For the past few years in business, I’ve unequivocally done a year in review during the month of December. Typically speaking, I treat this as a grand time for reflection on the year as it was, and what is to come. This year? December was a mess of a month. I enrolled in culinary school, and was greeted with not a 50 hour school week, which was clearly stated in my enrollment literature, but a 70+ hour school week. I was flabbergasted, and as a result? I buckled down, and kept my head down for the month rather than doing all the typical things I am used to doing during December.
But here I am, at the onset of 2018 and the onset of some BIG changes to my business, and admittedly…My life. I’m six days into Drynuary, my foray into temporary tee-totalling temperance. I say temporary, because for the time being that is the plan. But who knows what the rest of the month shall hold. I’m noticing that I have more focus, more energy, and more time to actually be present. This change has surprised me as well as many of the folks I am close to. But here I am.
So without further ado…
1. Going dry. As an avid wine and beer consumer who runs a French cooking school that serves copious wine products, it’s been an interesting experiment. Already just shy of a week, I am seeing how much weight, time, and energy I put on alcohol and alcohol consumption. And how much of my identity has been tied up into it. I have no plans on doing it ‘for good’ but I am definitely re-evaluating how it shows up in my life.
2. Lowering my coaching prices. Mid-last year, I drastically raised my rates. 35% on one-to-one coaching, and 42% on multi-day client intensives. This was a result of the massive amount of interest in my coaching that occurred during what I call the ‘MEDIA HURRICANE OF 2015″. I simply couldn’t keep up with demand, so…I did what any economist would do: raised my rates, in essence, to lower demand. It didn’t work. And, I didn’t notice an ‘increase in quality’ of my clients. In fact, I noticed a sharp curve in clients who were out of integrity with what I really truly wanted to be doing.
So….I lowered my rates back to $877 a month for one-on-one and $6777 for all-inclusive client intensives with three months of followup coaching. And that is where they are staying for the time being, why? Because these prices–after having premium prices to bottom of the barrel pricing to everything in between–have proven to attract the exact type of clients that I am looking for. (Burgeoning leaders looking for long-term, on-going coaching) .
3. Going back to business coaching. After a year of being ardently against business coaching in my own marketing, I am realizing that is a place where my magic really shines. YES, I am a leadership coach, but many of my entrepreneur clients need the marketing brain I have and I am going back to sharing that piece of me in a big way. (I just launched R.E.A.L. Marketing if you’d like to join)
4. Getting divorced. The truth? Divorce is never easy, and mine was no exception to this hard and fast rule. But it was the right decision. After spending number of years of numb and riddled by frustration and unhappiness, I took the courageous step and walked away. We’re not still friends. It wasn’t particularly amicable (nor was it particularly combative just…a lot of pain). It opened me to the realization of how much pain I caused within the relationship too. Divorce taught me that sometimes endings are necessary, and there simply isn’t a solution, and it also shared with me that life is meant to be lived vibrantly, a lesson I thought I already knew. But one I apparently needed to learn again.
5. Re-finding and digging deeper into my sexuality. The short story? Because the longer one is something I am writing…
I came out as bisexual at the age of 15, it was something I was 100% sure on. And yet…I was pretty dang shamed for it by the straight and queer communities alike. (This was in 2001, times have changed dramatically). I was told by both sides it was “a phase,” and I would someday figure it out and “pick a side.” When one of my first girlfriends told me that she’d never date a bisexual, 17 year old me shut down and was like “oh, yeah…I’m not that.” Pair that with some other stories and not so savory #metoo run-ins with men, and I slapped that “lesbian” label across my leather jacket happily.
In college, I tried to slither back into the perfectly fitting, little black dress label of bisexual and was met with more shame, mistrust, and dis-ease. So, I once again, disrobed that label and wore “lesbian” like my armor. This year, it became clear that wasn’t my label, since well…I’m with a man now. What digging into these labels and pain taught me? We know ourselves better than anyone else. And our experiences are ours alone, and we must do everything in our power to not let others take control of our own identities. It’s been a long period of unpacking, and one I plan to write about more because… well, it’s important. And identities are often subtle, and I think it’s time to blow open our stories, which the tides seem to be turning on.
6. Releasing hundreds of stories and expectations for good. See previous statement. Beyond that? I believed until some point in time last year the following: I shouldn’t business coach, I shouldn’t ever take time off my beloved rosé, I shouldn’t ever be in a monogamous relationship again, I shouldn’t be a big force for change, I would never be desirable (in the gross understanding of the term) to clients/a partner/friends, I shouldn’t be powerful, etc ad nauseum. As I stepped back from each carefully crafted belief, I realized they weren’t beliefs that were true. They were simply that. Beliefs. All of which were holding me back from my truth.
7. Hosting my first live event. February was a really curious and expansive month. It was the crux of my year in so many ways. I hosted Practical Magic, my first large scale live event, amid my divorce and shifting identities. I found that life was moving at a breakneck speed, and Practical Magic shot me into the ether in a big way. There are few things more powerful than having 60 women in a space together to talk about the good, bad, and the ugly of women in leadership. I made some missteps, and I had massive takeaways. Most important? My work matters. This isn’t something I really realized or embodied before. But my work without the work of women with identities other than one’s I can call my own doesn’t matter at all. My work does not exist in a silo.
My next live event, Your Leadership Recipe LIVE, is taking everything I learned from the first one and flipping it on it’s head. I have curated a very very specific group of speakers, and have put all of the things I have taught and coached on into a very specific leadership curriculum geared for women leaders and burgeoning women leaders (and those who want to CAPACITATE women leaders). It’s robust, and has key takeaways/actionable things to implement immediately. It’s everything I’ve ever learned AND embodied presented in a way that others can learn and embody it too.
8. Completely stopped marketing for a bit. The wave of the new administration made me rethink EVERYTHING I was doing in my coaching business. Everything. And that whole live event thing? WOOF! It blew my world open to what was possible. So, I stopped marketing my coaching. I haphazardly launched a few things, but in general? I closed shop. It gave me the incubation time required to jump into 2018 with a whole new perspective and mindset.
9. Crossfitting…again. I’ve been a flippant and off/on crossfitter for the past 12 years (12!!!!!). And this past year, I dove back in head first. The reminder that my body is capable of amazing things came flooding back to me, and I am now feeling stronger than ever (despite being off again for most of the year with Crossfit due to travel schedules).
10. Sunday Riley. This is a weird one for me to post, but it is my truth. Skincare changed my life. Maybe it’s new relationship glow, maybe it’s the exercise, maybe it’s sobriety. Or maybe? It’s Sunday Riley. I switched my skincare regimen late last year and the results? Epic. I am OBSESSED with Good Genes, and swear their Vitamin C serum is a lifesaver. Pair that with hydration, time off from drinking, and finding happiness in metric tons and I’m pretty dang content.
11. Hired the perfect team. In 2017, I doubled the size of my team. I went from having a few part-time folks, to having two full-time (for me) members who work across all the verticals. One is my exceptional and extraordinary COO, the other is my partner. The two of them are the lead Makenna wranglers, and they keep my brain sane.
12. Launched ALo Records and brought music back into my life. Most of my life, previous to adulthood, was stewed in music. I am a classically trained pianist and vocal musician. I beatbox. I was in accappella groups throughout high school and college (*cue Pitch Perfect*). I play guitar…badly. And I dabble with some other suchness. Launching ALo brought a new focus of music back to me. I have attended more shows in this year alone than the past 10 years combined (small ones, big ones make my introvertness go hog wild), I’ve spent more time listening and playing music than I have in the same amount of years. And the result so far? Wild obsession and joy with all of my businesses again.
The business milestones of the year and some learnings?
Breaking a massive revenue goal. I’ve decided to share less about the money I am making, despite the trend in the online world. Because frankly? I don’t ever want to use it for marketing, or use it as a reason people hire me for coaching. My revenue isn’t what yours will be. In fact, I have had clients that make 5 times what I do in revenues, and clients who make far less. My skillset as a coach has nothing to do with my own personal ability to make money. My privileges, my capacities, and my businesses are VASTLY different than that of my clients.
Hosting over 100 people at the Courageous Cooking School at La Pitchoune. We sold out both rentals and our own cooking school. It was a marvelous first year.
Re-centering my work around capacitating women’s leadership and women-centered businesses. I explained this above.
What does 2018 hold?
- The R.E.A.L. Marketing system launch. You can read about that here.
- The HeartFirst Method launch. My signature program, join my list to learn about it’s launch.
- Your Leadership Recipe LIVE. March 28th-29th
- Another sold out year at the Courageous Cooking School.
- ALo Records releasing 3 albums. One EP and two LPs.
- A new Makenna Held website, a NEW La Peetch website, and the launch of a food/travel blog centered around recipe free/from the hip cooking.