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Q1 Review - Looking Back and Looking Ahead

Updated: Sep 15, 2022

I believe in regular review as a tool in personal development. However, one of the things I've struggled with as a small business owner is developing a new rhythm - one that doesn't involve the daily commute, human office mates, and dropping off/picking up the pup from daycare. So, I'm publicly declaring here that I am going to do and publish a quarterly review each quarter in 2022. After doing it four times, I'll see what I think about this as a practice going into 2023.

This first review will be slightly longer as I'm going to write out the process I plan to use in this post so that I can refer back to it in future posts and also so that I can iterate on it as I see what works and what doesn't.

What is a quarterly review?

Large companies do quarterly reports to stockholders and others. Additionally, workplaces committed to growth and development of their employees do regular check ins and feedback with their employees - quarterly personnel reviews are sometimes a part of that. Additionally, dividing large scale goals and projects into smaller quarterly or monthly pieces is aligned with concepts like The 12 Week Year, the 90 Day Year, and the Full Focus Planner.

Why am I doing quarterly reviews?

I think of this as my quarterly report to my stockholder (me) and my clients. I have also noted in my current weekly and monthly reviews that my personal learning and development is slipping a bit as I launched the business, as are my health practices. While short term slippages occur, if I don't continuously monitor and establish regular check ins, things could go on for too long and I'd simply lose sight of them.

What process will I use?

My quarterly review will include both a look back and a look forward. As I build these reviews over time, I will also reflect on what worked and what didn't in the review process and update that accordingly. I'm also going to experiment with putting a little video update in each of these as well.

  1. I'll update my monthly "what am I doing now?" page on my personal website - One of the things I've realized as I launched my business is that my desire to explore other "non-business" topics still exists and I will keep exploring those on my personal site.

  2. I've been doing that monthly update for three months now and I love it. I'm going to add in a couple of other questions/activities to create a short but regular monthly review. (I doubt I'll talk about those much here.) Reviewing regularly (weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc.) means that each review will be less intense and any issues can be caught at the earliest possible time.

  3. I'll do some reflection. I've been collecting and thinking about a few questions that I might want to think about and write about in my journal. The questions in Orion Marx's article are an excellent example of questions you might want to think about in a quarterly review.

  4. I'll also do some quantitative review and, if necessary, update to projections and goals. A few things I'll be looking at include:

    1. Revenue collected

    2. Project revenue booked

    3. Expenses

    4. Content metrics (blog, twitter, YouTube, Medium, Newsletter, etc.)

    5. Calendar Review - how am I using my time? What is out of balance?

  5. After the review, it is time to look ahead so I'll do some planning. I have an annual plan and I am going to be reviewing that each quarter and making updates to it.

The Q1 2022 Review

With all of that process out of the way, it's now time to focus on the Q1 review. You may notice that my review bounces back and forth between "personal" items and "professional" items. Part of the goal of launching my own business is to achieve a fully integrated life that works well for me in the balance between personal life and professional achievement.

Here is a list of accomplishments for Q1:

  • Launched my business including landing on a name, logo/creative design, completing federal and state registration processes, finding an accountant, and launching a web site.

  • I set up business email, invoice tools, calendly, and more.

  • I've completed at least 2 business development activities each week. This is my minimum viable business development goal. If I average business development activities, my weekly average is 4.

  • Took a wonderful vacation (Marvel Day at Sea cruise) with best friend Gayle. Booked a trip to Glacier National Park on Amtrak for later this summer.

  • Started AKC Obedience classes with Kona the Mini Double Doodle. (Goal: Earn AKC Canine Good Citizen Certification by the end of 2022)

  • Kona and I began doing our hospice volunteer work with Paradigm health.

  • Figured out & secured health insurance as a small business owner.

  • Spent an e-learning day with my great niece and nephew, hosted my great niece for a sleepover and spent several days at my dads which meant more time with the kids and family.

  • Served as an alumni captain in the March 2022 Ship 30 for 30 cohort, published every day thus far in that cohort. You can join me in the April cohort if you'd like (and get $100 off)

  • Published 30 pieces of content to Medium

  • Published 7 newsletters weekly newsletters

  • Defined a minimum viable publishing schedule (blog posts every Friday here, newsletter every Monday, Medium articles at least one other day per week)

  • Signed 8 clients and completed 2 projects in their entirety and 5 projects remain active/billable. One is signed but yet to kick off.

  • I started my patio garden for 2022 by planting seeds (with the help of my great niece during our sleepover).

What fell off in Q1:

  • I set too many learning goals thinking I now had all sorts of "free" time. I have control of my time but the amount of time didn't change. I need to re-assess and set a more reasonable goal for what I can and what I want to complete to benefit my personal growth.

  • My fitness is a bit of a mess. I have only logged 48 "workouts" on Peloton since January 1, 2022. While that might seem like a lot, 29 of them are meditations and every one of those 48 workouts were in January. I strongly believe in the power and importance of meditation so I don't mind at all if there is a higher ratio of meditations to workouts. However, when you realize that you've not logged a workout since Feb 1 and it's now Mar 31 - that's a problem.

  • I met my projected revenue goal in February. I only met 75% of my goal in March. My goal is a stretch goal but I need to continue to fine tune how budget and finance will work as a small business owner.

What are the plans for Q2:

  • I launched coaching as a service for Monarch Strategies in Q1. I am going to create and launch a cohort based small group coaching program in Q2.

  • I am serving as a Moderator for Building a Second Brain Cohort 14. My "side hustle" which I talk more about on my personal website is around helping people become more informed knowledge workers. I plan to publish at least three YouTube videos geared towards my side hustle and personal knowledge management.

  • Kona will take his Canine Good Citizen test for the first time. I'm not going to get too worried if he has to take the test more than once. I'm just happy we will take it the first time and understand more about what it's like.

  • I am going to develop at least two direct "mailings" or other direct customer outreach as a business development activity.

  • I've decided that my target is going to be signing at least two new contracts each month. These may be with existing clients or new clients.

  • I will spend four hours each month doing RFP search/review and then, if I identify viable RFPs will respond to proposals for those RFPs.

  • I am going to log at least 10 active Peloton workouts each month that are 10 minutes or more in length (and as much meditation as I want) in Q2.

  • I will complete one course or learning program on Coursera. I'm leaning towards the Google Data Analytics Certificate. My Coursera subscription expires in September and I am not making good use of it right now.

  • I will get to enjoy some wonderful time with my dad and sister on our trip to Glacier National Park in Q2. We also have several family activities and events and Gayle and I have a week of vacation booked in Q2 as well.

Thanks for reading along and for helping to hold me accountable. If we're chatting, feel free to ask me about progress on any of these items.


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