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What I did to make 2023 a brilliant year.

Updated: 7 days ago

Stuart - founder of Phoenix Media Marketing Ltd - looks back at 2023.

With a tentative mind, I made it…. strangely again into another year, and this time, it feels like this year will eclipse 2023 by quite some margin. I mean, 2023 has to have been my best years for many reasons, and looking back, I can pinpoint some of the events that made this so.

A black dog looks loving at its owner, whilst straddling the back of a sofa - he looks elegant and happy. This is Ted, dog of Stuart, owner of Phoenix Media Marketing
'Ted' my dog will become relevant at the end of this article - I promise!

I won't gloss over the fact that 2023 took every ounce of energy from me and tested my marriage and my business, but I made it; I got through the days, which turned into weeks, and then the months, which seemed to fly by.

One of my things was to stop reading in-depth news articles on 'clickbait' that the networks feed us regularly. I'm not saying I don't read headlines, but there is a lot of misery and tragedy in the world right now; history tells us this has always been the way, and no four corners of the world have ever been harmonious as far as news records began, I know what a claim, but there you are it's my claim. I'll keep claiming things in my own world, as this is the universe that I can directly influence and change. I can't control any of it, but I can try and be reverend and sympathetic to the news in my world without clicking on a misguided, half-baked report to generate revenues for advertisers.

I like, however, to report 'good news' where small businesses are thriving, not surviving, as the media would otherwise tell us – Small Business covered this, again showing that business owners are making some authentic choices right now to keep budgets working in the right direction, but overall we are thriving, why? Because we can be agile and make decisions quickly, reinvent where needed and make cuts effectively and promptly when needed, it's never nice when a contractor adds extra hours into invoices. for work clearly not covered, still, thankfully, a keen eye and a regimented management system soon weed them out, so I can spend my money with more efficient and loyal supporters of my business who want to grow with me.

Cutting negative influences and clients out of my business has helped me immensely also – Tim Ferris's The Four Hour Work Week was a book I digested in less than a few days – you get 80% stress from 20% of your clients, a cliché rule of management, but then I managed my own business and boy was this chap right, I had one client that whilst knowing I was on holiday with all communications cut off still collected to track me down with a stupidly insane admin request, that really could have waited an extra four days until I returned, this request had no effect on productivity outcome whatsoever (I had planned in redundancy), but this simply served me a feeling of, I need to let this one go, and when the opportunity was right, I exited from one of my most significant contracts of 2023, this opened up 5 more opportunities and growth for me, I was free from the drain who demanded every ounce of my being, so I'll also put personal growth into 2023, a significant factor that has kept me sane these past 12 months.

I also took work emails off my phone – that was a great thing to do; whilst I can never truly switch off from my company, I'll always be planning, thinking about the new office and how my team are, I would mercilessly scroll through works emails when out with the family, thus being less present for them, stressing myself out when I couldn't effect any fundamental objective moving forwards, and sometimes upsetting my immensely supportive wife and for what gain? Here is the thing: my business has grown despite my culling from my phone. Why? Well, my brother-in-law, Chris Farrell, owner of Reinvent, has the perfect explanation when he simply says we can all be slightly better people than we were yesterday. We can all get 1% better every day with the implementation of microscopic processes in our lives…work emails out….1% more time for my family and my life and do things to help motivate my personal growth; I'll get to those work emails when I'm in the office thank-you!

Also, not my idea, but my wife’s, we got Ted our new dog, with a simple pre-programme he has, to enjoy his best life, without influence, and unconditionally love those around him, imagine if we all did that for just one second, the world would unite and the news agencies would cease to exist. Now I’m back walking, which is great for cardio and getting me back to nature, where I meet real people from all walks of life, simply magical. Thanks Ted….(Bigger thanks to Lizzi x )

So what is ahead for 2024? Well, I hope my family is healthy and prosperous, my business continues to flourish and help others as designed, and I hope for the future. The harder I work, the less hope I have as my dreams are realised.

I'll also add more risk to my business, expand when I could have stayed still, and risk the critique from all around me, but that's how I've always lived. I wish all of you reading this hope and happiness for 2024 and that you get to pursue your dreams.

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