2018 Year in Review
It’s been a while, friends! I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that you’ve managed to stick around during my absence. 2018 was a great year, but it was also a tough one for me for a variety of reasons. The last few months really hit me very hard and I just needed a break. If you’re a member of my email list, then you know at least a little bit of my story.
If you’re not a member of my email list (which, you totally should be :D), then you may not know that earlier this year, I had some MAJOR hand issues. I had to see a doctor and wear a brace for 6 weeks during my busy season. It was certainly NOT ideal, and it really hit me hard. It was the first time I had to rethink my business. After only 3 short years, it has already taken a toll on my body. What would I do if I wasn’t able to edit anymore? The answer: I have no idea. I love this job, and I never considered what my life would look like if I had to give it up. Unfortunately, we didn’t get my hand issues resolved, and I can only try to prevent further damage and pray that it doesn’t get worse.
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
Busy season this past fall hit me harder than normal. I was both physically and mentally exhausted. For a short while, I lost sight of my purpose in this industry. I constantly questioned my goals and the impact that I have on those around me. It’s a horrible feeling to wake up everyday and question if all of the work you’re doing is helping anyone. I love what I do, but there are days when it is extra hard.
So I managed to pull myself out of the funk I was in and now I’m feeling more like myself. However, with the idea that this may be the year that we start a family, I’ve had to really start thinking about ways to work smarter and not harder. So far, I’m not sure what this looks like for my business. As of right now, I know I will be taking fewer weddings so I can focus on other areas that I’ve been neglecting this year. Other ideas included outsourcing work in other areas of my business, but I’m not completely sure about this yet. I’d *love* to be able to outsource blogging for now — is that a thing? What are some of the areas of your business that you outsource? Let me know in the comments below because I’d love to get some ideas!
A Year to be Thankful For
Despite this year being one of the hardest I’ve faced since quitting my 9-5 almost four years ago, I am still incredibly thankful. I’m thankful for my amazing clients who support me and constantly remind me that I’m making a difference in their lives. Some days, those reminders are needed more than they realize. I am also incredibly thankful for my sweet husband. He never allows me to give up on this dream of mine, even on the hardest days. I am thankful that this job gives me a steady income and helps to put food on the table and put a roof over my head. Finally, I’m thankful for my mastermind ladies (Sara, Michelle, and Lindsey). I seriously couldn’t have survived this year without these amazing ladies cheering me on! This was definitely a year to be celebrated!
If you read my 2017 Year in Review post from last December, you’ll know that I had a few goals that I really wanted to check off my list in 2018. To summarize the year, here is a list of goals I set for myself that I was able to check off:
√Launch My Coaching and Mentoring Programs– Check!
I wanted to launch my coaching and mentoring programs this year and I did. If I’m being honest, I was really afraid that nobody would sign up to work with me. But that wasn’t the case! I had 5 *amazing* ladies from around the world sign up to work with me this year and I was honored to work with each and every one of them.
√Work on and grow my email list – Check!
For a good portion of the year, I was really good at getting consistent emails out to my list. I found my stride and I loved delivering content to my list each week. However, I will admit I slacked off a bit once busy season kicked in. Still – I count this as a small win because I was able to do this most of the year and grow my list!
√Attend a Conference – Check!
I attended the Making Things Happen conference in March this year. It was my first conference in 3 years and I was really excited to go. Even though I had a bit of a disappointing experience, I’m glad I was able to attend (read the recap of my experience here).
Let’s Talk Stats:
I launched my new shop and mentoring/coaching sessions, and I have been blown away from the response! Not only was it a successful year for my business (140,008 images edited?! That’s insane!), but it was an amazing year for us personally as well! Zach and I finished paying off all of our loans (not including our mortgage), so we are officially DEBT FREE!
You can’t do a “Year in Review” post without sharing your Best of 9 Instagram posts! 2018’s top posts actually surprise me a bit. Although I admit, it makes my heart SO happy that our “Debt Free Scream” post was the #1 post of the year <3 We worked so hard to pay off our debt, and the amount of support you gave us about that was amazing!
Okay, so I debated talking about this because I don’t want it to bog down the post, but I think it’s really important to reflect on some of the things that didn’t work this past year. How can we learn if we just ignore our failures? Here are some things that didn’t work this year, but I still want to revisit them again in the future:
•The Photo Editor’s Retreat
One thing that fell through this year was the retreat I had planned for private photo editors. There was a TON of interest, but after announcing the dates, there weren’t many editors who wanted to invest in it. I think it would have been amazing, and I would still love to do something like that one day. For now, I’ll have to keep it tucked away until the editing community is a little bit bigger.
I joined an associates program that required I make a certain amount of qualifying sales to continue being a part of it. Unfortunately, I didn’t make enough sales to stay in the program, which is disappointing. Honestly, I’m not the best sales person, but I really want to focus my efforts this year on learning how to effectively communicate why people should invest in certain things (like a retreat, haha).
Zach and I decided to do something different for New Year’s this year. We went to a dinner party at an adorable bed & breakfast in Clarksville, VA that went from 9 pm until midnight. While we sat at dinner reflecting on the year, I asked him if he had any goals for 2019. When he asked me the same question, I admitted that I didn’t feel like I had very many goals for this year. “My brain is fried, I can’t think of a single business-related goal…” I said. I felt like crying. “You have goals, you just don’t realize they’re goals!” he said. He listed off tons of things he knew I wanted to achieve this year in my business, and it was just what I needed. I felt that spark re-igniting in my heart once again! So here are some of my big goals for 2019:
•Record More Tutorials
Something I really wanted to do this year but didn’t have enough time to do is record videos and tutorials. I really want to get back to my retouching roots and do more education on it, but I found myself too busy to sit down and do it. This is the year! I already have a few on my YouTube channel, but I want to get at least 5 more up there by the end of this year. I would love to get more, but I think 5 is definitely an achievable goal!
•Launch a Course
I have had dreams to launch a marketing course (specifically for photo editors) for a while now, and my goal is to FINALLY do it this year.
•Blog More Consistently
I love to blog, but this year it overwhelmed me for the second half of the year. One of my goals is to get back to blogging more consistently throughout ALL of 2019 — not just during the off-season.
•Send out More Consistent Emails to my List
I did a better job of sending out emails to my list this year, but I know I can do better. Running this business solo has been quite a challenge as I’ve grown over the past few years, and email has been one of my biggest challenges. This is the year I finally tackle it!
•Shoot More Styled Stock Images
Playing around with styled stock images is something I really enjoy. I had hoped to be able to shoot more styled stock images this year, but I barely had any time to play around with it. This year, I want to make more time and try to do at least one styled shoot every 3 months. That feels really ambitious right now, but hopefully I’ll stick to it since I’m writing about it here!
Whew…that’s a lot of goals! I hope that since I’m taking on fewer weddings this year that I’ll be able to accomplish more of these things. Mastermind ladies — I’m counting on YOU to help me get through this year — it is going to be interesting!
Happy New Year!
So that’s it, friends! 2019 has officially begun, and I am so excited to see what this year will bring. I’m taking the next couple of weeks for new client interviews, catching up on a few new catalogs, and doing some brainstorming sessions to prepare for this year. Here’s to a new year!