Inspiring Women in Business Podcast - Episode 21 - Lessons from 2021

podcast Feb 13, 2022

It feels incredible to look back at the great things that happened to us during the past year and celebrate, but it is also important to look back even through the difficult times. Every experience leaves a lesson for us to take and use to plan for a better future.

In this episode, I will share some of the things that happened in 2021, the lessons that I learned, and the things that I want you to focus on in 2022.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Spend some time, regularly, to look back and reflect on what you have achieved and the lessons you have learned during the past months and think of the next goals you want to focus on.
  • It isn't just about your business; It's also about making room for the things that are also important to you personally, as well as professionally.
  • In the early stages of building a business, it's hard work, but it does pay off. 

Six things I learned in 2021:

  • Look after your mental health and make it a priority.
  • Make time for the things that are important to you.
  • Find your community and collaborate.
  • Take messy action now. You're ready now.
  • Build a team.
  • Create valuable content.

Spend some time to review and celebrate 2021.

Episode Timeline:

00:04 Intro

01:10 Episode Intro

01:55 Looking back at the past months in business

03:55 Reflecting and celebrating with my team and spending the holidays out of the country

05:04 The good and the tough parts of the year for the family

06:03 Setting personal goals aside from business goals

07:56 The work that I've put into my business is really paying off

10:47 Making your mental health a priority

11:36 Making time for the things that are important to you

12:35 The importance of community and collaboration

13:26 The right time to take action

13:57 Outsourcing rather than doing everything by yourself

14:39 The impacts of my podcast on my business and other people

15:44 Recap of the things to focus on in 2022

16:55 Outro


More about Ruth:

Hi, Im Ruth, a business coach specializing in helping freelancers and business owners adjust their mindset and marketing so they can get fully booked with clients they LOVE to work with. Ive helped hundreds of self-employed women achieve the time and money freedom they craved.

Ive started this podcast because when I first went all in and left the corporate world to be a freelancer, I was grateful for any work that came my way. After over 20 years of freelancing and working for other people, I started to realize Id created a glass ceiling for myself.

In 2017, I finally started listening to that voice that had been telling me for a long time that I wasnt doing what I loved and fulfilling my true potential.  It took a critical illness to give me that wake-up call.  I dont want the same to happen to you.

You can expect practical advice, inspiring stories, and a lot of aha moments as we uncover and kick to the curb all the obstacles you have been putting in your way.

Im on a mission to inspire women to start and play bigger in business.


Connect and know more about Ruth here:


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Ruth Gilbey  00:04

Hello and welcome to the inspiring women in business podcast. My name is Ruth Gilbey, and I'm a business and marketing coach. I'm on a mission to inspire women to start and play bigger in business. Now I started this podcast because when I first went all in and left the corporate world to be a freelancer, I was just grateful for any work that came my way. After over 20 years of freelancing and working for other people, I started to realize I'd created a glass ceiling myself. It was in 2017 when I finally started listening to that voice that had been telling me for a long time that I wasn't doing what I loved, and I wasn't fulfilling my true potential. It took a critical illness to give me that wake-up call. And I don't want the same thing to happen to you. You can expect practical advice, interviews, inspiring stories, and a lot of aha moments as we uncover and kick to the curb. All the obstacles you've been putting in your way.

Ruth Gilbey  01:10

Hi, everyone. Welcome back to the inspiring women in business podcast. I'm actually recording this podcast on December the 17th, 2021. I'm getting some emails ready for Christmas. I'm getting ready for Christmas. I'm winding down some projects. I'm thinking about 2021. I'm also thinking about Christmas and what Christmas is going to be like, but I'm also spending some time reflecting on 2021. And also thinking about what I would like for 2022. And I've been doing some planning, I've been doing some reviewing, and I've been looking at my business, looking at what I've enjoyed about my business in 21. And what I want for my business in 2022.

Ruth Gilbey  01:55

I encourage all of you to spend some time actually looking back at the last 3, 6, 9, or 12 months regularly. It's not we don't want to dwell on the past. But there's data, and there are learnings from everything that you've done so far. And it's also really important to take a moment to look back and reflect on how much you've actually achieved. Do you spend time thinking about how much you've achieved in your business in your life, and what you have learned, and what you would like the next year to look like as well. Also, do you set goals? It's something that in my membership, the online business collective, and with my one-to-one clients, I encourage them to set regular goals now. And we do this in the membership live every quarter we do goal setting, and we do we start with a business order we review what your what's happened in your business previously, we look at the numbers, we look at what's worked, we look at what hasn't worked, we look at what you're actually offering and what you don't want to offer any more what services you love offering for your clients, but you don't want to so that you can plan the business that you want, it's really good to take time to toward it and review and then we spend time planning the next year and then we really break it down what you would like from the next quarter. And it's the foundation of the membership because what it does is remove the shiny red ball syndrome of always jumping from idea to idea because a lot of you have so many ideas, but it's too many ideas sometimes, or too many things that you want to achieve and that can be hedging your bets it's like hedging your bets saying that you want to do all these things, but you're not going in all in with one thing. So that's why I encourage; what I would encourage you to do is to focus on a few things that you want to achieve or one thing that you actually want to achieve.

Ruth Gilbey  03:55

So I've been doing that in my own business I've been looking back at the data, what I've enjoyed, what I haven't enjoyed, what has gone well what hasn't. Reflecting, celebrating, sharing with my team what's gone well, getting their feedback as well. What would you like to see improved for next year as well? And I've been really thinking about what 2021 has been like, and it's been, you know, a really great year in so many ways, personally and professionally. Some of the highlights I managed to actually get away on holiday, which was just so nice. I, you know, really appreciate going away and seeing people more. Seeing people more in person was just so wonderful. Going to a live event again in 2021 was wonderful. Meeting up with friends and family that I hadn't seen because of the lockdowns. Also, one of the holidays that we took, we actually made it to Barbados, and it was worth all the different PCR tests and paperwork that we had to do. It was just so amazing to be somewhere hot and in the sea, and you know, Just yeah, just wonderful to be somewhere different than the UK.

Ruth Gilbey  05:04

It was also amazing. My boys got into the school that they wanted to get into. So they're going to a secondary school that they're really excited about going to, which I know for a lot of people, what school your child gets into is such a major focus and such an important part of your family life. But also, in all honesty, I'm going to be really honest with you. It's also been a really tough year, a really tough couple of years as it has for so many of you. And I wanted to take a moment to honor that, that it has been really hard. My husband changed jobs twice, he was out of work for six months, I had another breast cancer scare, and I had a really agonizing ordeal of having to wait for quite a while to find out if I was in the clear. Thankfully, I was because of COVID because of the strain on the NHS, you know, processes for things like that were taking longer for tests and feedback. So thankfully, I can say I'm okay.

Ruth Gilbey  06:03

But it made me take a moment to think about, you know, I've four years now clear from having breast cancer. I was diagnosed in 2017. There's an episode all about that. But it made me think about when I'm looking at my goals and looking at my plan is, am I prioritizing my health and my mental health as well. So I made sure that my goals just weren't business ones when I was mapping out my goals for 2022. And that my personal goals were in there as well because it isn't just about your business. It's making room for the things that are also important to you personally, as well as professionally. I'm proud of myself, though that even though it's been a difficult time because I do prioritize my mental health and well-being and because I'm very self-aware. And I like to work through things logically because of all the self-development work I've done. I managed to not just keep going but spend time actually processing the feelings that I had. I had some counseling, I had some coaching, and I worked through that because I know that this works for me. I know that it helps me rather than spending time pretending everything's okay to actually honor those feelings and process them. I learned that from having cancer that if there's something difficult going on in life, it's not just about walking around saying everything's okay. And I think on top of everything that's been going on in the world, that's a really important message for you as well, are you You know spending time on your own mental health and well being but I did manage to not crumble, I managed to, but it's actually okay if you want to crumble and it says it's hard because that's, that's okay, life is hard. It does throw some curveballs at us. But I did manage to get through it is not the right word I managed to I guess I did manage to get through it. I'm for want of a better way of explaining things.

Ruth Gilbey  07:56

Alongside this, going back to my business, my business continued to grow. I feel like the work that I've put into my business is really paying off. I feel like it's working. I know I've got a better idea that things that I've tested, the things that I've tried, are working. I also feel really validated and really pleased and very confident now more than ever about what I teach others and how I coach other people because everything that I teach, and I coach and everything are all the strategies that I teach inside the online business blueprint, my program and in the online business collective, they're all things that I do in my own business. And I've reached a monumental point in my business over the last year where I hit that six-figure mark. And it was weird because it happened when I was on holiday. And I got a message from my accountant saying, you know, we need to put some things in place because you're gonna need to start charging VAT and things like that all the kind of logistics of that, and it just kind of crept up on me, what does it mean to kind of hit that six-figure? I didn't feel any different. Really, it's not something that I've really aspired to. Because I guess what the six and seven-figure coaches and business owners don't tell you is it doesn't matter if you make six or seven figures. It's really how profitable Are you? Are you paying yourself? Do you enjoy what you're doing? Can you see how you can continue to make those revenues through the revenue stream as well? You know, do you understand how you got there? Do you understand how you can keep growing it as well? So, but I do feel my business is profitable. I am paying myself. I didn't use to; I used to plow my money back into my business. But I feel very confident very validated that what I do in my own business is what I teach as well. So that's been epic, knowing that it's working and also seeing it working for my clients as well, as I say, alongside everything my business has grown.

Ruth Gilbey  10:04

And I guess at this point. I also want to say that recognizing that in the early stages of building a business, particularly in the early stages, it's hard work. But my message to you is it does pay off the things I implement in my own business are also the things I teach and support my clients with. And they work. They're not rocket science. They're not a big secret. You just need a little bit of coaching, teaching, and refining, sometimes to get there a bit of strategy, understanding strategy, but they're not. It's not some dark art that I'm teaching. But also, the big thing is, is that it doesn't happen overnight. And anyone who tells you it does isn't telling you the whole truth about what it takes to launch and grow a successful business.

Ruth Gilbey  10:47

So if I was going to actually narrow it down to six things, here are the six things that I learned in 2021. Number one is to look after your mental health and make it a priority. You don't have to pretend everything's okay. Like your physical health, nothing works. If you don't, put that first. I believe so strongly in this that I've made well-being, confidence, and mindset a key focus of my membership. And I've also, in 2021, qualified as a mental health first-day trainer, but more about that in another podcast. It's just so so important. It's what started as a membership that focused on business. And marketing has grown more in a holistic approach. And really looking after your confidence, your mindset, and your mental health and well-being.

Ruth Gilbey  11:36

The next thing that I have learned is that you've got to make time for the things that are important to you make them part of your overall goals and your overall strategy if you want to put it that way for your life and business. And that money really isn't everything. Yes, I am saying that from a place of privilege. But if you aren't happy now with what you're actually doing and what you're doing, you're not going to be happy with more money. You're more likely to make a success of something and earn more money and allow more money into your life if you're doing something that you're really passionate about. Having money makes life so much easier. So as I say, I'm talking from a place of privilege here, but time is more precious than money. That was the big learning for me in 2021. So much so that my mantra now or my words, or my thing for 2022, is to do less, better, and to really in my business to work smarter, find smarter ways of working.

Ruth Gilbey  12:35

The third thing that I would say is that community and collaboration are just so important. If anything from the pandemic and the lockdown has taught me, it's just so important to have your tribe of people, your business besties your online communities that you can talk to a place where you can go and be honest, a place where you can get feedback from people. It's so important to be able to talk to people, like-minded people. So many people say to me, I'm talking about my business to my partner or my friends, and they're all just looking at me like I'm crazy. You need people that understand your business that want to hear about it that will allow you a space to talk things through. Get support, find your community, building a business is tough. But you don't have to do it alone. Find your tribe gets support. Multiple heads are better than one.

Ruth Gilbey  13:26

The fourth thing I would say is if you're still got this business idea, you are ready now is giving yourself to be ready now. You know enough now to do what you need to do and take messy action. But take action. You'll learn so much from taking action from posting that thing, from getting that blog out there for sharing that offer and putting it out into the world. Where you are right now is exactly where the person that needs your help needs you to be. That is another one of my mantras.

Ruth Gilbey  13:57

The next one is about building a team. And you might think if you're at the beginning stages of your business, I'm not thinking about building a team but start to outsource. Outsource before you are ready. Start small but start. Outsource anything that helps give you more time to do what you love, whether that's home things or to do with your business. You don't have to be busy all the time. We're kind of taught that. Oh, I can do that. I can do that. I shouldn't outsource it. Yes, understand the profitability of your business but also understand the return on investment that you would get from getting someone else to help you're outsourcing something rather than you having to learn to do everything yourself.

Ruth Gilbey  14:39

And the last thing, number six is my biggest take. Another one of my biggest takeaways from 2021 was launching my podcast. It's one of the best things I did in 2021. It pushed me outside my comfort zone, and I cannot batch podcasts, yet that is one of my goals for 2022 to be able to batch better, But the impact the podcast has made on my business and other people has been amazing. The conversations that I have with people that are because of my podcast, people, get on a call with me now a sales call with me or you know, like a discovery call and they say, I feel like I know you, I feel like you've been speaking to me for the last six months, your podcast is really helped me just those little messages are just so amazing and have really helped me create better content and keep going with the podcast, the conversations I've had with people, the people I've collaborated with, and the new clients I have, because of the podcasts have been one of my biggest achievements of 2021.

Ruth Gilbey  15:44

So just to recap, my six or seven actually, because I'm going to add one more my seven things for you to focus on that I would like you to consider focusing on in 2022, or looking after your mental health, making time for things that are important finding your community and look for great ways of collaborating with other people when it comes to your business. If there's something that's on your to-do list, take messy action now you're ready now. If you're feeling busy all the time, really spend some time thinking about how you can outsource. I've got some great blog posts on that, and I will be doing a podcast on outsourcing soon. And my last no second to the last one is to create valuable content, create value for your customers. They need to get to know you. They need to learn how you can help them, and you can do that through your amazing content. And the last thing is is spend some time reviewing 2021 and take some time to celebrate 2021 and the things that you've learned even through the difficult times. There's a lesson there, and take some time to plan your goals as well for 2022 as well.

Ruth Gilbey  16:55

Thanks for listening to the inspiring women in business podcast. I hope you found this episode helpful. If you did, I would love it if you would leave me a review. Also, I would love to connect with you on Instagram. That's where I hang out most of the time. I'm @Ruth_Gilbey. I'll put a link in the show notes for you as well come and connect with me. Tell me about your business. And also tell me what you'd like to hear next on the podcast. And lastly, go and check out the business building hub on my website. There you can find more amazing free resources to help you take the next step in your business. And you can also find out other ways that you can work with me. I'll see you soon.