Whew – what a year!
2019 was full of success, failure, lessons learned, and LOOOOTS of travel.
Since you guys liked my 2018’s “Year in Review” post last year, I decided…
Might as well spill the fucking tea again this year (and make these posts a yearly tradition)! 🙂
So, let’s talk about my year in business, then we’ll cover my year as a *GASP* human being.
Aaaand, once all that’s out of the way, I’ll share my plans for 2020!
My 2019 Year in Review as an Entrepreneur/Blogger
I started 2019 much more focused on travel than business growth.
If you read my 2018 year in review, you might know that I’ve had melanoma (skin cancer – but thankfully very early stage) twice in the past 5 years.
One of those instances happened at the end of 2018.
This sucked, obviously, but I think it reeeeeeally was the thing that tipped me over the edge as far as traveling full-time, even though it was absolutely fucking terrifying. Health scares really have a way of making you say “fuck it, let’s do this.”
I’ll talk more about our full-time travel experience later in this post, but yeah, from a business standpoint, I had a suuuuuuper laid-back first half of 2019.
Full-time travel kinda feels like an extra job with all the booking AirBNBs, planning destinations, etc.
Because of this, I knew I needed to chill the fuck out on actively growing my business for a bit or taking on any new/large projects, at least until I got into a good flow with travel planning.
I created and launched a new course, Fuck Yeah Freelance Blogging.
This felt like the first “big project” of 2019.
But even so, it wasn’t suuuuuper stressful because it wasn’t a course I had to create 100% from scratch this year – I already had a lot of the lessons and everything ready, so it was mostly just editing and adding on new content as needed.
Why a freelance blogging course?
Well, since my best-selling course, Killer Cold Emailing, is focused heavily on the whole “business/marketing/getting clients as a beginner” side of freelance writing…
It made sense to create a course on writing. As a freelance writer:
Marketing skills + writing skills = $$
So I wanted to have an in-depth course for both of these skills. Killer Cold Emailing covers the marketing side and teaches how to get clients, while Fuck Yeah Freelance Blogging is focused on writing skills (for blog post writers specifically).
These two courses are EXACTLY what I wish I had when I was a beginner!
And they have both done really well and gotten loads of student success stories, which has been amazing.
Even years into running this blog and having courses, it is still so damn fulfilling to get emails from excited students sharing their business results and stories of how they were able to leave their day job and start a writing business!
I re-launched Killer Cold Emailing.
Once in February 2019, right before we started traveling full-time.
And once again in November 2019, right after we made it back to Dallas (where we are currently living until we decide what the next step is).
The February launch was super chill, but honestly, the November launch put me under a lot of stress and I think I did way too much.
This really magnified my need to “step into a CEO role” for my business by outsourcing small tasks and implementation so I can focus more on the big-picture stuff and not get so overwhelmed by large projects like launches.
I think one reason the launch stressed me out so much is because I decided to completely change my sales page at the last minute.
Literally, I was working on totally re-vamping it RIGHT BEFORE it went live and spent a couple 12-hour days doing ~*all the things*~ just to get the sales page up in time.
I used to be able to handle long days like this when I was in the beginning hustle phase of my business, but ever since my mental health took a turn for the worst in 2018 (more on that here and here), I’ve had to really slow down and try to resist my workaholic tendencies.
I do a decent job most of the time, but this Killer Cold Emailing launch was an exception to that.
Another reason the launch was stressful was because I decided to focus heavily on Instagram for the duration of the launch and also a short time leading up to it.
…Now, before I say anything else, I’ve gotta say, I’m SUPER PROUD of the content I put out on IG during that time. For the first time, I did a ton of IGTV videos – the fancy-schmancy kind with captions and everything.
This went over really well and I enjoyed creating this content a ton!
And I truly love Instagram as a platform – it’s my favorite place to connect with you guys.
It was way too fucking much, and as a result:
I got super fucking burnt out… again.
I’m no stranger to burnout. I think it happens to every business owner at some point.
It’s just… fuck. I should know better by now!
I’m almost 5 years into running a business, and I know my limits.
Now, I just need to get better about honoring those limits.
With my last-minute sales page stress and posting to Instagram every single day, multiple times per day, I got extremely overwhelmed during my November Killer Cold Emailing launch.
I think this launch stuff, combined with having just driven all the way across the country from the west coast back to Texas, really sent me over the edge mentally.
I only have so much energy, and I felt like I was just running on adrenaline.
Even now in January, I still feel like my body is recovering from that time period! It’s crazy.
I’m hesitant to write about this because I never, ever want to come across as complaining or bitching about my business. I know I’m very fortunate, and a lot of my stress is self-induced, as much as I hate to admit it.
But I feel like these are important things to bring up as a business owner.
The reality of the situation is that shit gets stressful sometimes.
You will fuck up. You’ll get overwhelmed.
But you have to acknowledge your role in all of these things and learn from it.
I’m still learning every day and probably always will be!
I decided to take a break from Instagram.
Shocker, right? 🙂
Even though IG is my favorite, posting multiple times per day made me a bit obsessive.
…We’re talking Joe Goldberg obsessive here, folks.
I try to be conscious of my social media consumption, but when you’re putting pressure on yourself to be “on” ALL OF THE TIME, it’s damn near impossible to not get too caught up in it.
I realized again that I only have so much energy.
I’d much rather spend my limited energy taking care of my course students or creating a new blog post that will help potentially thousands of people (or, hell, just taking care of my mental health and working on creative projects!) than spend it obsessing over an Instagram story that’s going to disappear in 24 hours.
So, in early December, I decided to stop posting.
The plan was to get back on in January, but today is January 6th, and I still haven’t re-downloaded the app to my phone.
I’m sure I will sometime in the near future, but I’m not putting any pressure on myself. I’ll know when the time is right, ya know? And even then, I’m not going to post anywhere near to multiple times per day long-term.
I spent $10,000 on a course/mastermind.
Yep, that’s four zeroes!
This is the most money I’ve ever spent on a course/coaching type of thing.
But it made perfect sense for where I’m at in my business, so it was pretty much a no-brainer.
I say all the time that investing in your business before it feels comfortable is KEY, and I practice what I fucking preach.
This investment has ended up being one of the best business decisions I’ve made, and the program is already well on its way to paying for itself!
(I’ll share more about the mastermind/program later – I plan on reviewing it here on my blog when it’s finished!)
Now, I’m not telling you that you need to go out and spend $10K.
I’m 5 years in, and I needed an advanced mastermind. Advanced masterminds tend to cost a lot of coinssss.
…But what I will tell you is that growing a successful business does require you to invest time AND money.
So maybe if you’re a total beginner, you should invest a hundred bucks in business tools or a few hundred bucks on a good course for whatever you’re trying to learn how to do.
I could talk a lot more about this, but instead I’ll just direct those of you who want to learn more about money mindset and business investments to this blog post. 🙂
My 2019 Year in Review as Jorden, the human.
I traveled the country full-time with my husband and our two dogs.
This has been my dream since before I ever even started a business!
Something about travel just makes me feel so fulfilled. I get so inspired creatively. And getting to share it all with my husband? Fucking priceless.
It might have taken me 5+ years to achieve my dream, but in 2019, I finally made it happen!
I have also shared a TON of travel stories on Instagram, but some notable moments from this year were:
- Sitting next to the actor who plays Jack from Will and Grace while watching Wicked in Las Vegas. Closest I’ve ever been to a celebrity, which is surprising considering we lived in LA for two months before going to Vegas!
- Getting stranded in the Mojave Desert when it was 110 degrees out. Holy shit, thank GOD we had service on our cell phones! Otherwise we might’ve experienced the dumbest and most tourist-y deaths possible. Long story short, Siri’s bitch ass sent us down a dirt road in the middle of the Mojave and my car sunk into the sand. We tried digging it out but… no luck. Fortunately, I had plenty of gas to keep the AC running and we were able to get a tow truck to pull us out. But yeah, it was crazy. It was seriously the middle of nowhere and I can’t imagine having to have walked to get help.
- Staying in a haunted-ass AirBNB in Flagstaff, Arizona. Thankfully, our ghost friend bothered my husband more than me. Check out my Instagram story highlights of Arizona to get the tea. 🙂
- The motherfucking OREGON COAST. Jesus Christ, what a beautiful and underrated place. We stayed there for about a month and a half. There’s no place like it.
- Joshua Tree, CA. We found out AFTER ARRIVING that our AirBNB didn’t have an actual AC unit. So we spent our time there inside of the AirBNB and covered in cold rags (our dogs too, they literally just laid on the couch by a fan with rags on top of them lol) because it was insanely hot. Still, I think we’ll always look back on that time happily, because it was so unique and we got to see ALL OF THE STARS at night, something you just don’t get to experience in the city.
Since we did a west coast road trip in 2019, we were planning to regroup in Dallas for a few months and then hit the road again in Spring 2020.
But I’m not sure what this year holds travel-wise!
At the moment, I’m pretty happy being back in a regular routine and focusing more on my business and creative projects, plus, my husband started his gaming YouTube channel (click here to check him out – and subscribe to him/comment on a video or two if you’re into MTG!), and all that stuff is a lot easier to do when you’re not moving constantly.
Still, we haven’t decided exactly what we’ll do as far as our living situation and travel for 2020.
For now, we’re in Dallas and enjoying it!
I went to Universal Studios for my birthday (and also 3 other times because HARRY FUCKING POTTER).
#SagittariusSeason is sadly over now, but I’ve gotta say, this year was one of the best birthdays I’ve ever had!
We semi-spontaneously decided to book a trip to Orlando for my birthday (December 15th), and spent two days at Universal Studio + one day at Volcano Bay water park.
And let me tell you… we had the BEST TIME!
I’m so grateful for my business because it allows for unplanned travel like this with my husband. Some of our favorite moments during this trip were:
- The Hagrid Ride – OMG, best roller coaster ever. I’m a lil’ bitch about certain rides these days, since some of them give me headaches or too much anxiety lol, but I loooooved this ride and it was well worth the wait. Forbidden Journey is probably my fave though. We had a fast pass and went on it so many times that we basically memorized the entire ride by the time we left lol.
- Swimming with our dogs at the AirBNB – We spent one of our days in Orlando chillin’ at the house, which had a shaded area with a pool and hot tub in the back yard. It was pretty awesome! We slowly got our dogs used to the water and then put them on some yellow floaties so they could chill in the pool with us. Freakin’ adorable.
- Going to a waterpark in the middle of winter – I LOVED THIS. Seriously, it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. No lines, and maaaaaybe 20 people in the huge wave pool. I definitely want to make winter waterpark visits a regular thing. It’s like the ultimate theme park experience for introverts. 🙂
Our dogs also came with us and flew for the first time ever, which went surprisingly well.
My dog, Tito, acted like a perfect angel like always.
My husband’s (slightly brattier) dog, Violet, was good too, although she did let out a few yips and yaps at other doggos who walked past us at the gate.
I definitely want to make traveling for my birthday a tradition. Maybe next year we’ll do Disney!
I kept working on my mental health.
After the literal mental breakdown that consumed my life for basically all of 2018, I’ve made it my mission to constantly work on improving my mental health.
That involves a lot of things, including:
- Medication – A v low dose of anxiety meds – talk to your doc about the best solution for you though, because it’s different for everyone!
- Therapy – I went weekly before we started traveling full-time, and I’m planning to go at least monthly now that I’m doing a bit better.
- Books – I’m currently working through a CBT book/program and filling out The Daily Stoic Journal every morning and evening.
- Exercise/Water/Sleep/Nutrition – Ah yes, all the underrated but SUPER IMPORTANT things in life. Sleep for me is especially key.
- Living Intentionally – Basically, I try to be SUPER self-aware as far as both emotions and physical feelings I’m having. And not wasting time and/or energy on things I shouldn’t / things that will add to my stress and anxiety.
My biggest struggle is general anxiety, and I also have PMDD that knocks me off my fucking feet pretty much every month.
But I’ve noticed that when I’m doing the things listed above, I feel a lot better.
I don’t know if I’ll ever be anxiety-free… probably not.
But as long as it’s manageable, I’m good.
I stepped up my skincare/makeup game and went blonde.
How very basic of me.
Lol, but really though, I’m a ho for some good-ass skincare.
My favorites are:
- Drunk Elephant Retinol
- Drunk Elephant Vitamin C Serum
- Drunk Elephant Framboos Serum
- Drunk Elephant LaLa Retro Cream
- IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream
- Dermalogica Micro Exfoliant
- Dermalogica Intensive Eye Repair
- La Roche Posay Face Sunscreen
…Did I mention I’m a fan of Drunk Elephant? 🙂
Now, as far as makeup, I have gradually been getting better at it over the past couple years, but I feel like I really solidifed my ~*SiGNaTure LeWk*~ around the end of this year.
It’s pretty simple and involves a bronze eye and ombre lip.
Kylie lip liner in Angel is my #1 favorite lip product, with a lighter shade (like KoKo by Kylie or Frose gloss by Morphe or Native by Urban Decay) in the center of my lips.
Here’s the LEWK in action at my family Christmas party this year:
For when I’m feeling a bit more extra, I really like to do a shimmery neutral eye look with a dark grey lipstick or black lipstick.
My favorite products for this are the BH Cosmetics Love in London eyeshadow palette and the Kylie Lip Kit in Shady or the Fenty Uninvited liquid lip.
Shady by Kylie is the one you’ll see over and over if you look at my IG page. 🙂
As far as my hair, y’all already KNOW I go through hair colors like crazy.
Pink, green, purple… I’ve had just about every hair color you can think of.
But when we started traveling, the upkeep was just too much!
So, I whacked off all my hair (to just above my shoulders, eeek!) and dyed it a lavender-y color.
Eventually, I decided that any unnatural color was still too much upkeep, so I did an at-home blonde balayage with my natural light reddish brown hair color as the root color (like in the Christmas photo with me and my brother above).
I might go back to colorful hair eventually, but for now, I really fucking like not having to dye it every other weekend lol.
…Anyway. I’ll stop before this turns into 2000 words about hair and makeup.
Just know that if you ever wanna talk about either of these things (or skincare), I’M YOUR GAL.
I started reading and writing more.
When I was a kid, books were my escape.
I went through some difficult shit, but when I was reading, it felt like I was somewhere else completely.
Books helped me keep my mind in a good place and my anxiety in check, so I was almost always buried in one (or two) of them.
I guess as I grew up, I kind of lost touch with that.
Reading became replaced with socializing all of the time which eventually became replaced with the overconsumption of alcohol which eventually became replaced by workaholism.
Anything to keep my mind in that better place, I guess.
But fortunately, it really feels like in the past year or two, I’ve been coming back to reading.
And I don’t just mean business and self-help books (although those are great too). Reading for fun, reading fiction, reading poetry – just reading because I want to.
When I’m reading fiction and writing creatively, I feel so fulfilled. I feel like myself. I feel like I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing.
And that’s a great feeling – one I want more of.
So, one of my big goals for 2020 is to read a shit-ton of books and focus on creative writing as a craft, not just business-y/sales writing.
What else is next for me in 2020?
I don’t really know.
…But maybe I’m not giving myself enough credit, because I can confidently say that my year will involve a few course launches, hiring new people to help me with my business, and optimizing the shit out of my business.
Really, I want to step into the “CEO role” for my business this year.
I have been so fucking stubborn about this for so long though because:
- A) It’s HARD trusting other people when you’re a perfectionist and have been let down so often in the past
- B) I never, ever want to lose my connection to my community
But, I realize that my business has grown to the point where I need to find and hire good people and also check myself on my management abilities so I can have a solid team.
Otherwise, I’m just going to keep taking on way too much and burning out every time I launch a course or take on some other big project on my own.
It’s just too much for me to handle alone at this point.
Plus, I need to remember that outsourcing things like design and video editing will help me a lot without causing me to feel distant from my community aka YOU! 🙂
And I know that I can stay connected with my community by still staying active in, well, my actual Facebook community for writers (join here – it’s free and over 11,000 writers are already there hanging out!).
I’m also playing around with the idea of…
Writing a book!
I have no idea if this will actually happen this year though, because my main priorities for 2020 are streamlining my current business + working on my mental health.
If the whole “write a book” thing starts to feel more like a chore than something I truly enjoy, then I probably won’t do it.
But the very least, I want to outline a non-fiction book and brush up on my fiction writing skills.
I figure I can use what I learn about writing a non-fiction book and getting it published to one day write and publish fiction.
And really, I just want to start…
Getting back to actually writing in general.
Writing this blog post feels good.
While tutorials and listicles will probably always be the most popular blog posts on my site, they aren’t always the most artistically fulfilling, lol.
So, I want to get back to writing creatively.
…Yes, ACTUALLY writing for fun!
I think as a business owner, it’s easy to get caught up in the pressure to constantly grow the business and optimize the business and write sales copy and write “evergreen blog posts” and blah fucking blah.
That stuff is all important, ESPECIALLY when you’re starting out, but it can so easily become a never-ending cycle of business-y stuff, which doesn’t leave much time to be creative.
I’m almost 5 years into running my business.
And I think at some point, you have to say “this is enough, and I’m happy” and start thinking about how to use the time your business has given you in ways that make you truly happy – instead of just continuing to grind needlessly.
Which brings me to my next point:
Work/life balance and creativity.
Y’all know I’m about the hustle, but it has to stop at some point, or at the very least, it has to pause every once in a while.
Really, I see the hustle as a phase and not a never-ending state of being.
Starting a new business? Hustle.
Got a big project you wanna finish on a tight deadline? Hustle.
But hustling for the sake of it when you could really benefit from a break? …No thanks.
I feel like I’ve been taking care of growing my business for so long (almost 5 years in!), and now, I’m at the point where I can let my business take care of me.
Meaning, less time working and more time on creative projects.
I’ve actually already started this process, and it’s been so great!
I’ve noticed a definite positive change in my mood and overall life outlook.
Specifically, I’ve been working on writing songs (lots of inspiration from my travels this year!), and I have a feeling I’ll take a crack at other creative writing projects soon too.
Anyway! That’s it for my year in review.
In closing, I just want to say:
THANK YOU! 🙂
Truly, I appreciate you so much and this community means the world to me! <3
I’m so fortunate to have the fulfilling job of helping people ditch their 9-to-5 and write for a living, and I hope you know I’m in your corner.
Thanks to your support, I’ve been able to live out my dream of traveling full-time and take care of my mental health in a way that would have never been possible otherwise.
And I am so, SO incredibly grateful.
This community and your support has changed my life for the better in ways I could never have even imagined when I started this blog… which might sound cheesy but hey, that’s okay, because it’s TRUE!
Here’s to having an amazing and fulfilling 2020. 🙂