‘Tis the season for reflection (usually)I’ve “logged off” for the year already and with my spare time (ha!) I’ve been seeing a raft of reflective social media posts and blogs doing the rounds, it’s the end of the year, it’s the end of the decade. To be honest, I wasn’t going to do one this year because, well, I’m well and truly tapped out. But as things always do, seeing the reminders around the place inadvertently flicked a switch in my brain that has made me stop and think about what the last decade held for me – maybe I was burying my head in the sand about it because my initial reaction was I didn’t do much in a decade….. but boy, was I wrong. In fact, I started the decade having just started dating my first ever boyfriend (who would later become my husband – poor sucker), ventured on my first ever trip overseas (to Vanuatu), purchased our first home, got married, changed jobs, and things were humming along for the first half of the decade. Then, halfway through the decade was the most life-changing, life upheaving, high of highs, and low of lows year of my life. And to be completely honest, I’ve felt like I’ve been in a foggy haze in the years following that year (which I can either put down to the clouds of grief, or the annihilation of my body and sleep patterns thanks to the birthing of two gorgeous children – and one business baby – in that time). And it’s only been in the last 12 months that the enormity and the processing of everything that has happened in this decade have started to happen thanks to some phenomenal people who have come into my life. So that’s my little summary of the decade – but here’s my five lessons I’ve come across for 2019 in my business life because honestly, that’s what has given me the biggest learnings over the year.
Biz Lessons Courtesy of 2019
1. Sharing your knowledge, speaking up and finding your voice won’t kill you.Doing my first real-life speaking gig this year at WordCamp Brisbane was by and far the biggest high for the year for me (and for this little introvert, was a massive realisation that being visible can be fun). Standing at the front of the room ready to deliver my presentation, I instantly felt myself flashback to standing at the front of a class of my peers in high school (which is the last time I really attempted public speaking), the nerves, the sweaty palms, everything – but with a few deep breaths, I managed to get the ball rolling. And by the end of it, I probably could have broken out in a goofball dance and kept on rolling. I got through the entire presentation, had some lovely feedback from attendees, and plenty of questions when it came to Q&A time at the end – it really made me realise that people do want to know about my knowledge and experiences and that can help fellow small business owners in their day to day operations even when I think it won’t. I was super nervous about speaking to a large audience but as I discovered, no, it didn’t kill me, it may have exhausted me by the end of the day energy-wise, but I lived to tell the tale. And I’ll be doing it again at the Virtually Yours Conference 2020 in Sydney!
2. There are a lot of shoulds in business – but it doesn’t mean you should do all of them.It came off the back of speaking at WordCamp Brisbane – I felt like I should be building courses, building sales funnels, building a team, growing my business. I had some sessions with a couple of different business coaches throughout the year too – I should get clear on my offerings, I should niche, I should be doing more of XYZ. I had moments of absolute overwhelm because I’d get a flurry of ideas and then go hard in trying to implement them all at once because I felt like I should. To be honest, all of the shoulds sapped all the joy out of my massive high and the monkey chatter in my brain took over and negated all of the big wins I’ve had for myself professionally and personally this year. Which was when I realised I needed to put down the shoulds and really look at what I wanted for myself, my business and my clients – and all of the extra noise took me away from the things I enjoy the most. Hence why I came to the conclusion that I didn’t have to follow the should train.
3. Just because you’re good at it doesn’t always mean you need to offer it as a product/service.I started my business as a generalist admin support because that’s what I’ve always known – being an Office Administrator meant in employed land I had many different tasks that I was given and generally, I had to jump in and figure it out / learn the new system / learn the new process because I was the go-to person in the office for most things. So I’ve carried this always learning and doing all the things attitude into my business (which is always great for my clients). And not to toot my own horn, I always have been very good at anything that has been thrown my way. I’ve had many moments where I’ve done particular tasks and projects for my clients and then have been told I should offer it as a service and market it as a service I offer. But in all honesty, after doing that particular project for a client, it’s not something I’d like to be doing constantly time and time again for other clients. Over the Christmas break as much as I would love to be doing nothing (and I’m going to try my darndest to stick to that) I know that once I’ve had a week or so of pure downtime things will start popping into my radar around my services and offerings for 2020 and planning brain will kick in. Small business is ever-evolving so I’m looking forward to really looking hard at what I currently offer and what I can offer in the future and really asking the hard questions – in the words of Marie Kondo – “does it spark joy?”
4. It’s ok to switch off and take time out for yourself.This has been a huge one for me this year – I’ll admit, I’ve had quite a few speed wobbles this year and I’ve been forced by my body to switch off and take time out with some big illness hits. Ever the people pleaser I didn’t listen to the warning signs both mentally and physically and tried to push through at times when I should have allowed myself to switch off and take time out. Hence why I’ve switched to offline over the Christmas and New Year break this year – as quoted by Ann Lamott, “almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes, including you”.
5. Small business isn’t a solo sport – connect with people who cheer you on and make you smile.Throughout the year I’ll admit, I bunkered myself down and hid in my office cave a little too much – and boy oh boy did I feel it. It’s an interesting thing because I thought I had settled myself into solo business life well and wasn’t missing the daily office interactions that generally came in employee land as an office administrator. But partway through the year, after I had been hiding myself away for a period of time I started to feel the disconnection and loneliness creep in. It was around that time I landed the temp role for a few months and was in amongst it again – which gave me the social interaction I was craving for a short while – but it made me realise how much I missed it. For 2020 one of my key goals is to find some local biz besties that I can connect with more regularly and potentially look at a mastermind type group because I’m really feeling the urge to connect with likeminded women in business. I have fellow business owners that I connect with online regularly but it just isn’t the same as in-person and face to face.
My Fun Parts and Wins From 2019
- Completed Next Level Results with my uber phenomenal client Emily Chadbourne (who has helped me massively with my mindset this year)
- Met my biz hero Lorraine Murphy in person at her Baby You’re Remarkable Brisbane Book Launch Dinner in November
- Launched my first online course on Skillshare – Top 3 G Suite Tools That Enhance Productivity – January
- Facilitated my first ever in-person workshop teaching G Suite – July
- First speaking gig at a conference at WordCamp Brisbane – August
- Named in the Top 100 in the Anthill Cool Company Awards ( and attended the awards party in Melbourne – February
- Named as a finalist in the Australian Small Business Champion Awards for Business Services – February.
- Released my first ever eBook – 8 Building Blocks to Start Your Small Business – February
- Built four new websites on my newly purchased Divi theme license (one being a rebuild of my own website) – my inner geek LOVES this kind of work.
- Facilitated two webinars on G Suite for Virtually Yours and The VA Tech School (so much fun).
- Attended the Australian Virtual Assistants Conference in Melbourne for networking and learning (and finding out I’m a pretty bad snorer… wasn’t just my husband bagging me out after all)
- Attended the Office Professionals Breakfast where Libby Moore (Former Chief of Staff for Oprah Winfrey) was guest speaker – she truly wowed me and shook me out of I’m just an admin support world
- Joined Kate Toon’s Digital Masterchefs Membership – honestly, if you are in business for yourself, this group is a must!
- Provided support and services to 23 clients this year – 10 long term ongoing clients and 13 brand new clients.
- 2 camping trips away with hubby and the kiddos (this is a win because the second trip was greatly improved than the first – ha!)
Korryn Haines is an administration ninja with over 10 years of administrative experience in a wide range of industries. Based in Brisbane and founder of Encore Admin Consulting, she provides virtual assistant services and administration process consulting services to micro and small businesses. She loves a nice big pot of tea, smashing out a BodyPump class and spending time with her young children, husband and lovable Cocker Spaniel. Connect with her on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram.