It’s the start of another year and that means it’s time to look back at 2017 and think about what I’d like to do in 2018. I always enjoy looking back at my previous year’s post to see what glorious things I hoped (or wanted) to occur this past year.
Some of my highlights from 2017 were:
- Having an article published on the official MVP blog, for their #HitRefresh series.
- Launching this website, with a new domain and moving my blog away from kuntzconsulting.ca.
- Meeting several people that I have worked with in the past or interact with on Twitter that I have never met in person (too many to list!).
- Getting to know more of my fellow Canadian MVPs, via networking with the local MVPs in my geographic area and on Twitter & LinkedIn.
On a personal note, this summer I had a fantastic vacation out east in New Brunswick and PEI. I rarely get away on vacation, with my time off lately revolving around my house and renovations of some sort. This is one of my favourite pictures from that trip, which I ended up getting framed in canvas and is now hanging on my wall!
What struck me as I re-read last year’s post was one of my comments about 2016 being one of my most successful business years ever financially, when 2017 turned out to be nearly my worst year ever, go figure. Here are last year’s resolutions and how I fared.
1. Continue the blogging volume
My goal was to write 40-50 articles and I wrote 45 in total, 3 personal and 42 business related (Dynamics GP etc.). I wrote 47 in 2016 but it didn’t feel like I was even close to that last year so that’s a pleasant surprise!
2. GP Community involvement
Last year’s resolution was to get more involved at GP conferences and events. That I most certainly did, through a busy 2017 year:
- Amplify 2017 (Anaheim), a moderator in one of the industry sessions.
- GP Tech 2017 (Fargo), planning committee.
- GPUG Summit 2017 (Nashville), presented 4 times, on one panel and part of the opening GP session.
- Collaborate Canada (Various), presented 9 times and on the planning committee.
- GPUG webinar, Introduction to Fixed Assets
My favourite conference was GP Tech because the content was deep and there was a lot of great learning opportunities. My favourite moment from the conferences though was being on the big stage in front of 2,000 people at GPUG Summit, even though I only had a tiny part! It was also a thrill to have 2 of my presentations at GPUG Summit be to standing-room-only crowds, that was pretty cool.
I really enjoyed travelling across Canada to the Collaborate Canada events, as I hadn’t been to Montreal or out west for quite a while. Out west, in particular, was fun because my last and only visit was when I was 14 to both Calgary and Vancouver, so seeing it really (functionally) for the first time was neat. I definitely need to spend more time out there!
The downside to all of the conferences was really it was the biggest contributor to a less-than-stellar fiscal year in 2017. Due to a quirk in timing, with ReImagine/GP Tech conference moving from September to August, two years of that event fell into the same fiscal year for me, which didn’t help out my finances much, especially considering I hadn’t been attending many conferences at all in the past, let alone 5 in one year. Since then, I’ve attended GPUG Summit in Nashville and 4 Collaborate Canada events as well, although those all fall into my 2018 fiscal year.
3. Maintain my MVP status
One of the bonuses for 2017 happened to be a big change in the MVP Award program. Early in February 2017, they announced that there was a move to monthly award cycles from quarterly and that all renewals will now be based on a July 1st timeline. Having been awarded only a few months prior to that announcement, I was grandfathered in, and my renewal date was extended to July 1, 2018. So, I didn’t have to go through the renewal process last July, but I will for this July!
4. Keep reading
Reading has been on my resolution list for a while now and while I would like to say I read more business or technical books (I did not), I can say that I fell in love with the library and thus read 29 books last year. I have never been a library person but I realized earlier this year that they also lend e-books and so I was hooked. I piled up the books on my iPad and went to town. It was awesome!
I also subscribed to a thing called BookBub, which sends me an email every day of free or on-sale books in categories I’m interested in. Since I spent some of the year waiting on hold for books, this came in handy and I picked up 5 or 6 random free e-books that caught my eye to fill the void.
For the most part, I went back through some of my favourite authors and caught up on every single one of their books from wherever I had left off. I’ve enjoyed the time reading and found it to be a great way to relax at the end of a long day before going to sleep.
5. More Habitat for Humanity volunteering
The last of the 2017 resolutions was to spend more time volunteering at Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region. I had wanted to average one day per month but failed miserably, only making it to 3 build days during their annual Women’s Build Week this past June.
What’s the plan for 2018?
Let’s see… I think some of my resolutions are going to be the same as last year but I see other changes coming this year that I am not in a position to write about in this particular post!
1. MVP renewal
I love being an MVP. Being part of that exclusive list with some extraordinary people is humbling, and I want to stay involved as long as I can. That being said, I went a little overboard last year, perhaps trying too hard, getting involved in things that I hadn’t done to earn the award in the first place. I earned the award primarily through my blogging and community forum support work, but for some reason, once I got the award, I seemed to think I had to be something different. I’m beginning to realize running all over presenting at conferences may not be my thing, and that’s ok.
So, while the obvious resolution this year is to earn my MVP renewal, my plan to do that will be scaling back on the things that have a high financial cost and paying more attention to the impact on my business.
One of the ways I’m doing that is taking on a different kind of volunteering that is local (& nothing to do with Dynamics GP). I’ve signed up to be a mentor for a student in the Microsoft Student Partner program. That is completely new to me and my mentee is a student at the University of Waterloo. I’ll share her name once we talk more and I get her OK to introduce her here! We’ve talked on the phone once (the mentorship just started before Christmas), and it goes for 6 months, to the end of June. I’m looking forward to the challenge as it will be a stretch for my introverted-self to take this role on.
Of course, my resolution list wouldn’t be complete without “more blogging” being one of them! What I want to focus on more in 2018 is getting back to a series of topics, which are easier to stay on top of vs. waiting for a one-off issue to happen that I blog about.
3. Reading for business
I’ve had reading on my resolution list for a few years now and clearly, I’m finding the time to do the personal/fun reading very easily. What I’d like to try to focus more on in 2018 is business reading, which I really don’t do enough of. I read a lot of Dynamics GP and MVP blogs every week but I rarely pull out business or technical books. I also rarely keep up with my CPA magazines. Any of those things are where I want to get better this year. If I can finish next year having kept up with the industry periodicals that I already get, that will be a win. If I can get in a technical or other business books as well, that will be a bonus.
4. Website updates
The last resolution should be the easiest one to attain since I hope to tackle this early this year. With this new domain and website, I want to clean up my existing business website to consolidate what is left there and make it a little clearer where this blog is and what the business is about. I also want to make some more minor changes to this site, but more of a “look and feel” nature than deep content changes.
So, that’s it for 2018 resolutions. I’m not venturing super deep into tough goals this year as I have some potential changes in the works that could change the shape of my year quite a bit if they come to fruition! 2018 for me will about focusing on my business and keeping things simple!