10 Ways to Start Your Business Year

Happy New Year!! 2016! WOW! I don't know about you, but there is something different in the air this New Year's. I have a feeling about this year that I haven't had in a long time. There is excitement and promise of so many good things to come! (Just as soon as I recover from this hangover.)

I put together some things that you can do right now to get your year started in the best way possible! 

1. Purge
Clutter is suffocating. When my workspace is a disaster (which it often is) I find it so hard to concentrate on doing anything productive! Clean it out! AND THROW STUFF AWAY. You don't need to save most of the things you're saving. Save yourself the guilt and just chuck it. This goes for your emails, computer, and closet too! Go through that inbox today. Organize the emails you need to keep into folders and trash the rest. Get your inbox down to 0! Ok, try 20 first. Move on to your computer, do a thorough clean up of your old files and move things off of your hard drive. It's slows your machine down. Lastly, the closet. Take everything out and put them into 3 piles, things you love, things you like , things you haven't worn recently or aren't in season. Only keep those pieces you love or are staples and pack up the out of season stuff.

2. Look at your numbers
If you haven't looked at your business numbers recently, it's time. Look at your last year. How many sessions did you do? Did you meet your goal? Look at your pricing and reevaluate as needed. Be sure you are charging what you should to run a sustainable, profitable business and not just picking a number out of the air or copying a competitor's pricing. And remember, so many of us are tempted to reevaluate our pricing in the winter months because business tends to be slower. Don't do that. Look at your entire year, your COGS, and come up with your numbers the right way. 

3. Set a huge goal
Brainstorm some things you'd like to accomplish. Get a list together and then read it out loud back to yourself. What was it that made your heart go a little faster when you heard it? Circle it on your list, and BOOM, you have your goal. Make it big! Even if it's a goal that takes years to accomplish, the big goals are the most rewarding. Start to make plans to work toward the goal and start to really focus on making it happen. Those big, scary ideas that we try to push off, usually are the things that we deep down really want to do. Don't stop yourself this year. You can do it!

4. Educate
Make education a part of your business plan for the year. Sign up for a class or workshop that will challenge you. Learn something new! You can pick out some business related books and set out to read a few this year. The more you learn, the better you and your business will be long term.

5. Schedule time OFF
Go play! When you take a break your mind resets, your creativity resets, and you get the energy to come back swinging! Make sure you take care of yourself this year. Maybe you set a schedule that you don't work on Sundays, or that you're "off the clock" at 6pm each night. Maybe you take one weekend a month to go on an adventure with your family. Maybe you plan a family vacation for months down the road. Down time is necessary to be your best self. Rest your mind and body. Your business will survive, I promise. 

6. Reflect
Make a list of everything you did in 2015 personally or professionally that you are proud of. Looking back at your accomplishments does not make you a douchebag. You SHOULD be proud! And it's ok to feel proud. Own your accomplishments! 

7. Invest in a good pair of shoes
Seemingly silly, but photographers are on our feet a LOT and spending a few extra bucks to save yourself from extra discomfort is worth it.

8. Set up one software program that will make your life easier
Technology is amazing. Embrace it. Whether it's 17hats, hootsuite, latergramme, Lightroom, Boomerang, it doesn't matter which one. All of those (and lots of others not mentioned) are there to make your life easier. You'll have more time to focus on other things or maybe even be able to drink your coffee while it's hot!

9. Make self care a priority
Be nice to yourself. It's hard to be a business owner. You work too much. Give everything you can leaving little left for yourself. Go get a cup of coffee at your favorite place. Go buy a new lipstick you don't need but it looks great. Go get a manicure. Get a hot shave (dudes). Do something every week for yourself. Maybe that's just giving yourself 5 extra minutes in the shower to close your eyes and meditate. Maybe it's giving yourself 30 minutes a day to read quietly. No matter what it is, do something you enjoy, and that's JUST for you. 

10. Pay it forward
This past year I did a charity Santa event. And it was a ton of work. And I'm so excited to do it again next year. Raising enough money to feed 3 families in Haiti for a YEAR was amazing. Now, you don't need to do something on that big a scale. Next time you're in starbucks, grab one of those packs of $5 gift cards, and as you leave, hand one to the next person who enters. In your best friend's neighborhood? Drop off a bunch of flowers on their front porch. Call someone and tell them why they matter to you. We are all so lucky, and while it can be hard to see sometimes, giving to others in some small way can bring so much more joy to our lives. And it will definitely bring smiles to others as well. And what better way to start a year than that?

Happy New Year Friends! Let's go kick 2016's ass!