Every December for the past few years, I stop some things and I start some things. I stop projects that aren't working out. I reduce a lot of interests and sometimes just kill some things that I've been thinking about for a while. Then I start some things. I wouldn't call it New Year's Resolutions. I'd maybe call it a reset. So this is my first post to share what I'm stopping and what I'm starting. Hope you like it!
1. Remote Sprinters Community
Stopping. It's had a good run. Originally started on 22 March 2018 as a Facebook group called "Love Design Sprints." It was really a way to have a feedback loop for me (plus AJ&Smart were doing it!). I've run countless free webinars, used it as a Google Sprint Chapter (when that was a thing) and it reached over 2,900 members. I'll probably close it next week.
I'm stopping it because it's in my past. I lived and breathed design sprints three years ago, going to each Sprint Conference and getting invited to lots of exciting places including Croatia, New York and Los Angeles to teach sprints. That was back when I was a facilitator. I'm now a business owner and I'm building a team.
More recently, I had experimented with creating an online course, to capture the way I'd delivered 200+ design sprints in bitesized chunks, but my launch experiments didn't take hold, I'm personally a bit skeptical of the countless masterminds and paid 'communities' and I just don't have the energy for it. It's a key reason why I stopped solely running design sprints back in 2021: I essentially hit my peak! I recognised it and moved on to the next challenge.
I'll be taking my learnings forward and I may indeed curate a new community in the future, but right now, I'm focussing on building Skysoclear from scratch. See what I say about content further down in this post.
2. 'Partnership' calls
Stopping. I'd usually say "yes" to a new conversation, but recently I've found that other agencies and companies just want to talk about being "partners." What they really mean is finding out whether we could be a referrer of work to them. Why they don't talk about it like that - I do not know.
I'm not against collaborating with other companies, and indeed some of our programmes of work exist working with other 'mother' agencies, but when you're building an agency that is changing the paradigm of what an agency is, it gets tricky. Development companies especially want to partner with us because we say we're a design company. With no-code, we're also a development company. No-code for me is more of a philosophy. So anyway, I'll be saying no future 'partnership' calls.
I think most of the time, other agencies just don't know how to sell - but that's another post for another time!
3. Plan B
Stopping. Bit trivial, but I have stopped having a plan B. Having been an employee for most of my life and building other people's businesses, I'm scratching my own itch and building my own. This is it and it's a massive step in a new direction.
Surprisingly, my personal challenge isn't around sales, marketing or delivery. I've had good practice with all of that over the past few years. It's the rest of it that's a growth area for me.
They're the key things I'm stopping. Let's switch gears and go with what I'm starting:
4. More content than ever before
Starting. This has been two years in the making. I took a break and now I'm back with a vengeance! Expect to see me documenting my journey on my personal channels and educating and sharing on Skysoclear's in the New Year. The platforms have changed, as well as the content types, but I'm looking forward to creating again. For that to really happen the right way, I'm going to have to bring on more hands into the business, but that's been part of the plan since Day 1.
5. Getting in the best shape of my life
Starting. This is probably my biggest challenge of all. Getting closer to 40, I'm feeling the need to take better care of myself and push myself even harder. As a goal, I've signed up to the Ambitious 220, a 220 mile ride in June from Manchester to London in one day. I will be raising funds for Ambitious about Autism, who want to help create a world where autistic children and young people are heard, included and supported. The training starts now! If you'd like to help me - check out my fundraising page.
6. Getting out there
Starting. I'm spending way too much time at my desk. I want to meet more new people. Get in the countryside. Take my Dad on walks in the hills. Go with my Mum to visit every coffee shop in the area. My son and I didn't get to do an adventure this year and we've started talking about what we want to do next year. For myself, Europe is just an incredible place I want to go cycling in and the UK is the perfect training ground.
I'm looking forward to 2023.