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This blog post is kinda self indulgent and it’s very much a mixture of personal life stuff and business. I write them mostly for me, but I do enjoy reading other people’s annual review/roundup type posts, so I’m going to continue to publish them.
- Kicked off the year nicely with a $5,188 affiliate payment from ConvertKit (largely thanks to their Black Friday 2017 offer).
- Started my first group coaching program, Collective Momentum. It was 7 weeks long with 10 fabulous people.
- Created my ‘Everything’ page and it remains one of my favourite ‘I wonder what would happen if…’ experiments!
- Created and released ‘Wait, ConvertKit Does That?!’ 35 things you didn’t know about ConvertKit
- Ran The Fast Guide to Launching ? paid live training and it was just woah how much people vibed with it and the levels of action they took after! I spent hours twiddling in Illustrator (which I have no idea how to use) to edit the sloth onto the rocket!
- Opened Team EBG’s Party Pad Facebook group with my wife (Emma) for our clients + friends. It’s such a cosy little group and I really love it!
- Attended Taylor Manning‘s Retreat in Orlando, Florida. I flew first class for the first time and it was an awesome experience.
(ignore the hair tuft – there was an accident with the clippers a week before! ?)
- Had my best month yet (£11,600 / $15,600). I wanted to add this here, as there’s a lot of rhetoric in the online business world that you’ll just keep growing and growing and growing, and that wasn’t my experience this year. I didn’t beat my January revenue until November!
- 18th February was my 2 year anniversary of switching to ConvertKit! It’s mind-blowing how much has happened in that time!
- Was 3rd on the Female Entrepreneur Association’s Member Club affiliate leaderboard for their February Friends promo, after just one small mention in an email and a couple of social media posts.
- Flew to LA for a few days ‘working holiday’ ahead of Lesbians Who Tech in San Francisco in March.
- Attended Lesbians Who Tech Summit at the Castro Theatre, San Francisco. Tegan and Sara were keynote speakers. It was a really interesting event, but my biggest takeaway was that my identity as self-employed is currently far more significant to me than my identity as a queer woman.
- Started a daily(ish) Facebook Messenger Bot. Got bored after about a week. ?
- Cancelled the launch of the second round of Collective Momentum.
- Flew to Bali for Amanda Frances‘ Retreat. I was in her mastermind from January – July, and this retreat was included for mastermind members, so how could I say no?!
I don’t really know where to start with how incredible the whole experience was. It was truly life and business changing. ❤️
The main theme of the retreat for me was ‘deciding’ – deciding what I want, deciding that I get to have it, deciding what’s possible for my life. The day after the retreat I got a tattoo (only my 3rd tattoo) so I never forget what’s possible when I decide.
- GDPR. May was GDPR.
I created a training for ConvertKit Club called GDPR & ConvertKit Tutorials. It was hugely popular and I welcomed many new members into ConvertKit Club. I also helped lots of clients with their GDPR setups, and it was all just really tedious. Bleugh to GDPR.
- Built a full, beautiful AccessAlly membership site from scratch in about a week. It was brutal. There was so much content to go into it, and I had to learn the system as I’d never worked with it before. I was thrilled with the results though and my client welcomed in over 100 new members the following week!
- Watched about 90% of the Football World Cup matches.
- Moved house. Just around the corner from where we were living, but we’ve got a bit more space in a super cute bungalow now.
- Bought a Hetty vacuum cleaner and we’re in love.
- Prepared to close doors to ConvertKit Club for the first time. Offered an annual membership for the first time.
- Built and released my ConvertKit Skills & Knowledge Quiz. It’s incredibly complicated on the back-end between Zapier and Paperform, so I’m very proud that it does work!
- Three days before I closed doors to ConvertKit Club for the first time, ConvertKit announced it was changing its name to Seva. ?
This sent my July into a very exhausting tail-spin as I started to realise the scale of impact this was going to have on my business.
- I closed doors to ConvertKit Club for the first time, and for the first time everrr experienced a flurry of signups on the final day (I know people always say up to 40% can join on the final day, but that’s never been my experience!)
- Right at the end of July, ConvertKit announced they were no longer changing their name to Seva. I wrote a post about my thoughts and experiences of the whole thing.
- Got a shiny new ConvertKit Certified Expert badge with the new branding.
- Went on a much-needed last minute holiday to Barcelona, Spain. Had a fantastic time at PortAventura theme park, got horribly sunburnt, and ate lots of good food in Barcelona.
- Hit my target weight with Slimming World, 5 months 1 day after joining ? I lost a total of about 44lb. If you’re interested, you can read my Facebook post here about why I joined, how the experience was, etc.
- Celebrated my 29th birthday and started our love affair with Bille’s Cakes.
- Went to PlantBased Live and decided to go vegan ?. I’d been veggie for almost 12 years, and eating increasingly vegan. We attended a talk and the speaker asked who in the audience was vegan. Both Emma and I replied ‘eh, sort of’ and we both realised that it wasn’t the answer we felt good about, so we decided to 100% go vegan. We joke we became card-carrying vegans as we joined The Vegan Society that day! ? It’s only been a few months, but it was such a long overdue lifestyle change for me and I feel so happy about it.
- Ran The Quickstart Guide to Profitable Live Trainings. Having run a total of 5 Guide trainings, the time had come to run ‘the Guide to Guides’. I think paid live trainings are such an awesome thing for so many reasons, and it was fantastic to see so many people take action and launch their own paid live training within 3 weeks.
- Rather suddenly started the adoption process and attended a lot of training sessions. Hopefully we’ll be starting our family in 2019!
October was the new September. Every year of my business, September has been the busiest month. Everyone seems to launch in September. But this year all my clients launched in October and it was intense.
- My first ever guest post was published in ConvertKit’s affiliate marketing issue of Tradecraft: How to Sell a Product Without Sounding Salesy
- Realised I’m actually an ENTJ, not an ESTJ. This was a bit of an existential crisis for me if I’m honest!
- Saw The Dresden Dolls twice. The Dresden Dolls are my second favourite band (after Tegan and Sara). I last saw them play live in November 2006, almost 12 years ago! Getting to see them play a warm up show in a tiny venue was magical.
- Started using Chatra for live chat on my site. I’d previously been using LiveChat, which I loved, but I find Chatra more straightforward and it’s quite a bit cheaper.
- Was part of a $356k launch. I still have a handful of clients I do ongoing tech work for. It was really eye-opening to be part of such a large launch and I learnt a huge amount about the similarities and differences between small and large launches. (There’s a lot more similarities than differences!).
- Officially crossed $100k revenue for the year.
- Attended the 2nd annual Youpreneur Summit. I went last year, but only for one day, and I felt a bit out the loop. ConvertKit were sponsoring the event and I got to meet their lovely affiliate manager, Alexis Teichmiller, after several years of email communication.
- Signed up for Amazon Prime (to watch Homecoming) and I’m now obsessed with ordering stuff for same day delivery. Omg, why did no-one tell me how amazing this is?!
- Raised my hourly tech/ConvertKit implementation rates from USD $120 to $200.
- Launched our first retreat (happening February 2019)! At the time of writing there are a couple of spots left if you want to join us!
- Had my best month yet (£12,900 / $16,600). This felt like it was a really long time coming (my best month previously had been January). I wasn’t pushing for this to happen this month, I actually didn’t notice until several days after I’d passed it. I also didn’t launch either of the two things I’d been planning to launch in November for most of the year. My Black Friday offers helped (although I made a lot more than this amount in sales – I only track income received). So it was nice to be reminded that making money and having your best month yet can really flow, it doesn’t have to be a push/huge effort.
- Went on a Christmas Markets river cruise down the Rhine in Europe. We started in Basel and I learnt that Switzerland has different plugs to the rest of mainland Europe!
- Crossed £100k (~$127k) revenue threshold for the first time.
- Cancelled everything the week before Christmas. I had one work week between getting back from the river cruise, and taking off time over the holidays. For whatever reason I had a flurry of migrainey/exhausted days (I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/ME) and I made the difficult decision to cancel everything – client calls, training sessions, Facebook Lives, etc. It was really scary to do this, but the response I’ve had from clients has been overwhelmingly positive and the experience really reminded me that we have to practice what we preach and lead by example. Health > Business.
I feel kinda weird thinking back over this past year, and I can’t quite put my finger on why.
This is the first year my business hasn’t (almost) doubled in revenue, and I’m not sure how I feel about that. A lot of people who I follow online seem to have had similar, less-dramatic growth this year and it’s not something we really talk about. It just seems to be this message of inevitable growth, and I’m not sure that’s helpful.
This year I’ve made a really significant move away from 1:1 work and towards group trainings and memberships. So whilst I’ve only made a little more money-wise, the makeup of income streams has been very different – far more passive and leveraged. If you’re curious, affiliate income is my top income stream, but it only makes up about 18%.
I’ve spent a lot of this year really grappling with what I actually do. I thought I’d have it figured out by now. I’ve spent many, many, many days telling Emma (my wife) that “I need to do some business thinking”. I’ve re-mapped out my entire business so many times this year, but unsurprisingly not much has changed in practice (beyond a few price increases for my 1:1 services).
I still have no idea what I do and I’m trying to be okay with that.
In October I mapped out where income comes from in my business, and I was shocked at how spread it was across affiliate income, memberships, group programs, paid live trainings, coaching, tech implementation, etc. I sort of hoped that doing the exercise I set for my clients would highlight to me the 20% thing that accounted for 80% of my income. But I think this year has also really shown me how much I thrive on the variety of my business. Each week I’m totally into a different part of my business and swearing I’m 100% done with another part.
My wife and I had long been planning to start the adoption process in early 2019. Around May this year I had a huge wakeup call that my business wasn’t remotely on track to be able to support us through adoption in the way that I wanted. Mid year I had a string of significantly lower months (we’re talking… half what I had been making towards the end of 2017 and early 2018). It felt really scary. Something had to change. At the end of my 2017 review I’d said “I think I’ve really started to find my groove with (quickly) creating courses, trainings and programs”. This turned into a bit of a curse early 2018 as my whole business energy started to feel really messy and scatty. I’ve really consciously slowed things down this year and been much more methodical and conscientious about what I’ve been doing. For several months I just had to have this blind faith that the money would come back again. And it did in August. (And it’s stayed up).
October and November this year brought two humongous epiphanies for me:
- I don’t want to grow a team. I want to get to multi-six figures ($s, £s, I don’t care) on my own. Pretty much ‘everyone’ says you have to grow your team to grow your business, and deep down I’ve always known I didn’t want to do that. I’d never optimised anything much in my business for me because inevitably someone would be coming in and doing these things for me, right? Wrong. This realisation/decision has freed up so much energy and brain space for me and I’m really excited and motivated to take this as far as it can go. Just me, myself and I.
- My business goals aren’t so big, and that’s okay. Everyone is always talking about ‘next level’, ‘think bigger’ and ‘what’s you’re legacy/impact/world domination going to look like?’. I started my business by accident. I’ve been pretty successful fairly accidentally (yes, I’ve made good decisions and seized opportunities to get where I am – but it’s not been blood, sweat + tears). My goals have been the same for years, I just had a bunch of small goal shame around them. My business isn’t (currently) my life mission/purpose/impact/whatever, and that’s okay. I’m currently obsessed with my business and it’s a vehicle for me to show up as the best, highest version of myself. I’m still working through this, but I’m trying to embrace the idea that I don’t need to have a big, crystal clear vision/mission for my business in order to grow it further.
- Amanda Frances‘ 6 month mastermind
- Julie Stoian’s The Digital Gangsta
- Stu McLaren’s TRIBE course
(Click here to read my full TRIBE course review)
- The Membership Guy’s Member Site Academy
(Click here to read my full Member Site Academy review)
(This isn’t absolutely all of them, but some are no longer relevant)
- Are you in this ConvertKit automation rules mess? ?
- How to survey your ConvertKit list, but decide for them if they don’t pick
- 3 Clever Ways To Use ConvertKit Custom Fields
- 10 things you need to know about ConvertKit’s new form builder
- How to add a checkbox to a ConvertKit form for GDPR
Courses and Programs Launched
- Collective Momentum (7 week version in Jan/Feb)
- Collective Momentum (ongoing membership, group coaching, mastermind thing version)
- The Fast Guide to Launching
- The Simple Guide to Positioning
- Fast Launch Rocket Fuel
- The Easy Guide to Courses and Group Things
- The Lazy Guide to Affiliate Marketing Bootcamp
- ConvertKit Spring Clean Workshop
- Project Fast Launch
- GDPR & ConvertKit Tutorials
- The Painless Guide to Hiring & Working with a VA
- The Quickstart Guide to Profitable Live Trainings
- Power Hour
- How to Take Off a Month as a Service Provider
- The Retreat
- The Tripwire Training
I’ve also done a huge variety of 1:1 work including: launch management/strategy, building an AccessAlly membership site, ConvertKit, VA-type work, strategy calls and more.
I totally failed on my GoodReads 2018 Reading Challenge of 15 books this year – womp womp. Here are the books I did read though:
I don’t think I’m going to look back on this year as the year everything changed, certainly not in the same way as 2015, 2016 and 2017 definitely were. But I think this year has laid some very important groundwork and foundations (both business + life) for the next chapter of my life which I hope centres around becoming a parent.
How was 2018 for you? Please do feel free to leave your review post link in the comments!