Another year, and another opportunity to look back and celebrate what was. As we do at the end of each year (see our 2014 and 2013 round ups) we examine our year for what built the most momentum. We look back through our social media posts, through client projects and testimonials, through marketing efforts, sales, media coverage and personal memory. Doing this allows us a fulfilling chance to examine what worked, what didn’t, what we would like to add next year and what would be ideal to subtract. This is one of the keys to our continued growth and learning, year-over-year.
In 2015, collaboration, focus and depth stood out most of all. Although our schedules were full with meaningful projects and surprises, we did less this year than we have in the past, and focused on doing even better quality work over all. We spent more time this year taking pause, slowing down to observe, and choosing our commitments intentionally. We said ‘yes’ wholeheartedly and ‘no thank you’ just the same. It turned out that ‘no thank you’ to one opportunity, can make space for a ‘hell yes!’ reply to just the right one. Leaving space in our schedule for surprise allowed for more of what we wanted this year.
This year, the power of collaboration, focus and depth made all the difference.
Less activity + more time building relationships = a big focus in 2015. After five years of building our brands and our business we are focused on intentional growth. We’re focused on building meaningful collaborations. And we continue to focus on going deep rather than wide into 2016. That’s how we build momentum, strategically.
Behind Our Approach to 2015
In January we set out to deepen the quality and the impact of our consulting projects. This required us to scale back the volume of clients that we served, and adjust how it is that we could serve them best.
We raised our consulting prices, worked in-depth with fewer organizational clients, and carefully selected the entrepreneurs with whom we worked one-on-one. There were days when this felt incredible and progressive, and others when fear kicked in to have us question our new direction. But after five years and hundreds of projects worth of experience, we chose to trust our instincts and our approach prevailed.
The biggest shift of all, was winding down our website design and development packages and turning up our momentum strategy consulting. We re-introduced our one-on-one momentum building session for customers (it’s called Pick Our Brain), and had wonderful results with our clients.
Offering less allowed us to do more and to grow the impact of our momentum consulting much faster than we were able in previous years. That’s the benefit of being focused, instead of trying to offer everything to everyone; a valuable lesson for all of us in life and in business.
We also made a conscious choice to cherry-pick our media appearances and paid speaking opportunities this year. This allowed us to spend more time turning our service-based experience into products and business assets. THIS WAS HUGE for us.
Our ultimate biggest business goal for 2015 was to shift our offerings from 80% service-based and 20% product based, to a more even 50/50 split. We’re well on our way a few months later, and will continue this exciting process of transformation in 2016.
What This Means for You. The people we serve.
What does all this mean for you? It means that we have and will continue to create a variety of price-points, product and service options through which to serve you. Depending on what you need, we’re offering DIY learning solutions, affordable access to one-on-one consulting with us, or in-depth and collaborative partnerships on your projects. More on those details in the new year ….
What Stands Out for Us.
Top 5 lists are always fun. If we look back and categorize our learning from this year, it magically falls into five categories. These are the highlights of the past twelve months; these are the projects, the people and the opportunities from which we grew and were able to offer the most impactful results. These are the milestones of 2015 that we are celebrating and we invite you to celebrate with us.
Packing Our Knowledge into Products
In 2015 we worked with a number of coaches to support us with their expertise. From voice coaching to leadership coaching and online course strategizing. Every leader has a tribe of other leaders whom they turn to for informed advice and constructive input. This is the power of our collaborative economy and it’s how our impact is amplified. For us in 2015 our tribe included leadership coaching from the amazing Tanya Geisler; Voice training to deepen our speaking and training skills with Richard Ausar Stewart; strategy coaching for our online training program with expert Breanne Dyck; and a helluva lot of Skype sessions with Digital Strategist extraordinaire, Marie Poulin.
From the culmination of their incredible contribution to our work and our lives, we birthed a brand new digital product called Collaboration Kit, nearly sold out our holiday bundle sale (only two more left), and are coming out with a reworked version of our online training program Branding School in 2016. Once again, it takes a village to grow and to build momentum.
Professional Speaking and Training
Among our absolute favourite ways to serve an audience is through speaking and training. This year, we committed to a focused year of impactful speaking opportunities that took us around Toronto to Montreal, Waterloo and Halifax. This year, we paired down our speaking topics, and focused in on leaving our trainees and audiences activated into action, feeling supported, and knowing that they are not alone. This took us from a fantastic evening and book signing at McGill University in Montreal, to the Starting Point Conference in Halifax Nova Scotia. Ricardo had a few of his talks recorded, and made a special appearance as well at the Framework TechRaiser Workshop.
Among Gloria’s highlights were the opening keynote at the University of Toronto’s FirstGen Conference, and another keynote delivered to the Alpha Gamma Delta organization. This is an international women’s fraternity that promotes academic excellence, philanthropic giving, ongoing leadership and personal development and above all, a spirit of loving sisterhood. She left the room activated from her keynote about living as an unapologetic woman and how to build a career by so doing.
And then there was TedXUW. We wrote about this incredible experience in a recent blog post, and it remains one of our top 10 best life experiences. We’re excited to share the final video with you here.
The Renaissance of Ricardo’s Art
What you may be surprised to learn about Ricardo, is that he is a trained fine artist. Everything visually communicated through Wedge15 and its clients is informed and led by Ricardo’s artistic expertise. For over 25 years, he’s been a sculpture, painter, designer and overall creative genie. And this year, he was urged to come out from behind his devices for the first time in 12 years to exhibit and sell his art. He was quickly selected as a featured artist at the 2015 Manifesto show, was invited to an art auction to raise money for the Framework Foundation, and has been selling pieces through Saatchi Art, online. All this thanks to Fine Art Publicist and Freelance Curator Mia Raicevic for the nudge and collaborative encouragement.
Look out in 2016 as Ricardo rolls out over 100 of his pieces for sale on Saatchi Art. As for Wedge15, Ricardo’s creative leadership will continue to build momentum for our work and our clients. Just look at what he did for our presentation slides at TedXUW: https://twitter.com/Wedge15/status/664127285100965888 … as the saying goes, “art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”
A Deeper Look at Momentum Building
As we’ve grown and evolved year over year, we’ve learned that there is a big difference between projects that sound good and projects that make a lasting impact. After evaluating the results from the hundreds of projects we’ve worked on over time, we realize that nothing matters more to us that building momentum. That is as true for our own products as it is when we collaborate with clients on their projects.
With this focus in mind, we took a magnifying glass to all our products, packages, services, and to the clients that we have worked with over the past few years. We looked at who had the longest-lasting results, when projects reached a plateau or failed, and what factors contributed to all of it. It became clear to us that becoming laser focused actions and solutions that build momentum is where our sweet spot lies. It’s what we (Ricardo and Gloria) do best.
Momentum is what happens when three things converge:
1.) We blend Gloria’s strategic planning and communications skills with;
2.) Ricardo’s decades of experience in project management, design and art; and
3.) With projects and clients that we care about
Our momentum-building formula is a process that we’ve begun to map out and will be packaging for sale in 2016. But this year, with the support of our coaches, our client feedback and our multiple experiments, we’ve identified what we do like no one else.
Restructuring to Expand Our Family
By now, you may or may not know that we are expecting a baby. Yes indeed, the Wedge15 duo is becoming a trio. Today, as we write this post, our baby could arrive at any second. We are 40 weeks pregnant and today, December 24th, our baby is due. While babies arrive when they arrive, these past few months have given us time to brainstorm and plan how we want to restructure our business to accommodate our growing family.
As a married couple and joint-business owners and operators, the freedom to choose how we spend our time is among the things that we are most grateful for. We like being the boss of our days, and that is also how we have operated throughout the pregnancy. Sure, being entrepreneurs and not having the perks that come along with a full-time job in someone else’s company can be challenging on the best days. But there are challenges with every choice we make, and as we often say with tongue in cheek, we choose the shit sandwich that comes along with operating a company. With all this in mind, we are looking forward to creating more ready-to-buy products in 2016 so that we can continue serving customers and honouring our family commitments at the same time. We are taking the remainder of this year to celebrate the holidays, welcome our new edition and will return to work in early January. Inevitably, we will continue to make adjustments as we step into parenthood together, a few of which Gloria shared in a recent interview with mama-preneur coach Dr. Jessica Michaelson. Take a look: http://www.drjessicamichaelson.com/blog/interview-gloria-mcrae
UPDATE as of January 4th, 2016: We had a boy and named him Keon Orion McRae
Our wishes for you.
The more we clarify what we want, and what we do best, the more focused we can become. That has been true for us more than ever this year and it is our 2015 wish for you. And as we wish you happy holidays with your loved ones and a warm December to reflect, we want to leave you with a fun holiday commercial that we were a part of for Via Rail Canada this year. If you visit movie theatres across Canada this season, you may spot it there too.
From our hearts to yours, happy 2015. Thank you for being part of our community, for your trust, and for both your friendship and business. We couldn’t do it with out you. It takes a village.