My word of the year for 2018 was spark. And, yall, I had a tiny flame inside my soul that was more than a spark, it became a firework. Insert Katy Perry’s Firework song here! Without further ado, here’s my 2018 business year in review.
Year in Review – 2018
January and February was the same old song and dance. I was working my corporate job in higher education, just trying to make it through the day. Feeling burnt out and used up, it became tiresome to force a smile on my face and pretend to care.
After spending years in higher education, I knew it was time for me to leave. I was at the point that I was not doing my students any favors by just being present. They deserved more than that and I told my husband it was time for a major change.
Here goes nothing… Or everything
I already had a few graphic design clients, I was blogging, and actively using Pinterest and Tailwind. In February, I decided to take on four beta clients for monthly Pinterest account management.
Having those four clients then quickly doubled and I knew I was going to be okay. I gave my notice at my corporate job and my last day was March 2. Funny how this whole year in review could have gone had I not left that job.
My first official day of full-time self-employment was March 3. I was an entrepreneur, yall. And I didn’t even know what was to come… The first two weeks of being self-employed kind of felt like a vacation. I was like a little songbird who had been caged up for years and finally released. It was nice.
Then I realized that was no way to run a business. I needed to figure out a groove for working and being accountable to my business. I’ll be honest, it took me a while to find a schedule and a system that works for me. Everyone is different, so if you’re looking to launch your own business and work from home, just know it will take time and trial and error.
Spring – My Business Year in Review
April flew by without a care in the world. I continued bringing on more clients for things like Shopify setup, WordPress builds, graphic design, and VA packages in addition to Pinterest services. Literally, I was all over the place.
In May I launched new branding packages and I had enough clients I needed to hire a few subcontractors to help me. I was on top of the world and I was going places. It also meant I needed a business coach.
When I hired Kate Ahl from Simple Pin Media as my business coach, I felt like I was running my business with no strategy in mind. I was simply seeing what stuck, what worked, and I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. Have yall heard of imposter syndrome? Well, I certainly had it.
Running a business is hard work, especially when it’s like two months old and you didn’t go to business school. May was one of my highest income months in 2018 and I knew investing in a business coach was going to be vital.
What I didn’t realize at the time was that all of my clients had seasonal businesses. That meant their sales went down and they needed to take a break from my services. When clients have seasonal businesses, that means your business is also seasonal.
The double edge sword was that I had already hired my business coach. So guess who changed her middle name to hustle and began scraping pennies to pay her bills? Yep. That would be me.
Scraping Pennies for Payments
If you know anything about business coaches, you know they are not cheap. But you also know they are worth every single cent. And Kate was worth it.
Kate was exactly what I needed in a business coach: an experienced Pinterest Marketing Agency founder and owner – someone who had been down the path before me and could give me guidance without forcing me into something. She became more than a coach to me, she is a friend and a mentor and someone I look up to and respect.
I had given my word that I would work with Kate for three months. That meant I would spend two months of our time together doing whatever I could to make enough money to pay my bills and my invoice for business coaching.
I refused to have to go back to working in corporate America. Although, there were a few times I thought I was going to have to go be a cashier at the local grocery store. After years of sitting at a desk and months of working from my couch, my booty was not built to stand up for 8 hours a day. So, hustle hard became my mantra.
A Year In Review – Summer Time
With summer being slower on the client side of the business, I knew I had the time to invest in personal and professional development. I spent my days at the pool working on my tan while reading books like Big Magic and You Are A Badass At Making Money.
Time was an abundance in my life during those months and I would not waste it. I soaked in the words of those books and put them into action. When I wasn’t reading, I was scouring Facebook groups to answer any and all questions related to Pinterest, Tailwind, and graphic design.
Lighting a Spark
June was a rough month for me financially. But there was a silver lining, I started attending The Rising Tide Society’s Tuesday’s Together meetings. As an introvert, it is hard to put yourself out there, but I knew I needed to find some like-minded business friends.
Going from a corporate job with coworkers and colleagues that became friends to working at home can be a huge change, even for those less social. I was ready to have some social interaction. Kate was a big advocate for me to attend this meeting and just try it once. I remember talking to her about how nervous I was and how far out of my comfort zone this was for me.
From that meeting sparked friendships, business collaborations, and a support network one can only dream of — keys for success for a small business owner. Since my first meeting in June, I haven’t missed a single meeting.
I look forward to seeing my friends and learning about the chosen topic from our leaders each month. When The Rising Tide Society says community over competition, they truly mean it. It’s not just smoke and mirrors, it is lived in every action and every member.
Acupuncture & Podcasts
In the spring of 2018, I had started listening to the All Up In Your Lady Business podcast on the suggestion of my acupuncturist. I fell in love with the co-hostesses, Jessica Stansberry and Jaclyn Mellone. They gave sound business advice, were hilarious, and had an E warning. Just my cup of tea.
I found out they were going to be in my area doing some workshops during early August. So, I took a leap of faith and booked a half-day intensive session with Jessica and Jaclyn.
Abundance & Momentum
That half-day was life-changing, to say the least. Personally and professionally, it set the momentum ball rolling for a successful fall. Their tough-love approach was exactly what I needed at the moment. They told me I couldn’t be a branding strategist and a Pinterest strategist and I needed to pick one. Hello, Pinterest!
I knew they were right; I had been hearing this advice on their podcast for months, but apparently, I needed them to look me in the eye and say it. It was like all the stars aligned and it clicked. Pinterest was my jam and I knew that the riches were in the niches. So I immediately scaled back on everything non-Pinterest.
Focus, focus, focus
Now, that’s not to say I can’t do non-Pinterest things like manage Instagram accounts for local business or build Facebook business pages. However, everything I do needs to propel me forward in being the go-to gal for Pinterest. I currently eat, sleep, breathe, live Pinterest. But I still know how to do other things and help local businesses with non-Pinterest things.
I just don’t advertise that I do these things and I don’t actively seek clients for them either. Focusing on Pinterest alone has been so nice. It took away all the distractions and shiny objects and made me really develop those core service offerings of Saunders Says.
True Abundant Leaders
Between Kate, Jessica, and Jaclyn I learned what abundace leadership truly is and how to pay it forward to others. All three of these women connected me with their own personal resources. These connections have led to so many things such as new clients, conference speaking gigs, a webinar at a community college, and more!
Remember when I said business coaches are worth every single cent? The return on investment I have received and will continue to receive in the future far outweighs any dollar amount.
Resting on Laurels is for the weak
Speaking of speaking, I applied to teach with SkillPop Charlotte during the summer. My first class with them was in September. This was my first ever in-person class about Pinterest. Yall, I was so nervous I about puked and thought about how easy it would be to not show up. I’m not kidding.
However, I had a little pep talk from my girl Jaclyn and remembered that I was the expert. I survived so well that I decided to continue teaching with SkillPop and have some classes lined up for 2019 already. Being able to share why small businesses need to use Pinterest as part of their marketing strategy really excites me.
Introvert + Big Magic = What Comfort Zone?
In September I applied for a Camp Counselor position with Camp Climb. I’m proud to say I was selected as a Base Camp Counselor for 2019! Camp Climb is an all-female retreat for creative entrepreneurs held in New Liberty, Iowa. I cannot wait to help other women make an impact on the world with their businesses.
Want to know something amazing? One of the keynote speakers is Natalie Franke. And Natalie is one of the founders of The Rising Tide Society. Yall, God is great. He has put things in my business and life that all lead to these great moments. There is no way I could say that His hands did not orchestrate this opportunity.
While I don’t normally talk about religious beliefs when talking about my business, there was no way I could write this year in review without mentioning the role God played in my year.
The Last Quarter – A Year in Review
Wrapping up the last quarter of 2018 and I am feeling fulfilled. I joined Jessica and Jaclyn’s Lady Biz Accelerator program, a non-mastermind program for lady bosses looking to scale their businesses. In early December I took my first business trip for Saunders Says and attended the Lady Biz NYC workshops.
Yall, I went to New York City in December for work – for my own f’ing business. This business trip was exactly what I needed to end 2018. I came back refreshed, focused, and ready to kick ass as I go into 2019. While this quarter has been a whirlwind, I do not take this life for granted.
Thank You, 2018
So, thank you 2018 for the lessons, the mistakes, the growth, the blessings, and the spark to keep going and be successful. I am truly thankful for all of you who played a role in my 2018, no matter how big or small, how negative or positive. Practicing gratitude and being open to abundance made an impact on my life and I had to make a special note of it in this year in review. I cannot wait to see what 2019 has in store.
Did you write a year in review? Drop me a link in the comments so I can check it out!