One Month In, How’s Your Business?

I am not a huge fan of making resolutions on January 1, but I am a huge fan of resolving, so I usually end up setting some sort of yearly goal. This year, I didn’t really set a SMART goal. Instead I just sort of vaguely thought, “I need to do better at everything,” with everything including running more often, marketing more efficiently, visiting with friends regularly, and probably most importantly, cleaning at least now and then.

A surprising thing has happened. Despite the lack of a defined goal, I have been superduper busy. The kind of busy where you occasionally forget to eat. The first week of the year, several past clients got in touch with new orders, and a few referrals metaphorically knocked on my door. My invoices for the month of January were double my best month of 2011.

When I realized that January was the best month ever for Smiling Tree Writing, I was shocked. The last quarter of 2011 was terrible. Both my father-in-law and my grandfather were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, suffered rapid declines in health and passed away during that time. From August until December, my life was about family, terminal illness and grief. In many ways, just living felt like a slow, tortuous climb.

Luckily, my three longest-term clients were understanding and I was able to continue working with them, but pretty much everything else business-related was put on hold. As a client once told me, “Personal turmoil is never good for your business.” I didn’t do any in-person networking, participated only in the most minimal way in social networking, sent no query emails or letters, certainly made no cold calls, and fully expected to more or less start from scratch in January.

You can imagine my surprise when my accountant handed me the numbers for 2011 and I found that my income from writing had almost tripled it was in 2010. You may be imagining now that I am getting close to that fabled “six figure income from writing at home!” That is so far from the truth it’s embarrassing -BUT! Holy moly! My business was growing, even with all the difficulties of 2011. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. Going forward, I expect to encounter more difficulties; it’s almost inevitable in business that bumps in the road will come around every now and again and so I’ve been looking into things that can help relieve me of these stresses so I can direct my focus at the core of the business. For example, I’ve been looking into what is a peo as I think this could be a good way to lift some of the HR and legal aspects of the business off my shoulders.

Things are settling down, and I am once more marketing and networking and query-ing. Oh, and posting on this blog, which has been sadly neglected for a month. A few others have reported being similarly busy in January.What about you? Have you experienced a noticeable increase in your workload so far in 2012?

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