business conference in Hertfordshire
- I got commissioned to run an away day (2 days) corporate training gig
- I took around 30 days of leave…had 4 overseas trips, went to 3 music festivals…and even managed to do some dating (oooohhh)
- I will end the year with a combined income of around £100,000 including business turnover, book sales, rental income, and salary
- I have received around £20,000 in value…freebies, gifted items
- Facebook ad spend as always…. £0
Some other stuff
I created and launched a few new things this year (not as many as last year)
- Kickstart Your Running
- Are You for Reel Challenge
- Are You for Reel Playbook
- The Hardest Thing Challenge
- Half Crazy Programme
- What’s The Point Experiment
- The Mini Audit
What did I invest in?
- Global Speakers Conference (Around £1000 in total)
- My Professional Speakers Association Membership & Meetings (Around £800ish)
- A new standing desk, and full office kit out….I HAVE MY OWN OFFICE SPACE NOW
- A REMARKABLE...I LOVE THIS SO MUCH
- An oura ring
- A heap of nice new things for my home
- My VA who does 10 hours a month for me
- A create your planner in a day course…just the accountability I needed
- Accountants to do my books
My goals for 2023?
- To do an excellent job at Oakwood
- To sell 1000+ copies of my new fitness planner with comes out this month
- To pay back my bounce back loan from 2020 (should never have taken one out really)
- To grow TFTR into a sustainable consistent business with the view to potentially selling it
- To continue supporting Streetchild…I am giving a reading at their Xmas Service next week at the Tower of London
- To be the best mum I can be to Rose
- To enjoy our new home and get stuck into village life
- To get an official ADHD diagnosis for both Rose and I, and to further explore how to best support us both to be awesome in our neurodiversity
- To grow my passive income further
- To write a book in a completely new niche (have been working on this idea for a while)
And next year, how can folks get involved?
I normally have a massive list of things to get involved in…but I don’t have anything planned other than a small business retreat at The Barn scheduled for the 6th of January (3 places left so get in touch if you fancy it) email@example.com
Watch this space for future developments….and if you want more frequent updates, ask me about my 5 Big Things email which goes out monthly with all the things I’m up to.
I hope you have found this blog review interesting, useful or even just food for thought.
My work with Oakwood is focused primarily on supporting midsize businesses or solopreneurs who are building legacy businesses. I have some capacity to work with ambitious but slightly smaller in-scale business owners who really do want to grow something bigger than them, so always feel free to reach out and enquire about my capacity.
I hope you take some time to reflect on your year…if you write and share a review do tage me in it, I’d love to give it a read.
Wishing you everything you have ever dreamed of in 2023 and beyond in business and in life.
It all starts with knowing what you want and allowing yourself to dream.
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