New years often feel like a fresh start, but only if we truly learn from the previous year. Let’s evaluate your year by doing a year end audit. In today’s episode, I want to walk you through three really important things you should consider when performing a year end audit in your business.
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Three Things You Should Think About When Looking Back on Your Year (1:34)
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Welcome to so here’s the thing where we share candid conversations that lift the veil on what it takes to find success, even if that means sharing a few unpopular opinions. I’m your host Laylee Emadi, grab some coffee or cocktail, and let’s get real.
Hello friends, I hope that you are having a wonderful end of 2021. Or if you’re listening to this at the very beginning of 2022, Happy New Year, I am so excited about this episode because I love talking about goal setting. I love a fresh start. I love anytime there’s like a blank page in a planner, I will attack it, I will color code all the things and set beautiful goals. And I think all of those things are so important. But this step of auditing, the last year of the previous year is something that a lot of people avoid. And I’m here to hopefully get your mind moving, get your wheels turning about the importance of doing kind of a year end self audit and business audit, even if it’s something really casual, even if it’s not like, you know, crazy spreadsheets and lots of data, which I am all about. But for this episode, I’m going to give you like a few questions, a few exercises, to run yourself through, you can literally do this, you can write it down, you can just think it over, you can just kind of get your wheels turning and hopefully see some trends that will help you set really awesome goals for the coming year. So I am just going to talk through three things that you should be thinking about when you’re looking back on a previous year, when you’re doing like a year end audit, like I do, that can really get you set up for success. Now there is a lot you can do here.
So the fact that I’m limiting it to three things, I want to make sure that I’m not overwhelming anybody who’s listening, if this is kind of intimidating. But if you are all about this life, and you’re really excited to do like a full year end audit, there are a lot of things out there that you can take a look at in terms of data, and just doing like really deep dives and like really deep analysis of the way that your business was running. But for those of you out there who are listening to this, and you’re like I just I just want to do kind of a really nice overview, see what happened, see what worked, what didn’t work of last year, this is for you, we are going to make sure that we’re honing in on the things that will kind of show you where businesses thriving, and maybe where your business could use a little love. Alright, the first thing we’re going to talk about is a front facing part of your business versus kind of more back end stuff that we’re going to talk about for the next two. But this front facing part of your business is actually going to be evaluating your client experience. And the best way that I’ve found to do this, and again, everybody is very different, but I am a very visual person. So the best way that I’ve found to do this is to find a blank wall or take down some picture frames and make a blank wall, grab a bunch of post IDs.
And I want you to actually lay out physically write down and lay out every touchpoint and every step of your clients journey. So what I mean by that is I want you to actually write down like every time you send an email to a client, any type of interaction or step in your process and workflow. And I want you to put that in linear order on the wall. And that way, you’re going to be able to visually find any kind of gaps, you’re going to be able to take a step back, look at the process and identify maybe ways that you can improve it. So for example, if you take a step back, and you’re looking at the entire process, and you’re able to identify like, Oh, I remember that between these two touch points, or these two points of communication, I get a lot of questions that I actually answer later down the line of the client journey. And that’s a really good indicator and a really good red flag that maybe you need to add in more information into one of those touch points or add in an additional touchpoint or communication point in between those two, and find and identify trouble spots that you can fill. Or vice versa. You could look at the whole client journey as a whole and say, Okay, I remember that there’s just kind of a pattern where between these three points of contact, I think I’m contacting my client way too much. And I’m being a little bit redundant, or there’s just a lot that I could cut out here. And maybe you can consolidate those points of contact into one or into fewer than they’re actually worth laid out in your post it and so it’s really nice way to visually see, you know what your client journey looks like for your client and how you can streamline that SOP or that standard. operating procedure, that workflow for your clients. And one other thing I’ll challenge you to do here is to maybe find not just trouble spots, but maybe places where you could add in a little bit of surprise and delight for each client, maybe you can find places to spoil your client a little bit more and give them just a more positive client experience.
So when they walk away, they become your raving fans, and they become a huge client advocate for you and for your business and a really, really great word of mouth referrals. So I would challenge you to find ways where you can just kind of better that client experience a little bit, streamline it, and just revisit what it’s been like over the past year for your clients to work with you. So that’s the first thing. The second thing we’re going to look at is more of the back end of your business. And the first thing I start with here is my calendar. And I talk a lot about goal setting, about time management, about setting your schedule for success, I have resources all in my shop for you guys, and I love talking about this, I get really hyped about it. But I have found that in the past, I kind of avoid this step. And I’m going to tell you why as we talk about it. So I like to look back at my calendar and identify areas of overwhelm with workload with how many clients I’ve taken on with how or whatever has happened month to month. And the way that I do this, is I actually keep a pretty detailed planner and a Google Calendar. So that helps a lot if you don’t do this. And so it’s a little bit harder for you to go back and look at what was going on, during times of overwhelm. I highly suggest starting that practice for the next year. So just keeping a either digital or paper, whatever works for you kind of place where all of your appointments live, where you can look back and kind of scroll through, or flip through month to month and see what was going on at that time. And the reason that I avoid this in the past, or I have avoided this in the past is because I have a lot of feelings about what was going on at any certain time of the year.
And those feelings have prevented me from really identifying the truth of what was happening at that time. And it’s it’s definitely human nature, to want to avoid any kind of like pain point, or any kind of like struggle or anytime you felt overwhelmed, you just kind of don’t want to relive it. And you might even have feelings of failure or feelings of imposter syndrome, or whatever feelings that you’ve associated with that time of year. But this beautiful thing happens when you actually go through and look back at those times with the facts of what are going on. And you you kind of realize like, oh, the data here is telling me that while I may have felt overwhelmed, and I have may have felt like I was failing, or like I was dropping the ball. The fact is I’m looking at this month, you know, let’s call it let’s say like you had a heart, April. And you remember feeling really overwhelmed. Like you were drowning in April. And then you look at April, and you’re like, I served so many clients, I launched this brand new offering, I put so much work in here, that paid off later. But I couldn’t even identify that those successes had happened beyond the feelings that I had surrounding it. So that’s a little bit of a mindset shift there for you to encourage you to like if you feel like you don’t want to take a look back, I would encourage you to fight through that feeling and actually look back at month to month, what the facts were what was actually happening, and how you felt about it and kind of see where things align and where things are maybe miss remembered or overwhelmed in that feeling. So what I do is I look back at my calendar, month to month and I see kind of the things that I’ve honestly accomplished. And this is really an exciting thing to do. Because you will probably find that there are a lot of things that you did that you maybe forgot that you did. I know that when I was doing my year end audit, I looked back at January and completely forgot that I hosted a conference like I hosted a virtual conference. It was my first one ever and it was such a success in terms of bringing amazing content to amazing people and being able to really pour into my community and I forgot that amazing accomplishment that my team and I had put together. So looking back on the calendar, I was able to really relish in that and like just, you know, celebrate that accomplishment that I basically disregarded because of maybe the feelings a couple months down the line of overwhelm.
So I look back at my calendar and that really helps me set my goals for the next year based upon those times of overwhelm and what was happening around them. So for example, if I had a really, really hectic June I can look at June on my calendar and say, Wow, I really took on way too many clients in June, I’ve got to learn to cap my client roster at maybe, you know, 60% of what I took during June. And that will likely help those feelings of overwhelm. Which leads me to my third thing that I’m going to encourage you to audit and that is your finances. Because if I’m going to cut my client roster by 60%, I’m going to have to look at my finances and see, am I able to do that and still maintain the same profit? Am I going to be able to do that and still take care of my team and my household? Well, let’s figure that out. And the way that I figure that out, is by auditing my previous years finances. Now, as I dive into this third thing that I want you to start thinking through auditing, I’m going to be like, completely transparent, I mean, as per usual, and let you know, I have had my ups and downs of being on top of finances, and being really aware of my money, where it’s coming in, where it’s going out, and how it can improve. And I want to put this PSA out there for you guys. This year. In 2021, I switched from one CPA, who I’ve worked with for years, to a new CPA, and bookkeeper who specifically works with creative entrepreneurs. And wow, the difference is insane. I really enjoyed my CPA when I was working with him over the past few years. But I noticed that I needed a little bit more like hands on help, I needed more eyes on my finances. And I specifically wanted somebody who works in the same industry that I do, and who understands that I do a lot of different things.
And those different things that I do that bring in money in revenue, they are not things that every single CPA and bookkeeper is going to be familiar with. And so I made that switch, I made that investment in my business. And I have to say it has been worth it tenfold. It’s just been amazing to have somebody who can look at what I’m bringing in, tell me where it’s coming in, tell me where it could be changed, and even helped me kind of be strategic in the way that I approached my finances. So I would encourage you if you’re not at the point of getting a bookkeeper or someone to be in your business at all times, using a program like QuickBooks, which you can find links to like all of the things that I use in the show notes or at Layli money.com/resources. But I use QuickBooks, and you can pull reports for yourself, you can take a really good look at where your money is coming in. By Category. If you’re a multi passionate entrepreneur, and creative like I am, you can see which categories are bringing in how much of your revenue. And when you’re setting goals for the next year, you can reverse engineer those goals financially into actual numbers, and it will make it feel I think so much more attainable.
So for example, let’s say you are a graphic designer who launched their shop last year, maybe launched a shop in 2021, with a few digital products in it, maybe a mini course or something is in there. And you’re looking at your reports. And you’re wondering, okay, how do I take on less one to one clients? And how much do I need to bring in through my shop through my courses and the new things that I’m offering, in order to offset the cut that I’m going to take by scaling back my one to one design clients or whatever it is that you want to scale back on, you need to be able to probably replace or, you know, bring in even more revenue in order to scale back in certain areas. And it is so empowering to be able to look at the actual numbers and put aside again, just like in the second thing we talked about with the calendar, put aside all your feelings around it and be able to see like, oh, this number I need to bring in, I can divide that by how many digital products I need to sell or how many course students I need to bring in or how many, whatever it is that you do in order to replace, let’s say like 20% of your one to one clients.
And by looking at it in actual numbers, you can see the goal setting is much clearer, and it’s much less surrounded in feelings. Now I will say I truly believe that feelings have a place in goal setting. I think you should be excited about what you’re doing. I think you should feel like it’s something that just gets you really hyped to continue on your entrepreneurship journey. But I think at the end of the day, it is extremely empowering to be able to take any kind of negative feeling like self doubt, and replace that with like, Oh, these are actual numbers I need to bring in and they actually look attainable to me. And if they don’t look attainable to you. That’s kind of another story but that even tells its own story as well, of Okay, that seems unattainable for this year, I feel like maybe that could be my best goal, you know, good, better best, maybe that’s the best goal, maybe I can set a little bit more realistic goals for this coming year. And then this could be my goal for two years from now, or whatever it is, it’s just really nice to be able to get a grasp of where your money is coming in, where your money is going out and reevaluating those things as needed. I also really like to look at where the money is going out. So if you’re spending a ton, if you’ve got, like, a lot of overhead going on, and you’re not really sure where it this is a great time to analyze, like, am I paying for things I’m not using? Or did I invest maybe too much in education this year, I actually did that this year.
That was a conversation, my bookkeeper. And I had, because I went hard into education this year in terms of investing in myself and my business. And I mean, like, I spent a ridiculous amount. And if you listen to the podcast regularly, you’ve heard me say, I made a really big mistake in one of those investments, which is fine, I learned from it all things worked out. It’s all okay. But looking at the year at a whole, I’m seeing like, a huge number. And I’m thinking, Okay, so next year, I probably need to, you know, spend maybe 40% of what I spent this year on education, or maybe I’m looking at I’m thinking, wow, those subscriptions that are maybe like 10, or $20 a month? Sure did add up to like $1,000 a month, but what am I? What am I able to cut out? Or what am I able to, you know, offload so that I don’t have to waste that kind of money. I have a small team. So I get to look at you know, what am I outsourcing? And what can I outsource? Or what should I give to my team, you know, whatever it is, it’s just really nice to have a grasp of your finances. So I hope that this has been helpful. But I really just want to get your wheels turning on, you know, evaluating just even those three things and auditing your year before you set big goals for the next year to come. So I love goal setting. Like I said before, I share a lot about how I set up my schedule for success and how I do a lot of my goal setting I have a lot of resources about that on my website, you can just go to Layli mati.com/shop, or slash resources, I’ve got stuff in both places. And hopefully all of that will help you guys as well. But I really would encourage you to do that year end audit before or even after, if you’ve already started setting goals, go ahead and audit your last year anyway and maybe tweak your goals after you are able to identify some patterns that either you want to break or that you want to continue and really double down on.
So I hope this was helpful. And as always, I’m cheering you on, I do have a quick favorite ask if you enjoyed this episode. Or if you’re a regular listener, and you have never left a review, I would love to encourage you to go and leave a review where you listen to podcasts. If it’s on Spotify, you can leave a rating if it’s on Apple podcasts, you can leave a rating and I love reading your reviews that you actually write. And I really appreciate it. And if nothing else, share this with an entrepreneur friend. It definitely means the world when I get a new listener who I know is being helped by this content that we put together for you guys. So thank you so much. And again as always, I’m cheering you on and I will see you guys in the New Year For show notes and resources mentioned on today’s episode head to so here’s the thing podcast.com And if you’re enjoying the podcast, I’d love to read your review in iTunes. Thanks so much for listening and I’ll catch you in the next episode.