Reflection and recapping is one of the most critical things you can do as a business owner. Looking back on the projects, launches, and initiatives you’re spending your time on – and evaluating what’s working, what’s not working, and how you can improve the next time around – is how you grow and scale.
We’ve been doing it since the beginning here at Entrepreneurs On Fire, and hopefully our monthly income reports have served as a guide for how you can do this in your own business, too.
Knowing your numbers, what activities generate engagement and impact, and what moves the needle revenue-wise for you and your business is priceless.
Reflecting and recapping 2021
Entrepreneurs On Fire turned nine years old in September 2021, and as we stepped back to look at the many milestones, achievements, and lessons we’ve learned, we realized what a big leap we’ve made.
Again, this is the importance of taking the time to look back – so you can identify the triggers and actions you’ve taken that have helped you get to where you want to be.
As we wrapped up 2021, John and I both found ourselves with more breathing room than ever before. We still work very hard, but we work hard in a much different way than we have in the past.
Today we are working hard in short sprints:
- John on producing the podcast, which he accomplishes working 4 – 5 days per month, and
- Me on running our communities and sponsorship growth, which I accomplish by working about 2-3 hours per day
A year ago I was still looking at RescueTime reports with 40+ hours per week on them. Now I rarely hit 20 hours per week.
Thing is, we’re generating more revenue now than in most other years we’ve been running the business.
Running a lifestyle business
This obviously didn’t happen on accident – or overnight.
For the past several years – and in a big way since 2018 – John and I have very consciously been working only on the things that meet all 3 of these criteria:
- We love it
- It creates positive impact for Fire Nation
- It generates revenue
That’s one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned over the past nine years: if you have a goal to work a certain way, or to run a business a certain way, then you have to map it out. It’s not just going to magically happen. That vision requires a roadmap and a lot of accountability.
It was in 2018 when we realized we didn’t want a massive business with dozens of employees that required us to work all the time.
We want a business we love, that creates positive impact for Fire Nation, and that generates revenue. So that’s what we started to focus on.
The 80/20 rule
And so in 2018, when we took a step back and established this, we made a promise: everything must meet those 3 criteria.
Turns out, this was our version of the 80/20 rule: 20% of our efforts produce 80% of our results.
2021 was a shining example of implementing this.
While the first quarter of 2021 was a bit top-heavy with John’s book launch, you’ll see the remainder of the year was pretty light – on purpose.
Everything we touched this year was something that contributed to our vision of how we want to run our business, and how we want to live our lives.
So before I actually recap our 2021, I challenge you to create space for yourself so you can realize your vision.
Bigger and better
It’s not going to happen overnight, but if you can actually see it and describe it, then you can get there.
Problem is, most business owners and entrepreneurs don’t do this. They sprint as fast as they can towards something “bigger and better”, but they don’t know what that “bigger and better” actually means, or what it looks like.
So what it is for you?
Maybe it is growing your team by 20%, launching a new software, creating another online course, or launching a new podcast. And a result you are able to leverage your skills as a manager and team builder, you have more money in the bank, and you’re creating partnerships along the way.
Or maybe it’s doubling down on your highest converting funnel, and focusing on your core offer. As a result you’re able to scale up and spend less time on your business, and more time with your family.
Bigger and better doesn’t always mean more time, more resources, or more stress. Bigger and better can mean less time spent, fewer resources expended, and less stress – all the while, more joy and love for what you do, more impact, and more revenue.
The best part is, you get to choose exactly what bigger and better looks like for you and your business.
Fear, doubt, imposter syndrome – yes, we’ve absolutely dealt with all of these emotions and plenty of other roadblocks along the way. We continue to face challenges today – running a lean team that’s completely virtual, only taking on opportunities that we’re VERY excited about, and saying no to things that could be really awesome.
Month by month breakdown
Now, let’s dive in :)
Every month we report in detail what we spent our time doing, how much revenue we generated, and how much money we spent.
You can check out every one of our monthly income reports for more, but here we’ll give a nice overview of what our 2021 looked like.
Gross revenue Jan – Nov 2021: $2,510,654 (pending Dec reports)
Net revenue Jan – Nov 2021: $2,092,428 (pending Dec reports)
% of net profit to overall gross revenue: 83% (pending Dec reports)
January 2021 income report
Our big focus for the first quarter of 2021 was John’s book launch for The Common Path to Uncommon Success.
In January, we reviewed a bit of our pre-order strategy and talked about the bulk buy packages we put together for those who jumped in to support the book!
Biggest lesson learned in January: Your health is everything!
February 2021 income report
February was perhaps one of John’s BIGGEST interview months ever! Because of The Common Path to Uncommon Success book launch, John was interviewed on 139 other podcasts in the month of February!
Wondering what our book launch funnel looked like? We share that in our February income report!
John also started recording the audio book for The Common Path to Uncommon Success in February.
Biggest lesson learned in February: The power of organization
March 2021 income report
It’s GO TIME! The Common Path to Uncommon Success launched March 23, 2021, and March’s income report was fully focused on a lot of our launch details. Be sure to check it out!
Here’s a full recap of our book launch – what worked well, what didn’t work so well, and our biggest lessons learned!
Biggest lesson learned in March: Is it hard work, luck, or both?
April 2021 income report
In April we hopped up to Florida for our Top 10 Tony Robbins Mastermind!
This was an extraordinary weekend with lots of lessons learned. This was also our “calm after the storm” month having just conquered John’s book launch!
Biggest lesson learned in April: Play at the highest level of fulfillment
May 2021 income report
May was our first month in the HubSpot Podcast Network! This was a very exciting time for us – and for HubSpot!
This is also the month John traveled to Northern Cali for his first ever 10-day water fast at True North.
Biggest lesson learned in May: Creating good habits isn’t always easy
June 2021 income report
June brought two exciting announcements! This is the month I announced my Keynote at Podcast movement, and John announced his stage time at Funnel Hacking Live!
Both were stellar events, but we’ll get into that more in next month’s income report!
Biggest lesson learned in June: Unplug to connect
July 2021 income report
July was a travel month for us! We took a trip to Maine to visit John’s family and enjoyed some R&R. We spent the last part of the month making sure we were all ready for Podcast Movement in August.
Biggest lesson learned in July: Put in the reps
August 2021 income report
Our focus in August was Podcast Movement. I keynoted the event, and John spoke on stage alongside one of our fellow HubSpot Podcast Network hosts, Sam Parr from the podcast My First Million.
It felt great to be back in the conference scene!
This is also the month I launched a new podcast with my girlfriend Nicole called Nicole and Kate Can Relate.
Biggest lesson learned in August: Open, honest conversations
September 2021 income report
In September John spoke at Funnel Hacking Live. He had nothing but great things to say about the event – and his time on stage!
We also took a time out in our September income report to highlight the love and joy our Goldendoodle Gus has brought into our lives :)
Biggest lesson learned in September: Celebrating Milestones
October 2021 income report
In October John launched a new podcast called NFT’s On Fire! This is more of a fun, side project than anything else, and John has been diving DEEP into the crypto, blockchain, NFT world. Exciting times!
Biggest lesson learned in October: If it’s not broke, improve it!
November 2021 income report
In November we recapped the first 6 months of 2021!
Biggest lesson learned in November: Recapping and reflection
December 2021 income report
In December we recapped the second 6 months of 2021! This post isn’t published yet, but we’ll be sure to update our numbers and the recap here once it’s live!
Biggest lesson learned in December: Coming soon :)
What are your biggest lessons learned and takeaways from 2021?
Now it’s your turn!
We highly encourage you to take a step back – schedule 1-2 hours on your calendar this week and recap and reflect on 2021.
Here are some questions and thought-starters to help:
- When you look back on 2021, what stands out to you most about your business?
- What are 5-10 biggest lessons learned from 2021?
- What are you most proud of?
- What will you shed and leave behind in 2021?
- What will you call on for 2022?
- What’s your #1 biggest focus right now?
We hope this recap has inspired you to continue to take time out – every month, or every quarter – to ask yourself some of these questions. We can promise you this: it will make a huge difference on your journey!
Happy 2022, Fire Nation! :) Kate & JLD