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I'm Mara — I help creatives create and launch digital courses and profitable products. I love chatting about online marketing, design and goal setting!
Hello everyone and Happy New Year! This is the very first episode releasing in 2024 that I’m recording mid-November because I JUST finished formalizing my business goals for 2024. Now, if your first reaction is to be like – Mara, that’s SO early to finalize your 2024 goals for the year, you’re not wrong.
Personally, I like starting the year ahead (I talked more about that last week) so that I can really feel like I’m hitting the ground running and having a clear idea of what I want to achieve on January 1st. So, I do all of my goal prep work super early. This year, especially, I’ve been on maternity leave in October and November too, so I’ve had some extra time to think through my goals while feeding a newborn baby, going on walks, and spending lots of time cuddling. I’m excited to share my goals with you today!
In this episode, I’m sharing my EXACT goals list for 2024. Personally, I think it’s fascinating to hear the types of goals others are setting, but I understand why more people don’t do it—it feels honest and vulnerable. But lately, I’ve been challenging myself to share the things I wish others talked about. So, in this episode, I’m doing just that. I’m sharing my five big goals for next year, why I picked each one, and my plans for them.
The main focus for this year is growing my podcast, which has been a tremendous asset to my business. It serves as a creative outlet that I thoroughly enjoy, from brainstorming episodes to recording and producing them. Not only has it attracted new clients, but it has also helped me build a community, and I aim to expand on that next year. My goal is to increase listenership and ensure that the podcast continues to benefit others.
To get even more specific, here are 4 ways I’m planning to grow my podcast this year.
First, I want to focus on making sure I’m really creating high-quality content. To me, that simply means reviewing what I’m recording, ensuring clarity, crispness, and helpfulness, and truly focusing on delivering a great show.
Second, I want to consume more podcast education. I want to actively learn how to be a better podcaster.I want to take courses on podcasts, watch videos, and listen to other podcasts to improve my own show. As a side note – outlining my learning goals for the next year helps me stay focused so I’m not buying courses randomly. If you find yourself doing that too, this might be something to consider as you set your own 2024 business goals.
Thirdly, I also want to focus on getting more reviews this year. Reviews really help out podcasters. They help your show get seen by more people and boost your show in the feed. So I want to be consistent about asking for reviews and reminding people to review the podcast because personally when there’s a podcast I love listening to, I still need that reminder of, “Hey, go review it.” I want to be better about that myself.
One thing I am also working on this year, which is not an official goal, but I highly recommend trying it in your own business, is just asking people for the help you need. It’s huge, and most people are willing to help you out if you specifically ask them.
The last thing on my “grow my podcast” goal is to survey my audience. I plan to send out one, maybe two surveys to my email list. The survey will dig deep into whether they listen to the podcast, their favorite episodes, what they want to hear more of, and the other podcasts they enjoy.
Truthfully, I believe that understanding the problems others are facing is important in business. By listening to their needs and finding ways to help, we can make a real impact as business owners. I might even include it in my welcome series to continually gather feedback. Sometimes, you can’t see everything in your own business, so I’ve always found asking for feedback to be beneficial in my business.
My second goal is less about business goals and is instead more personal: embracing the season of life I’m in. Here’s a little background: I have a tiny newborn who’s currently seven weeks old (she’ll be three months old by the time you hear this). Life is totally different for me right now. It’s a mix of chaos, love, and challenges as I navigate parenting, managing roles with my husband, childcare, and keeping our house clean. I don’t want to feel overwhelmed or resentful.
Instead, I want to find joy, create wonderful memories, and make the best of this time, even though I won’t be sleeping much and will be dealing with laundry and our dogs at home. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed after having a baby, but I’m determined to make the most of this year and cherish these seemingly unimportant memories. I know that someday, I’ll look back on this chaotic and confusing time and truly miss it, so it’s important to me to make an effort to really embrace the season of life that I’m in right now.
So I have a bunch of ideas to go underneath the goal. One of them is to make the mundane more fun. Just little things like playing music when hanging out with the baby or cleaning the kitchen, or doing things together with my husband around the house. Anything we can do to make the mundane a little more enjoyable. We’re entering this phase of our life where things are going to have to be more scheduled. We’ll have to live our lives around bedtimes and nap times, and that’s a huge change.
I also have under here that I want less resentment. I talked about this in my 2023 review, so if you haven’t listened to that, I did a podcast episode reviewing all the good stuff and all the bad stuff from 2023, and I touched on this. A lot of resentment started to brew up and bubble up in me where I felt like I didn’t have as much freedom as other people, that I was doing a lot more work than other people. And I don’t like that version of myself, honestly. It’s not the best version of Mara.
I want to be really intentional this year about not feeling resentment, and if I do, working on it and not just letting it bubble up and turn into this crazy volcano.
When it comes to actually implementing this, I think this looks like a couple of different things. Part of it is checking in internally with myself and just seeing how I’m feeling and seeing if it’s reality or if I’m making a bigger deal out of it than it necessarily is because sometimes I get emotional about it, I get more stressed out, and I think, “oh, I’m the only one who cares”, or “I’m the only one doing work”, and it’s not true at all, even kind of.
The other part of feeling less resentment truly is getting more support and help because there is a part of it where I feel this mental overload of everything going on in our life and feel like I’m responsible for so many things. I think also there’s a part of it where I do just need more support after we had a baby. That’s something that came up for me pretty early on. I need to find more ways to not be doing it all myself. I don’t know exactly what more support looks like, which is why I’m setting a goal.
One of the other things I have under this “embrace the season of life” goal are low travel. This year I really want to be intentional about our travel, and I don’t want to stress myself out by planning all these trips because our season of life just feels hard to travel. So my husband and I planned out a list of things we want to do this year, and I want to stick to that. I don’t want to spend the whole year thinking, well, maybe we should do this trip or we should go visit this person. Because what will happen is I will completely overdo it and then get really burnt out.
So I just want to remind myself it’s okay to embrace this season of life where we’re not traveling a ton. Our daughter is not going to remember if we do travel anywhere because she’s so teeny tiny, and it’s okay to just stay at home and have a lot of weekends where we’re doing something more mundane.
Goal number three is to prioritize digital products in my business. It may sound silly because my business largely revolves around helping people with online courses and digital products. From Monday to Friday, my focus is on assisting others in setting up online courses, workshops, eBooks, and more. However, I haven’t allocated much time for my OWN business, which is somewhat counterproductive. It’s like not putting on your own oxygen mask before helping someone else.
So far, my business has thrived on client work, which has been profitable and led to valuable relationships and I love that, but it hasn’t given me the opportunity to scale and grow without constant work. This is one of my biggest business goals for the year!
On top of that, I genuinely enjoy helping and teaching others. Before focusing on my business, I worked as a teacher, a role that I’ve loved throughout my life. Although I haven’t been able to dedicate much time to teaching in my business, that’s another reason why I love my podcast so much. This year, I want to expand further by launching online courses, creating templates, and developing an ebook or a workbook.
This year, I want to create my own projects and diversify my income streams. While I currently have various sources such as coaching, affiliate income, and selling templates, most of my income relies on one-on-one client work. It’s time for me to expand and explore new areas.
Let me give you a little backstory to explain. Currently, my husband and I are unsure about where we want to live long-term and whether we should buy a house. We both grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, and that’s where we met. After getting married, we moved to Tampa, Florida, where we currently reside in a lovely rental house. Our lease is coming up for renewal soon, and we’re contemplating whether to renew, move elsewhere, or buy a house.
I honestly wish goal number four is to buy a house or move to a specific place, but the truth is we’re still really uncertain about the best next step for us. Family plays an important role, and being away from them, especially after having a baby, has been challenging. That being said, our families are all over the place (from Nebraska to Hawaii to Pennsylvania to Oklahoma).
The flexibility of our work allows us to be location-independent, which is a blessing, but it also makes it difficult to decide where we want to settle. It probably goes without saying, but we don’t want to buy a house until we have clarity on this matter. So, at the moment, I don’t have all the answers, but my goal this year is to figure it out with my husband and decide the best next step for us.
And the first little step is to pray about it. It’s always helped me in the past when I feel stuck and don’t know the right answer. Just praying and waiting for the answer to reveal itself. I also want to research brokers because buying a home when you’re self-employed is extra complicated. I wish it wasn’t that complicated.
I’ve been working with my accountant for a couple of years to ensure we can prove consistent income for my business, which it has for many years. But there’s a lot involved that can make it harder to get a mortgage. So, I want to spend some time, especially early in the year, researching different mortgage brokers and their exact requirements for working with them and getting a loan. This way, I can make the most informed decision.
My last goal is to focus on SEO this year. SEO, or search engine optimization, is when people search for things on Google and your website appears. I’ve been working on this in my business and made a lot of progress last year. I wrote blog posts about the differences and usage of Thrivecart and Kajabi, two software I extensively use and am asked about in my business. Now, my blog post is one of the top results when someone Googles that. I spent a lot of time writing blog posts this year, creating a bank of resources that people can find and I want to continue to do that this year.
Last year, I did a major overhaul, creating new pages and optimizing SEO. I want to keep working on that, ensuring all pages adhere to SEO guidelines and are in top shape for Google’s discovery. By the way, in case SEO might be new to you, it’s not a simple task that you can just check off and be done with. It’s an ever-evolving process and things are always changing so I am prepared for that.
Additionally, in order to prioritize SEO, I plan to continue writing blog posts on different topics, including software, online courses, newborn essentials, and more. Every podcast episode also has an accompanying SEO blog post (hi – you’re reading it right now!).
I’m also planning to experiment with YouTube this year. YouTube, owned by Google, has huge potential for SEO. Plus, I really enjoy making videos, but it’s been tough in my current season of life with a newborn. So in 2024, I want to prioritize creating video content, along with podcast episodes, blog posts, and social media. I think it’ll bring me joy; I just need to be intentional about making time for it. Even though I originally planned to do this in 2023, I didn’t get to make many videos because of being busy with a baby and being on maternity leave this year. I’m excited to give this a try for next year!
Okay, so those are my five big business goals for 2024! And as I was brainstorming these, I want to say that I spent a LOT of time thinking of different things that could be on this list. I think it’s really powerful to focus on less in your life and business. When you try to do everything, it can be hard to do anything. So I like to get really specific and pick “ripple goals”, that’s what I like to call them, but goals that have this ripple effect where if I achieved these goals every area of my life would be better. And I think all of these hit the nail on the head!
Something fun I’m doing this year for goal setting is creating a “24 in 2024” list. It’s inspired by Gretchen Rubin, who has a blog, books, and a podcast all about happiness. I’ve been doing this for a couple of years now, making a list of small, enjoyable things I want to achieve throughout the year. It helps me stay motivated and accountable. Currently, I have 13 items on my list, but it’s not finalized yet. Once it is, I might share it on my website for some extra accountability.
So far, there are a few things on my list. First, I need to update our will now that we have a baby. It’s important to update it and ensure that our child is included, along with all the necessary legal details regarding our finances and who would take care of her.
Next, I want to plan a weekend trip with one of my best friends. We’ve been close since high school and were in marching band together. Although we don’t live near each other anymore, we want to make sure we have a special trip this year. It may require some planning to coordinate our schedules and decide what we want to do, but it’s worth it because I believe that long-lasting friendships are rare and worth nurturing.
Additionally, I want to make sure I get at least one massage this year. I also have a desire to go on a solo work retreat, where I can stay at an Airbnb or hotel for a couple of nights and focus solely on my projects. It may sound nerdy, but I find it incredibly productive as there are no distractions from daily chores or other responsibilities.
On the business side, I plan to try out Facebook ads, even if it’s just for one of my opt-ins. I also want to revamp my email welcome series, as it’s outdated and needs to reflect the changes in my life since becoming a mom. I can include links to new podcast episodes that weren’t available when I last updated it.
I really hope this episode was helpful in giving you permission to share your goals and find accountability. Maybe it even inspired you for the upcoming year. I’ll be doing follow-up blog posts and podcast episodes throughout the year to update you on how these goals are progressing. You can subscribe to the podcast or follow me on Instagram for regular updates on my goals! I also share income reports if you love a BTS look into someone’s business as much as I do. I appreciate your support!
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