Starting 2020 Right: 20 Goals to Start the New Decade

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As we transition into a new decade, we’re doing so with more tools than any entrepreneur has ever had in history. Living in the age of technology and digital content means that we have more access to resources and education to catapult our businesses into massive success. Once we fully recognize and embrace the benefits of where we are, we can move forward with precision, the right techniques and confidence.

2020 goals

One thing hasn’t changed, though: success still hinges on having goals. Casting a vision for yourself and your company is essential in order to create a path for where you want to go. As 2020 is just beginning, we put together this list of goals to consider in order to get started on the right foot.

1. Redesign your website.

Maybe 2020 is the year for a website makeover. How old is your current design? Does it accurately reflect your brand, your personality or the way your business has grown? Maybe it’s time for a fresh look.

A website redesign can have a way of re-invigorating your business efforts by helping you reevaluate your message and business strategy. And maybe it’s time to start deploying more digital marketing techniques, such as beefing up your blog with new, regular content and building your email lists. Both content marketing and email marketing parts can benefit from the “jolt” of improved design implementation on your site.

While a whole-site redesign can be a huge undertaking, there are always things you can do to tweak and improve the functionality of your website. Here are a few easy things to tackle if a redesign isn’t possible.

  • Instead of changing themes, you can clean up menu items to better reflect how users interact with your site based on analytics data.
  • Make sure links actually work. Include correct, updated information throughout your site.
  • Update/add testimonials from last year’s projects
  • Update your About page. How current is your headshot?

2. Start an exercise routine.

If you don’t take care of your well-being, you’ll decrease your chances of enjoying the decade to the fullest. Depending on the scope of work, it’s not uncommon for many business owners to spend lots of hours behind a desk. If you’re sitting for long hours, this can be a slippery slope toward obesity.

This isn’t to say that you shouldn’t sit to get your work down. Many people need to sit to focus, alternating between standing and sitting for certain tasks. However, this is a charge to make sure exercise and physical activity are major components of your life.

Prioritize exercise by finding a workout that you can do every single day. Even if you only spend 30 to 45 minutes in the gym, you can increase your lifespan and improve your quality of life tremendously. The easiest way to exercise more is to build it into your schedule for the day just as you would any other standing meeting or appointment. Maybe you can use your lunch break for a workout and then eat at your desk when you return. For the days you can’t make it to the gym, go for a walk or jog in your neighborhood. Set an alarm or reminder so you don’t forget. Do a dance workout or a yoga video at home. Get creative, but be intentional about exercising.

3. Take a course.

When you take time to educate yourself on a specific subject matter, you’ll simultaneously expand your level of expertise. As a business owner, it’s essential to maintain a competitive edge. While being self-taught has its place, a course can help you remain relevant and aware of the latest developments within your field.

If you’re running a marketing company, learn more about the latest digital marketing tactics and tools. Take a more advanced WordPress training course at least once a year to improve your competitive edge in the marketplace. If you’re a freelancer, maybe you want to devote all of 2020 to growing your freelance business with the Freelance Leap Year course.

4. Master one social media platform.

Social media is such a powerful way to connect with your current customers while gaining new ones. With so many social media platforms available, it might be tempting to join them all to expand your impact.

Instead, focus on one main social media platform first. As you dominate that platform, you can incorporate another one. As you get better at creating brand recognition on one platform, it’ll be easier to gain traction with others. Unless you have a social media manager who can handle multiple platforms at once, it’s a better idea to focus on maximizing your reach on one platform before branching out to the others. It’s also wise to consider where your audience is. If you’re looking to reach out to Millennial mothers, Instagram is the place to hang out. If you’re trying to reach tech-savvy wordsmiths, Twitter is a great choice. Consider your audience before creating a social media profile.

Check out this social media marketing workshop for more on how to leverage social media as a relationship builder, content curation vehicle and listening device.

5. Attend a conference.

Conferences are incredible opportunities to place yourself in rooms with people you either admire or want to connect with. Depending on the conference, you can also learn a great deal about how to approach certain aspects of your business from new and fresh vantage points. As you connect, learn and grow, you’ll naturally become invigorated and inspired to do better. When a lot of people attend conferences, they typically leave feeling motivated to step up their game and do better.

The WordPress community has a ton of opportunities, mainly your local WordPress Meetup group, as well as hundreds of WordCamps throughout the year. You may even want to consider a larger event like WordCamp US 2020 (October 27 – 29, 2020 in St. Louis).

6. Use reviews and feedback to your advantage.

People who tend to experience growth and success are also the ones who are open to feedback regarding how they can improve. If you’re someone who is really guarded and sensitive to criticism, it’s going to be hard for you to improve because you can’t see a total view of what needs to change.

Maybe you already know you struggle with being open to feedback or take criticism too personally, but maybe this is the year you can learn to value what you can learn through feedback. Practice exposing yourself more to feedback. Use a mindful approach to observe what you feel and think as you read or hear feedback from your colleagues, boss, clients and customers.

For example, when people leave reviews online, see if there’s any truth to what they’re actually saying. Send out a few customer surveys in order to gain feedback. Get a mentor who can come in and teach you ways to change or improve your processes. When you’re opening yourself up to constructive criticism, you’ll become more likely to succeed.

7. Try a new digital marketing strategy.

As we mentioned in the website redesign section, maybe it’s time to implement (or improve) your digital marketing strategy. When many people think of digital marketing, the assumption is that everything is centered around social media.

Truth be told, a strong digital marketing strategy doesn’t necessarily need to involve social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. Blogging can be a strong digital marketing strategy. The same can be said for podcasts, email marketing and SEO. Take a look at a list of potential new digital marketing strategies you can consider, such as:

  • Experiment with Google remarketing ads
  • Start a podcast
  • Write and publish an ebook
  • Release an online course
  • Host a webinar
  • Send an email marketing campaign
  • Implement abandoned cart emails
  • Promote a tweet or Facebook post
  • Start using content upgrades on your blog
  • Launch a landing page to collect email addresses

Once you narrow down the options that are most relevant to your business, test the strategies. Stick with the one that seems to work the best.

8. Improve mobile capabilities.

Along with a website redesign, you should also be thinking about your site’s mobile-responsiveness and mobile speed. Most adults own a smartphone. This also means that a lot of people spend time checking their notifications on smartphones. As a business owner, honor the fact that a lot of people like to do transactions from their smartphones.

If your website is hard to maneuver from a smartphone, you’re going to lose a lot of people who are willing to buy. Make it easy for your customers to find what they’re looking for and make the purchase through their mobile phone or tablet. Check out Google’s Page Speed Insights to test your website’s loading time and for suggestions on improvements.

9. Diversify income producers.

Most businesses have their fair share of ebbs and flow in the finance department. Certain quarters might do better than others. However, you want to make sure you have a reliable and consistent influx of money coming into the company at all times. In order to do this, it’s best to avoid relying on one stream of income. Instead, work on diversifying and creating multiple streams of income underneath the umbrella of your business.

If you’re running a private counseling practice where you see patients on a regular basis, consider starting a podcast or a YouTube channel. As you create content for your podcast, you can develop sponsorships as an income stream. If you have a YouTube channel, you can make money from affiliate marketing strategies and ads. Create a line of merchandise that goes along with the messages you promote within your counseling practice. As you automate the processes, you’ll develop three more income producers underneath one company.

We really believe in the power of recurring revenue to transform a business. For web designers and developers, this means adding monthly WordPress maintenance services to your web design packages.

10. Limit your hours of operation.

Avoid the temptation to work harder for longer amounts of time. Instead, get really precise and intentional about working smarter and not harder. For example, if you’re the counselor running the private practice and you’re developing multiple income streams, don’t put it upon yourself to run all of those projects. Hire someone to edit, record and upload the podcast. Outsource the marketing and promotion aspects to a marketing intern. As you put systems in place in order to help you get more done, make sure you’re not actually the one who is slaving behind the computer in order to get the results. Your energy is a limited commodity that you must preserve.

11. Increase your ROI.

Find ways to get creative about increasing your return on investment (ROI). Negotiate a better deal on some of your overhead expenses. Find ways to work on increasing your rates as you produce quality products and services. When you’re able to increase your ROI by even just $1, this will make an impact on the amount of money you’ll make by the end of each month. Finding simple ways to increase your ROI will allow you more financial margin to do more and become a better company.

12. Take a vacation.

If you don’t charge your laptop battery, it will die. As a result, you won’t be able to get your work done.

This year, make a commitment to plan weekend getaways or one big vacation in order to give yourself time to recharge. In fact, studies on how vacations affect your happiness have shown that the largest boost in happiness comes from the simple act of planning a vacation. Just the anticipation of a vacation can boost your happiness for eight weeks!

If you don’t give your body a chance to rest and recharge, you will burn yourself out. This is why it’s essential to prioritize vacation time.

13. Grow your email list.

Your email list is your direct connection to your customer base. The amazing part of developing an email list is that you own it. If Instagram or Facebook decides to shut down your page for some random reason, they hold the power. As a result, this means that a social media platform has full control of whether your business is able to connect with its target audience.

Maintaining an email list allows you to remain in consistent contact with your customers as your company grows. Find new opt-in incentives to get new people into your email database. You can choose to offer a free ebook, a free online course or coupon for future purchases.

Try a content upgrade to drive new email signups on your blog. A content upgrade is a unique type of email opt-in created for a specific blog post or page. In exchange for an email address, users are offered a download related to the post or page they’re visiting. Check out a WordPress content upgrade plugin to make it super easy to offer content upgrades from your website.

14. Learn to delegate.

Even if you’re a freelancer who works from home, you still need to develop a system of delegation. If something happens to you, it’s important to have a team and a system in place in order to keep your business running. Whether you implement new systems once a week or once a month, proactively find ways to delegate and automate.

If you’re the one who’s running your website, find great systems that can automate or manage a portion of your hosting or other parts of the website. If you’re currently managing your financials, outsource the accounting to a CPA. Resist the temptation to “save money” and do it all yourself. You’ll save yourself in the long run.

15. Master customer service operations.

If your customers don’t experience great service, you’ll decrease your chances of turning a first-time buyer into a repeat customer. This is why it’s important to fill in the cracks of your customer experience.

Whether they’re interacting with the website, a social media post or a phone representative, your customer deserves to have the highest level of service. Plus, when you treat your customers well, they’ll promote your services to their friends and family members. Word-of-mouth marketing is still one of the best and most credible ways to gain business.

16. Blog more often.

Turns out, blogging isn’t dead. Blogging is still an excellent digital marketing strategy worth your time and investment. Whenever you use a search engine to get information, most results that populate search engine results are blogs. As long as the internet exists, blogs with valuable information will remain relevant. And, as we mentioned before, it is important for you to actually own your content, which is the major difference between using a social media platform like Facebook and your own website.

Just make sure that you follow best SEO practices in order to optimize your blogging efforts. Stick to a consistent blogging schedule that’s realistic for you and your workload.

Download the Ebook: Blogging Isn’t Dead: Discovering (or Rediscovering) the Power of Blogging

17. Declutter.

How does your home or office make you feel? Does you enjoy being there? Can you relax or be productive? Or are you bogged down by the sight of your desk or bedroom? Clutter can have a real impact on your health, as research shows it’s better to live a cleaner and less cluttered life for improved mental clarity, subjective well-being and efficient visual processing.

Maybe it’s finally time to reorganize, clean out or even donate your extra possessions. From The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (now with a Tidying Up series on Netflix!) to these 5 Reasons to Clear the Clutter Out of Your Life, clutter may be something to tackle in 2020.

18. Make meaningful connections.

This year may be the year to focus on your relationships. In fact, loneliness may be a new epidemic in the US, affecting 47% of all adult Americans. 25% of Americans claim they have no one to share a personal problem with. Loneliness is correlated with increased risk for early mortality, similar to obesity and smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Loneliness is also linked to higher rates of depression and suicide.

For those who work from home, loneliness can easily creep in. Or you may describe yourself as an introvert who has a hard time meeting new people or enjoying larger social gatherings. But the truth is humans are social beings who need meaningful connections. Social connection improves physical health and mental and emotional well-being.

The good news is that all the happiness benefits of social connection come more fro your internal and subjective sense of connection, not the number of friends you have.

According to this infographic on the science of social connection, an internal sense of connection can be nurtured with just a few actions:

  1. Give, share, support and do acts of service and kindness for others. Volunteering has huge health benefits and fosters a sense of connection and purpose.
  2. Practice self-care. Stress often leads to self-focus and the inability to reach out to others.
  3. Ask for help. Feeling lonely? Reach out. Research shows that others are willing to help but if we don’t ask, they assume we don’t need help.

19. Eat healthier.

As you get older, you’ll get a better understanding of what it means when people say that you are what you eat. If you’re eating lots of carb-rich foods and sweets, you’re going to feel sluggish. If you fuel your body with fresh fruits, vegetables and fiber, you’ll be able to operate better.

Think about your car. When you put the right type of gas in it, it’ll run better. Put the right types of fuel into your body in order to make sure it operates at peak performance levels. Similarly, if your website is running on cheap hosting, it’s not going to be able to handle all of the customer inquiries and transactions as they come. Don’t treat your body worse than you would treat your company website.

Eating healthier doesn’t have to happen all at once. Maybe you can try a new vegetable each week or make substitutions for one meal to reduce unhealthy ingredients. Maybe it means packing your lunch every day. The point is that small changes can have a big impact.

20. Read more.

When you’re the leader of a company, you need to develop a habit of reading. Whether you’re reading tutorials on how to install the latest toolkit for your website or a book on improving your sales pitch, make sure you’re reading for at least 30 minutes every single day. Plus, when you’re retaining more information, you’ll develop a stronger arsenal of value to deliver to your employees and customers.

If you’re someone who struggles to include books in your everyday lifestyle, start with ten minutes when you wake up in the morning. It’s also okay to include audiobooks within the mix.

Here’s to Growth and Success in 2020!

These 20 goals might seem like a lot when you’re not breaking everything down into bite-sized chunks. When you’re looking at a long list of goals, it can be easy to become overwhelmed. Instead of succumbing to negative emotions of fear and procrastination, focus your attention on doing a little bit at a time. As you focus on small, manageable tasks, you’ll eventually accomplish each goal. Before you know it, you’ll look back by the end of 2020 and marvel at all you were able to accomplish.

The post Starting 2020 Right: 20 Goals to Start the New Decade appeared first on iThemes.

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