It’s November, and on our Virtual Collaboration Academy Joint Venture, we’re conducting an appreciation challenge focused on expressing appreciation in the workplace. It’s a time to think through the value of the people around you, the colleagues that you work with, the employees, leaders, mentors, and people that interact with you on a daily basis — sometimes more than your family.
It’s pretty common that as we head into the end of the year, we tend to get introspective. During this time of introspection, it’s also a time when a lot of people dig into their planning for the coming year.
Heading into the 2019 year, especially here in the United States, it’s a little frightening because people are on pins and needles with a lot of division and people not listening to each other — not to mention the current political landscape. It just makes you feel a little like we’re in a darker time. Everyone seems to feel like they’re not being heard, and yet ironically enough, nobody is listening.
For me, at this time of the year, I always look at where the state of my own business is. But this year, I feel like I needed to flip the script a bit. Truthfully, I feel like I’ve constantly been looking at what is going on and why things are feeling dark and in despair. I’ve been doing that this entire year. Not that my business is in despair, but why did things suddenly feel like they were harder?
I realized after months and months of introspection that it partially had to do with needing a refinement of my own message. My services were there, and sure, I did need to work a little bit on my pricing. But, really, I needed to drill back one more layer, back to a foundational piece in business where you ask yourself, “Who are you? What do you represent? Who do you serve? How do you want to serve?” And therein lied, for me, the key to where my new focus for 2019 is going to be.
This year has been one of the hardest years I’ve ever had in my business. My revenue increased 10%, which given the fact that I didn’t market at all, is kind of a cool thing and a great success. To be honest though, considering how difficult the year was, I’m surprised.
The reason this year has been the hardest is because I’ve had to really ask myself some tough questions. Questions that I had put on the shelf for a long, long time. When I started my business, I was a jack-of-all-trades, and I’d say I still am as I wouldn’t consider myself a master at anything in particular. I knew that a lot of my skills would benefit my clients and that my services were things that people needed. I knew that I could implement successfully, but I felt like I was disconnected and missing a very important piece to my business.
After a lot of introspection, I realized I was missing the heart of my business, and that I felt like there are two sides to my day-to-day life.
On the one side, there were my passion projects that were geared towards value and appreciation in the workplace and making people feel like their work mattered. Then, on the other side, there was paying the bills with the technology and the digital production work that I was doing at Fresh Take.
I ended up pulling the trigger earlier this year on my joint venture and spent a lot of time on it. I decided that if I don’t start something, I’m never going to finish anything. And so, The Valued Workforce and Virtual Collaboration Academy finally launched this year. While that should be deemed as a success, we have a long road ahead of us to market this product and to develop and continue to grow those businesses. In full disclosure, they’re not making any money right now, but that’s okay. It’s not about the money right at the moment — it’s about the message. Having said that, a girl’s got to pay the bills, so therein lies Fresh Take Productions and the heart of what was missing in my business.
It wasn’t that Fresh Take Productions had lost its spark or that I had completely given up on it. I just couldn’t remember what connected it to the rest of my passion work. I needed to figure out how I could infuse my passion projects, my passion for value in the workplace, into Fresh Take Productions. I realized that at the end of the day, people didn’t really care if there was value infused in it or not because they just wanted their website or membership site built, their social media done, or a strategy on the latest marketing trend.
It took me several months to ask myself those questions that I had kept on the shelf for a long, long time. And when I was asking myself those questions, I realized that those questions had tripped me up so many times.
What I discovered is that I’m tired of talking about ME and thinking about me and where I’m going to end up.
What I really want is to think about other people and how can I best support them through the work that I do.
I feel that a lot of times, we’re not listening to our customers, not taking the time to ask ourselves how we are best serving THEM without any hidden agenda. We’re wrapped up in thinking about ourselves and how our work for our client affect our bottom line. But it shouldn’t be about us!
In past blogs, I’ve shared how I struggled with my jack-of-all-trades identity because you’re supposed to pick one thing. The idea is that in order for you to be effective, it’s best to put all your energy into the thing you are the best at. And when I looked at all my feedback from my clients, it was that I took care of things. Sounds great, but taking care of things comes at a price — I was getting burnt out, and it wasn’t sustainable.
It wasn’t until a lot of soul-searching and a lot of praying that it finally came to me. And at the end of a very long internal journey, I was shown that where and what I excelled at was right in front of me.
The heart of Lysa Greer is people. It’s relationships. It’s fostering, building, maintaining, sustaining, and growing those relationships.
That’s when I realized that I didn’t have to do all of the things. That the whole purpose of hiring people is so that you can focus on what you do best, and I realized I can course correct very, very quickly here and make 2019 a much better year.
While on my quest to figure out what was going on with me and my business, I researched and found that relationship marketing is an actual thing. Sometimes it’s referred to as human marketing. And, yes, it’s focused on relationships, which is what I enjoy the most and try to work into not only my passion projects, but I can also now infuse it into my Fresh Take projects.
The reality is we live in a world of “me me me”, and that’s why we ended up in this position, to begin with — because we’re so focused on us and not focused on others.
The state of this country has me so perplexed. It, however, is a mirrored example of what a lot of people feel. At the heart of it, it’s about themselves. And that’s why I’m going to be making 2019 the year of you, my audience, the year of my customer, the year of my family and children, the year of my colleagues and coworkers.
The year of anybody but me.
So moving forward for 2019, I’m going to be making slight pivots. It’s going be an opportunity for myself and my team to better serve those customers through relationship marketing tactics and also allowing them to solidify their relationships with their customers through strategies and techniques that are all going to be geared around building better online relationships.
Don’t get me wrong —I’m not going to lose my marbles and completely not pay attention to the very critical baselines of business and foundations of business. But, to me, the core of my business is the people that I serve.
I want to make sure that when I look at myself in the mirror at the end of 2019, I can see someone who gave it their all, who went the extra mile without looking at what was in it for her. My focus will be on what was really the best return on investment for my customer and clients.
Make 2019 the year that your service goes above and beyond, the year that you do a little extra. Make it the year of unconditional giving, the year that you give that gift with purchase — not because you think it will make you look good, but because they’re your loyal customer.
Lysa is a creative strategist and collaborator who helps clients build stronger relationships with their customers online. With 18 years of diverse experience in broadcast and digital media, she provides a wide range of opportunities to work with a variety of clients and teams, both virtually and in-person.