Note to self: My 2018 year in review
When I first sat down to write this it dawned on me that it was going to be pretty tough to top 2017. Last year, people were congratulating me, emailing me for virtual coffees and even podcast interviews, about my ‘year in review’.
How could 2018, my second year in business, beat ‘leaving a VP gig with no plan, becoming a SaaS (software-as-a-service) advisor with a waitlist, and launching a passion-project-turned-business with someone 1000 miles away who I’d just met’?
For this, I’m leaning on Val Geisler’s update template (who herself leaned on others) to get me out of my own way... Here are my 2018 wins, my failures and a preview of what’s ahead:
Press play to listen to this post:
What Went Well In 2018? 🙌
💈 Clients & finances
I have to start here. I had an(other) smooth year as a SaaS marketing & growth advisor. In fact, I’m lucky again to say, that I was able to work with super cool and inspiring B2B SaaS companies, who found me. (And yes, B2B software can be very cool and inspiring.)
My earnings are up 37% over last year, expenses remained mostly flat, and I even managed to reduce my hours a bit. Yeah. I’m feeling good about the health of my little services business.
🍭 I’ve found something of a sweet spot
I’m pretty proud of how I’ve refined the way I work with clients this year. I found the highest possible business value for them, delivered in a way that comes super naturally to me.
I’ve come to know the sweet spot where they’re getting exactly what they need, and I feel amazing giving it to them. I leave my sessions on a total high. Like I’ve solved a riddle for them and now they know exactly what to do next.
🏋🏼♀️ Forget The Funnel
I split my time between my advisory work and Forget The Funnel again this year. We had some challenges (which I’ll get to) but looking at what went well is easy. For starters FTF turned one, our community tripled in size and we hosted 40 free workshops with 28 incredible guests. My FTF partner-in-crime, Claire Suellentrop and I did some of our best work together. And, we faired significantly better financially (not that 2017 was too hard to beat 😏).
A highlight of 2018 for me was, without a doubt, spending a week in Ireland. It may not sound like much, but this was a big deal for a few reasons. Not the least of which is that this was the longest I’ve been away from my kids (2 & 4). It sounds super cliché, but I felt like my own self again.
If I started to list off everyone who was a part of this experience, I’d feel like I was bragging. Let’s just say that they’re people I both idolize, and by some stroke of dumb luck, also get to call my friends.
Needless to say, I plan more of this in 2019.
Speaking of travel…
🌈 Living the dream
One of the things that I was the was most excited about in last year’s ‘year in review’ was that I was spending January (‘18) working from Kauai (Hawaii). A long-time dream of mine. My husband and I pulled our toddlers out of daycare, travelled 15+ hrs, took 2 flights, and jumped 5 timezones to paradise. (Until the ballistic missile threat, that is).
It was maybe the happiest and the most gratified I’ve ever felt. It was an ‘achievement unlocked’ in a serious way for me.
We’re doing it again, this time for two glorious winter months. We’re going to go a little easier on ourselves though this time. We’re headed to the Yucatan peninsula in Mexico. A measly 4 hour flight and no time change. We’ve booked full-time childcare so that my husband and I can continue working as usual…Just not from the deep freeze.
🙌 2018 appearances
Other than hosting our own 40+ Forget The Funnel workshops and events, you could also find me on ChartMogul’s SaaS Open Mic, The Growth Hub podcast, Everyone Hates Marketers, Databox’s Ground up podcast, The PNR podcast, SaaStock’s SaaS Revolution AMA, the SnapApp blog, the Codecademy blog and being featured by MarketHer.
I also spoke at CommerceNow 2018, ran a FTF TechLadies webinar, and sat on a panel for Female Founders: Entrepreneurship’s New Reality. I also participated in the Advancing Women in STEM community leaders forum covered here in the Montreal Gazette.
(I was also booked to speak at the Growth EU Summit but had to bow out at the last minute when I lost my voice 😵)
What Didn’t Go Well In 2018? 👎
📭 My big fat fail at writing
Two, yes two whole blog posts made it through this keyboard in 2018. Let me tell you, I’d planned a whole lot more. I have no excuse other than I’m a master of “I’m slow, I suck at it, and I have no time to write” excuses. I plan to address this by making some public promises (below).
🎢 False starts for FTF
After the impressive response we received in our first year it was tough to admit this year that we don’t have our shit sorted out yet. After the beta of our paid training in late 2017, we officially launched SaaS Marketer Essentials in the Spring. The launch went well, but we missed our goal and we were exhausted. Neither of us were looking forward to launching that way again like we planned to in the Fall.
This led to the quiet rollout of an on-demand (start at any time) version of our training. Quietly, because while we’ve been experimenting with different approaches, none of them have felt quite right yet. Because of this, we’ve put no marketing behind it. As result, we have a small group of amazing students who have loads of support when they need it. Which is pretty cool, but not our ultimate vision.
🌪 Still doing all-the-things
When Claire and I sat down to review 2018 together it was painfully clear that another year had passed with us drowning in tasks. Our free weekly workshops haven’t been run as effectively and efficiently as they could be, so there is never enough time to spend on the business.
To address this once and for all, we’re going to hire a business manager to support, not only Forget The Funnel, but both of our individual businesses too …It’s been one week and we already have 200 applicants!
A Preview of 2019 🔮
🧠 Sharing what’s in my head
I’m opinionated about what I do. Having worked nearly 20 years in marketing and the last 10 of those in tech, I have a lot to say about how the two intersect.
As a SaaS advisor I help teams get the clarity they need to deliver the customer experiences critical to their success. SaaS companies who rely on a customer subscription model will fail if they don’t get this right. Even founders of product-led companies, who understand this implicitly, rarely go far enough to really equip their team.
For years now, without really knowing it, I’ve built a process to help teams build clarity and a shared understanding of their customer’s experience. My toolkit is continuously evolving and shifting and improving, but it feels like the right time to get it out of my head — My mixed tape of the people, tools and resources I‘ve leaned on with companies like Unbounce, Appcues, Sprout Social and so many more.
I think it’s time to get it into a guide for creating clarity of purpose, understanding customers and operationalizing that understanding for growth.
If this sounds interesting and you want to be kept in the loop 👉 sign up here for updates.
👆 And there’s my public declaration.
👩🏫 Forget The Funnel
Claire and I are as focused as ever on helping elevate those whose voices are too often underestimated and undervalued in tech. Along with hiring a business manager, Claire and I are also bringing a copywriter on board to help us continue smashing the status quo for tech marketers in 2019.
We learned a ton this year about who we serve, product and business strategy. And we’re still learning. As of writing this, I’m grateful to say we’ve held 9 enlightening customer interviews, and we have more on our calendars.
When we finish our customer research in January, we’re going to go deep into product strategy and finalizing our plans for the upcoming few quarters. We cannot wait to share what we’re building with you.
Stay in the loop and join us when our fourth season of free weekly workshops kicks off in early 2019 👉 Join Forget The Funnel here.
🎤 2019 appearances
Do you have an audience of SaaS founders, marketers, women in tech or entrepreneurship? I’d love to chat 👉 Get in touch with me here.
If you’ve made it this far, serious props …and a virtual hug cause you must really dig me 💛. Have you also written a year in review? I’d love to read it! Ping me in the comments or share it with me on Twitter.