Episode 041 – The Impactful Year-End Review Process for Independent Consultants

When it comes to your consulting business, do you have a regular routine of evaluating your results? As entrepreneurs, to know where you’re going, it’s important to look at where you’ve been. That’s why year-end business reviews are so important. They enable you to jump-start the new year with solutions to prior issues and strategies for continued growth moving forward. 

This type of success habit, the year-end review, is the difference between you having a successful year or stagnating. It makes you aware of what you want to amplify, eliminate or adjust. 

Download your Yearly Business Plan Workbook for Independent Consultants at https://www.melisaliberman.com/plan

Then, listen in as I share how to conduct a year end review process that’s both effective and fun for you and your business as you move forward into the next year: 

  • [04:27] What a year-end review should be non-negotiable as a success habit in our business
  • [06:18] What avoiding a year-end review is holding you back in your business
  • The exact process to make you year-end review effective and fun
    • [08:31] Part #1
    • [12:13] Part# 2
    • [12:58] Part #3
  • [14:37] Questions to include in your year-end review
    • What are my top 50 accomplishments from this past year?
    • What 20 failures did I achieve?
    • Who did I become this year? 
    • How am I different as the CMO, CFO, CEO, etc?
  • [16:58] How to execute the year-end process review


Ready for help figuring out how to leverage these strategies in your IC business and ultimately double your revenue without working more? 

  • I invite you to book an IC Success Blueprint call with me.
  • On this call, we’ll dive into your business and get clear on your goals and challenges and determine an action plan for you so that you can create the business impact, income, and flexibility that you desire. 
  • To get on my calendar, please visit www.consultmelisa.com


  • Click here to download the 27 WAYS TO LAND YOUR NEXT CONSULTING CLIENT


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**note: This is an automated transcript, so please ignore spelling errors and grammar mistakes*


Welcome to the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. I’m Melisa Liberman, a fellow IC and business coach. On this podcast, I teach you to become a consistently booked independent consultant without becoming a pushy salesperson or working 24/7. If I can do it, you can too, listen on to find out how. Welcome to the podcast, I’m so glad you’re back today, if you’re a listener who comes every week, and if you’re new welcome, I’m so excited that you’re here. And I cannot wait to dive into today’s topic, which is how to conduct a year-end review process that’s both effective for you in your business as you move forward into the next year. As well as we’re going to make it fun. Your interview processes sound terrible. Who wants to do that? So, let’s make it a little bit fun. And honestly, fun is not my forte. So


when I say something’s fun, it’s going to be fun. This is great. I’m excited to share this process with you today. First, on a personal note, I had to share something with you. I’m kind of on like Plan C as it relates to recording this podcast today. Because we had hurricane-force winds yesterday in Colorado, obviously, we didn’t get a hurricane, it was just crazy, crazy. windstorm, it blew down our fence on one entire side of our property. This windstorm started, just as I was finishing up a presentation to the Accenture Alumni Organization on executive presence. And I had told them before we started the facilitators that, you know, I might lose internet just based on all the forecast things that were coming in and that kind of thing. And so, we talked about what the backup would be if for some reason I my internet went out halfway through. And I’m so happy to report that I made it all the way through 55 minutes. So, I think we were on the very last question when my internet went out, which is a very rare occurrence here. So now I know I’ve got to be working on some backup plans for the internet situation. Anyway, I’m recording this on kind of plan C tool that is on my desktop and doesn’t need Internet access. And I can’t wait to record this for you today and make sure that you’ve got a really solid year-end review process that can help launch you into next year. So that’s what we’re here to talk about today. Over the course of this week, and the following two weeks, I’m going to share with you a process that’s going to help you get ready for 2022. So, this is the first part in a three-part series. And it will help you to not only really look at this year objectively, and really figure out what you want to amplify and what you want to change and help you get ready to hit the ground running in 2022. Or whatever year you’re listening or quarter, you’re listening to this, if it’s in the future. This is certainly a process that I’m sharing with you for year-end. But I highly recommend that you do it once a quarter at a minimum if not every month. And I’ll talk with you a little bit about what that process would look like at the end. So, without further ado, today’s specific topic is implementing an impactful year and review process. And we’re gonna talk today about three key areas. The first is why a yearend review should be non-negotiable. As a success habit in your business. The next topic we’ll talk about is if you’re someone like most of us, I think you want to really avoid it, put your head down and enjoy the holidays, and figure it out when you started restart in January, why you shouldn’t be doing that, why that’s putting a disservice and really holding you back in your business. I want to tie all talk with you a little bit about that and my own personal story around that. And then thirdly, I will share with you the exact process to make your year-end review effective and infuse some fun into it as well. So that is what we’re going to cover today. Let’s start off with why a yearend review process should be non-negotiable in your business. And really what I find is that this is a key component, a key success habit for any business owner to constantly be evaluating and iterating and adjusting and knowing that you can’t just put a business in place and go into run maintain mode and never need to adjust anything that’s just not the key to success as a business owner right. So, this type of success habit the Your review is the difference for you between growth next year and stagnation. So, we are simply going through a process that I’m going to walk you through to get aware, aware of what you want to amplify aware of what you might want to eliminate, and aware of what you want to adjust. So that you can continuously build upon what you’ve been doing, do more of what’s really working. And that requires you to know what’s working, do less of what’s not working, or eliminate it. Again, that requires you to know what’s not working. And if you’re just down, heads down, doing your workday after day, it’s virtually impossible to really know what’s working to peel back the layers and figure out what is working, why is it working? How do I know that it’s working? And then the opposite of that, right? What’s not working? How do I know it’s not working? And why do I think that is? So that’s why I want to really implore you that this should be a non-negotiable part of your process as a business owner, so that you can continue to grow as a business owner, both by way of your income, but also by way of your impact, and that you can continue to grow versus to stagnate. So if it’s important, then let’s ask Why don’t most independent consultants avoid it. And I find that as I talk to independent consultants, which I do on a daily basis, whether they’re my clients or people I’m networking with, or those of you listening on the podcast, will reach out to me and we have a conversation. A lot of times, it boils down to you know, I’m just I’m not doing these types of reviews. And the reason why is it feels terrible. We don’t want to do something that feels terrible, we have to look at what didn’t go, well. What do I need to change all of that our brains are wired to do the exact opposite? Our brains are wired to make ourselves feel good in the moment, as best as we can, is called the motivational triad to increase pleasure to avoid pain, and to expend as least amount of energy as possible. That’s what our brains are wired to do. So of course, our brain is not wired by default to go through a yearend review process, because we’ve got to look in the mirror and figure out what’s going on here. And it’s different, right? It’s different than when you were back incorporate and you’re doing a review process. Because that was a team, you could point to different parts of the ecosystem and say, this is why this thing isn’t working. A lot of times as an independent, we feel like oh, no, I’m the only one who can point you know the finger, and it makes it feel even worse. So what I want to share with you today is a way to lighten this up and not make it so painful. The other thing before we move on is why most independent consultants avoided is that we tell ourselves, we don’t have time, that’s the mechanism to avoid the uncomfortable, right, I just don’t have time for this, I’ve got to finish out the year, the clients are needing deliverables from me, and I just don’t have time for this. I’m going to sacrifice it and do the work for my clients and take some time off. And what I want to share with you with that is that this process I’m going to share with you today and over the next couple of weeks, doesn’t have to take very long, you could spend 15 minutes doing this and gain so much more insight and traction for yourself for next year. Okay, so


it’s important. Hopefully, we’re on the same page with that. So how do you overcome the resistance and make this year-end review effective, and fun, I’ve been telling you, we can make it fun. Let me walk you through what that formula is. Okay, so the first part of the formula is for you to set some ground rules for this year and review process with yourself. This is very important for you to get in the productive mindset so that you’re able to get the results you want from the process. And also, so it doesn’t feel so crappy while you’re doing it. So let me just share with you a couple of the ground rules I found to be very effective. The first is just really agreeing upfront with yourself, that you’re setting up a process with yourself. That’s a zero-judgment zone. We’re looking at the yearend objectively wanting to learn from it. I love just using the feeling of curiosity, I could just want to get really curious about what went well last year and what didn’t and how I’m going to adjust versus from a judgmental place. This is really important. Making a rule for yourself that this is a judge-free zone. And we’re not saying to ourselves, well I should have done this or I wish I would have done that. Just notice that none of that kind of internal dialogue is allowed. Those kinds of sentences might come up in your brain, but you’re just making agreement with yourself that you You’re not entertaining them, it’s not part of this process. And it’s a zone of curiosity versus a zone of judgment. That’s the first part that’s really important is to set up those ground rules. The next part of the process is for you to invite your team. Now, this is called Grow Your independent consulting business. So, you probably don’t have a formal team, right, you might have some subcontractors or maybe a virtual assistant. But what I’m talking about when I say invite the team is that think about this year in assessment from all of the different roles you play in your business, all of the different hats you wear in your business. So invite the team to this process, invite the team to your yearend review, the team being the version of you who plays the chief revenue officer, the version of you who plays the Chief Marketing Officer, the version of you who plays the Chief Operating Officer, the version of you who plays the Chief Financial Officer, and ultimately the version of you who is the employee doing the work as a consultant, all of those hats, think about preparing for this yearend review from all of those different vantage points, as you’re preparing ultimately, to meet with the CEO of the business. I think that’s really fun. Maybe my version of fun is a little nerdy probably is. But to me, that’s really fun, just kind of thinking about this as a way that you’re playing all of these different roles. You’re thinking about the year that we’re wrapping up in a way of because I am when I’m in the seat of the Chief Revenue Officer, what am I thinking about? What has gone well, this year from a revenue perspective, what hasn’t gone well, and just really getting curious with each of these different hats on and this whole team meeting that you’re creating, when it’s really just one person? To me, that’s really fun. And it lifts off the burden of judgment in a way that way too, because you’re just really thinking about and inspecting your business from a lot of different angles. So now you’ve got this judgment-free zone setup, these rules set up right judgment-free rules, you’ve got the team invited to your process. And now you’re going to want to think about what questions are going to get answered as part of this year-end review process. So I want to remind you of episode 39. If you haven’t yet listened to that, go back and listen to it after this episode, because I think it’s dovetails so nicely into what we’re talking about. But you’ve got to remember that you want to be asking yourself empowering high-quality questions, versus those disempowering, low-quality questions as you’re going through this year-end review. And that episode 39 walks you through all of that if you haven’t listened to it yet. So get yourself into the place where you’ve written down those empowering questions from an empowering perspective. And the other tip I’m going to share with you as you’re preparing, you know, what does this year-end review process look like? What are the questions, I’m going to be asking myself from all of these different vantage points,


you always want to start with the positive first, meaning, the things that went well, you want to do that to get yourself into a productive headspace. And I will tell you, I’ve made the same mistake over and over again, of glossing over what I’ve accomplished, what I’ve achieved, what’s gone well, because I think it’s a waste of time to think about that stuff. And I want to jump right into problem-solving. And you might be the same way. But I’m telling you now through my own experience, and beating my head against the wall that this is so important for you to look at the positive first to get yourself into the productive headspace. So then that way, your diagnosis of what you want to change, what’s not working as well can be from a much different set of thought processes, then, oh, no, this is terrible, and trying to solve things from there. So take it from me, you’ve got to start with the positive. And don’t be stubborn like me either. And ignore this advice, because I did it with my own coach. And it was a lot more of an uphill push as a result. So go ahead and give yourself the space to have those wins, to look at those accomplishments to give yourself credit. And ultimately, it gets you into so much more of a productive headspace to start looking at what you want to make adjustments toward. So I’ll share with you a few questions you might include in your year end review. We’ll put these questions in the show notes as well. So you may start with what are my top 50 accomplishments from this past year. 50 is tricky. I did this last year and I’ll do it again here in the next week or so for my own business 50 accomplishments. It’s easy to get to 10 or so. And then you really have to start thinking about what was an accomplishment? Big or small? Right? Think about it really push yourself to get to 50, I found that the gold in this process or in answering this question is in that last 10, where you would have overlooked those or dismissed those, you know, had you not pressed yourself to get to that list of 50. So commit to the list of 50 accomplishments. Another great question is What 20 fails? did I achieve? I love looking at failure as a positive. And if I haven’t failed quite as much as 20, then why not? What am I avoiding? Where am I playing small? So just really asking yourself, like, what 20 fails? did I achieve and looking at it from more of an achievement perspective than a problem perspective? Another great question to ask yourself is Who did I become this year? How am I different as a business owner? How am I different as the CMO? How am I different as the CFO of my business? And asking yourself, as a person, as a business owner? Who did you become that has grown from the year prior? Or if you’re doing this on a quarterly basis, the prior quarter, ask yourself, you know, simple questions, what worked? What worked? Let me write all of that down. What didn’t work? Then we start getting into looking more into the business of what we want to adjust or replace, what do I want to do differently? Another tool I love using our scales, like on a scale of one to 10? How well is my fill in the blank? How well is my lead generation process working right now?


Okay, I pick a number. Why, why is that? And that helps you to get it into more of a curiosity mode, right than a judgment mode as well. So those are some examples of questions you want to be asking yourself, as well as the head of methodology behind it to make it really impactful, the result that you get from this year-end review. Okay, so let’s wrap up with how to execute the year-end review. So, we’ve set the ground rules and the agenda, we’ve invited the team, make it fun. And then we want to go through and start answering those questions that we laid out in the agenda, and answering the questions from those different vantage points, you might consider. Okay, here I am wearing this CFO hat. I’m going to go through and answer all those questions that I had, you know, put in in my agenda here. Or I’m the CEO right now, since I’m in the CEO hat at the moment, what would I be asking what would I be caring about that might be different than the consultant employee version of myself, that’s thinking at things from such a different vantage point, right? Because that version of ourselves is delivering the work. So really playing around with these different roles, the role playing process, so that you can get a well-rounded set of inputs into your yearend review, and then take those and start running with them. And I’ll touch more on what to do with the outputs of this yearend review, as we go through the next couple of weeks in planning for 2022. Okay, so that is the process that you’re going to want to use for your yearend review. And the last thing I want to encourage you to do is to design this for yourself, create those set of questions that are appropriate for you and your business, figure out who all those team members are that you’re going to invite all the different versions of yourself, and then put this as part of your standard operating procedures. This is at a minimum, your yearly process that you want to repeat and refine year after year, I would highly encourage you to leverage it maybe in a slightly smaller version, or maybe the whole thing on a quarterly basis, and on a monthly basis. So that you can really look at your business more frequently, more consistently, and get into the zone of curiosity versus judgment. It’s going to help you grow your business so much more quickly toward the business model that you want to be creating toward the schedule that you want to have toward the revenue goals that you’ve got, and not create a dynamic where you’re deferring your business to just whatever ends up coming your way. This is an incredibly important piece of work for you as we end the year. And I’m excited for you to go put it into action. And the last thing that I’ll say to you today is if you want some help with this process, I highly recommend you sign up for an icy success blueprint call. I’ve been having these every week. And it’s incredible to see the amount of insight that the people are getting and just the process of filling out a lot of questions about where they’re at in their business right now and where they want it to go. Before we even get on the call. They get so much clarity about where they want their business to go and why it’s not there yet. And then we spend an hour really diving deep into your business and figuring out what your action plan should be to move forward and start moving in that direction of exactly where it is that you want to be, and not spinning your wheels or settling for that plateau anymore. So go book, one of those calls, the link is in the show notes. It’s aI c dash blueprint.com. And I’m excited to meet with you on one of those calls. If you decide not to schedule a call, no worries, co put what I just shared with you into action, so that you’ve got this yearend review from a, you know, a nonjudgmental place and we can start building upon that to plan out your 2022. All right, we’ll see you again next week. Take care. Thanks for joining me this week on the Grow Your Independent Consulting Business podcast. If you liked today’s episode, I have three quick next steps for you. First, click Subscribe on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen to make sure you don’t miss future episodes. Next, leave me a review in your podcast app so other independent consultants can find it benefit too. And finally, to put the ideas from today’s episode into action, head over to Melisaliberman.com for the show notes and more resources to help you grow your consulting practice from your first few projects into a full-fledged business. See you next week.

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