There were so many different ways I thought about approaching my year-in-review post and podcast this year.
2018, like the two years before, wasn’t what I would call smooth sailing. I was tempted to title this episode something more like “Peace Out 2018″… but changed my mind.
As happy as I am to see 2018 go, it’s hardly a year worth writing off.
I can honestly say that this year has brought me more clarity than any other year in business (probably in my life for that matter). Fortunately, this makes me feel prepared for the upcoming year.
However, I’m not ignorant enough to think that 2019 will be challenge-free… because that’s not how life works. Life is full of ups and downs, that I’m sure of. I also know that no matter what I go through, I’ll always get up. This past year has validated that knowing within me.
Because I’m feeling really good about where things are heading, in both my life and business, let’s get the crummy stuff out of the way first, shall we?
2018 brought challenges both personally and professionally.
The personal challenges were heartbreaking and draining.
It’s been a rough couple of years with my son, but I am cautiously optimistic that we’re on the other side of things. Because it’s not only my story to tell I won’t go into details, but seeing your children suffer, even if they’re the cause of their own suffering, isn’t something I’d wish on anyone.
Things seem to be on the right path at this point, but as I said, it’s been a rough couple of years and I look at things a little differently than I used to. All I can do is what I’m doing, support him in a way that works for both of us, and trust.
There comes a point with our children that we have to let go, and not just because they’re legal adults (which he is at this point), but because they have their own lives to live and paths to travel. I also have a strong spiritual belief and have learned to trust that as well.
Not All Friendships Last
This year also saw the ending of a few friendships.
A couple ended with a little bit of drama, but nothing major. As much as I cared about these people, the friendships didn’t serve me (and I’m assuming didn’t serve them for that matter either). The one thing I realized when these friendships ran their course was what each of these people had in common with one another.
They spent far more time talking about business than doing the work.
It’s easy to stay stuck when the people around you are stuck. I also took counsel from people who weren’t in a position to give counsel.
Suffice it to say, unless someone has had success with the very thing I’m trying to do, I won’t bother with their opinion, no matter how knowledgeable they may seem or how good of a friend they are. It’s one thing to learn, study, and even practice something, but if you’re never going to deploy or take action?
No thanks.[click_to_tweet tweet=”Suffice it to say, unless someone has had success with the very thing I’m trying to do, I won’t bother with their opinion, no matter how knowledgeable they may seem or how good of a friend they are.” quote=”Suffice it to say, unless someone has had success with the very thing I’m trying to do, I won’t bother with their opinion, no matter how knowledgeable they may seem or how good of a friend they are.” theme=”style6″]
One thing I do want to make perfectly clear here though is that everything in my life is my responsibility. However, when people leave your life and it feels more productive? Lighter? One can’t help but connect the dots.
It was after the ending of these friendships when I realized what type of people I had to surround myself with. I wish them all the best, but I prefer to be fiercely protective of my time, energy, and soul. The friendships in my life have to support that.
Over Before it Starts
I did an entire episode of the ending of LeadSurveys, the software I was collaborating on, back in the summer. That was a project that drug out for a year and a half, only to be shut down two months after it was ‘ready’.
It’s way too long of a story to even recap in this episode, but this was honestly a blessing in disguise. I had fallen hard for content marketing, was loving the growth of Content Creators, and finally felt like I’d come ‘home’ to what I was supposed to be doing.
That being said, I wasn’t quite so Yoda-like when it all came to a head.
I knew I would rather be doing everything I was doing with content marketing, but I didn’t really know how to get out after such a long and arduous journey. It was a bittersweet ending, to say the least. I’m grateful I had the wherewithal to start Content Creators and move towards my personal brand and say goodbye to The WordPress Chick.[click_to_tweet tweet=”I’m grateful I had the wherewithal to start Content Creators and move towards my personal brand and say goodbye to The WordPress Chick.” quote=”I’m grateful I had the wherewithal to start Content Creators and move towards my personal brand and say goodbye to The WordPress Chick.” theme=”style6″]
Like they say when one door closes another one opens.
Other professional challenges:
- Giving up a brand I’d had for 9 years
- Expecting more from other people (more detail on this in the podcast)
- Nailing the right offer
- Lack of clarity
Let’s move on to all the doors that opened this year.
Even though there were some personal challenges this year, there were also plenty of things to celebrate on the personal front.
Most importantly, my parents 50th anniversary.
They reached this milestone in April and we had a big party in June at a winery in Northern CA. My parents are absolutely amazing and there’s not a day that goes by that I’m not grateful for who they are and all that they do. I’ve been absolutely blessed when it comes to family. I don’t know what I’d do without them.
The Content Creators Facebook Group
This is one of the things I am MOST proud of.
I started the group with zero attachment or expectations for what the group was going to become. I simply started it with a commitment to myself that I would show up and see where it takes me. There have been times where I think the group “should be bigger” by now, but the quality of the people in the group and the engagement quickly kick those thoughts to the curb. We’ve tried a few different things in the group, some have stuck around, others, not so much.
2019 will see more live streaming and video into the group, but I’d like to have other people doing a little more of this (there’s only so much of me to go around). The other thing I need to be cautious of is that this is a free group (and always will be). It’s very easy to get lost in Facebook for hours when you have a great community, but this isn’t the best use of my time. I don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like to streamline this or be more efficient, but I’ll definitely be working on this in quarter 1 of 2019.
Courses & Products
- Everything Is Content Course
- Content Creators Summit
- Content Traffic Kickstarter – FREE course
- List Explosion Course
- Creators Nation
- Content Creators Planner
I have to be honest here, as I look at that list, I’m pretty pleased with myself.
- The topics aren’t all over the place, they all focus on content marketing
- I took action and DID the thing!
So much could have gone better with each of these things, but I learned a ton with each one. I’ll get into what I’m going to be doing with all of this in the last part of this episode, but let’s talk a little bit about each one first.
Everything Is Content Course
This has become one of my mantra’s and favorite hashtags (once in a while I come up with some good hashtags). I ran a beta of this for $97, had great feedback (this included 6 weeks of live calls, the engagement was great). I raised the price to $197 and opened it again. I could have done a lot more both times had I had a better marketing plan in place (I tend to be ‘ready, fire, aim’, which has worked O.K., but isn’t how I’m doing things in 2019).
My goal with this course was to get people over their fear of creating content.
No one starts out creating ‘epic content’, you have to start somewhere.
This course did just that.
It gave people a framework for creating and publishing content.
Content Creators Summit
Holy moly this was an undertaking.
24 speakers over 4 days.
I prerecorded all of the interviews, used Kajabi to host the summit, and away I went. I had a friend who was supposed to help me with the logistics of this but was having a bit of a personal crisis at the time so it was game on. My daughter helped me (did all the videos and graphics, thankfully!) and we pulled it off. I sold an All-Access pass to the summit recordings for $97. This was a little bittersweet because a lot of speakers who said they would support the summit didn’t (didn’t email, didn’t share it, etc.), but I’m still glad I did it. It definitely made money and the content was fantastic.
Could it have been better?
One theme that seems to be recurring with me is not giving myself enough runway or lead time with marketing. I don’t know if it’s because in many ways I feel like I lost a year and a half with LeadSurveys, but, things are definitely going to be different this year.
Content Traffic Kickstarter FREE Course
I went ALL in with this course… 30 modules of training!
I kind of took my time with it but as soon as I started recording the videos, I started teasing this out to my audience. I would share screenshots of the slides, the members’ area, the planning spreadsheets, all of it. Because of the ‘teasing’, I had over 500 people sign up for this course in about 10 days, all organically. This also needs some automation in regards to promotion, but that’s coming in 2019 also.
List Explosion Course
The success of Content Traffic Kickstarter is what led me to create List Explosion (still not terribly thrilled with the name, but it is what it is). I simply pulled together what I did to add over 500 people to this course in 10 days and sold it for $49 (I was going to raise the price, but didn’t ever go back to this after the initial release. It sold well and it was kind of an impromptu idea, so I’m not complaining.
Creators Nation is my private membership. I will definitely say this is still in ‘beta’. I knew if I didn’t pull the trigger I wouldn’t do it, but I’m glad I did. I haven’t promoted this after the initial launch (although I am super happy with the webinar I created for this, thanks to David Siteman Garland’s ‘Create Awesome Webinars’ course) because I moved into the Content Creators Planner. But this is going to be one of my main focuses for 2019. It’s a great group of people, they’ve been uber patient with me, and I’m excited to give this the time and attention it deserves.
Content Creators Planner
On one hand, this was very ready, fire, aim. On the other hand, this has been an idea in the making for a LONG time.
It’s my first physical product and is really a compilation of everything I love: content, marketing, pen & paper, connecting… ahh.
I’m glad I never rushed into any other physical products because this feels like coming home.
Mind you, getting this pulled together with my amazing friend, Jodi Hersh (the brilliant mind who took my ideas and turned them into something magical) was a complete whirlwind. We launched a Kickstarter on December 3rd (I know, I know. Who launches a Kickstarter in December? Let me just say that the thought behind this was so we could get the planner out in the first quarter of the year and start helping people with their content strategy). I’ll be doing a full recap of that experience, but we didn’t meet our funding goal so decided to pivot and have people purchase a presale on our site (same rewards as the Kickstarter). We’ll run this through the first two weeks of January and will self-fund any difference for printing.
We believe in this way too much and have had plenty of market validation.
This was also something that needed WAY more lead time for marketing (in terms of a Kickstarter), but again, we did it and it’s happening.
So I’m grateful for that.
Despite saying goodbye to a few friendships this year, I feel so connected and grateful for the people in my life. I would be remiss if I didn’t say thank you.
Of course, my family & friends who have supported all my ups and downs, both personally and professionally.
My awesome therapist, who, despite essentially being retired is still there for me. 😉
My community and tribe (for lack of a better word). Thank you for sticking with me all these years or even if we’re newly acquainted, I appreciate you! Things have been a little off track this year (with this podcast for one), and I appreciate you trusting me with your time, emails, and energy.
And at the risk of alienating anyone, I do need to mention two people in particular:
- Davinder Kingh Sainth: who beautifully designed my Kim Doyal site AND the Content Creators Planner site (he also did LeadSurveys). Davinder has done so much more than design these sites though. He’s become a dear friend who holds me accountable, lets me bounce ideas off of (we chat via messenger pretty frequently), and is simply there. Thank you Davinder, I truly appreciate you! I can’t wait to see what 2019 brings you!
Connect with Davinder here
- Jodi Hersh: As I mentioned before, Jodi is my partner with the Content Creators Planner. We’ve known each other for 4 or 5 years and our friendship has grown organically. I had no idea what her thoughts would be when I reached out to her about the planner, but not a day goes by that I’m not super grateful she said yes. She’s amazingly talented, crazy smart, super witty, and damn if she isn’t immensely patient too. She’s got a course coming out that well, pretty much any online business should use (she used her own process to land an 85k client, not too shabby, eh?). Every time I look at the planner or anything she’s created it feels like Christmas. This has also been the easiest collaboration I have ever been a part of in the almost 11 years I’ve been doing this. Thank you Jodi!!!
Connect with Jodi Here
O.K. 2019, Let’s Do This
I’m in the midst of planning for 2019 (and am doing this with my Creators Nation group next week), but there are two words that come to mind when I think of 2019:
Clarity + Simplicity
Without skipping a beat, I can tell you that I have NEVER had this much clarity about my business. In March of this coming year I’ll have been online for 11 years (what the bucket?).
The decision to say goodbye to The WPChick and go all in with content marketing was not a decision I made lightly. It took me almost a year to pull the trigger on the new site and then literally just forwarded The WPChick to KimDoyal like a month ago. I’m not sure what took me so long to forward it, but that’s O.K. I did it when the time was right for me and I there was no waffling.
After everything I’ve done this year, I’ve decided that I will only be focusing on selling 3 things in 2019:
- Creators Nation membership
- Signature Content course (name TBD)
- Content Creators Planner (and some swag through that site)
I have lots of other plans for content to support these three things (I’m changing up this podcast for 2019. That will go into effect in February after I’ve published the backlog of interviews I have) and we’re launching a podcast for Content Creators Planner called ‘Creativity Published’ (really excited about that), but I’m going to stay completely focused on those 3 things only.
Jodi and I are in discussion about a live event (immersion weekend for a small group of people) where we come together, plan out your content strategy, create content, and connect (you’ll actually leave with audio, video, and written content you can use when the event is over). That, of course, supports the Content Creators Planner brand and our individual brands. We’ll be announcing that in the Spring with a date for the fall.
Here are my other business goals:
- Automation: I have way too many tools that can be working for me in the background. Creating automations that drive engagement and sales is key
- Processes: Because of my next goal, I have to set up some processes. This is the least favorite thing for me as I’m much rather just create, but there’s no way I can hire help without processes.
- Building a team: It’s time to build a team again. This time though it will be for my brands, not client services. I’m hoping by the end of Q1 we can bring on one or two people for the planner brand. For myself, I just want to hire someone to repurpose, post, measure and engage with content. Editing, repurposing and creating micro-content require help. This role will most likely be filled by my daughter, it’s just going to be official.
- Paid traffic: This will be ongoing, not just for launches or something specific. After talking with Daniel Daines-Hutt of AmpMyContent (his episode will air soon), I’m going all in with paid traffic to content. I’ve assumed and relied too heavily on only my community or relationships. When that doesn’t work out, I make up stories in my head that are a complete waste of energy. This will be tied into an automation that includes an offer at some point (and no, I don’t mean some B.S. upsell, downsell sequence the minute someone joins my list).
- Boundaries: As much as I love hosting other people for podcasts or live streams, I need to set better boundaries and stop offering so much. Both of these take a good amount of energy and I end up drained, which then effects my own business. I’m going to limit this and make sure I don’t jump into something that requires time I don’t have to give.
I’ve got some fun stuff to look forward to this year, and I’m pretty excited.
Once my son graduates high school this June I’ll be moving out of the city I’ve lived in for the past 17 years. I have a few places in mind, but I haven’t quite decided yet so I’ll be doing a few road trips during the next 6 months. My goal is to stay on the West Coast. I want to be able to come down to see family at the drop of the hat, so it has to be driveable (I never mind the time in the car to myself).
I’ll be sharing those road trips and journey as it happens. The first trip will probably be in March to the coast of Oregon.
Speaking of trips, I’ll be doing a big trip to the UK with my kids in the fall. We’re starting in Ireland then will head over to England. I absolutely plan to connect with friends in both places, so that should be a blast.
Next: it’s time to start putting my health above everything else. I don’t know exactly when I got out of the habit with working out (I used to go to the gym almost every morning, right after I dropped my kids at school), but it’s time to put that first. I prefer working out in the morning, so it’s time to start setting the alarm again. No, I won’t be setting the alarm for 4 am, but definitely earlier than I’ve been getting up and I’m sure I won’t like it initially, but I am one of those people who likes to move, so I know it will set my day right also.
Once I feel better about my health I think it’s time to start dipping my toes into the dating pond again. Those stories should be interesting.
Continue with my artwork. I’ve had so much fun getting into watercolors and picking up lettering again. It’s a great way for me to unplug from tech and just get lost in the moment. I tend to put in my airpods and listen to something inspiring/spiritual and when I’m done I feel completely renewed.
Hopefully, this year will bring a trip to Costa Rica and other travels as well, but I’m going to be open to what shows up and stay flexible.
O.K., I think this is officially the longest post I have ever written… and I feel like I could keep going, but it’s time to get this recorded.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year and wonderful 2019!
Links & mentions from this episode (additional links in the post)
Here’s the song from Trolls I mentioned… you’re welcome.