New Year’s Resolutions 2020

It’s time to look back on the year 2019 and the last 10 years. I won’t say “the last decade” lest the mansplainers get their shorts in a knot about it technically not being the end of the decade. 🙂

10 years ago, I was 4 months into my own consulting business. In 2019, I started the year in an employment role but went back to full time independent consulting in June. Long story short: I think I was meant to be a consultant. If you’d asked me 10 years ago if I thought I’d still be running my own business, I would have likely said “I’m not sure but I hope so!”.

Most years when I am writing this, I only review the previous year’s resolution post but this time I went back through all of what I’d written to date, my first one being 2011. The common themes throughout have been “sharing”, “reading”, and “learning”. The most interesting thing to me was something I wrote in the first one of these annual posts back in 2011. My goal that year was to establish a presence in the Dynamics GP online community.

Developing an online presence is not a one-time thing that just happens; I will have to work on it, and continue to contribute meaningful, useful articles for my resolution to take shape and I look forward to continuing that in 2011 and beyond!

From my New Year’s Resolutions 2011 post

While I can say now that I have accomplished that, I don’t know if I could point a finger to say exactly when. I would like to think I was making a name for myself in the community before receiving my first Microsoft MVP award, although for many in the community, that may have been the first they heard of me.

While many things have changed in my life in the last 10 years, I’m most proud of the continuity of the sharing I’ve managed to keep up over the years. Any recognition I’ve received is an absolute bonus. I contributed for a number of years before getting any recognition, and will continue whether I maintain the MVP award or not.

How was 2019?

Last year was busy (but it was a “good busy”) and as compared to 2018, it was a lot less stressful! The highlight of my year personally was a big trip to Scotland & Ireland. I was fortunate enough to be able to play St. Andrew’s Old Course, a dream-come-true!

1st tee at the Old Course, rental clubs, rental shoes!

One of my favourite days that trip was with good friend Tim Wappat. He drove from Northern England to Edinburgh to pick us up and the 3 of us wandered back toward Newcastle, stopping along the way for some hikes and tours. We saw some fabulous scenery that day!

Coastal view looking towards St. Abbs.
This was a pic looking southwards towards the town of St. Abbs.

In terms of the goals last year, here’s the breakdown and how things worked out:

1. Closing my business – this was a fail, for good reason! Unfortunately, I had started the wind-down expecting to be closing it permanently and, in the end, some of decisions I made at the time made it a rather expensive change of heart. Oh well… lesson learned!

2. MVP renewal – pass! It was another bittersweet renewal though. I was pleased to receive my third MVP award but we lost more GP MVPs, down to 6 from 15 just 2 years ago.

3. Catch up on CGA/CPA mags – I started off well but trailed off after January 4th or 5th (LOL…). Seriously though, I made an effort but have lots still to catch up on!

4. Taking better care of “me” – I give myself a passing grade here. Overall, going back to independent consulting will help as I can control my own schedule to take breaks when I need to. Other than my big trip in the summer, I took 5 days off to volunteer at Habitat for Humanity Waterloo Region on their build site and loved it. I meant to do more, and this will be one of my 2020 goals.

What’s up for 2020?

This year will be interesting. I’m in a very fortunate position: I’ve already got signed work for more than 80% of my planned billable time this year. I’ve got verbal commitments on another project that will fill the rest of my Q1 2020 on top of that, although nothing is signed yet.

Goals wise, here is what I’m working on this year:

1. MVP renewal

Last year was the “litmus test” for me, in the sense that I didn’t do much in the way of presenting and focused on blogging. It was enough to get my first award but I wasn’t sure that was enough to get re-awarded. A large part of that was I managed to keep my #TipTuesday series up for a second year. I hope to continue with weekly blog posts in 2020 as long as I can come up with topics to write about, but it may not be strictly “tips” this time around. I hope what I have done and will continue to do is enough for a 4th award. If it’s not, it’s been a nice run, and I’ll continue to blog anyway!

2. Expand my service offerings

I want to get more into Power BI this year, where I’ve pretty much just been doing Dynamics GP work since I’ve started my own business. I don’t foresee any slowdown in Dynamics GP work but the landscape is changing and I want to ensure I’m ready.

I’m not interested in learning another ERP (Microsoft or otherwise), but I am interested in data so Power BI is a natural step sideways for me, with a history of doing a lot of reporting projects over the years. I did a little bit with Power BI itself 3 or 4 years ago, but didn’t touch it for a while. I got back into it this past year. With the pace of changes this product has had, it’s like starting over!

This is a bit of a fuzzy goal, but I’ll consider it a success if I start to get projects that are Power BI focused without a Dynamics GP component. It will be an area of learning and one I hope to grow over time. Hint: you may start to see blogs around Power BI in 2020 too!

3. More volunteer time

I’ve been volunteering with Habitat for Humanity for a few years now. I would like to get in 10-12 days in on the build site this year. That’s a stretch goal as I’ve never had more than 5 or 6 in a year. What I love about the build site work is I get to combine volunteering with my love of renovations, plus it is very different from my day to day work.

On the non-goal side of things, it may be the first year I don’t attend any Dynamics GP conferences. We’ll see! I’m booked in for the MVP Summit in March and considering the Key2Act Synergy conference in April. If I do that, I won’t be taking any additional time off for other conferences that I have in the past, it’s simply too expensive to take the time off + the costs of the conferences themselves. If I pass on Synergy, I will consider attending GP Tech if it’s held again, always one of my favourites, but it may be more likely that I’ll take some training and stay local this year.

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