2018 Year in Review Carnival Ride

2018 Year In Review

Before we get too far into 2019, I want to take a moment to reflect on the wild ride that was 2018.

This is my first year in review post and I wasn’t sure how to structure it. I’m part of a book club that just read Atomic Habits, so I thought I might follow the author’s annual review approach. He asks:

  • What went well?
  • What didn’t go so well?
  • What am I working towards? (Or starting in 2017, he asks, What did I learn?)

As I started to write, I realized I couldn’t categorize each aspect of my year in such a black and white manner (this is progress for me!). Things that went well also had parts that didn’t go as well as I would have liked.

So, I’m just going to wing it.

Business

It was my first full year in business and overall I’m really happy with how the year progressed. In January 2018, I formed an LLC and secured business insurance. My goal for 2019 is to put some thought into a business name.

Later in the year, I worked on automating my processes by:

  • Setting up a handful of email responses for questions I’m asked frequently
  • Allowing clients to pay for care plans online
  • Configuring my website with Calendly so that potential clients can schedule a call with me
  • Connecting Zapier to a new Trello board specifically to follow up with incoming leads
  • Creating a reusable proposal and contract template that fits my business model

My goal for 2019 is to further automate systems and processes where possible and to create an emergency plan.

I reached my goal of writing two blog posts per month (starting in April; previously it was one post per month). I also hit my goal of writing one newsletter per month (you can sign up here). Starting in October, I put more focus on consistent social media scheduling and posting. My goal for 2019 is to continue with all of this!

I had professional photos taken, a professional logo created, redid my website in September and created a YouTube channel. My goal for 2019 is to get new business cards, optimize my website further and continue making valuable YouTube videos to supplement my blog posts.

Separating business time from personal time can be difficult, especially when you work from home, but I think I did okay here. My goals for 2019 include time blocking, turning off notifications, getting up once in awhile and going outside (none of which I did really well with).

Work

I worked with so many amazing clients on a variety of projects:

  • New clients with brand new websites
  • New and existing clients with changes/updates to existing websites
  • New and existing clients who needed ongoing care
  • Agency work where I’m a web partner
  • Overflow work for other developers
  • Plugin work for other developers

The highlights were:

  • MedNasc – I was really excited to launch this site and do some custom work to integrate the MedNasc website with another third-party system
  • Scott DeLuzio – I worked on adding flexible reporting to WP CRM System
  • BOOM – I love partnering with BOOM to handle all of their web needs

Finances

In the middle of 2018, I read Profit First and started to implement the author’s four account approach – owner pay, taxes, expenses and profit. My goal for 2019 is to continue to use this system.

I opened a SEP IRA as well as an HSA for my high-deductible health insurance plan. My goal for 2019 is to set up automatic monthly contributions to each of these accounts.

Community

For most of 2018, I helped to coordinate the Pittsburgh WordPress meetup group. This was a lot of fun! I enjoyed finding speakers, securing spaces and welcoming new members to the group. We had a developer breakfast, a talk on Google Analytics, a talk on performance and speed optimization, a pre-WordCamp meet + greet, a two-part series on creating paying clients and a very popular talk about the new block editor. My goal for 2019 is to continue planning interesting meetups for the group, focus on diversity when selecting speakers and to speak myself!

I attended two WordCamps — Minneapolis and Pittsburgh. I met some amazing people at WordCamp Minneapolis (Jenni Lathrop, Joe Casabona and Scott DeLuzio). I was a co-organizer of WordCamp Pittsburgh, helping with the social media and planning. My goal for 2019 is to attend three WordCamps (including WordCamp US) and to apply to speak at one.

I participated in an amazing Slack group and can’t say enough good things about the group. Everyone there is so helpful and kind and I love talking to people who are in the same boat as I am. My goal for 2019 is to stay active in this group and to continue to connect with other members.

Another invaluable group I participated in was a virtual mastermind. I got so much benefit from talking to this group regularly – hearing their successes and struggles and being able to share mine. My goal for 2019 is to continue participating in this mastermind as long as I can and to find another when this one ends.

I also wrote a guest post on productivity, participated in a YouTube video on implementing Gutenberg and was a guest on a podcast. My goal for 2019 is to be a guest on at least one podcast or video.

Learning

I completed two courses on lynda.com — Understanding Custom Plugins with PHP and WordPress Plugin Development. I also started the learning path Becoming a RESTful API Developer. My goal for 2019 is to continue learning about the technical aspects of WordPress by finishing the learning path, completing WordPress: REST API and WordPress REST API: Authentication and working through Zac Gordon’s JavaScript for WordPress bootcamp.

I attended six TechLadies webinars on taxes, writing emails, building a career roadmap, networking, promoting yourself authentically and prepping your GitHub repo. My goal for 2019 is to attend at least three webinars or in-person events that will help me further develop my skills and business.

I read over 25 books in 2018 including Badass Your Brand, Building a StoryBrand and The Slight Edge. (If you’re on Goodreads, let’s connect!) My goal for 2019 is to read just as many.

Goals

I love setting and achieving goals. I read the 12 Week Year after a recommendation from a few friends. There is a weekly standup channel in the Slack group where everyone shares their progress for the past week and plans for the week (and quarter) ahead.

I did the 12 week year three times in 2018. The first time was a total failure and I abandoned it after a few weeks. The second time was okay — I did finish. However, the third time was the best. I honed in on a plan along with an achievable amount of work. My goal for 2019 is to keep using the 12 week year system.

Just a sidebar that I loved Nathan Ingram’s talk at WordCamp Minneapolis about Taming the Whirlwind, Growing your Business Even when You’re Busy with Client Work. His approach is very similar to the 12 week year, but he asks you to focus on choosing goals (what you want to achieve) and tactics (specific actions you’ll take to achieve those goals) that will make the most impact on your business as quickly as possible. You’ll see progress, which will motivate you to keep going.

Personal

While the majority of this post is focused on my business, I don’t want to forget to mention the best parts of 2018 from a personal perspective.

In March, I was able to jump on a plane and be there for the birth of my nephew. It was so amazing to be able to spend a full week with my sister, her husband and their dog (love Bobby) during this time. I went back a few months later with my son and again a few months after that with my significant other.

I went camping, canoeing and roller skating with friends and family. I ran two 5Ks and achieved my longest streak (39 weeks) of exercising at least twice a week. I joined two gyms (who am I?). My goal for 2019 is to keep doing fun things with friends and family, keep going to the gym and this year, focus more on diet.

Lastly, my goal for 2019 is to get a new desk chair. I meant to do this last January, but kept putting it off.

Here’s to a productive 2019!

Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash.

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