Will you look at that? The calendar says it’s January 1st. Holy Cow. I give up trying to write “time flies” in any new and innovative way, as I say something similar every year in this blog post! But, it did fly by, again, and it was a great year!
It’s kind of funny re-reading previous years’ posts. Last year was all about “maybe I’ll finish my basement reno this year”. It’s still not 100%… lol.
How did 2016 go?
Outside of my own business and personal life, it seemed like 2016 was a train wreck, with an unbelievable US election that I still cannot believe ended in the result it did, and what seemed like a non-stop stream of celebrity deaths all year long (actors, musicians, authors etc.). It really seemed to be stunning at times, on both counts, of thinking “what could possibly top this?” and then something worse happened to top it. Stunning is the only word I can use to describe this year. On the bright side, I’m happier than ever to be a Canadian and have a happy, healthy family around me.
On the business & personal side of things, it was a fantastic year. Easily the biggest memory and achievement of this year was being awarded with a Microsoft MVP award. No doubt, nothing can top that. Each year now, as long as I can maintain that status, I’ll have a new goal for the resolutions list!
I also had my most successful business year ever, from a net income point of view, in my 7 years of self-employment to date. I was actually surprised because it felt like I had busier (more billable) years or higher average billing rates in other years, but this year just happened to work out to be the best to date.
I attended 4 conferences in 2016, although the last 3 are part of my new fiscal year, which explain why the early financials this year don’t quite look as lovely! :)
- In May, I went to California for the inaugural GPUG Amplify conference which was fun to be a part of a new event. I took a few extra days to visit San Diego and while I was in California, I watched 4 baseball games in 3 different stadiums. LA Dodgers stadium was VERY cool and I can’t wait to go back.
- In September, I was back in Fargo at reImagine, always a good time catching up with other partners and consultants I have met and stayed in touch with over the years. I got a chance to meet MVP Ian Grieve for the first time, as he headed over the pond to join us at this conference.
- In October, I attended my very first GPUG Summit in Tampa. What can you say? It’s quite the event, and I was a brand new MVP by the time I arrived so I got to meet some of other MVPs who attended whom I hadn’t met before. Highlights of this conference for me were being on an Enterprise Software Podcast episode, and meeting twitter buddy Tim Wappat.
- And finally, in November, I went to my first MVP Summit in Bellevue Washington. It was pretty incredible to be a part of that, with an entire conference devoted to MVPs! I must admit, I didn’t get much out of the content itself at Summit as there wasn’t any Dynamics GP content but it was an opportunity to see a part of the country I haven’t been to before and a chance to spend some quality time with the other GP MVPs who attended that you don’t get at a normal conference.
Anyway, enough of that… here’s last year’s resolutions and how I fared:
- Get more involved in the Association of Dynamics Professionals
Definitely achieved this. I started the year as an “item writer”, and ended the year as a member of the actual Dynamics GP Exam Committee, as well as now leading my own team of item writers on the Advanced Distribution exam for GP. In addition to that, I had a bright idea (tongue in cheek here!) that we should create a SharePoint site for the teams writing items to make it easier to collaborate. I may have bitten off more than I can chew but after working the last 2-3 months on this side project, we have mostly achieved this for an early 2017 roll out. It was fun learning something new to dig in and get this organized when I could find the time.
- Plan my non-billable time & activities
LOL… apparently, I’m horrible at blocking off time for my own business non-billable time. There are so many things I want to do but this year was very busy with work and travel, and I didn’t manage this at all. Everything I do that isn’t client related is 90% evenings and weekends and this year, I hope to be more diligent here. I need to block time off and get things done on days “off” from clients so I can use evenings and weekends to recharge my own batteries like everyone else.
- Continue to read more
I definitely achieved this as well. I had stacks of business magazines piled up that I hadn’t read - literally - for years. On a trip to a friend’s cottage this year, I took a large pile of them and worked through them. I must have read 40 or 50 magazines this year between the Partner Channel magazine, various CPA/CGA magazines and then other general business mags. Plus, I read 10 books for pleasure and am nearly done my 11th, which I started months ago and haven’t quite finished. I’m always reading blogs but I don’t count that as business reading per se, so this resolution is always about reading books, magazines and periodicals.
- Keep up the blogging volume
Also achieved. Last year I blogged 30 times (2015) and in 2016 I wrote 47 articles. I’m pleased with that and want to keep that up if I can. I’ve got a list of topics as long as my arm and just hope to find the time to dedicate to writing them!
Here, in no particular order, are my resolutions for 2017.
- Continue the blogging volume
I’d like to see 40-50 blog posts each year… it’s a tall order but I think I can do it!
- GP Community involvement
I’m already involved in the Dynamics Pros org but I want to present more at GP conferences and events. Last year the first presentations I was involved in were at GPUG Summit.
- Maintain my MVP status
Blogging is the primary reason why I achieved the MVP award in the first place, and if I can keep that up with some presentations, I should be able to maintain my status for next year!
- Keep reading
Reading for pleasure and working through my remaining pile of magazines, plus keeping up with the new ones, is my goal for this year.
- More Habitat for Humanity volunteering
This is a new one, in terms of an actual goal. 3 years ago I started working on the Waterloo Region Habitat for Humanity “Women’s Build” - literally building houses. It was a blast. I missed the year after that, and then in 2016 I returned again. This year, my goal is to volunteer one day at month at the build site if I can. That means blocking time off for “me” in my business calendar but it’s a great cause, and a completely different thing to do than my day job! Last year some of the volunteer time I did was just being the photographer for the day instead of building, as that is less of a time commitment, but I’d really like to get my hands dirty and build, as that is the most rewarding!
That’s it for this year. Here’s to a safe and healthy 2017 for everyone!