With the end of 2020 just weeks away, Katie has spent time reflecting on the goals she set for the year, and the outcomes. She shares everything she’s learned with us this week in episode 59 of The Whin Big Podcast.

This week we hear how the pandemic has completely changed Katie’s outlook on setting goals and planning, and there’s a free workbook for you to download to use on your own 2021 goal planning.

Revisiting 2020 (even the truly tough bits) for business development

After a weird old year (understatement of the year?!), we know only too well how emotional the year has been for business owners across the board. Now we’re at the end of 2020, the traditional thing to do is review the year we’ve had, and set goals for the next.

Somehow, as we grind to the edge of 2020, reflecting feels more daunting than normal. We’ve had our emotions, patience and confidence stretched to the limit this year, so going back over it seems like an unpleasant thing to put ourselves through!

2020 – the year we got real with our goals

Before we dive deeper into Katie’s practical advice for reviewing and planning, let’s take a look at the two valuable lessons she’s learned from this year which have turned her entire attitude to goal planning around for 2021.

1: Rigid plans are not your friend 

Katie is a traditional ‘end of year planner’. In the past, she’s created a 12 month plan for the new year and used the plan as action steps for each quarter, and each month.

After the unpredictable nature of this year, whilst reflecting and reviewing, one lesson that quickly floated to the surface the notion that making a rigid plan for a full 12 months can lead to stress, frustration and failure right from the get-go.

    “Deciding to just work harder next year is not a good strategy. Even in a normal year – what’s the likelihood that you can sit down in December and map out everything you’re going to do over the next 12 months? Life has never been that predictable.”    – Katie

    2: They might be small, but you still have choices 

    For Katie, one of the joys of being self employed was having freedom to make daily decisions around things like working from a cafe for a few hours, or switching working hours to spend time with family. The global pandemic put a stop to those little freedoms for us all and Katie found this really tough.

    Looking back, she realised she still found a way to make choices. Even if they were much smaller than before. She changed work rooms for a while, and turned her desk around for a different view.

    The activity of review gave her a more positive outlook to her achievements this year, and a better understanding of the way she works on a conscious and subconscious level.

    Shifting perspectives for 2021 planning

    Armed with her new insight, Katie has a new perspective for forward planning for next year. . Her new focus is to set goals and reflect on areas where she has choices, options and influence rather than areas she can control.

    With a fresh outlook, she can now see that her old planning approach was unrealistic, unsustainable and completely exhausting!

    Where’s the flexibility in SMART? 

    Traditionally, Katie has set goals using the SMART criteria. Goals have to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely have no room for flexibility. 

    “With so much unpredictability, how can anything be realistic or timely.” – Katie

    Katie’s goals for 2020 

    Let’s see how Katie’s goal planning panned out. 

    Goal 1: Financial Goal

    Katie gave herself some significant (and exhausting) financial goals to hit this year. 


    Overall, The Whin didn’t achieve the financial targets Katie set. Taking time to reflect on this goal has shown her that her priorities were misaligned right from the start. The reality is that she wanted to scale her business in a sustainable and financial way. The targets she set didn’t allow for steady growth, but rather forced her into big projects that pulled her focus away from scaling and growing.  

    For 2021 

    Going back to the SMART criteria, Katie can’t see how a financial goal can be set that is both realistic and timely, so for 2021 she’s passing on setting financial targets.

    Goal 2: Pivot online

    Part of Katie’s plan for The Whin was to begin scaling elements of the business. Her idea was to take her in-person marketing courses into the online space.


    The Instagram Masterclass course is now fully online. It’s a 4 unit, self-paced course, available online for a bargain price of £97.

    For 2021 

    Katie’s writing and planning new modules to expand the course for 2021. It will include Instagram’s new Reels feature. The price will go up to £140 to reflect the extra value, and if you buy the masterclass in 2020, you can access the new material for a much lower price. 

    Goal 3: Increase to 3 cohorts of the All-in-Whin Marketing Method

    The All-in-Whin Marketing Method is a 12 week live online course, with weekly support and coaching calls. It takes participants on a much deeper level of training and learning. 


    Katie achieved 2 out of 3 cohorts. Participants needed extra support than she’d planned for, so time restrictions reduced her intake to 2. Both rounds went really well for participants and Katie, so she’s pleased with the quality. 

    Goal 4: Audience growth

     Katie set number goals in the following areas:

    • Instagram – 2000 followers
    • Newsletter – 2000 subscribers
    • Podcast – 7,500 downloads


    The Whin’s Instagram followers didn’t grow to 2000. She’s confident her numbers would have grown steadily this year on Instagram if she’d joined in the Reels fun when they first launched the new tool. The algorithm changed to encourage more users to create Reels, so her account didn’t grow the way it could have otherwise.

    Whin Wednesdays subscribers are still sitting at around 200 subscribers.

    Podcast downloads are now half way towards the 7.5k target

    Looking back at these numbers, Katie recognises she set the numbers, but didn’t put any plan in place to reach them. The reality is that she didn’t put the effort in that was needed to hit the goals.

    For 2021 

    You may have noticed that Katie’s posted a few Reels now and has lots of plans for more next year. She’s confident the numbers will move in the right direction, so she’s going to keep 2000 Instagram followers as a goal.

    “The goals I set at the beginning of the year matched up with the model I had for increasing my income and redirecting what the business was going to do, but my actions in the moment didn’t reflect those priorities for the year.

    “That’s something I’ll consider when I work out what to plan and how to plan it for 2021.” – Katie

    Goal 5: Website testimonials 

     Katie aimed for 20 new testimonials on The Whin website. 


    15 new testimonials on the site, and 5 people Katie plans to email for final testimonials. This is a great achievement as there were only 3 at the start of 2020. 

    A master plan for 2021

    Where Katie didn’t hit some of her goals, she’s ready to admit that she’s learned so much about the way she works – especially during times of stress.

    And after reflecting on the past 12 months, Katie now feels ready to look to 2021 and the goals for The Whin. She’s set her goals following a set of questions and prompts she’s gathered over the years and has pulled the whole lot into a workbook if you would like to do the same.

    The 2021 Master Plan is yours completely free, just click on the link and we’ll send your workbook over straight to your inbox.

    What’s on your bookshelf for 2021? 

    Regular listeners know we ask every guest to recommend a couple of books that have inspired or helped with business growth or self development. We’ve pulled the recommendations into an end-of-year list, so if you’re bored over the next few weeks – or looking for a last minute present ideas – head on over to the blog for your next favourite book.

    The Whin Big Podcast 2021

    The next Whin Big Podcast comes out on Wednesday 13 January. Katie is taking a well deserved break, so we’ll all be back with you mid January to tackle Instagram and marketing themes for growing your business.

    During the festive break, Katie will be posting regularly on Instagram and she’ll still send out her weekly newsletter, so sign up if you’re not a subscriber.

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