As many of us do, I always take some time at the end of the year to think about what went well, what didn’t go well, and where I would like to go from here. This year, I was inspired by Wandering Aimfully to publish my review publicly. From business to personal, I want to share a bit more of the nitty gritty behind the scenes. I always enjoy reading more about other people’s journeys, and I hope that it’s helpful in some way to share my own.
My husband and I have worked hard over the years to become and remain debt free. However, our move to California zapped a great deal of our savings and put us back in the hole. I’m so thankful that we were able to pay this off early this year, pre-Covid. Since I didn’t reach any of my other financial goals for 2020, I want to make sure to celebrate this win!
We’ve taken COVID-19 seriously this year, which has meant a lot of time at home. One of my goals at the beginning of the year was “Go on more adventures.” Obviously, this didn’t pan out as I had hoped! However, I am really grateful for how this slower pace of life enabled me to just enjoy spending time with my family and especially my kids. We may have not been able to travel, but we did enjoy the beautiful California weather and spent as much time outdoors as we could.
I have always been a voracious reader, but I feel like I really rediscovered my love of reading this year. Overall, I read 37 books (and counting.) My favorite book on business/creativity this year by far was Called To Create. During a time where I was really struggling to feel like my work had a purpose, Jordan’s book really reaffirmed to me how valuable creativity is in the world and just how much my desire for excellence in this area pleases God. It was just the encouragement I needed at the time. As a side note, his podcast The Call to Mastery also quickly became one of my favorites.
I have been using (and raving) about Showit for over four years now, so I was absolutely thrilled to finally be able to announce that I was officially a Showit design partner. That means they looked behind the scenes at my designs, talked to my past clients, and officially recommend my work and my process.
The Showit team not only has an amazing web platform, but they are also an amazing company. During the pandemic, they have consistently gone above and beyond to support creative businesses. I’m so thrilled to be partnered with a company that is so aligned with my core values.
Speaking of Showit, every year they put out an anthology of curated websites built on their platform, and I was happy to be featured once again this year. It was such an honor to work with Kate Mannella Photography and I’m so glad they chose to publish the site I built to complement her beautiful heart and work.
I chose to participate in a blog accountability blog challenge during the last quarter of this year. As a result I was able to publish 13 new posts on my blog, which is 13x more than I have blogged in the previous two years combined. I don’t think publishing weekly is exactly necessary, but I had so many half completed and even all the way completed blog posts that have been sitting on the back burner for ages. The extra accountability really pushed me over the hump and allowed me to get back into the groove of writing and publishing regularly. As an added bonus, I now have lots of material I can repurpose for marketing on other platforms next year.
Another one of my goals for 2020 was to “Take back control of my time.” I don’t think I can confidently say I reached that goal, but what I can say is that I finally figured out what works best for me in terms of planning out my days, weeks, and months.
I have tried so many online apps for scheduling and project management systems, and while I still use online programs for overall project management, I finally figured out that what works best for me for scheduling is an analog approach. Since I literally can’t even think without a pen handy next time (even when I’m typing on my computer), you would think I would have figured this out about myself sooner.
The first step I took for “taking back my time,” was to commit to tracking all of my time during the day. I ended up just writing it all out in a Bullet Journal and discovered that I was able to be much more consistent than any online time tracking tool I had tried out. This led me deeper into the hole of bullet journaling, and before long my bullet journal became my right hand man for keeping track of tasks and scheduling each day.
However, while the bullet journal worked really well on a day to day basis, I was still having a hard time visualizing my larger goals and how to organize my daily tasks to make progress on those. In the later half of the year someone recommended Traffic and Funnel’s Productivity Pack, and it changed the game for me.
The Productivity Pack allows me to set good goals and then break them down into monthly, weekly, and daily tasks. For the first time, I can confidently say that when I check all of my designated tasks off my list, I am not only being busy, I am being productive. I will say upfront that nothing included in the planner or the accompanying course is rocket science, but it’s the first time I’ve actually been able to apply everything that I know I should be doing.
Going into next year, I will be taking a break from my beloved Powersheets and using a combination of the Productivity Pack and my trusty Bullet Journal instead.
The best part of my job has always been the excuse it gives me to get to know really cool people, and this year was no exception. I was able to work with creative businesses in the photography, interior design, online education, and even health coach industries this year and I really enjoyed the variety in the work that I was able to do.
Although Covid most definitely had a negative affect on my business this year (as I’ll get more into later), I’m so thankful that I have a job that safely allowed me to continue to work and to also be home with my kids when childcare options disappeared overnight. It was also wonderful to continuously have a creative outlet and projects to focus on when I was stressed about everything else going on in my life and in the world at large.
Giving is a core value of my business, and thanks to my clients I was also to continue to give generously throughout the year during a time when it felt more needed than ever. So if we worked together this year on anything, and you’re reading this, thank you so much for enabling me to help others in this way.
Despite not being able to leave my house for most of the year, I can honestly say that my friendships were richly rewarding this year. In some ways, my inability to make as many new friends as I normally would provided space for me to go deeper in the relationships that I already have. That being said, I definitely met some new people this year that I was so grateful to connect with. So many of my friends intentionally reached out to me, processed with me, and encouraged me. If you’re one of those people, I’m so thankful for you!
2020 was a hard year for so many of us, and I was no exception. First and foremost, I want to acknowledge just how extremely fortunate and privileged I am. Neither my husband nor I were in danger of losing our jobs, or going to work in risky circumstances. I am so thankful for that and so heartbroken for those who can’t say the same.
That being said, as an extremely extroverted person this year has definitely been hard. The weight of everything going on has sapped my energy and my creativity, as I’m sure so many of us can relate. I really enjoyed the work I did for my clients, but when it came to marketing my own business, I just felt like I hit a wall. I often asked myself, “why does this even matter?” and had a hard time feeling a sense of purpose in my business when so many people have been suffering due to Covid, racial injustice, and all the other things going on.
I don’t say this for sympathy, or head pats, or anything like that. I just want to acknowledge that I really struggled to do anything beyond what was necessary to take care of my clients. Even though I had finally hit on a good system for setting goals and I knew what I needed to do to meet them, I very often just didn’t feel capable of pushing myself to do so. If that was you as well, you’re definitely not alone.
I had big plans for networking and marketing myself in my new state of California this year. I was able to connect with the Sacramento Tuesdays Together group and even give a keynote presentation, and as a result received several inquiries. Very soon after that, Covid hit, and my inquiries dried up overnight. Many of my clients are in the wedding industry. They were hit so hard by the pandemic this year, and understandably, so did their interest in investing with me.
Again, I want to say that I am extremely fortunate that I was able to maintain my business this year and my ability to work is not directly affected by the pandemic. But I do want to acknowledge that this was definitely not the year of growth I had originally planned on.
At this point you are probably not surprised to hear that I did not hit the financial goals I had set for myself at the beginning of this year. Not even close.
At the beginning of 2020, I sat down with my Powersheets and chose a word for the year that I felt like God was leading me towards: “trust.” At the time, I had just recently left Arizona and the close network of friends that I had there. I felt like God was leading me to put my trust in Him as I began to put down roots here in California where I now live. I had no idea just how much all the curveballs that 2020 had in store for us would require me to consistently put my trust in God rather than in my own efforts, the economy, or anything else.
Throughout the year, God has shown me in even more depth that He is worthy of that trust. 2020 caused me to spend a lot of time going inward, and to confront some things within myself that I had been able to push aside up until that point. For 2021, my hope is that I can once again begin to focus outward, and to spend more time showing up in the world. As Morgan Harper Nichols so beautifully said recently, “Taking time to process is a part of the creative process.” I am hoping to bring that creative process more into fruition in 2021.
If you’ve made it this far, thanks for reading! I hope you gained some value from this. If anything resonated with you, please feel free to hit me up in my DMS! I would seriously love to chat. Trust me, this ENFP enneagram 7 is always ready for more human interaction, especially this year.
If you’d like to conduct your own year in review, Wandering Aimfully has a free Notion template available (no e-mail necessary) that I’ve really enjoyed going through.
See you next year!
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