2021 Year in Review: Kaitie Gill Consulting

Gosh, it’s been a long time since I’ve actually blogged for my OWN business. I love being a Virtual Assistant, but there are times when doing “all the things” for other small businesses, it can make you neglect some of the aspects in your business that you love to do. Blogging is one of those things that I truly love to do. I thought it would be a perfect time to jump back into my own blogging game with a 2021 Year in Review.

Full transparency, this is not going to be a review of just Kaitie Gill Consulting. It’s going to intertwine my wedding planning business and personal life. Because, let’s be honest, as small business owners everything intertwines no matter how clear and set our boundaries are.

So, let’s get to it. Shall we?

2021 Year in Review

The year started off really well. I had a solid source of income coming in for my family between my two full-time businesses. People were excited for the New Year. 2020 was a doozy and it was like this glimmer of hope as we all welcomed 2021.

Not going into all the details here, but January through April were just good months when it came to personal business income goals. I was able to invest in a business coach and even pay to attend my first in-person business conference.

I was contributing well to the financial aspect of our household BUT y’all I was EXHAUSTING myself and leading myself to burnout.

Let me get something very clear that I learned this year. No amount of money is worth your mental health, physical health, and most importantly, your families health.

What I realized after taking a step back is that I wasn’t charging enough in either one of my businesses. I had spread myself so thin among clients and couples that I wasn’t serving my people well. I had lost that *special* factor because I was burned out and just going on with the motions.

Now, I say all this, and some of my couples and clients who are reading this post may have never known this was a battle going on in the back of my business. If so, I’m grateful. But, I definitely know there were times that I let some of my people down. I’m grateful though that they were always understanding when I explained here’s what’s going on in life. Anyway…

June was tough, to say the least.

Ryan and I found out the weekend of Mother’s Day that we were expecting again. We were thrilled as we had been praying for another little one that we could welcome into our family. But, I was also so worried about getting my hopes up because I actually miscarried in October of 2020. I only have told a few close friends and family members about this until now. But, let me tell you, it definitely made an already hard month in 2020 even worse.

It was June when we announced to family that we were expecting and July when we finally announced to the wonderful world of social media.

Here’s the thing I wasn’t prepared for… depression and morning sickness on top of being downright tired. I was just sad the first month and a half of my pregnancy. I really can’t explain it but emotions were high and then again, I was juggling all the things still and I was just burning the candle at both ends. And, for what? I knew there needed to be a shift because I didn’t need the extra stress on my body. Especially now that I was pregnant.

These small businesses I began I felt like were sucking the life out of me. Please know, by the way, if you’re a client or couple reading this, you had nothing to do with the way I was feeling. This was all me dealing with whatever this pregnancy was throwing at me. And, of course, repercussions of me not knowing what I should actually be charging within my business. And, then there were boundaries…

I didn’t set clear boundaries.

Looking back at my 2021 Year in Review, I can see very clearly where I didn’t set proper boundaries and let clients and couples walk all over me and my families time. Again, not my clients or couples fault. This is all my own. But not having those boundaries set that I told myself in 2020 I was going to do really played a factor into the busyness I was experiencing.

I was balancing all the things and things would definitely fall apart because of this. Ha – kind of funny for a Virtual Assistant who helps people lessen their business load admit to being overwhelmed, huh? I’ve been in my client’s shoes, to say the least. I understand the overwhelm.

I was juggling TWO full wedding seasons.

This is where it gets really fun… Between the months of August through December, my wedding planning business had a total of 18 couples that we served. Between me and my lead assistants, we were busy. I don’t EVER take on that many weddings, but with COVID postponements and still needing the new income for the year, it is what is.

Y’all I was a zombie and I literally dreaded wedding-related things. Not my couples, just the work itself. Please understand the difference here.

Luckily, I had already made some much needed shifts in my consulting business so I wasn’t as tied-down to it being as full-time as it usually is. That was definitely a blessing! However, I was missing the Virtual Assistant side of my brain. If that makes sense.

Now, here’s the thing I’m going to be really upfront about…

Not only was I handling two full wedding seasons in the span of five months, but I still have full-planning and design couples for 2022 that need my attention. So, there had to be some hard conversations with some of my 2022 couples explaining to them how the wedding industry right now is just downright tired. And, it’s not that we aren’t excited for your wedding (because we truly are!) it’s just not something our brains can mentally focus on right now.

Again, I’m very blessed that my couples were very understanding of this. Even so, there are still planning aspects that need to be handled for those couples. So it’s just been lots of little tasks at the end of the year that have needed to be tackled.

Little rant…

To whomever on social media started the trend of telling couples to book all their vendors ASAP because the pandemic was causing vendors to book quicker, why???? This has caused so much panic and the need to rush the entire planning process with my couples. Yes, there are things that book quicker than others (especially venues) but you’d book those vendors first anyway no matter what’s going on in the world. Okay, rant over (for now – ha!).

People have just been mean.

This is another little rant, but it really needs to be addressed because 2021 brought out some really bad qualities in people.

I don’t know how else to say this, but people have literally just been mean. Every small business owner and vendor in the wedding industry that I’ve spoken to has dealt with at least 2-3 just downright hateful clients within the last couple of months of the year.

It’s like we are all losing our mind and forgetting how to treat one another. Of course, there is a time to make a complaint, but every story I’m hearing is pertaining to people who feel they are entitled to get everything when they want it, how they want it, and THEN expect the small business owner to drop everything and tend to them. Y’all this isn’t how it works.

I could literally right a book, but I can’t because I’m not going to call people out. But, just remember to be nice y’all. Small businesses are doing their absolute best to serve you during this messy time. We are humans who have families and we do want to make you happy. But, we also don’t live to serve you.

Being hateful makes you the bad apple that makes all the good that’s going on around us seem lost. Because guess what? Most small business owners will often let it eat them up inside that someone is upset with them. They’ll do everything they can to make you happy again.

But, not me!

I will say this is one thing in 2021 that I’m really proud of myself for. I’ve learned not to care if there is someone who is unhappy with me. Stop threatening the bad review as if it’ll kill my small business. That’s just rude. Stop demanding what you think should have happened and how to run my business. That’s just rude. Stop trying to intimidate me because you are older than me. That’s just rude.

Now, here’s the thing… I’ll own up to my mistakes and I have this year. In fact, I have one couple and even a consulting client that I refunded because again June/July was just tough and I know I didn’t fulfill my end of the contract. But guess what, I addressed it BEFORE they even mentioned it to me because I do want to be an ethical business owner.

And please know that I do hear my clients and couples out when there is something that is concerning them, but we all talk to each other in a very respectful way. Y’all it makes all the difference to come to someone with kindness versus anger and a here’s what I think you owe me attitude.

You know the saying… “You catch more flies with honey.”

Okay, now that I’ve given a little life lesson and ranted a little bit, let’s talk about some of the really good things in my 2021 Year in Review.

Creative at Heart Conference

Creative at Heart Conference | 2021 Year in Review

This was the first business trip that I booked all on my own and attended. This conference happened in July and it was so good for the soul. I laughed, cried, learned, grew. I became a better business owner. And, I got to see that I wasn’t the only one struggling with 2020/2021.

It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders to know that all these pretty curated social media feeds were just that… pretty curated social media feeds. Y’all know that I know social media has this glaze over it and people can show only what you want them to see.

BUT when you are battling a roller coaster of emotions, it’s very easy to fall into the trap of “everyone has it better than me.”

The Creative at Heart Conference really helped me refocus and also actually take somewhat of a break from my businesses. Something I hadn’t done since I went full-time in 2020.

Family Time

Towards the latter part of the year, I’ve really been trying my absolute best to be off my phone when gathering with family, during the holiday’s, etc. Now, it’s not always easy but it’s really made a difference when I take the time to not even take my phone out of my purse.

I’m also all in my momma feels because Lincoln is no longer my “baby.” He’s about to take on the Big Brother role and while I’m super excited to meet our Darcy girl, I know it’s going to bittersweet. My firstborn is growing up and soon will his little sister.

This is another reason why I’m really making family my main priority.

They always have been, but I haven’t really shown them that through my actions and that is something that has to change come the New Year and all years to come.

My family time is what restores me and allows me not to burnout.

A Whole Lotta Lessons Learned

Again, I could write a book on the lessons that I learned this year. However, I’ve already written a novel of a blog and I know your time is valuable. If you’ve read this far down, props to you already!

So to shorten this blog, I’m just going to bullet point a handful of lessons learned that really stand out to me. Note, some of these lessons I’ve learned before but I’ve just added an extra layer (or module, if you will) to the overall lesson.

As small business owners, things change constantly so lessons we once learned, sometimes we have to learn again. Hmph!

  1. Charge your worth. You hear it all the time, but it’s the truth. Quality is so much better than quantity. Since lessening my client roster and the number of weddings I take on, I’m not only happier but I’m better serving my people. Find your ideal clients (or couples!) who understand the expertise and value you bring to the table. I promise they are out there! Go up your prices and if after three inquires you don’t get a booking, reevaluate. More to come on this topic soon to the blog.
  2. Honor your business hours and take time off. Gosh, this really is a lesson that I have to learn time and time again. I’m always tweaking my business hours. But I finally think I’ve found my groove. I’ve got my clients aware of my hours and I have an amazing new wedding kit that has been created for my couples on all the things they can expect when it comes to communication depending on which package they book with me. The key here is follow-through!! Also, make sure you take a vacation from work too. Or at least take a baby step and actually honor your day out of the office. For me, that day is Tuesday.
  3. My businesses are no longer my hobbies. So here’s the thing… these two businesses of mine were once hobbies and big dreams. I was doing all the side-hustle things to get them afloat so that one day they could be my full-time job. Now that they are, I can’t treat them as my hobbies. Meaning, when it is time for me to take time off, I don’t need to work on things that pertain to either of my businesses. I need another outlet to nurture. Now, new hobbies can look like spending time with my family, learning how to cook a new recipe, decluttering, going for walks, etc. BUT it does not need to anything regarding consulting or weddings. This just makes me feel like I truly work ALL THE TIME. Instead, in order for me to work on my businesses, I’m scheduling that time within my work week. Or every now and then, I will have a work day over the weekend. BUT, again, these will be scheduled.
  4. Stand your ground. As mentioned above, people have just been mean this year. Of course, when I say people I can count five on my hand that have just been downright rude to me this year. BUT what’s sad is they took away joy from other aspects of my business. Guess what though? I’ve learned as a business owner how to really stand my ground and basically let it all just roll off my shoulders. I can’t please everyone and I know that there are always going to people who just want to complain. I’ve learned how to stand up for myself and my business and show people that I really do know what I’m doing and I really do run legitimate businesses.
  5. Don’t forget to be proud of yourself. You are doing the dang thing! You are your own boss. Plus, you are being a present wife, momma, daughter, friend, and more. You are living your dream. Far too often I get caught up in all the things I should be doing more of that I forget to just be proud of myself. So, I’m wanting to remind you as well, to be proud of yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back because no matter what goals you didn’t accomplish this year, you’re still doing the dang entrepreneur thing.

That’s a Wrap for my 2021 Year in Review

So this may not have been a true 2021 Year in Review, but it does give you a glimpse into the year I had and what I learned.

I’m super excited to share my Word of the Year for 2022 with you. The blog announcing my Word of the Year goes live on Monday, January 3rd so make sure to circle back around and give it a read.

Thanks for reading my novel if you made it to the end of this blog. 🙂

Is one of your 2022 goals to outsource business tasks to a virtual assistant? Or maybe one of your goals is to up your online presence with a brand new website. Sound like you? If so, I’d love to chat with you about how I can help. Feel free to contact me with questions. I look forward to chatting soon!