Well hello there, Q2!
I would say that the first three months of 2023 went by quickly, but in my world, January felt like 32 years like it always does, February felt fast and March has felt like a repeat of January. 😂
In Q4 of last year I decided that I was going to use Q1 as a foundational quarter for my business which meant taking on ZERO new 1:1 clients and very few one-off projects.
When I started my business last year, I honestly wasn’t prepared for how quickly it would grow, so I knew I needed to intentionally slow down, get a few actual systems and processes in order and focus on serving the people that I already had very well.
As I enter Q2, I’m excited for the foundational and intentional work I’ve done to open more doors and opportunities while also allowing me to continue showing up for my people the best way I know how!
Before I enter any new season (whether it be a new year, new quarter or really new anything) I loveeee to reflect. I believe that reflection is a form of gratitude because you’re taking time to truly recognize what you’ve accomplished while also setting your sights on what’s to come.
It’s easy to fall into the rat race of life and business without fully recognizing the impact that you’re making, so taking the intentional time to reflect is super important!
So before I embrace Q2 with open arms, I want to look back on Q1 for my business (and life in general) and recognize what has happened in the last 90 days before I dive into what the next 90 hold.
Q1 By The Numbers
44 blogs posts written for clients
37 emails written for clients
13 blog posts written and published for myself
13 Notes From Natty sent
7 1:1 clients served
4 pilates classes attended (RIP to that membership - read why!)
3 a-la-carte blog projects completed
2 new 1:1 clients signed for Q2
1 networking event
1 week of full vacation at an all-inclusive Cabo resort
1 brand photoshoot (more on that here!)
Exceeded last years total business income in Q1 alone
Favorite Q1 Moments
One thing about me is that I loveeee a celebration of any kind and I’m pretty obsessed with making moments in life.
I love an excuse to create a balloon arch, plan a party with a theme and just make ordinary things feel extraordinary.
Fun fact: I love this kind of stuff so much that I once had a side business dedicated to this very thing. My sister and I bought a vintage camper (her name was Stella!) and turned it into an event photo op (because we’re both the type of people who will go out of our way to take a pic for the ‘gram).
Through this biz, I created what I called the Moment Maker newsletter and it was designed as a way to provide inspiration for people to make intentional moments in their everyday life. And of course there was a blog for it!
Through that, I learned that some things are truly just better off as a hobby, so while we no longer run that biz, the passion behind making moments is still alive and well.
Which brings me to a few of my favorite moments of Q1:
My husband’s birthday celebration
Birthdays in our house are a big deal… along with basically every major holiday and a few random national days.
My husband’s birthday falls the same week as Valentine’s day, so I typically claim that holiday as mine to plan. We usually go on some sort of weekend trip, but this year we had a trip to Cabo planned a few weeks after (more on that in a minute), so we decided two trips in the same month probably weren’t necessary.
I still wanted to make his birthday special, so I decorated our house for the entire week and had one present for him to open each day of his birthday week.
His birthday fell on a Saturday, so his Friday gift revealed our plans for his actual birthday. He’s not a huge going out type of guy, so instead of planning any elaborate outing, I decided we were going to turn our living room into the ultimate movie night setup and it was SO. FUN.
I documented it on TikTok in case you want to steal the idea!
Our trip to Cabo for my bestie’s wedding
This was a trip we had been anticipating for over a year, so when the time finally came we were so excited.
I had never been out of the country before aside from a cruise and it was falling at the perfect time. January in Georgia is honestly sort of depressing (rainy and cold for days on end) and I NEEDEDDDD the sunshine.
Even though I was excited, this was the first vacation I would be taking as a business owner, so I was also nervous about what taking the time off would look like.
I wanted to be able to unplug and really be in vacation and celebration mode. So, in an effort to make that happen, I essentially did 3 weeks worth of client work in a short amount of time – and honestly I didn’t feel any sort of overwhelm or burn out while doing this.
I was doing the work that must be done so that I could fully enjoy the things that mean the most to me and it was really cool to prove to myself that I could do it.
When we arrived in Cabo, I was able to be fully present, consume as many frozen drinks that I wanted (haven’t drank a marg since we returned 😂) and celebrate my bestie just like she deserved!
My morning routine
I know, I know… my morning routine is a favorite moment? Really? Yes really!
I’ve basically had the same morning routine since 2019 - wake up between 4:30-5 AM, read my Bible, write in my prayer journal and read a chapter of a personal/professional development book. (Here’s a typical day in my life in case you’re obsessed with that kind of thing like I am!)
Near the end of last year, I somehow got out of the routine of reading and I lost the habit altogether. And once I’m out of a habit, it’s REALLY hard for me to get back into it again.
Since January I’ve been saying, “I need to start reading again” and I just never would pick up a freaking book. Until earlier this month!
My friend Nicole gifted me Kendra Scott’s memoir, Born to Shine, and it had been sitting on my bookshelf since December. One morning I just decided to pick it up and read a chapter. Before I knew it, I had to force myself to put the book down each morning.
And I’m happy to report that I’m now on my second personal development book of the month! The habit is back and honestly that’s one of my biggest wins of Q1. 🙌🏻
It might seem small and simple, but usually the small and simple things are what add up in a huge way.
Favorite Q1 Investments
I’ve always been a pretty slow buyer in life. I’ve heard it said that there’s tortoises and hares when it comes to buying and until recently I would say that I fell into the tortoise category without a doubt.
What this means is that I tend to need a lot of details, facts and information before making a buying decision, whereas people who are hares don’t typically need all of that.
Well, when I started my own business, I noticed that this slowly started to shift. I slowly became willing to invest in more things that felt aligned with what I was needing in life or in business.
In Q1 alone, I invested about $3,000 in the form of courses, resources and tools (not including platforms that I use daily like FloDesk and HoneyBook) and the really cool part is that I’ve used all but one of those investments.
Which means I’ve proved to myself that I am investing in the right things which has built my confidence to keep investing as I see fit.
I guess you could say I’ve improved my money mindset? I didn’t exactly see it like that until now, but here we are.
A few of my favorite investments in Q1 include:
My co-working space
Until recently, I’ve always loved working from home. I like my cozy office with my perfectly lighted lamp (I refuse to use the “big light”) and my blankie.
But at the end of last year, I noticed that I wasn’t being as productive as I once was working from home. It’s like all of a sudden I was feeling distracted by things that had always been around, so I knew something needed to change.
I decided to join a co-working space that’s a town over from where I live and I challenged myself to work out of the house 2-3x per week.
The space is located in a super cute area with coffee shops in walking distance (which is perfect for the days that “I just need a little treat” - ahem, which is everyday) and it’s honestly just a vibe.
10/10 recommend finding a co-working space near you if the WFH life is no longer giving.
Jenn Boughey’s 2.0 Foundations Course
In 2022, I experienced a lot of change and while I do consider myself to be someone that is in tune with her mindset and has a fairly positive outlook even in challenging situations, I was in search of some real tools to help me overcome some things that I just couldn’t seem to work through on my own.
I’ve known and followed Jenn Boughey for years and she’s always been my go-to for mindset and thought work, but I wanted to work with her on a deeper level.
As luck would have it, she was opening enrollment for her 2.0 Foundations course at the beginning of the year, which really focuses on defining who you want your 2.0 self to be and then actually doing the work to become that.
The course came with weekly coaching and that’s really where the magic happened. I learned so much about myself, the limiting beliefs I was holding onto and ultimately defined who I wanted to be and started doing the actual work it takes to get there.
Before signing up for this, I had chosen “Foundation” to be my word of the year and when this course popped up, it just felt like everything was aligning!
After the 6 weeks were over, I knew I wanted to stay in this work and it just so happens that Jenn was in the midst of launching her ongoing membership: The TRIBE.
I didn’t even think twice about joining and now I’m involved in a community of like-minded women working on common things for their own life.
Honestly, I’ve always been an email lover… probably because I’ve spent a lot of my career writing emails, so naturally I love to receive them (when they’re good, that is).
Last year I somehow found myself subscribed to a few newsletters that I reallyyyyy love and BTL’s tops that list!
I’ve talked about Sara at BTL Copy before and I’ll continue to talk about her because I have learned SO much from her when it comes to marketing, copywriting and emails specifically.
Last year I launched my own newsletter, Notes From Natty, with the hope of bringing some extra joy to your inbox each week and when BTL announced she was doing a course all about email marketing, I wanted in so that I could make sure I was serving you through email the best I can!
If you want to up your email game in any way (i.e. create your first lead magnet, improve your current lead magnet, learn what the heck a welcome sequence is, craft your own newsletter, etc.) I can’t recommend this course enough!
(P.S. if you’re reading this post on the day it was published - 3/29/23 - BTL is running a special on this course until April 3rd which means you can get it for only $197!)
Lessons Learned in Q1 Specifically
Alignment > Achievement
In my lifetime, I have a track record of overcommitting. It’s not something that I’m necessarily proud of and it honestly probably stems from my people pleasing and high achieving tendencies.
I’ve always known that managing your time and saying “no” to things that don’t align with your goals are important, but I didn’t realize the real importance of each of these things until I had my own business.
My perspective on a lot of things have shifted now that I’m a business owner and because I’ve worked to really define my goals and have a clear picture of what I want in life (thanks to 2.0 Foundations that I mentioned above), I’ve learned that living in alignment is actually greater than achievement.
Where I once was obsessed with setting goals with the hope of achieving a certain result, the goal for my life now is to always be in alignment with what’s most important to me.
And for that to really happen, I’ve had to recognize and be honest with myself about what I love doing (and what I don’t), who I like working with (and who I don’t) and ultimately where I should be spending my (and where I shouldn’t).
I’ve said more “no’s” in Q1 than I honestly probably have in my whole life (okay, that’s maybe an exaggeration, but it really is way more than I used to be comfortable with) and for the first time the “no’s” haven’t scared me and that’s because I’m crystal clear on what’s most important and feel confident making decisions and taking action on those things alone!
You can’t do everything at once.
Last year when my business really started taking off, I found myself wanting to do a lottttt of things all at once. It’s like my list of to-do’s and ideas was just never ending and even though that list was full of good things that truly should be done, I had to recognize that not everything can be done at once.
When you’re passionate about something, that’s often hard to accept, but I knew that if I didn't step back and intentionally prioritize, then things wouldn’t be done well and that’s the opposite of what I wanted.
In December I went through my idea / “want to do” list and put Q1, Q2, Q3 or Q4 beside each item. So essentially I was planning my entire 2023 without fully realizing it. 😂
Now, I have priorities for each quarter and I’ve been able to compartmentalize what needs my attention first.
The key is that I didn’t let myself only focus on the fun stuff. There are some things on that list that are way more fun than others, but some of the not-so-fun things were actually more important.
Which is why Q1 was full of behind the scene business things, like streamlining my contracts and invoicing through HoneyBook, refining my services and nailing down my client onboarding process.
Without those things in place first, I probably wouldn’t be able to manage or enjoy the fun of marketing on Pinterest or having a pretty new website (which are both fun things that are coming soon 👀).
Seven days at an all-inclusive resort isn’t for me.
Remember that Cabo trip I mentioned? It truly was one of my favorite moments of Q1, but it also taught me that 7 days at an all-inclusive resort isn’t my vacation of choice.
I’m glad we went and experienced it, but I’m 100% more of a 5 day, long weekend style vacationer. And I like to be on the go, seeing, experiencing and doing the MOST in one trip.
This is probably why I loved our honeymoon road trip so much in 2021! (lemme know if you want that Arizona/Utah/Colorado itinerary)
Overall, I would say that Q1 set me up to embrace Q2 and the rest of the year really well. I have a clear vision of what I want (and what I don’t), so I’m able to focus on the right things at the right time for the right people.
I’m looking forward to continuing to serve my existing clients, grow relationships with my new clients that recently signed on AND meeting people that I don’t even know exist yet – are you one of them?! If so, come introduce yourself here!
What You Can Expect From Natty Writes in Q2
New blog posts every Wednesday (these aren’t going anywhere!)
A new edition of Notes From Natty in your inbox every Friday morning
A refresh of The Beginner’s Guide to Blogging For Your Business
More availability for a-la-carte blog projects (inquire here if you’re in need)
More spots for the Blog Writing Starter Pack (now booking for April & May)
Here’s to the next 90 🎉