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Oh, there goes Bberg, strutting into 2018 like HEYYYYYYY. 💁🏻♀️
That’s right, baby! I’m back!
I know it’s been a hot minute since I’ve written here, and even longer since I’ve written something personal like this. But hey, it’s January, the month of the annual recap, and I’m a trend follower. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This month, I recorded my first vlog-type video talking about some of the stuff I’ll talk about in this post:
About this Annual Review
In December, I sat down a bunch of different times to write one of these, and the words just wouldn’t come out.
Finally, frustrated, I deleted the Google Doc, decided to be done work for the day, and settled into a Grace and Frankie bingewatch.
As one does.
But then I got to the episode where Grace is troubled by I-don’t-remember-what with her boyfriend, and Frankie introduces her to the power of vlogging.
“You’re going to have to vlog it!”
“When you vlog, you become your own personal therapist.”
“But drunk vlogging yields nonsense.”
And all this other Lily Tomlin comedy gold that ALSO made a lot of sense.
So I decided, “I’m gonna vlog this out.”
Because I just celebrated 6 months of working for myself full-time, and I’m dealing with a lotttt of emotions here. 🙈
It was my first year working for myself, my second year in business at all, a year of health scares (which still seems like too tame a word), an era of lifestyle changes, and a year that ended up looking *nothing* like what I thought it would.
In fact, I ended out 2017 not being able to cross a *single* goal off of my “big important projects for 2017” list.
(Yeah, I took a long-time side hustle full-time, and I can’t even say I crossed that off of a list of goals anywhere…that’s how off course things ran!)
For a “Type A all the way,” overplanning overachiever, the rare organized unicorn who does meet goals and resolutions (thank you very much!), that really stung. Since I was already in a funk feeling like I sucked all the time, it hit me hard.
But you know what?
When you roll things around a different way, I had an AMAAAZING year. That’s when I realized I needed to really do a a recap. Because I needed to find the sparkly side of things.
Once I recorded that video, so much clarity came that I felt like a giant cliche. I hate the phrase “aha moment,” but shit, that’s what it was.
While definitely my most difficult year to date, stuff like that makes you strong as hell (#unbreakable), and I don’t think I realized how much that fact is reflected in my year.
2017 is weird to talk about in terms of my business, because as much as it progressed in ways, my business wasn’t my priority.
It was a means to an end, to end the craziness of the past few years.
The reason I left my day job was not to grow my succeeding side hustle. I was working on it for literally less than an hour per week, and had stopped all client work, when I first started thinking about leaving.
It wasn’t really succeeding, it was barely alive. But I felt the same way about myself.
I just knew that I’d been constantly sick for almost two years, only getting sicker, and I was starting to become truly afraid of what would happen if I didn’t drop everything I could to throw everything possible at my health.
It culminated during a month when I literally spent more days inside a hospital than my day job’s physical office.
So I looked at my business and various side projects, how much they were earning relative to my time spent on them, and realized I needed to trust they’d be able to get me through this.
About 9 months since first seriously talking about quitting my job with my family, I’m here, I’m a thousand times healthier, and I’m figuring out this whole business thing.
I even call myself things like “founder” and “entrepreneur” on days when I’m feeling confident.
The Technicolor Highlights
Celebrate wins and all that jazz! There were so many exciting smaller things I did last year, even if I wasn’t at full capacity to achieve one or two large goals.
- I started getting strategic with affiliate marketing after realizing how organically it vibes with my personality, voice, and niche. It earned me five figures in 2017 while being one of the most passive income streams I have, becoming an amazing security blanket during months when I was too sick to work on my own products or services.
- Chris Guillebeau shared my story of side hustling towards healthy on an episode of the Side Hustle School podcast, a big personal win that was published at a time when, emotionally, I needed one.
- My course now sells very consistently, even if I don’t make a bajillion figures a second on autopilot 🙄, and it’s introduced me to amazing women who are helping me make the course even better.
- I launched a Facebook group to help female entrepreneurs become the Leslie Knope they were born to be. I love it. If other Facebook business groups are like networking events or conferences, this one is the karaoke after-party. 🎉
- I joined a mastermind of completely awesome people running businesses, who gave me the confidence to trust my skills enough to leave my 9-5 and refocus myself, talked me through all the “thinking like a boss” stuff I’m uncomfortable with, and put up with a *lot* of Hamilton and Clueless references and Bberg geek outs on our calls.
- I launched a YouTube channel and fell in love with making videos. It ended up being the perfect combination of writing and content creation with entertainment and comedy that’s sparked a fire.
- Thanks to always focusing on building strong relationships, I picked up work quickly after going full-time, and my services were pretty much booked out within 2 months.
- Three months into full-time-ness, I started (occasionally) making more than I made at my day job. It only happens like every other month right now, but it’s still always exciting as hell. Especially considering…
- There has literally been one week when I worked “full-time” or close to 40 hours. It may come at the expense of revenue growth…I’m not 10xing anything anytime soon, but...
- I’ve kept my commitment to prioritize myself before my business. I’m not traveling the world and doing cool “lifestyle entrepreneur” things, but I’m very much a lifestyle entrepreneur right now. That lifestyle just involves spending tons of time sleeping, doing things that make me smile, exercising, and massive amounts of the most boring types of self-care. And that’s totally cool with me.
I mean, awesome, right?
The Meh Moments
Of course, I was a trainwreck at many times last year. So there were many, many things that went not-so-great and that I struggled with:
- Backup planning: there’s more nuance to creating a backup plan than I realized. If you keep it too vague for the sake of “staying optimistic,” then need to actually implement your underdeveloped plan B or C or D, you’re screwed.
- Finding the perfect schedule: when it comes to chronic illness, energy management is taken to a whole other level with spoon theory. Honestly, I REALLY struggle to stay consistent with a schedule that effectively manages my spoons. For example, when I tried batching calls, I felt okay during the 4 calls I had in one day, but was completely out for the count the next day.
- Knowing my business model: when I went full-time, I immediately focused only on services. Given what I JUST wrote, and that this was the least passive, most draining income stream in my business, you can see why this is a struggle. Now I’m trying to revive the other income streams more again.
- Losing my voice: oh, this is the worst one of them all. Both because it happened most drastically, and it’s the saddest thing on this list. Because I was so focused on clients, I was spending like 95% of my working minutes writing in someone else’s voice. That’s part of writing for clients, especially with lots of copywriting and ghostwriting. But without creating content of my own to balance that out, I really lost touch with my own voice and style.
And, well, that last point…creating content of my own. That sounds like a good segue into 2018 plans, don’t you think?
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What’s Coming Up Next
Because of all the overly optimistic planning I did in 2016 and 2017, this year I learned not to try to get detailed beyond a single quarter at a time.
What I basically did for yearly planning was pick one theme or goal for each quarter. Then as each draws closer, I’ll decide what projects accomplishing that goal will involve.
Like, Q3 will be focused on working on branding, but I haven’t set specific projects and dates around that yet. Since I’m committed to planning my business around my health and other unpredictable factors, I’m not putting pressure on myself to do more than that.
So here are the tentative plans:
- Making it real, real easy to work with me. Last year, I started working on creating clear service packages to help startups and entrepreneurs get new leads from old content. Those beta tests were helpful, and I’m now working on mapping out great content repurposing packages to offer long-term.
- Helping you become a content creation machine. After almost a decade at this game, it’s more than time for a resource around this. I don’t know if this ends up being a course or a workshop or what, but it’s happening! You’ll learn my whole content creation process for marketing content like blog posts, videos, and email sequences, from outlining through to repurposing. We’ll cover both “how to write gooder,” as well as habits and productivity tactics to create content consistently.
- Actually rebranding. Rebranding was the big thing I was supposed to do in 2017, but once I sat down to think about it, I realized I didn’t even know what I was rebranding to. I had my writing career and all these different side projects about productivity, and it was just a scattered mess of different income streams more than a cohesive business. But I’ve figured out how all the side projects important to me can fit into one business – YESSSS FINALLYYYY – and am ready to move forward with things! 🙌
It’s gonna be ah-mah-zing, to quote Penny Hartz.