In this week’s episode, I wanted to be super transparent on our Q1 goals. Talk about the highs and lows, revenues, and expenses. We see a lot of income claims but may not get the full picture of someone’s business. What did they make and what did they spend? Did they meet, exceed, or maybe fall short of their goals? I’ll share all of that and some personal struggles that ultimately affected my business goals this quarter and share some tips on how you can reflect on your business and personal goals to shift your life moving forward.
As an adult and by doing this episode, I now realize I don’t know much about my parent’s financial situation. How did they get to where they are now? How much did they save? How did they save for retirement? These conversations are still hard for people, especially women, to have and even for me to make episodes like this. It’s very vulnerable to share your financials with someone else.
But then I started to see people like Shannon from the Social Bungalow, have monthly recaps about her finances on Facebook and I loved them. Hearing her real numbers showed me what was possible for my business, but also gave me a real idea of what was coming in and what was going out. When you see and hear more people talk about money it demystifies it for you. It helped me see what was possible for my business.
You can hear someone say $10,000 months and $100,000 years but it takes a more in-depth look to see what those numbers mean. Were they actually profitable? What did they spend on their business? How do you know what is actually possible for your business unless you see a complete picture? It also should be noted that not everyone’s goals are the same. What is profitable and successful for me and my business, may be totally different for you. There is no one way to track your progress. I hope with this episode we can pull back the veil on it for you here at Quill & Co.
We started off the year by hosting an online summit for brand designers: The Step into Clarity Summit and we had the best time. It was an online summit of 15 brand designers, including myself, speak on a range of topics over 3 days.
We had over 2,000 designers registered and it was so amazing to watch it all play out. The conversations I had with other designers during the summit are what sparked the idea for the podcast! The deeper connection I was able to gain with the attendees and designers was so fulfilling. But even so, it was a lot of work. My team and I started preparing for it about 5 months beforehand. I purchased and used Krista’s Summit in a Box course to learn how to host an online summit and that was a huge help in the process. We learned so much from the summit process as well.
In the midst of trying to run a design business, hosting a summit, managing a team, etc. I was house shopping too. And while that sounds like a dreamy problem to have, it was stressful and emotionally draining. I was living in the middle of a renovation and trying to shop for a house on top of my workload. It took a toll on me personally and made January a hard month.
A big takeaway for me from the summit was, that connecting on a deeper level with fellow designers, clients, students, is very important to me and my business moving forward.
February was the month of burnout. At the end of the summit, I opened my signature online course, Brand Clarity Academy. This is a course I offer a few times a year to brand designers and usually open it with webinars, Instagram lives, emails, and socials posts. This time I felt too burnt out to do that. I launched the course and totally sabotaged myself. After all of the work on the summit and the personal struggles, I only promoted the course from emails we had pre-scheduled to go out.
On top of that, I did a lot of VIP design days, once a week, and I learned that it was too many for me. It was a lot of design work. Bigger projects and client work were also getting overwhelming with timelines getting messy and client work piling up. It was all still good in hindsight but felt a bit chaotic at the time.
March was a slower month with client work and with sales for me. After January and February being so busy I wanted (and needed!) to slow things down in March and have a “slingshot month”. I’ve heard it described as intentionally pulling back to accelerate forward.
We need this intentional slow downtime in every business. Whether you plan for it during the year or take note of when you are feeling burnt out and make the effort to slow down. It is not sustainable to always be going and going.
Even with having a slower month, we still did a lot to grow the business. Not in revenue but in projects that will help sow seeds for growth later. We launched a podcast, did a photo shoot, and I started finalizing the plans for my next course. It’s going to be a high-touch, done-with-you program for designers. I love connecting with my clients in Brand Clarity Academy, but I can’t go really deep into someone’s business in that program. I was looking for a way to connect more with fellow designers who want that next level of help. It’s coming soon and I can’t wait to tell you all more about it!
I’m kind of scared to share real numbers with you. It’s deeply personal and I know that to some these numbers might seem really big and really expansive, and to others, they may seem small. We are all on different journeys so it can be hard to see someone’s numbers and not compare to your own. So I hope you take these numbers as just numbers, it doesn’t mean that’s where you should be, or even where you need to be. You are on your own business path and you know what is best for your growth!
$82,917 (As of March 28th)
For transparency, I don’t know for the whole quarter yet as I’m writing this bookkeeping is still in progress for March. So far at $18K business profit and that is after paying myself. I don’t consider what I pay myself as profit I consider it a business expense since I’m on payroll too.
50% – Payroll and Payroll tax
25% – Education
I invested in a program that’s about $12,000. Each year I tend to invest in one big program based on a goal that I have
5% – Software and Tech
And that is our Q1 in a nutshell! What we accomplished for projects, revenue, and expenses. If you listened to the first episode of this podcast, my word for this year was fearless and to be more fearless in my business. I’ve been trying to dream of some big goals and projects for this year and wanted to start off Q1 with a huge one. The Step Into Clarity summit was something I had the idea for back in September, but had never done before and wasn’t sure how to even get started but, I went for it. Then after that, my goals shifted again. The fun and wild thing about being your own boss is your goals and ideas for your business can change in an instant.
After the summit, the podcast became the next goal, one I did not start the year out as having but still went for it with zero knowledge on how to start, distribute, or scale a podcast. And now going into Q2, as I mentioned my next goal is to launch a new course for designers that I am so excited about and feel pulled to do it.
Different seasons and quarters in your business will bring about varying goals and ideas for where you want to take your business. I think a big step in growing a business, that is often overlooked, is reflecting when you can.
Whether each week, month, or quarter, make sure to take the time to look back at what you accomplished, where your gains and losses were, what could you have done differently, what worked better than expected, and what ideas are you the most excited to get started. Be open to shifting and adjusting these goals too as you continue to search for clarity in your business.