Well here we are, at the end of another year. Are you ready to take stock of this year and step into the new one? Are you feeling optimistic about what lies ahead… or not so much?
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to pause and reflect on the past 12 months and take note of some of your personal highlights. You may be surprised to find there were more successes and joys than you realized.
As for me, I hadn’t planned on making any big changes in 2021. In fact, in my 2020 Review email last year, I explicitly said, “I am hoping for a much slower and much more boring life in the coming year!”
Well that didn’t happen.
If you’ve been following along for a while, you may recall my behind-the-scenes email earlier this year about the events that precipitated an overhaul of how I run Trillium. If not, you can catch up here.
2021: Year In Review
Once I’d made the decision that Trillium wasn’t going to be a solopreneur biz anymore, I had to put a few things into place:
- a team 🤓
- SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures that could be followed by someone who didn’t live in my head)
- a new mindset so I wouldn’t chicken out and scale back to a size that I could automate with just tools and not a team
I knew the mindset piece was going to be a big deal. I realized I needed to be around others who were past the solopreneur phase of their online business and were making different kinds of decisions than I had been making up to that point.
Is this something you find helpful too– a community of folks who are on the same journey? I find it makes a big difference in my ability to corral my thoughts and stabilize the new mental state I am trying to achieve.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that my mindset is solidly in a new place and I now feel very comfortable with the idea of having a team and letting them take over the all the core functions of Trillium. This means that Trillium isn’t going anywhere even if I decide to go on sabbatical for a year, ha!
If you’d like to dig in to this journey a bit more, check out this interview on the Art of Online Business: Creating a Business That Generates Revenue While You Nap, with Seemi Abdullah (I am highly motivated by naps 😴)
Building a Team
Hiring and managing new staff is often the most difficult part of running a business, but I lucked out with the folks who found their way to Trillium 💜
The role of the first person who joined the team, Danielle, was to be the project manager and find and onboard everyone else. And she did that! So, while building a team was a big part of 2021, it wasn’t a big part of what I personally had to do. By the way, if you’re a small business entrepreneur just getting started with building a team, you can check out some of Danielle’s resources here: https://danielleclevy.com/shop/
If you haven’t met the rest of the team yet, here you go!
- Candace Barnard is the main person you have contact with when you send an email. She knows how all the back end systems work around here and can troubleshoot issues.
- Tana Vassou works closely with Candace to ensure your needs are met in a timely manner.
- Charlotte Peck is our content manager and takes care of the mountain of writing that goes into social media, newsletters, course descriptions, etc. She’s also a Montessori parenting consultant so reach out to her if you need any support in that area! https://charlottepeck.com/
Systems and Processes
Updating my processes has been fun. I love thinking about details and logistics and this year gave me the opportunity to audit my various systems and get them cleaned up. I could write an entire book on all the things that we’ve done with SOPs, but I will spare you the details. Here’s a short list of things that needed to be prettied up and organized so they were usable by anyone who joined the team:
- setting up a new email mailbox and migrating all support archives so the team could dig into a customer’s history as needed
- setting up tiered levels of access to the back end of the various online tools we use
- organizing the various digital assets so they can be more easily located such as cleaning up folder structures in Dropbox, Canva, etc.
- standardizing the various tags, rules, segments, etc. in our newsletter tool
- creating written (and video) instructions for everything, such as how to troubleshoot customer queries, to how to set up a new course, how to schedule social media and newsletters and on and on.
My job here was to get the information from my head out in some form, and the team took it from there to create the actual SOPs (and fill in any gaps I’d left.) Creating SOPs is an ongoing project but I am really pleased with how much stuff is no longer living in my brain. Yay team!
Coming Up in 2022
2021 has been the year of streamlining daily operations, and 2022 is going to be the year where I finally get my backlog cleared up! I’ve had a lot of ideas and unfinished projects sitting on the back burner for way too long and I am so excited to finally get them going!
The pandemic completely derailed my plans for the regular Elementary and Leadership newsletters but I am thrilled to announce that they are back on the schedule! Starting in January, we will have weekly newsletters for the following groups:
- Primary Teachers (3-6)
- Elementary Teachers (6-12)
Principles to Practice Library
Principles to Practice (P2P) is a joint project between Trillium and Classroomechanics. We’ve done a couple of online conferences under the p2p umbrella but our main offering was a monthly membership featuring a series of Q&A style videos about classroom management.
I’m super excited to share that we are working on transitioning the p2p memberships to a library model!
This means that you will be able to access all the p2p membership content at once with one annual payment. You will be able to access to all 24 months of content in the 3-6 library or 18 months of content in the 6-12 library without having to wait for content to be unlocked each month. We’ll have pricing and registration details for you in mid January!
If you’re currently a member, you have the option to stay on the monthly payment plan or upgrade to the library access model. You should have received an email with details.
Oh, and if you’re wondering whether we’ll do another summit this year, we do not currently have plans for that. I’m focusing on cleaning up my backlog of ideas before we add another big project like a conference to the mix!
Here are a few new courses and sales to keep your eye out for in the next few months:
🏠How to run a successful school tour by Jana Morgan Herman
🤝The Montessori Assistant Toolkits for 0-3 and 3-6 will be on sale Jan 6-13
📣NEW: Tammy and Letty are working on an Assistant Toolkit for 6-12! We’re hoping to have it ready by April!
🎉The Hands-on Kids Activities club will be opening again in February
📔Leadership Library: I have a ton of leadership resources that have been sitting on my computer for a couple of years that we will be cleaning up and putting into a library. This will include videos, workbooks, sample documents and more! 2022 will be the year they finally see the light of day!
There are a few more surprises in the works that I am really looking forward to sharing with you!
I hope you have a relaxing close to 2021 and I’ll see you in the new year!
Seemi holds a Master's degree in education, and an AMS Early Childhood credential. She has twenty years of experience in Montessori as a teacher, school administrator, and school owner. Seemi is the founder of TrilliumMontessori.org.