Janine’s 2023 Personal Review.

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Janine sits at a metal bistro set in a quiet square in London on a sunny day. She’s a white woman with straight, shoulder length mid-blonde hair and is wearing a pastel cardigan, blue jeans and white trainers she is writing in a colourful notebook that she’s holding off the table and has a crazed look of excited concentration on her face.

Does it feel like 12 months since I wrote my last yearly personal review? No. But that’s partly because I didn’t write my 2022 review until February of ‘23. 😄

Before we dive in, it might be handy to let you know why I write these annual reviews:

  • It’s useful to stop and think back to what I did, why I did it and how I did. It gives me an opportunity to decide what to take forward and what to drop.
  • It’s SO cathartic- like a journaling exercise.
  • I enjoy reading other people’s personal year reviews so perhaps people will enjoy mine.
  • It’s a fabulous excuse for the most self-indulgent bit of writing. It’s all about MEEEE!

I started 2023 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed having just invested BIG bucks in a coaching/ consulting programme.

I swear that trained marketers are the worst at nailing their own messaging and offers, and I’m no exception. 

I knew I wanted to run something group-shaped. 

And I knew I wanted help with my messaging and the logistics of how the group could run. 

So in December 2022 I bit the bullet and invested in Gemma Gilbert’s Amplify, which takes you through the process of putting together a best-in-class hybrid programme. 

Absolutely. 

Did I hit my goal of getting 16 participants by November 2023? 

Absolutely not. 😄

What I didn’t realise at the time was that I was about to radically niche my business. 

Effectively cutting down my valid audience by about 75%.

I used to help all types of service-based business owners. Freelancers, coaches, consultants, strategists even the odd lawyer and online fitness instructor. 

Over the years I spotted a trend of getting more satisfying results for coaches and consultants so I’d already decided to zone in on them by the end of 2022.

The bigger revelation was that I specifically wanted to help them hone their 1:1 services and definitely not help with low-ticket services like online courses or memberships. 

I can help with positioning and selling group programmes too – I do this with 1:1 clients who have a mix of different sorts of offers.

But the focus of The Freedom Giver (my new hybrid programme) was making 1:1 work properly for these fabulous coach-shaped-people.

And to make it even more spicy, it’s not newbies that I wanted to appeal to.

It’s coaches who’ve been round the block.

They’ve wasted time and money here and there and were ready to make a decent living without having to leap to a more complicated business model (yet).

Although newbies could do with my help, it takes them longer to get them results because they haven’t gone through the time consuming trial and error of finding out who they like working with, which platforms they prefer to use and getting used to showing their face online. 

Although I felt in the deepest crannies of my bones that I was doing the right thing… it became clear that launching The Freedom Giver was NOT going to be an easy ride.

Why?

Because although I have more than 10K followers on LinkedIn, hundreds of people on my email list and probably even more people who know me from speaking, networking and conference attendance:

  • How many of those people were coach-shaped-people?
  • How many of those wanted to stick with 1:1 as a way to earn more money?
  • And how many of those were enlightened enough to know they needed to work on their messaging, offers and marketing? 

Not many as it turns out!

LOL.

I didn’t realise what a lovely big, warm audience I had until I tried to start filling up The Freedom Giver programme.

Who ended up buying?

Mainly people who’d known me for years. 

Yep, it’s that old Know Like Trust chestnut! 

It was very clear that I needed to up my content game ASAP.

But the massive kick in the teeth was that I was committed to building out the curriculum for The Freedom Giver.

This was a huge project.

The biggest I’d ever taken on.

Painstakingly cataloguing the processes I take each one of my clients through.

Setting the scene. Giving context. Formalising the exercises. 

It hoovered up the lion’s share of my creative energies leaving me very little for the imaginative content that I absolutely love to produce.

But it’s done now and by god is it GLORIOUS!

Now if a client asks me how to approach something I can point them to the relevant module. 

It’s all the advice that I used to imperfectly repeat but perfected and recorded so that clients get the same high quality every time. 

I can now focus all of my face time giving clients feedback on their messaging and offers, working through mindset niggles and helping them move forward much more quickly. 

Getting the curriculum done is the thing I’m most proud of in my nearly 7 years of running my own business. 

I’d known Louise Miller for a few years before she came to work with me in 2022.

She was an ideal client — a coach-shaped-person who wanted to sharpen up her positioning and offers.

She wanted to sharpen up the positioning of her 1:1 offer as well as her Make It Happen Club. 

As we worked through it all, I began to squirm.

It was blindingly obvious that the ideal client she was describing was…

Me!

She helps rabid idea generators who struggle to get their projects finished through calm roadmapping, prioritising and action planning. 

I’m sure she provides useful accountability to some of her clients too, but accountability has never worked for me.

I’m too much of a rebel!

I have a history of committing to something and then, if I decide that something else is more important (or fun!) then I’ll change course. 

This can be extremely counterproductive.

Louise is the polar opposite to me. 

She’s calm and methodical. 

And loves nothing more than helping creative souls get their big ideas done and into the world so they can actually help people!

Janine Coombes and Louise Miller stand closely together on an outdoor terrace of a bar in Newcastle. They're both smiling at the camera.

Janine and Louise at Atomicon23 after party

Having Louise in my corner – reminding me of my vision every month – kept me serenely chugging forwards.

In short, Louise is the reason that I got my Freedom Giver finished last year.

Does it sound like you need Louise in your life? Check out her services here. She’s also got an amazing podcast, so do give that a listen.

I love a good conference! I love being on stage. And I love meeting other business owners. Love love love.

That said I was quite conservative with my conference going last year. I went to 3 events in total, two of which I spoke at.

In chronological order:

You Are The Media is the brainchild of Mark Masters – a very nice man!

The creator day is a day long event with fab speakers (like me in 2022), a warm and friendly atmosphere and an emphasis on learning how to create best-in-class content and marketing.

There was a pre-event the night before called Failed Nights run by Dorset Entrepreneur’s Club that I was asked to speak at.

It was the easiest and most relaxed speaking gig I’ve ever done!

The brief was just to have a moan about all the mistakes I’d made in business so far and the lessons I’d learned from them. Let’s just say I had a lot of material to choose from. 😆

See you at this year’s Creator Day? Buy your You Are The Media Creator Day ticket here.

Then in June I went to Atomicon. SUCH a fab event. A high energy schmoozathon with fab speakers and lots of opportunities to meet up with people. A business party basically. I spoke there in 2021. I have to tell you that, it’s the law. 

Janine Coombes Rachel Extance Yolanda Sissing and Erin Chamberlain at the Atomicon after party
Janine Coombes and Leah Turner at the Atomicon 2023 pre-party
Gus Bhandal and Janine Coombes in Atomicon
Janine Coombes Sarah Clay and Chris Do at Atomicon 2023 pre-party

Want to come this year? Get your Atomicon ticket here. (Affiliate link.)

And in September I spoke at MarketEd.Live. Propping up those dozy eyelids in the post-lunch slot! 

Paul Ince is such a fab host and believed I was up to the challenge of injecting some energy into the crowd. 

I do believe I fulfilled the brief, even if I do say so myself! 

Janine Coombes holding up a MarketEd Live 2023 Speaker lanyard

A little birdie tells me that there probably won’t be a MarketEd.Live in 2024.

But if you want to book Paul to speak or see him strut his stuff check out his personal site here >>> Paul Ince AKA Biz Paul

I also guested on a range of podcasts:

Janine Coombes on Amy Bingham's The Aggressive Growth Podcast

Do you have a podcast or run an event or summit and interested in me speaking? Email me at janine@janinecoombes.co.uk and let’s have a chat.

My lovely mum has been ill since about March 2023. We still don’t know what’s wrong with her. 

At one point I thought she was dying. 

It’s quite challenging to come up with pithy LinkedIn posts when you’ve got that preying on your mind.

Also my daughter had a mild illness in the summer. 

Although it was swiftly sorted, it’s left her with anxiety. She doesn’t want to go anywhere or do anything. 

Cue frantic book reading, EFT practicing and asking around for advice. 

Thank goodness it hasn’t affected her positive attitude towards school! 

Generally speaking I don’t have an issue maintaining a good balance between work and homelife. 

My main priority in life is to be a good mum. 

Earning decent money from my business is one way for me to do that. 

Being a good role model, saving for their future and to not be stressed about money in any way.

But looking back at 2023, I can see that if my attitude was that if I wasn’t either working on my business or being with my kids then whatever I was doing was a waste of time.

Not very balance-y.

My Monday morning mountain biking fell away. I didn’t join the gym or get a PT like I’d planned. 

And an exciting personal writing project has stayed firmly on the shelf. 

(I’m not telling you what it is because it’s less likely to happen according to this sub-4 minute Ted talk!)

So 2024 isn’t going to be the year that I strive to hit massive revenue goals — I’d be happy earning what I did in 2022 to be honest! 

My aim is to be as efficient as possible with my business development while still getting clients the best results and making time for me! 

Looking back at my goals for 2023 and 2022 I wonder why I even bother setting them. 🤣

So instead of giving myself ‘smart’ goals for 2024, I’m going to keep it loosey goosey and set some intentions instead.

  • Produce my blogs and videos more regularly.
  • Pitch for more on-point speaking gigs and podcasts.
  • Have at least a half day a week to spend on my personal projects. 

So what about you? Does any of this chime with your experience of 2023? 

I’d love to know. Connect with me on LinkedIn and drop me a line, won’t you?

And if you’re a coach-shaped-person who’s aiming to earn more from your high touch services without slogging your guts out…

Get on The Hot List and I’ll send you all that lovely high-quality content I have planned for 2024

Janine stands to the left of the image smiling and pointing at the words Sign up to the hot list -click here.