Time for Reflection, Vision and Goal Setting for 2018

Time for Reflection, Vision and Goal Setting for 2018

Time for Reflection, Vision and Goal Setting for 2018

Time for Reflection, Vision and Goal Setting for 2018

As I type, I am snuggled up on a cosy couch, in front of a roaring fire at the very lavish Whittlebury Hall Hotel and Spa.  Each year, I take a day out for myself to update my life plan and set the goals for the forthcoming year.  This is now the ninth year of goal setting, and my system has changed over the years.  If I am honest, my goals for 2017 were a little bit crazy and the “Happiness Project” only lasted until April before I wrote it off as another one of Julia’s mad ideas!  I like my lists, but living my life through a list is just not me.

My life plan was originally written in 2016, and I update it twice a year.  For those of you who are interested, I use a system based on the theory and process of a book called Living Forward by Michael Hyatt and Dan Harkavay.  Tucking yourself away for a whole day to focus on what you want out of life is very rewarding.  And, if you’re like me, you may give yourself permission to indulge in “afternoon tea” as part of the whole experience!

Living Forward makes you think about the different areas of your life.  These areas are called “accounts”, and most people end up with ten of them.  They help you decide on what is important to you, then you put them in order of priority and work through a series of questions.  You can download the free templates here.  My ten accounts are:-

  1. My Health
  2. Me – Intellectual and personal development
  3. Me – Happiness
  4. Marriage
  5. Rachel (my daughter)
  6. Close family
  7. Friends
  8. Adventure/Travel
  9. Work
  10. Finance

For the benefit of this blog, I will only go through account number nine, which is based on work goals.

The first part of the life plan is to grade the account out of five (1=pants, 5= fan dabby dozey).  I graded my “work” account, aka Green Umbrella, as a 4/5 as there is always room for improvement.  The next section is to envisage the future and then to write down the current reality.   The current reality is the part where I reflect on what has happened in the last twelve months, and this has been a journey of self-discovery for me.

One moment that sprang to mind happened only last month.  A client was in the office for training, and she asked how business was with Green Umbrella.  She mentioned that Julia Doherty’s social media has been very quiet over the last twelve months and her perception was that I do not seem to be busy with work.  This certainly made me ponder for a while, but then I found I was doing a little dance inside as the realisation hit that my small business is no longer about me.   I agree that I have not been posting as much on my personal accounts about Green Umbrella, but the reality is that we have had a record year.  The business has seen an increase in both turnover (26%) and profit (14%) from 2016 – how amazing is that?  I am at the stage of the business where I can take time out and enjoy what I have created.  Isn’t that what running a business is all about?

So without further ado, here are my reflections and goals for Green Umbrella Marketing Ltd. for 2018.  Christina & Mark – brace yourself!

Turnover and profit analysis

Turnover is vanity, profit is sanity.  You can be turning over millions, but if you are not making money then what is the point?  The Green Umbrella 2017 turnover figures have increased from 2016 by a considerable amount but gross profit has not seen the same growth. When I scan down the main areas of expenditure, they are considerably high in networking costs, travel and increased costs due to taking on two new full-time members of staff.

Goal: In 2018 we will be more diligent when it comes to networking and travel.  I have been lazy when it comes to booking train tickets, hotels, etc.  so if anyone has any tips to reduce costs for these areas, then please comment below.  

When I look at the areas of profit within the business, I can see that the growth of our social media management services has increased significantly, with a contribution of 33% of our turnover. Print and Design services contributed to 14%, followed by training (9%) and web design (9%).  It always makes me nervous when one part of the business contributes to over 25% of the sales.

Working in the fast-moving social media industry, you never know what is going to happen.  We are working with platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. and we have absolutely no control over these social media sites.  If Facebook suddenly announces that they are going to charge all business pages £500 a month, then our business model will fall flat on its rear end.  We had a scare with LinkedIn’s new rules in November 2017 which means we need to change the way in which we structure the social media management services.  In 2016, our previous social media management software increased its prices dramatically, which meant that we had to increase our prices for our customers.  We have dealt with these issues and coped really well, but it still makes more sense to increase the other areas of the business to offer more security to my team and the future of the business.

Goal: To increase other areas of the business – see more detailed goals below.

New Business Opportunities

In the last six months, we have secured a number of contracts where businesses simply want a “one-stop shop” for all their marketing. These are nice contracts to have as we have an input into a client’s complete brand, whether that is online or offline marketing.  Watching a brand come together and seeing the dots all join up is rather rewarding. We have a basic process for selling this service, but it really only happens when we get asked for it.

We have found that transparency works best. Our social media management services contracts tripled within three months of releasing the packages and prices on our website.  Thinking purely as a customer, I want people to be able to select the services that they require (social media, blogging, email marketing, website, business cards, etc.) by a simple tick box, and a price will appear at the bottom.  They can they untick a box if the price exceeds their budget, or add services if they have a bit more to spend.

Goal:  To secure a minimum of six new retained clients by December 2018.  This will see the introduction of a special package, specifically for a retained marketing plan. 

Website Design Service

In 2016 I declared that I was no longer going to be involved with web design as I simply did not have the patience to deal with the long, drawn-out process of getting a site designed, built and put live. Since then, Mark Mundin has taken over the process, and life is good again in the world of web-design.  We are still only working with smaller websites, but we now have two additional web designers for extra support (Mark Carr and Cathryn Halfpenny).  Websites are being turned around quickly, and they are very cost effective.

Goal: Web design side of the business to increase from 9% to 15% of our turnover by December 2018

Talking of websites, we have agreed to design a new Green Umbrella website, which will be more funky and slick. Our current site is full of useful information and attracts over 35k unique visitors a month, but there is a lot of old information on the site that needs a bit of a cleanse.  Mark is keen to get his teeth into a new Green Umbrella website, and plans have already been put in place for stage one.  Watch this space!

Goal: The brand new Green Umbrella website will be launched by 1st June 2018. 

35k visitors to the website each month is a cracking figure (especially as the previous year it was only 6k sessions – blogging does work!).  Sadly, only 44% of these are from the UK. We have an awful lot of traffic from the US.  Rather than being upset that the main audience is not my ideal target market, I have decided to make the most of the traffic by monetising the website.

Goal: To monetise the new Green Umbrella website by offering products that can be purchased.  Each month we add a “product of the month”, which is in the form of an ebook, a tool, online marketing assessment quizzes, templates, etc.  Some of these will be free, but the more meaty eBooks that are over 20 pages long will be sold on the site, as well as Amazon etc.

Let Them Fly!

As I reflect on the previous year, I realize how lucky and grateful I am that I have an amazing team that I trust 100%. I have taken quite a few holidays during 2017, and, for the first time ever, I did not feel the need to check emails once during my time away.  It’s a good place to be knowing that your team can handle everything whilst you are away.

That said, whilst I am taking more of a back seat and enjoying life, it means that a certain member of staff (aka Christina) has taken on more of my duties.  I am so proud to watch her presenting webinars, running workshops and delivering training that I would normally have delivered.  Considering only twelve months ago she had a bit of a phobia going on the Tube in London, she has now travelled all over the UK and is keen for more.  As Christina steps into a more prominent position within the company, she needs to let go of some elements of her everyday job.  So, in the new year, we will be expanding the team once more to take on someone to cover more admin and basic accounts type of work/credit control.  If we want to expand, then we need to invest, and this means looking after your staff and make sure they are not overworked.  Christina, if you are reading this, then I just want you to know that you are one in a million.  2018 is time for you to shine.

Expansion into the Franchise Market

No, Green Umbrella will not become a franchise, but we will be offering a service for Franchisees.

Our Social Media Coaching Club has gone from strength to strength. We started the year with 56 members, and we now have 140. The club already includes free webinars every two weeks, a monthly magazine, access to a private Facebook group, a weekly social media round up and an educational video.  In September 2017 we introduced a “product of the month”, which will be chargeable to the outside world in 2018.  I have been thinking of other ways to offer value to the members of the coaching club, and I have a few ideas up my sleeve that I have been pondering over during the Christmas break – watch this space!

Goal: I would love to see the coaching club expand to over 200 members by the end of the year.

Goal: During 2018 we will also be offering a bespoke social media coaching club for Franchise companies. We are already piloting one club for a Franchise which starts in January.  If the uptake of this service works well, then we will run this out as a package for other franchise groups.

It’s Time to Let Go!

Christina and Mark are at the helm, with the additional support of extra web developers and administration staff.  They are brilliant at what they do, and I need to learn to let go and let them fly on their own.  To enable me to let go just a little bit, I need a distraction.  I need something else to get my teeth into, and this has appeared in the form of The Adventure Geek.  This is a new hobby business that I have been playing with which will hopefully inspire business people, workaholics and busy entrepreneurs to explore the outside world and escape life for a while.  Walking the Camino as a solo trekker in October 2017 was life-changing for me.  If you are looking for some clarity in your life, then head on over to this blog to find out more.

Goal: From 1st January 2018 I will be working on The Adventure Geek project every Friday.  I have set goals and objectives for this fun project, so watch this space. 


2017 was an amazing year.  My Camino experience has given me some clarity in my life, and also the strength to let go and let my team take on more responsibility in the business.  This means that I can enjoy the things that I love in my business such as speaking at the various events (I am at the Rec Expo again this year), delivering webinars and workshops, and of course spending time with TEAM (The Employment Agency Movement) to help recruiters with their online marketing needs.  I will be travelling to San Diageo in February 2018 to visit Social Media Marketing World Summit, which has been a dream of mine for many years.



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