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Entrepreneurship

Episode 137: End of Year Closeout (Yearly Workflow Part 1)

December 6, 2022

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I'm  Amanda — simplicity-focused content marketing strategist.  I'm here to help you fit your marketing into your business.

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A end of year business checklist to help you close out 2022 strong, prepare your business for 2023 and get super clear about your goals.

End of Year Business Checklist

In 2022, I took 12 weeks off, went to 4 conferences, took 8 vacations, etc. And still am on track to hit my revenue goal … which is double what it was last year. And while there are so many different reasons as to why anyone does or doesn’t hit their revenue goal, the reason I was able to do so while ALSO taking so much time off was absolutely because of really intentional planning. And that comes down to the way I end my year, and how I start the new one.

As this airs, this is my fifth December and fifth year that I’m closing since starting my business. And I get questions about this topic every year, so over the next two weeks, I’m bringing you a two part series on how I close out one year and open the other, which enables me to take time off consistently throughout the year without compromising my goals.

This week’s episode is all about how I structure December, and what I do in December to prepare for the new year. I’m going to walk you through exactly what I’m doing each day in December, and then I’ll walk you through what those tasks look like as well.


Links and Resources Mentioned in This Episode:

  • Are you looking to improve your content without spending a ton of time and mental energy doing so? Whether you’re looking for help knowing what to talk about, setting up content systems, or improving your launch strategy, the Chasing Simple Shop has something for you. From A Year of Content Prompts broken up by type of content, to my Launch Strategy Mini-Course – the Chasing Simple Shop is the quick and simple way to take your content to the next level. And you can get 10% off any item by using the code LISTENER at checkout! Just head to amandawarfield.com/shop/ and again, that code for 10% off is LISTENER!
  • This week’s action step: Start doing some of these tasks to wrap up your year well, so that when you get back in office you’re not only rested, but ready to dive into an incredible 2023!! Set goals, map quarterly plan, and batch January content.
  • This week’s book recommendation: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Famous actress has had seven husbands, and of course that means there’s plenty of scandal and gossip when you’re in the public eye. She’s decided she’s finally ready to have a biography written, and a young woman with very little experience gets a chance at this dream job. You spend the book learning about Evelyn’s life story, but also about just why it is that this young writer in particular gets the gig.
  • Find me on Instagram and tell me you completed this week’s action step: @mrsamandawarfield

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Don’t forget to subscribe so that you never miss an episode! Also, if you would be willing to leave a review on Apple Podcasts, it would mean the world to me. It’s such a small thing that can make a big difference in helping me spread this message of simplicity to other overwhelmed women.

Have a comment about today’s episode, or a topic you’d like to suggest for a future episode? Shoot me an email over at hello@amandawarfield.com!


Rather Read? – Here’s the Transcript!

*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.

 In 2022, I took 12 weeks off. Went to four conferences, and took eight vacations and still am on track to hit my revenue goal, which is double what it was last year. And while there are so many different reasons as to why someone does or doesn’t hit the revenue goal, the reason that I was able to do so, Also taking so much time off was absolutely because of my really intentional planning, and that comes down to the way that I end my year and how I start the new one as this airs.

This is my fifth December and fifth year that I’m closing since starting my business, and I get questions about this topic every single year. So over the next two weeks, I’m bringing you a two-part series on how I close out one year. And open the next, which enables me to take time off consistently throughout the year without compromising my goals.

This week’s episode is all about how I structure December and what I do in December to prepare for the new year. I’m going to walk you through exactly what I’m doing each day in December, and then I’ll walk you through what those tasks look like as well. You’re listening to episode 137 of The Chasing Simple Podcast, and I’m your host, Amanda Warfield.

Let’s dive in.

First, I wanna start by sharing what it is that my December looks like and how I plan it out, because I’m really intentional about the way I plan out December because, and I’m sure most of you are the same way I used to. Try to finish up the year and spend the whole last month wrapping up projects and doing all the things and making sure I was closing the year out well for the business.

And simultaneously, I was also trying to get through this super long list that I had of all the holiday related things that I wanted to do with my husband and with my family, with my friends. And that meant that I was burning the candle at both ends. Like if you could burn a candle at more than two ends, I would’ve been because I was trying to do literally everything and also simultaneously relax and enjoy the holiday season.

And what it just led to was burnout. And I wasn’t excited about starting the new year. I started the new year feeling burnt out, which meant I wasn’t ready to dive in to all of these goals that I had set for myself. And I’m gonna guess that if you celebrate during the holiday season as well, that you probably do something similar.

So this is how I’ve set up my December so that I don’t feel that stress and that burnout anymore, and I’m able to actually relax and enjoy the holiday season and then start January feeling ready to go and ready to tackle all of the things I’m ready to tackle in the new year. So when it comes to December I put zero projects on my plate none. Zero. All of my projects get wrapped up really before Thanksgiving. I have. That’s the goal. And then I have that little bit of time between Thanksgiving and the new month to finish. But the goal is I have everything wrapped up and done by Thanksgiving so that I don’t have to worry about any new projects in the new month because projects take time and it’s not something I have in December. 

Or that’s not correct. It’s not something I want to dedicate time to in December. So the only thing I’m doing outside of closing the year is meeting with clients. I meet with my clients the last month of every quarter to plan the next quarter’s content strategy, right. And so in December, I’m meeting with all of my clients to plan out their new year, their plan for the new year, and their strategy for the first quarter.

They’ve gotta have that planned right? So, . That is the only thing that I’m doing, and all of my client work happens on Mondays. I try to fit my clients into the first two Mondays in December. Typically, I end up needing to open the third Monday in December as well. So usually that third Monday in December is my last day in office for the year.

So I have those Mondays, those two to three Mondays that are just for clients outside of that, that first week of December, Tuesday through Thursday or Friday. Is all about my CEO days and mapping out the year ahead. The second week is always batch week. I’m creating my content for January in that week, and then after that third Monday, I’m off for the rest of the year.

I am out of office goodbye, enjoying the holidays with my friends and my family, and myself. So this first week of December is all about setting goals and making plans for the next year. I’m not opening the next year yet, which I’ll get to in next week’s episode, but I am going ahead and setting goals and preparing for next year.

Now, when it comes to setting my goals for the new year, this is something that I actually start a lot sooner than the beginning of December. So all year long, the final page of my journal, Is just a running list of anytime I have an idea of something that might be a goal that I’d like to accomplish in the next year, I go ahead and write it down.

So if I think, Oh, I would love to do this thing in the new year, or I think this would be a good revenue goal, I write it down. It doesn’t mean that it’s going to be. what I end up doing. But when I have those thoughts, I go ahead and write ’em down in the back of my journal and so then I can come back to ’em when this week comes around and I can finalize instead of starting from scratch.

I also really start mapping out. My New Year’s goals and my sales projections in particular back in September. Again, it’s nothing final and it’s just a starting point, but I start selling q1. back in q4, right? I think a lot of us do that, and so in order to know how much availability I have for one to one in particular, and where I’m kind of going in that first quarter, I start thinking about that way back in September, way back before Q4 even starts, because before I can sell in q4, I have to know what it is that I’m selling, right?

So if I know that I’m gonna have X amount of one-to-one spaces, well, I have to know where that leads me within my revenue goal. And maybe I need to increase for next year. Maybe I need to decrease for next year. Or when it comes to my VIP days, especially, I need to know what dates I have available in Q1 in order to sell them during q4.

And so some of. mapping happens in September. There’s always brainstorming throughout the year, and then some mapping does happen in September, but during this week, I am finalizing things and I’m saying, These are my goals. This is where I’m going, this is how I’m gonna get there for. A more in depth look at some of these processes that I have.

I’ve already done some episodes solely on them, so I have four different episodes that you might be interested in listening to. First episode 92 is Six Steps for Planning. Your Year in Business would definitely be worth a Listen. Episode 87 is how I determine my yearly business goals, and then episodes 81 and 82 are a two part series all about my quarterly planning.

That’s what I’m doing during this week. I’m setting my yearly business goals. I’m doing my quarterly planning for the new year, and I’m also just planning for the new year in business, so episodes 92, 87, 81, and 82. I don’t know if there’s really a particular order that I would say you should listen to, Just add ’em to your list to listen to if you haven’t already, or go back and listen as a refresh.

So I do my goal setting. I map out my next quarter. That’s all happening during this week, and that takes some time, right? It’s not a, I’m gonna sit down at eight this morning and work until lunch, and then I’m gonna, It’s not a really a full workday necessarily. It’s. A workday where I have to give myself space to be the CEO and to go take walks and to give myself creative activities to do so that I can have these thoughts that come in when I make the space for them.

Some other things that I’m doing that are more like sit down kind of things would be analyzing different numbers. In my business, obviously it’s the beginning of December and so I don’t have a full look at my revenue yet, but I’m able to. pretty close to what I’m gonna make in the year by this point, right?

It’s, it’s, you know, at, at some point you have patterns and you have projections and you know, okay, I’m gonna make roughly this much in this range. So I’m looking at my revenue and I’m analyzing those numbers and what came from where, and which things were best sellers and which ones didn’t really sell at all, and what am I gonna cut next year and maybe what do I have that I could add?

You know, looking at numbers that. , but I’m also looking and analyzing numbers at anything tied to any goals that I have. So let’s say one of my goals was to bring in X number of new members, the club content bashing for the year, right? I wanna have this many members at any given time. Well, I’m gonna look at not only how many members I have, but I also need to look back at the customer journey that I’ve set up and look at those numbers.

So I wanna look at how many people landed on the sales page. And how many people actually converted from the sales page? What is the, the sales page conversion rate? I wanna look at how many people got into my email sequences and how many bought from there, What is that conversion rate? And I’m gonna look at those numbers and maybe in the new year, I’m gonna pick one of those to.

Improve. I don’t know yet. I’m just analyzing numbers right now and writing down potential thoughts of, okay, I could work on improving my email sequence, or I could work on improving my, my sales page. Or I could even look at, okay, what’s my retention rate? How long do people tend to stay? How many people stay on as v i p members?

How long do we, There are so many different numbers that can go into any different goal, but I’m looking at those goals that I had and then saying, Okay, not only did I hit them or not hit them, What do those numbers look like? Honestly, this is something that would be best if we’re doing it all year long and looking at them, but as mostly solopreneurs, I know that we don’t have a ton of time to do that, so I’m making sure I set aside the time to at least do this, at the very least at the end of the year.

I try to do it quarterly, but looking at those numbers, and this is also going to be a good time to jot down potential numbers that you wanna keep track of for next year. So when you set up in January, your new KPI sequences, you can say, or KPI spreadsheets, you can say, Okay, well I wanna track conversion rates of this landing page and I wanna track conversion.

You know, those are numbers that you could be thinking about now to track next year. We’re not creating the spreadsheet yet. We’re just jotting down ideas to come back to, to settle into over the next few weeks. Because let’s face it, this is planning for a new year and being a CEO is not something you can.

Force these thoughts. They kind of have some be mold over, which is another reason to take that time at the end of the year. But I’m analyzing those numbers and I’m jotting down potential tasks or ideas that I could do to improve them in the next year or that I wanna track in the next year. And along with that, I am auditing my business as a whole, and I’ve got three G’s that I audit.

I audit my goals, I audit my gut, and I audit my guest experience. . What I mean when I say audit my goals, I look back at my goals for the year and I say, Yes, I achieved it. No, I didn’t achieve it. But I also look back and go, Was that a realistic goal? Was it realistic to expect this to happen? And kind of process that.

I also am looking at the goals I’m planning for next year, and I’m auditing those as well and saying, Are these realistic? Is this something I can reasonably achieve? Am I trying to do too much? When it comes to my gut, what I’m doing there is I am really just making the space again to sit down with my journal and kind of write through what I want in the business.

And it’s not structured. I don’t have questions that I necessarily ask myself. It’s just. What worked, what isn’t working, what doesn’t feel good? And I listen to my gut and what it’s telling me, and this is a lot of times how I decide whether or not to close a program or whether to keep going with it, is just listening to my gut and saying, What are you telling me about what I want outta my goals for the next year?

And I do this with my personal goals too. I’m actually not using a goal planner for 2023. It’s a decision that I just made last week and. , I want to lean more into listening to my gut and planning less goals. And so when I sit here and I, you know, I, and this sounds so woo, and I’m not a woo person at all, but I am as an Ingram one, I really listen to my gut when I’m making decisions and when it comes to my personal goals.

writing the book is obviously it’s a business goal, but it’s also a personal goal for me. So I know that that’s a goal. I having 2023 and I, this is October as I’m recording this. So I haven’t set goals yet for 2023, but I know that’s one that I’ll have, right. And my gut also is telling me to continue to lean into taking care of myself and to actually eating well and working out, like taking care of me.

And right now, those are the only two personal goals that are really screaming at me. And. In past years, I’ve used goal planners and I, I needed to, They had a time and place. They were incredible. I’m not shaming anyone for using a goal planner. I’ve used goal planners and I’ve followed their structure to the detriment of listening to my gut.

And so that’s another thing that’s a long personal tangent. The point is, is that I sit down and I bring different thoughts and ideas to my gut, and I listen to what it says, and I’m auditing what it says and what I’m gonna do with my business. Based on that. Do I also look at numbers? Yes. Obviously we’re analyzing numbers for a reason, but I’m gonna take what I’ve analyzed and bring that to my gut and use both of them to balance it out.

And then the last thing is a more practical audit, and that’s my guest experience. So what I mean by that is any type of sequence or workflow or anything like that where a guest is going to experience it. So whether it’s the workflows I have in Honey Book for my one-to-one clients, or my VIP days, or the workflows I have in Honey Book for my.

Podcast interviews, those are all workflows that I have set up. Those are all guest experiences. People that come into my space are guest and they’re experiencing me through these workflows. The same thing for the sequences and workflows that I have in Kartra, which is what I use for my email service provider, but.

Every email service provider uses a different terminology, but those email sequences, those email workflows, whatever it is that your place calls them, those are also ways that guests into my world experience me in an automated form. So anything like that, that the sequence or a workflow or an automation I’m going through and I am auditing all of those, another.

Final of my guest experience is my website. That’s a huge way that guests experience me. So what I’m doing is I’m auditing is I’m pulling up all of these and I’m going through and taking a magnifying glass to it and saying, This needs to be fixed. This is not excluding people correctly, or This copy isn’t how I would like it, or, This sequence is kind of excessive.

It’s, you know, it’s not working and let’s cut it. Alls I’m doing is auditing, though I’m not fixing anything. I am just making a Trello card full of things that I can fix. Alls I’m doing is taking notes. Alls I’m doing is looking at it as a CEO from that high level bird’s eye view and saying, This is not working.

This needs to be changed. This could be improved. And this is just a. The best way that I have found personally to make sure that I am continuously improving that guest experience is setting up those systems and workflows and automations, but then constantly going back in and saying, Okay, mm, that needs to be changed.

That needs to be fixed, that needs to be updated. And really just taking that magnifying glass and looking at ’em as a whole and saying, Okay, well I need to change this link in all of them, cuz let’s be real. Sometimes you put a link in a footer and. Seven months later, it’s no longer relevant and you have to go all the way back in.

This is, that’s one of those things where it’s like, Okay, well now I wanna change this link that was linking to my one-to-one services, but now my one-to-one services are full, I’m gonna link it to my shop instead. Right. So that’s the kind of thing that you’ll note in a guest experience audit. And again, all’s I’m doing is taking notes.

I am not actually doing the work yet. This is a really laid back, low-key week where I am just letting things flow. . So then we’ve got the second week, which is batch week. You know how my batch week works? I’ve talked about it 1,000,001 times on the podcast. You can find so many different episodes about it. But what I love about doing this batch week and what I think is so important, if you do not do batch week, here’s why you should, when I’m doing my batch, In December, I am planning and creating and scheduling all of my January content so that when I come back that Monday after batch week and I finish my clients, I can close out the year knowing that I have a plan for the new year, that I’m gonna open the new year strong, and that I don’t have to feel this need to rush back into creating anything.

I can ease my way in to the new year because all of my content is scheduled and ready to go before I leave office in December. It is the best feeling in the world, but if you’re going to do batch week, you also have to have this CEO week beforehand in order to know what your plan is, unless you wanna hire me for your one-to-ones, but by the time you listen to this, Come find me and see if I have space.

We’ll see, I don’t know. But make sure you have, You’ve gotta make sure that you have time to map out your year and your goals and where you’re going in order to create strategic content. So these two really go hand in hand. You’re mapping out your year so that you can be strategic, so you can create the content that strategically aligns with where you’re going in the new year and what you’re doing and where you’re taking your business.

So that’s batch week. Make sure at the end of your batch week to put up your away message that says when you’re going to be back in office, set up that email autoresponder if you don’t have one up. I know some people keep up all the time, but if you don’t, or even if you do update it so that. They know anyone who emails you knows when you’re gonna be back in office and when they can expect to hear back from you.

I also personally like to notify all of my clients individually. I tend to let them know at the beginning of December really, and just, Hey, this is gonna be my last day in office. If you need anything from me before then, let me know. Give me plenty of time. Again, I meet with most of my clients or really all of my clients in December anyways, and so that’s not

they’re gonna be set up because I’m gonna meet with them personally. But make sure you’re letting people know when you’re gonna be back. And pro tip, Have a day in mind that you’re going to come back to your office, but tell everyone the day after. I’m gonna explain more about that in next week’s episode, episode 138, where I go over the second part of how I open the new year.

But just, just give yourself a bonus day when you’re setting up that auto reminder. And then after that, enjoy your time off for the holidays. Enjoy that time, or even if you’re not celebrating, enjoy that time to just enjoy the end of the year. Your action step for this week is to start doing some of these tasks to wrap up your year well, so that when you come back into the office, you’re not only rested, but you’re ready to dive into an incredible 2023.

So if you don’t know where to begin with that, Make sure you’re, you’ve got a batch week set up and make sure that you have at least a day to set your goals for the next year. If you don’t have time to audit your workflows and you don’t have time to audit your business and you don’t have time to analyze your numbers, that’s fine, but it’s set aside a day to set your goals and to map out your at least Q1 of the new year so that you can set up a strong batch week.

Make sure you at least do those three things. Setting your goals for the new year, outlining your Q1 for the new year, and having your batch week so that all your content is scheduled and you’re not having to worry about it as you ease into the new year. Now this week’s book recommendation is the Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins, Read.

This one feels especially timely. I, when I’m giving these book recommendations, I go just in the order that I read them, and I only give you guys the ones that ranked four or five stars unless there’s one that’s three stars. But I feel like it’s especially worth the read anyways, But I’m only telling you them in the order I read them, and so it’s really just super coincidental as to what order you get these in.

But this one feels especially coincidental right now because like I said, it’s October, early October as I’m recording this, and people on TikTok are losing their minds about Taylor Swift right now and her relationship and how. . I just it anyways. I’m not gonna get into the details cuz it’s a lot, but, and I could spend forever talking about all things Taylor Swift, but it just feels timely because she’s under a lot of scrutiny for her relationship at the moment on TikTok.

And in this book it’s about a famous actress that has had seven husbands. And of course that means that there’s plenty of scandal and gossip and you know, she’s in the public eye. And so she’s older now. She’s had seven husbands, and she’s decided that it’s time and she’s ready to have her biography written.

And she’s chosen this young writer, this young woman with very little experience. I mean, she, she works at I don’t know if it’s a magazine or something, but she works as a copywriter essentially, but she doesn’t have a ton of experience. And so you spend the whole book not only like learning the background of Evelyn Hugo’s Life and how it is that she came to have seven husbands and what that entailed.

But you’re also learning about why it was that this young writer was the one that’s chosen and it’s just a fun. and sometimes heavy read, but it was so good. I just saw someone, actually, again, very coincidental. I saw someone on TikTok either last night or this morning talking about how they hated this book.

But I really loved it a lot. So if you’ve read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts on it. And if you haven’t read it, put on your list and then come let me know. All right, my friend. I will see you next week for part two of this series, all about how to open your year strong. And until next time, I hope that you will go out and uncomplicate your life in biz.


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