At the end of every year, I find myself naturally analyzing the year as a whole and starting to make a plan for the next one. Whether you typically review your year or this is your first time, this episode will guide you through the different areas to look at to do an end of year review for your business.
Can’t listen to the episode? Read on for the transcript!
I love the end of the year for a ton of reasons, but one of them is the slowing down that happens at the end of December. Even though the last quarter of the year is always a hustle for food bloggers, the very end of the year can be a great time to reset, recharge with loved ones and realign your business for the year ahead.
But first you have to look back on the past year to really have an idea of what you want to change going forward.
I love this quote and it really sums up why I think this concept of reflection is so important:
“Don’t fear failure. Fear being in the exact same place next year as you are today.” — Mel Robbins
Sometimes in the day to day of our businesses, we don’t see growth happening. Even with your blog traffic, you may see some growth, but often when you look year over year, you’ll see a much greater perspective on the ebbs and flows of your traffic.
In this episode, I’ll walk you through a few key areas that you should review at the end of each year. This is also a great list to look over each QUARTER, but if you have never done something like this, it might be helpful to start with an end of year review and pick this idea back up at the end of Q1.
I talk about this concept a lot because it was so revolutionary for me to see all of the moving pieces of my business.
If you’ve never taken the time to document the different things you do for your business from recipe development all the way to paying quarterly taxes or ordering groceries before a photoshoot day, this exercise can be extremely insightful.
Start by just grabbing a scrap piece of paper or a blank word document and start writing down all the things you do. If it’s helpful, you can categorize this into marketing, sales (or income generating tasks), business growth and content creation.
Income for the year
This is a great second step after writing down all of your tasks you do. Some things like sponsored posts or products may jump out at you in your task list. Review any transactions and try to tally up the percentages of income that you have from different income streams, like affiliate links, advertising, digital products or sponsored work.
This exercise is great for not only getting a realistic picture of your business finances, but it’s also great for seeing potential for growth in income areas, especially the ones you have control over!
While reviewing your income, it’s also a great idea to review expenses and be sure that they are all in line with your goals. Are there any subscriptions you need to cancel? Any subscriptions you could change to annual instead of monthly?
I have created a top recipes blog post every year for a handful of years and it’s always so much fun to put together and see. There are often blog posts that pop up that I wouldn’t have expected to be in my top 10 for the year.
To do this, open Google Analytics and go to behavior > site content > all pages. Then change the date to start on January 1st of this year so you can get a complete picture of the year.
From this you can see which posts are in your top 10 or 25 for the year.
(I like to look for outliers here like anything that randomly went viral or if you ran ads to a post – just to make a note of it. I usually also look at NEW content vs old content, just to see which posts took off more quickly, vs which have been in my top 10 for a while).
You can also do this with your Pinterest, Instagram or Facebook analytics to review that content as well.
This may spark some ideas of content to work on updating or creating next year!
This might not apply to everyone, but if you have team members this is a great time to review how that is going. Maybe there is a gap in your team that you need to fill or you need to make some changes with a current team member. As you looked through your tasks that you do, maybe you saw some tasks that you could outsource to an assistant or another contractor.
If you haven’t listened to episode 54 where I interviewed Emily Perron about hiring and the different common roles food bloggers hire for, definitely go back and listen to that one!
Reflecting on the year
After reviewing the different parts of your business from this year, how do you feel about the results? This is often the most important part of the review process. It’s also where you’re most likely to see what needs to change!
- What went well this year
- What didn’t go well this year
I want to mention that this year (2020) may bring up a lot of different emotions. When you are reflecting on the past year, I want to encourage you to really reflect on what you had control over. There have probably been a lot of things that didn’t go as planned this year, but be sure to not dwell on the ones you had no control over.
If you reviewed your income and realized that 80% of your income comes from ads, which had low RPMs this year, then maybe that’s a sign of needing to diversify your income streams more. That is a way to take something that may have been out of your control and turn it into something you can control moving forward.
By the end of next year, what would you like to have accomplished? I want to remind you of the quote I shared at the beginning of this episode. Reverse engineer it so that you are thinking about what you want to be different at the end of next year.
In what areas do you want to feel differently? What can you start doing NOW to start making those changes?
Once you think through some goals, I would really encourage you to break the goal down into action steps. For example, if by next November, you want to have 50k pageviews and apply for Mediavine ads, what’s the first step you need to do to take that goal into your own hands? Figure out how you can measure the goal along the way to help your progress on it!
If you want to double your income by next year, what do you need to do to make that happen?
It’s so easy to say you want to grow your blog, but really get specific about what that means.