Hello 2018: Reflection + Goals for the New Year
Man 2017 was a year, it was a year full of lessons, growth, and perspective. Just a heads up, I am going to be completely transparent in this post.
I started 2017 with so much hope and dedication, I was ready and driven but I wasn't prepared at all for the unplanned events that happened. I started the year with a new allergy and ended up spending the first 3 months in and out of the emergency room, after 26 years I develop an allergy to Blue #1...It's in just about everything literally! So starting out was a little rough, but I kept going maybe not as strong as I wanted to but at least I was moving in the right direction. Then April, I had a very severe allergic reaction that caused my eyes to close up, my whole face was swollen. It was really bad, I couldn't see and I was placed on Benadryl and steroids for weeks. I believe I was up just enough to make sure my son made it to school and made sure he made it home, it was nothing I could do about it but I was upset and felt like I failed my business and myself.
But I just could not.
Looking back on it now, I can tell myself its ok. No, I'm not happy about it, no I can't go back and undo what was done, and no there was nothing else I could do but rest and let my body heal. The worst part of it all was that I may have recovered faster from my medical issues if I actually took the time to rest and get better instead of trying to type with one eye. To be honest, it was a really difficult time for me and it was a challenging time for me but I do believe that if I didn't go through what I been through I don't know when I would learn the lessons I learned during that time.
I think the first 5 months of 2017 taught me the most important lesson: Always take time to rest + don't over plan.
I have a sheet of easel paper on my wall right now that I use solely for the purpose to remind me what not to do when planning for my business. I use to plan by month, I never knew what I would cover the next month until the first week of the month. That means instead of having my content in place, sales in place, email campaigns in place, I was basically just winging it until it was time for the content to come out. I believe out of everything this stressed me out the most, but I didn't know how to change it or improve it so I just kept getting frustrated to the point where none of my content was coming out.
No Instagram Posts
No Facebook Posts
Which means No Income
So I went from having the perfect plan to have my plan derailed by unforeseen circumstances to coming up with a different unrealistic plan. Yep, it sucked. It was horrible. See I didn't have a problem with planning or creating content but I had a problem with the execution of my plan.
Great Plan, Poor Execution
Now here we are the end of June, Q1 + Q2 are long gone and Q3 isn't looking too well either. Now on top of the content, I didn't send out, I had client work that was backed up and now kids are out of school. (sigh)
Summer came and went so fast I blinked and it was August,😐 AUGUST! I couldn't do anything but cry and I cried hard. Let me tell you by August, I planned to have my content completed for Q4 since I just threw the rest of the year out the window. After my breakdown, I decided I gotta make a change, then I got the phone call my Grandfather died. I boohooed and cried until my eyes were swollen, he was 95 years old but I still wasn't ready for him to go.
At this point, I'm no good all the way around.
My business wasn't where I wanted it to be, I lost my grandfather, I wasted a whole year being sick and I just couldn't. My birthday was in 2 weeks and I felt like a failure honestly. I did nothing.
Now 2 weeks away from my birthday, I couldn't do anything but pray. Even though I felt like I failed, I didn't I was just misdirected.
I prayed: Prayed for my son, my family, my health, my finances, my business, prayed that my eyes be made open so I can see past my failures and I prayed for direction.
At this point, I was the lowest I could go, but I remember Prayer without works is dead. How can I expect anything to happen if I don't work towards it?
New Year, New...Everything
I had to make a decision, I had to, either wrap it all up and quit or clear the slate and start over. I chose the latter, I cleaned everything old books, old notebooks, old desk, anything that I hadn't touched in years, computer bags and purses. I cleaned everything! I was being weighted down and now I feel the weight and it had to go. I spent a week purging everything that didn't have a purpose, it was the best feeling in the world. I walked into my new year (August 21), with a clean slate and new office, the one goal on my 2017 list I accomplished. It was a great step, I decided I needed to rest and get refocused, and I did. I took that first day of my new year and rested, then my brother surprised me with a birthday trip to Atlanta. I have never been to the south and he was determined to get me to go. It was a 5-day trip, we left Chicago at 3:00 am and drove to Atlanta.
I had a lot of "firsts" on this trip in my 27th year, I ate at waffle house for the first time, I visited Tennessee, saw all the beautiful mountains, I kicked a famous car reviewer out of my parking spot, I camped on concrete, and I ate at Martin's BBQ. It was awesome, I had an amazing time at Gridlife's Road Atlanta and then I had to go home which is always the worst part. It was beautiful in the south, and I wasn't ready to come back to Chicago but I had to of course.
After we packed up to drive eleven hours home (whew), we pulled out to head to the gas station and the power steering line blew.
This was unexpected, but everything happens for a reason.
We were able to make it to an AutoZone and my brother started working on the line while my sister and I sat in the van, we were in complete silence and in the silence I felt comfort and peace. Even with the situation that we were currently in, we had peace. This was an important point for me because I had just crossed another goal off my list, I found my peace. It was there all along, I just couldn't see through my mess.
Back on the road home to Chicago, I was so motivated and excited. Starting off my new year crossing goals off my list left and right, it came time for me to set the plan for when I got home. There was still work to do, and I had no idea where to start. I had 11 hours to at least think about it and put something on paper. I got started reading blogs that I had saved and never read to kinda get my head in the work mode and nada, the ride home me and my sister ran our mouths.
Got home and passed out again, that heat in the south was no joke!
Fast Foward to the middle of September, the kids were back in school (yay!) and I was trying to get back on track but not on the track I was on before of course. I was still stuck in my business, then I backed up I threw my old plan in the trash. There was no sense in going backward, I wasn't going that way. I needed to figure out what the real issue was, and it finally clicked, I had two businesses: web design and consulting. One was more of an agency and the other was a blog they talked about the same thing one just did a service and the other I was teaching. It was stupid, writing twice as many blogs just to get overwhelmed and frustrated. I decided that they had to go, both of them if I was starting fresh it had to go for my business too. I was making no progress at all, so I decided it was time for a rebrand. It would be more me, I didn't want to create more work for myself but I needed to do it. I spent 2 weeks creating a brand new business from the ground up, it was so stressful but at the end Jess the Techpreneur was born. It was wonderful, I had a more targeted audience, I stopped stressing and just started creating. It was a blessing, I had soo much positive feedback I truly felt the love and the weight was off my back.
In October I launched, and almost immediately I was getting leads and growing more consistently. I had no problem creating content and executing, I went 3 months consistently pouring into my business and I saw the results, I, of course, do not plan on stopping. But I learned to plan smarter and wider, instead of a month, I plan for a quarter now. It has made a huge difference, I see why everyone recommends it.
I always hear, "It's never ok to stop when you are building, you can rest but don't stop." I now know, its ok to start over, rest then proceed. You're not stopping, your resting and that's ok.
Ending my 2017 felt so good to end on a high note, no matter what I went through at the beginning of the year I ended on a better foot. I completed my rebrand, organized my business, and even automated parts of my business. Which CLEARED my 2017 goal list, nothing on that list came into 2018. I did, however, walk into 2018 with carpal tunnel in both wrists which now is hilarious but at the time painful. I felt like once again I was starting off wrong, but I remembered to rest and took the time I needed to heal. Even though I am a little behind, it didn't take 4 months to heal and I am still on track regardless if I see it or not.
We are now 3 weeks into January and I have already crossed one goal off my list I am now a Shopify expert!
I have 5 goals, I would like to get hit before 2019:
Automate my client onboarding 100%
Help 3 people successfully DIY their Website
Grow my affiliate income to $500 a month
Blog consistently for 3 months
Number 5 is the most important, learning how to shut work off and actually live, have fun and be careless. If I can accomplish just #5, I will be ecstatic.
I know I kinda let it all out in this post, and I hope I didn't lose you. I want to be able to look back at this post and remember the good I had in 2017 and the lessons I never want to forget.
2017 was full of ups and downs but I value the growth, the relationships I built and the experiences I had. It really gave me a brand new perspective :)