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Looking Back + Looking Forward: My Mid-Year TpT Business Check-In | Episode #58

Episode Summary

While it’s hard to believe the year is half-over, I’m so excited to share with you how things have been going. In this episode, I’ll review the last 6 months and share with you my favorite tool, biggest lesson, and fun on the horizon as I do my mid-year TpT business check-in.

Looking Back + Looking Forward: My Mid-Year TpT Business Check-In | Episode #58

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Intro to the Episode

I am really shocked that we’re talking about the mid-year check-in. I honestly cannot believe that we are about halfway through this year. It has been flying. But I’m happy to say that it’s off to a much better start than last year was. So I’m not too mad about it. If you listened in to our Clubhouse chat on Sellers After Dark last week, we talked about a similar topic. Ashley, Katie, and I checked in with each other and caught up with how our businesses were going, what we had accomplished, what we were looking forward to.

So I decided to do a similar check-in for today’s episode. I don’t ever really do a formal mid-year check-in. But there’s something about being halfway done with a year that just feels like a natural check-in point. I also think it’s good timing with summer coming up because there’s been a lot of chatter lately about the best way to spend a TPT seller summer. That’s definitely a loaded topic because there are so many things that you can do with your summer. So I’m thinking that a mid-year check-in is something I should start doing every year. It’s a good time to pivot if you have to. Or it’s a good time to capitalize off the momentum that you’ve already been building this year.

Sometimes Goals Change and That’s Okay

Today I’m going to catch you up to date on what has been going on in my business. I’m also going to hopefully give you a couple tips along the way when it comes to taking your plans and rolling with them throughout the year. If you are someone who joined us for our jump start workshop last year in December, we planned our entire 2021 year in the workshop.

For some of us, that was really scary and kind of like a big leap of faith in ourselves. There were plenty of conversations around the idea of well, what happens if something changes? What happens if something unexpected comes up, what do I do with these plans? I think that’s kind of a pretty common myth surrounding goal setting and planning. I want to tell you right now that if you are someone who is halfway through the year and you’re looking at your plans and you’re like, oh my gosh, I haven’t done a single thing, that is totally okay. Or maybe you’ve followed them really well but then a couple months in, you kind of went off in another direction. That is also totally okay.

When I make goals, I like to use them to give myself direction. I don’t consider them absolutes, right? And if we did that, we would be setting ourselves up for huge disappointments. Goals are great. When you set really concrete goals like quantitative goals, that’s kind of a different story. You want to aim for the number that you’ve set for yourself as long as it’s based on data and there’s a reason behind it. But when you set goals to set yourself up for success for the whole year and you make goals for product creation and email campaigns and things like that, I think we have to give ourselves a little bit of grace and understanding that we might be straying from those goals just a little.

So I think when you plan with that mindset, it helps you relax a little and run your business the way it’s meant to be run. Also, if 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that it’s totally okay to pivot and also to expect the unexpected.

Hiring Out for My TpT Business

So with that said, I personally have stayed mostly on track with my with my plans. I say mostly because the big thing that I really wanted to accomplish this year was to get serious about hiring out for my business. And I’m happy to report that that has been going really well. It’s definitely been a learning experience. But I’m taking notes. Because I definitely want to share all of these mistakes and lessons with you guys in the near future. So this was really interesting to me.

When I began hiring out, it actually caused me to set up even more systems than I had already had in place in my business. And one of the unexpected perks of hiring out was that it gave me this sense of accountability that I had been missing before, right? When you’re your own boss, it’s really, really easy to say, oh, I’ll just save that for tomorrow or oh, I’m going to do this another time. But when you have other people depending on you and waiting for you to either give them feedback or give them directions or a new project, you really have to stay on top of things. So that was definitely an unexpected blessing of hiring out.

Mid-Year TpT Business Check-In

Now on some days, I wouldn’t call it a blessing. There are many days where I found myself being like, oh crap, I have to get something together for my VA’s. But in the long run, it’s all good because we are getting things done and we are moving the business forward. And that’s the end goal of hiring, right? In addition to a lot of other things.

Being a Boss is Hard

To be honest, all of the lessons I’ve learned so far this year for the most part have come from hiring out for my business and just hiring people and working with people in general. Because this TPT business can be such a lonely, solo gig for so long. So when you finally start working with other people whether it’s a VA here and there or hiring a whole team eventually, there’s definitely a learning curve involved. I would say that my biggest lesson so far from this year as we near the halfway point is that being a boss of other people is hard.

I thought that being a boss of myself was hard. But being a boss of other people brings a whole new host of things that will stress you out and add to your plate. But on the flip side, it’s also something that has a huge payoff because you are getting help with your business and you are able to unload some of your burden onto other people. And they are there to make your life easier in the long run. So it’s definitely worth the work that goes into hiring people out. But I definitely underestimated how much work exactly was involved.

I have also learned that when you hire people and use them the right way, they become valuable assets to your team. Because you know how to use them and you know how to onboard them into your business and you know how to train them. So that’s been a really cool thing to discover. In the past, I have hired out but it’s been just here and there. And it’s been kind of spotty and not very consistent and not very cohesive. This is the first time I’ve hired where it actually feels like I’ve done it the right way and am utilizing it correctly.

Resources to Help You Be a Better Boss

There’s no worse feeling than having to scramble for something for your VA to do just for the sake of giving them something to do. When your projects are purposeful and you have intention behind them, it is such an amazing feeling and totally worth the work of hiring in the right way. And I’m actually currently reading Michael Hyatt’s book, Your World-Class Assistant. And Michael Hyatt talks about his process for finding people to hire for his business. I’m also re-reading The Vision-Driven Leader by Michael Hyatt. He is one of the best people that I’ve found to get really good information about hiring out and just ways to run a business. So I will report back on those.

I think I might do a podcast episode and kind of do a little book review of those two because I find that they’re very valuable when I am learning how to build a team and also learning more about hiring out for my business. So that is currently what’s happening there and I’m really glad to have had this experience. And I just am really excited to see how it’s going. So we’ll see how it goes. I will give you an end of the year check-in. And then we can talk about how my first year as a boss has gone. So I will check back in with you.

Tools I’m Loving for My Business in 2021

The next thing I want to talk to you all about was some tools that I’m loving in 2021 so far. I wanted to share a little story about how for School of Sellers, Katie, Ashley, and I decided at the end of last year to experiment with some different apps and some different programs. Slack (my favorite tool of 2020) is what we used to communicate for School of Sellers. . But we decided to give ClickUp a try.

ClickUp is kind of like Trello, but on steroids. It has all of the card capabilities, you can filter out the different views, like Airtable, you can view things as a spreadsheet, in a Kanban style. The list goes on. So it’s a really, really cool tool that is similar to Trello. But it also has a lot more communication capabilities. We were really pumped to give ClickUp a go. And we really gave it the old college try, okay? I mean we tried. Ashley spent hours configuring everything. And at the end of the day, when we had tried it out for a while, we decided you know what? This just isn’t working. And so we swallowed our pride and all of those hours that we had spent testing it out. We’ve decided to go back to the basics. And we are back to using Trello.

I have never been happier. It is definitely what we feel most comfortable with and I use Trello for School of Sellers but I also use it a ton for my TPT business. It’s also been a really helpful tool to use with my VA’s as well. So Trello is my big win of 2021 so far and I have really high hopes for it going into the second half of this year. So I will keep you posted on that as well. I would say my favorite thing that I use it for currently is planning out my social media. That has been a lifesaver. And dare I say, I’m actually enjoying planning out social media content? Yes, I do. So if that says anything for you and you’ve been on the fence about Trello, give it a shot because I do not think you will be disappointed.

TikTok is the Biggest Surprise of 2021

Next I wanted to share with you guys about a surprise that I’ve had in 2021. I would have to say that TikTok has been my biggest, most enjoyable surprise of the year so far. I say that it’s a surprise because I never in a million years would have thought that I would have a TikTok account, let alone be a content creator for TikTok. Like I’m not kidding you. That is the most bizarre thing that has ever happened to me from a business standpoint. I went from hating TikTok and cringing every time I heard the word to being all about it in a matter of weeks.

So TikTok has been a really fun thing for me to discover as a consumer. But it’s also starting to morph into something that is going to be a part of my business which again is something that I never thought I would say. So we started using TikTok this year. We launched our account the first week of March and it was strictly for School of Sellers. Katie, Ashley, and I decided you know what? What the heck. We’re just going to do this and try it out and see how it goes. We’re so pleasantly surprised that we will definitely continue doing it.

Why I Love TikTok

I’ll tell you why I love TikTok. I think it’s probably one of the most misunderstood platforms out there right now. Because when I started thinking TikTok, I immediately thought like, no, I’m not going to be making a complete idiot out of myself dancing because I don’t dance like unless I’m like a lot of alcoholic beverages deep.

Dancing was definitely not happening. So I was not sold on the idea because I do not like to entertain people. I was never one of those teachers who enjoyed doing the singing and like the whole song and dance. I’m just very uncomfortable with that type of attention. I was so surprised when I started TikTok as a consumer. I was just going on the platform and watching the videos. And I got so sucked in because TikTok is so much more than all of those trendy dances, like so much more. I don’t even ever see those trendy dances anymore.

I was shocked to find that TikTok is the best source of information. If you’re looking for tutorials or you want to know how to do something or how to create something, it is an amazing resource for that. It has become my almost go-to search engine. Sorry, Google. And not only that, but people are so nice on TikTok. I mean, I don’t know about you guys but I am on a lot of different social media platforms.

There are so many things I see and my immediate thought is, ooh, I don’t even want to look at the comments because I know I’m going to be horrified, right? Internet comment sections are never a good thing. However, on TikTok, I am repeatedly impressed and just heart warmed by the amount of kindness that I see. I go in expecting the worst and I come out with my faith in humanity totally restored. Because nine times out of ten, I feel like people are really kind and uplifting. And it’s just a very positive space from my experience so far. That’s been a really cool thing to see as a viewer.

TikTok for Introverts

The more I became a fan of watching TikToks, the more I became comfortable with the idea of creating content for it. And the reason for this I think is because it’s really not about, I mean, yes, there are entertaining TikToks. But it’s just about people having fun and being themselves. It’s just filming something and not thinking too much about it and sharing it. And it becomes this really fun and effective way of sharing and communicating with people.

So I would say that if you have been on the fence about TikTok and you are an introvert, I definitely identify as an introvert, I would highly recommend just getting the platform and watching videos for a month and seeing how you feel about it. Then kind of check back in with yourself to see if it’s something you’d ever be interested in doing for your business.

You’ll be very surprised once you give it a shot. So that’s something that I definitely plan to take with me into the rest of the year. It’s something that I plan to learn more about and also start an account for my TPT business. You can stay tuned about that as well. Katie and Ashley and I on Team SOS have talked to another couple of sellers who are going to maybe try to give TikTok a try. So we are going to test out some things and see how it goes. We’ll share our findings with you as we do it. So it’ll be definitely an adventure.

My Mid-Year TpT Business Check-In

What I’m Looking Forward To for the Rest of 2021

Finally, I wanted to share some things that I’m looking forward to in the rest of 2021. I wanted to close out the episode by looking forward to the next six months. Again, I can’t say how pleased I am but how this year has been going. It’s been going so fast but there are a lot of cool things coming up. The first thing that I’m really looking forward to is the TPT conference. I am happy to say that I’m presenting again! Unfortunately, it’s virtual again but I totally understand. That was the right call.

Presenting at the TpT Conference

So I will be sharing about five systems that every teacher seller needs. And I am really excited about this presentation because it’s new material. If you’ve been listening to the podcast or you’ve taken some of my courses or been inside the Facebook groups, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised that it’s a lot of material that I haven’t shared before. So that’s exciting for me as a presenter. I loved my previous sessions, but it’s nice to do something new for a change. And you know I love systems so it was right up my alley!

I actually just submitted all of the final pieces to my presentation today right before I recorded this podcast. I am just so pumped and really look forward to conference week. I’m definitely looking more forward to it next year when we can all be in person. But I will luckily be with Katie and Ashley in Denver as we tune into all of the presentations and host the Zoom reflection sessions every single night with the School of Sellers Facebook group. So lots of fun stuff happening just from the conference alone.

Looking Forward to 2022

I would say that my second thing I’m looking forward to, as crazy as it sounds, and I hate to be one of those people that can’t just live in the moment and is always looking forward to the next thing. But as crazy as it sounds, I am really looking forward to next year. Like I’m already getting excited for planning 2022. I think it’s probably partly because we’ve already been planning the Jumpstart Your Year workshop.

That’s just getting me in the spirit of planning and setting goals and just getting ready for another year. I think the reason why I’m looking forward to that too is that it’s going to be our first full “normal” year. This year has been great, but it still started under the shadow of the pandemic. So I’m really looking forward to getting back to complete normal next year. And that is really what Jumpstart Your Year is all about. I am pouring all of my enthusiasm into the workshop this year and am anxiously awaiting. So that’s another thing I’m looking forward to!

I Want to Meet More TpT Sellers in Person

I think the last thing that I would say I’m looking forward to this year is hopefully meeting and seeing more sellers in real life. This last year has been such an amazing relationship builder. Like we’ve been connecting so much deeper inside Facebook groups and online because that’s been our only option. And I feel so close to so many people in the TPT community. But these are people that I’ve never even met face-to-face before.

If I can squeeze in some quick trips or maybe do like regional meetups or something, I would totally be down for stuff like that. I think that’s like my next big TPT goal. I’m just really grateful for this year. I’m really happy to be where I’m at right now in my business and also in School of Sellers, surrounded by such a supportive community. And I’m really looking forward to catching up with you guys conference week and beyond. So I hope that this episode finds you doing well halfway through the year. Thank you so much for listening and I will talk to you soon!


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