Looking back on 2021 is going to be interesting!
Surprisingly, I’m excited to do this year in review episode and share what’s on the horizon for 2022.
In addition to the world just being a little topsy-turvy, I’ve had some major changes in my life this year. I also decided I may start doing something a little “Pinteresty” for 2022.
You may have seen this before, but you basically take a mason jar (or vase or whatever floats your boat) and each day you write down something good that happened and drop it into the jar.
At the end of the year, you can look back on all the good things that happened.
Of course, you can do this in a journal, or digitally, but I love the idea of seeing this jar fill up as my year progresses.
Even though there isn’t a huge separation of my personal life and business life, I think it’s a little easier to break this year-in-review post into personal & business, then we’ll look at what’s coming in 2022.
My Personal Life
It honestly feels like a lifetime ago when I was living in Boise, Idaho.
Yet a year ago at this time, I wasn’t planning on moving to Costa Rica (never doubt the power of a clear intention and decision).
I went from thinking I was going to stay in Boise for a while longer in February to the decision that now was as good a time as any to pursue a dream of living out of the country. Within a week I had found a place in Costa Rica and gave notice in Boise.
I sold as much as I could, got a U-Haul with a trailer to tow my car and drove down to California for two months to wrap things up there, and made the move to Costa Rica with my dogs on May 31st.
Best decision ever.
This move has without a doubt changed my life (as did Boise, but in a different way).
Moving to Boise was kind of like a test to see if I could move out of California and away from my family. I had already been looking at Idaho before my Mom passed away in July of 2019, but after losing her it really felt like it was time (and truth be told, it was easier because she was gone).
Then we all know what happened in 2020 (I literally moved to Boise in March just as Covid was turning our world upside down).
My year in Boise was all about healing.
My Mom’s death was unbearable at times and to have the space to process that felt like a gift. I did a lot of personal work with my therapist (who happened to be stuck in Costa Rica during 2020) and simply took care of myself in the best way I could.
I also “got ready” to make the leap to Costa Rica, even though I didn’t really know that that’s what I was doing at the time.
I will forever be grateful for my time in Boise and I’m proud of myself for making the move.
With the exception of my daughter, all of my family is in the Bay Area (having my kids out on their own and doing their own thing also made it a lot easier to make that move. Someday when grandkids are a part of the picture that may change).
Technology makes it SO much easier to physically be further apart as we can see each other, send quick text messages, etc.
Now as we wind the year down I’ve already been in Costa Rica for seven months!
Time has flown by.
Just a few weeks ago I was pretty certain I wasn’t going to renew my lease when it came up (end of May), but after going back to California for Christmas (which was a great visit with family), that feels too soon to leave Costa Rica.
I’m pretty sure my next place is going to be North Carolina.
And no, I’ve not been there either. haha…
But I figure if I can move to Costa Rica site unseen, I can handle a move to North Carolina. As of now I don’t have a definitive time frame, but I’m thinking by the fall.
My ultimate goal is a place in the states and a place in Costa Rica.
I really missed the changing of the seasons this past fall and all that comes with that. However, after being in the cold for a couple of weeks it was certainly nice to come back.
A big takeaway for me with everything I’ve experienced this year with moving is that I need to allow myself plenty of time to process how I’m feeling and then to add a little contrast.
Meaning had I not gone back to California for Christmas I probably would still be thinking I wanted to leave Costa Rica at the end of May.
Mind you, I’ve also got enough life experience under my belt now to know that I can still change my mind again in a week… so we’ll see.
But that’s the plan for now.
Growth and Reflection
Looking back on everything I’ve experienced this year a few things have become crystal clear.
First, what works for me is all that matters.
I connected with some great people when I got here and some that ended up being ‘not-so-great’… it was fun and got me out and doing things but at the end of the day this person was simply “too much.”
No regrets, that’s how we learn, but there were plenty of so-called red flags.
I just didn’t listen to them. It’s been a long time since I’ve had someone like that in my life. Lesson learned.
And not that this is a secret, but I really do require a lot of time to myself.
I don’t need to be going and doing things all the time. I love my work and it’s very fulfilling. Finding little ways to get out of the house (simply beach walks with the dogs, pool time, or running errands) is plenty.
I’ll do the touristy stuff when I have visitors.
I’ve always known what fuels me, but now it feels non-negotiable.
Keeping negativity out of my life is much easier (I haven’t watched the news in probably 10+ years), but making sure to carve out time to ADD what fuels me has become a priority.
Meditation, rest, positive people, mentors, creativity, and listening/reading things that keep me in alignment is absolutely necessary for me.
Creating and setting boundaries is going to be an ongoing theme for 2022 as well. I’ve made massive progress in this area but it’s definitely a process, not an event.
This has probably been one of the most fun years I’ve had in business.
Once I made the decision to focus on email marketing and newsletters with my personal brand everything started flowing.
The most exciting thing I did was launch Email Insiders.
I decided I wanted to do this as a cohort-based training, sent a few emails, and filled 10 spots right away. It was a pilot program and everyone knew they were going to be creating this with me.
It was supposed to be 2 months, 2 calls a month, and one individual onboarding call per person.
It ended up being over 3 months, weekly calls, and I did more individual calls than I had planned. Not only did people get results and take action, but new relationships were created.
I then offered a second cohort in September and we’ll be winding that up in January (all 10 spots were filled in this cohort as well).
Now that I’ve run this twice I’ve gotten very clear on what people need.
I’m turning this into a longer program, supported by a foundational course, and it will be a higher price. Both groups of people who went through the first two cohorts will have lifetime access to the training and the calls (but the new students will have priority in terms of hot seats, questions, and any additional time I offer).
I’ll start opening this up in January and we’ll begin the new group at the beginning of March, which will allow me more time to get the onboarding calls completed before the training starts as well as the foundational course that will be available.
I am SUPER proud of my newsletter.
Even with moving, I didn’t miss a single week! I’ve now published 58 issues of the newsletter! I also started a ‘newsletter mastermind’ with 4 other women and it’s been invaluable.
Each did a strategy session with me where they decided to launch a newsletter, so then I figured why don’t we hold one another accountable? I reached out, asked if they wanted to be in a mastermind and many months later we’re still meeting twice monthly (and the goal is an in-person meeting in 2022).
It’s morphed a little from a newsletter focus to a more general business focus, but it works.
It’s a true mastermind (there’s no cost associated with it) in that we support and challenge one another along the way.
I’ve said it before but who you choose to surround yourself with is vitally important to the success of your business and your mental well-being.
I haven’t been as consistent as I’d like in terms of newsletter promotion, so that will be a priority for 2022 as well. In order to achieve what I want it’s time to start hiring a few key people again.
I’ve been using a graphic design company for social graphics, have handed off the podcast editing to my daughter again (hallelujah), and will definitely be needing a VA sometime in the first quarter.
While I’ve rebranded the podcast (it’s now officially “FtheHUSTLE with Kim Doyal), I haven’t necessarily done a launch around the rebrand, which I’m going to do at some point in January (I’m thinking a giveaway of some sort).
Moving to Costa Rica has solidified my desire to #FtheHUSTLE, live my life on my own terms, and be easy about it all. I’ve done the hustle and grind, and have worked hard all of my life.
I’m all about doing good work and being deliberate about it, but I’ll do it in whichever way serves me most. Which is to be easy about it and trust the process.
The more pressure I put on myself the more resistance I create.
What’s fascinating about all of this is that it has allowed me to go deeper with what I do. Focusing on mastery, understanding the nuances of marketing, writing for the web, and the type of work I truly love doing has been a game-changer.
All that being said, I need to up my game for repurposing my content. I’m currently creating processes for all of this so I can hand this off to someone by the end of the first quarter.
I have plenty of tools that automate some of this but it’s time to step it up.
I’m also going to start adding some video podcasts… most will probably be interviews (it just feels weird to record myself talking alone on camera for over 45 min… but we’ll see. Can’t hurt to try and then maybe repurpose clips).
O.K., this is just nuts.
I had one of my friends in my mastermind group ask me where everything was that I had already created?!
I think because of the change in direction (to email & newsletters), I was thinking I needed to start over.
I made a list of everything I’ve created and with the exception of a few things, most are evergreen and just as valuable today. My problem is that I want to rebrand them to match the site (which is also on the list of things to finish. Updating pages, images, meta info., etc.).
After I get my new lead magnet out (Easy Email Marketing), I’m going to make sure I have automations in place to upsell and segment subscribers. Making sure people get the right message for where they are in the customer journey is key.
At this time I don’t see myself having a “flagship” course outside of Email Insiders (which is coaching with me as well), but everything else will feed into that.
I also know myself well enough that some of this may change/alter, but I’d rather focus on selling more of what I have instead of constantly reinventing the wheel.
Speaking of selling…
I’m also determined to launch an e-commerce brand that isn’t connected to me personally.
As much as I love creating content and writing, entering a B2C e-commerce space has interested me for a long time because it won’t require my name, face, or personality.
More on that when that happens.
Content Creators Planner
Life has been challenging for both of us in the last couple of years, so getting a second version of the planner out has been delayed.
We also realized that as contrary as it sounds, creating tons of content for that brand isn’t sustainable for the two of us. If we had someone to manage the content and social media it might be different.
The last ad agency we worked with really didn’t know what they were doing when it comes to the internet marketing space. It cost us a lot of time and money (fortunately, our account rep was great and also very skilled with SEO so he helped us optimize quite a bit).
We’ll regroup in January sometime to figure out the direction of the planner.
A second version is on the horizon and possibly a move towards digital-only… we’ll see, we both love our pen & paper.
Stay tuned for updates on that later in January.
This past year has brought a lot of clarity for me.
Both personally and professionally.
I’m very clear on how I want to spend my time, who I want in my life, and the type of work I enjoy doing.
My health continues to improve in Costa Rica and I’m feeling good.
Hopefully, even with the different variants that come about, I’ll be able to connect with more people in person whether it’s a small event or just trips with friends.
Here’s to a wonderful 2022, whatever that looks like for you!