If I had to define my business plan in three words for 2021, it would be SEEING WHAT STICKS. I tried a little and a lot of everything. So instead of New Year’s Business Resolutions, I am doing a recap of Last Year’s Business Revelations. Perhaps it is partly to try to make myself feel better, like I actually accomplished something. Because mostly this past year, despite my elaborate cash flow and strategic planning I have always done, I feel like I haven’t accomplished more than just trying to tread above water.
Alayne’s Last Year’s Revelations List
1. A complete revamp of my entire business model, for one, making an attempt to think that I could get my clients and their friends to think of alaynewhite.com for their beauty needs.
2. Using what seems like an infinite amount of time to post almost daily on Instagram and Facebook with more structure and intent only to find myself needing to check constantly for feedback so that the continued posts can, well, continue.
3. Writing blogs and more blogs.
4. Creating email campaigns to arrive in clients inboxes competing with the other thousands of emails I have found myself scrolling through upon waking up (before I even pee for goodness sake) to see if I missed something.
5. Creating quizzes for clients to take to find out their best and simplest skin routine.
6. Asking clients to refer friends when I realized that most of my business is coming from clients who already recognize my brand. And spending $49 a month on said referral program to find out six months later, not one person has used the 25% discount code and then promptly deleted said app.
7. Spending countless hours and money trying to figure out algorithms, understanding the technical maze that is everything behind the scenes of making a successful website only to realize that it needs a revamp again to make it easier to shop.
8. Spending countless hours and money trying to understand and implement SEO that frankly, I didn’t even know what the initials stood for (Search Engine Optimization in case you didn’t either) or why it even matters (oh, how it matters…)
9. Hiring high school interns to do videos, edit videos, add music and snazzy hashtags so I can post something that looked more polished and less like a fifty seven year old trying to stay current.
10. Hiring someone from a website called Fiverr that has become the go to place to hire freelancers who know what the hell they are doing so I don’t have to spend my precious time signing up for yet another $47! or $97! online course I will never finish anyway.
11. Then there is one of my favorite nuggets to come out of 2021- the decision to make custom curated gift boxes instead of selling service gift cards and all that comes along with this that I never knew until I did.
- Ordering supplies to make the gift boxes
- Learning how to pack and ship gift boxes
- Ordering all of the goods that go into the gift boxes.
- Hiring photographers to take photos of gift boxes.
- Getting clients to trust me to hand put together gift boxes.
This in itself could be its own full time business.
12. Add to this my deepest desire to write more and my weekly participation in not one but two writing groups that made me actually think I could and should finally put some of my writing together and actually write a book. I did that too. (Launching pretty soon).
What Does This Mean?
I read this all and want to remind the reader that I have no family responsibilities. My son is grown, has a job and requires little from me. I am no longer married and my current partner has his own house so I don’t have any negotiating other than who is going to whose house on any given evening and who is making dinner.
I have my health so I am not consumed with doctor’s appointments. Traveling has been cut from Covid, as has most of the leisure activities like lectures, theater, movie-going that used to interrupt my days. Basically I have complete freedom and an exorbitant amount of free time. Alayne + boredom are not good combinations so I have made chaos happen to keep me engaged.
I met with one of my key people, a computer wiz who has helped me along the technical maze mainly because he can take one of a thousand ideas from “Alayne’s Brain” and make it work behind the scenes. After we spent an hour or more reviewing my website, I heard him say the now familiar, “Just pick one or two things and make those great, Alayne.”
I struggle with this. I always have. I can’t blame any of this on Covid. Or cancer, either. This has been a personality trait of mine for as long as I can recall. I have enjoyed the many moving parts that make up one’s life and I have many moving parts. This gives me angst and pleasure simultaneously. In the self inflicted chaos it causes is the complete delight when it is cleaned up and finished.
What's Next for 2022?
As I look ahead into 2022 and beyond, I have given myself a free pass to make no goals, no initiatives, no major planning activities. I just want to use my business as a way to be as nice to clients as they have been to my business, to spread some joy and love through my custom curated boxes, and to continue to offer the level of service in every point of contact clients have come to expect.
As I look ahead, I also have given myself permission to choose how I want to do business, who I want to do business with and hopefully find some balance in a disrupted world that has become seemingly more on edge with every interaction.
We do facials. We sell skin care. We use beauty as an excuse to spread joy and grace. Does what we do matter in the large scheme of things? Hardly. But what I think continues to matter more than ever is kindness to each other— patience, calmness, understanding— even if we don’t agree with each other.
I am surely in no position to preach some mantra, I have had my share of less than stellar moments this year reacting to downright rudeness from a (thankfully) small percentage of customers. At times, I didn’t recognize myself as I found myself short tempered responding to some flip comment or someone arguing with me about a decision I had to make to keep my business alive. Deep breathing has become my intimate partner on a daily basis. The majority of clients have been my calming breath though. Their words, their reviews, their trust and their business have been a form of sustenance that I can never repay in service.
We are all on our own in how we move through our daily interactions, but what I know from my many friends and business owners is that we are all fried rather than refreshed, headed into 2022. This is not the norm for businesses- usually after a stellar holiday season, we are excited for the upcoming next year so often filled with the hopes and dreams of possibility.
If I really do feel like 2021 was filled with revelations, it would be the simple fact that today, this moment, is all that matters. My thoughts are just thoughts and all we can do is take it day by day and do the best we can with them.
I am grateful and appreciative of every sale that comes my way, so keep shopping and if that is not your thing, please tell someone you know who may not know about my business or another business you love. This is what will get us through 2022.
And if you are not following me on Instagram, that helps too @alaynewhite.