Over the holidays I took a much needed break away from my blog and business for a week or two, and spent some lovely time with family and friends. I also took some time to step back and take stock of the past year. Though you can reevaluate and set goals at any time, something about January 1st marks an exciting milestone. It’s always a day that I like to relax and go over where I’ve been and where I want to go.
When I was thinking about writing this post, I found my review post from last year – My 2015 Blogging Review & Goals for 2016. Finding this post was particularly exciting because I didn’t remember that I had written it, and now I have a record from exactly a year ago to compare myself against.
I really believe that everyone should write a post like this one at the end (or beginning) of every year. It makes it possible to track your progress and your goals and see how much you’ve grown. It’s mostly exciting to see that a year ago I was in the same mindset – setting goals for my life and business and excited about the year ahead. It’s especially inspiring to know that I was equally as passionate about what I do a year ago.
So, I’ve decided to write this post in the same format that I wrote my 2015 Review, with some minor improvements since I have grown since then. Now that I have a benchmark of 2015, I’ll also be able to compare my current status and see how I’ve grown, and where I can still improve.
Blogging is still a huge part of my life, just like it was last year. 2015 was a huge year in terms of blogging because that is when I started The White Corner Creative, but 2016 was a huge year of growth. I’ve been blogging for years now under various names and platforms, but my growth over the past year has been more substantial than all of the other years combined. What else happened in 2016?
- At the end of 2015 I reworked my branding with some minor colour changes. This year, I stuck with that branding and still love it. It’s exciting that I’ve created something that both my past self and present self love. Hopefully my future self with love it as well!
- In my 2015 post I was talking about a bunch of tools I’d just started using and love like Hootsuite and Crowdfire. I remember being super excited when I first discovered these tools, so it’s interesting that I don’t use them much anymore. In 2015 I was one of those super annoying people who used crowd fire to build my following on Twitter and Instagram. Though I never followed and unfollowed people (the most annoying tactic) I did copy followers from other popular people in my niche, and I unfollowed people that weren’t adding value to my feed. It was a great strategy that boosted my follower numbers, but eventually this year I decided it just didn’t feel authentic enough. Hootsuite is still a great platform that I use from time to time, but I have since found tools that I love more.
- This year I discovered Recurpost and fell in the love with the service. It’s fairly new, and allows you to enter content into a stream that automatically publishes to all your networks. It also allows you to add content to the stream automatically through RSS feeds. I use it to schedule all of my Twitter and Facebook content. I love it and honestly don’t know what I ever did without it.
- Another service I started using this year (and love) is Preview app. It’s a service that allows you to schedule your Instagram content. I struggle big time with Instagram. Though I love my feed and my images and designs are usually interesting enough, I struggle with posting regularly and often fall off the wagon a lot. This app has helped me step up my game and try to stick to a schedule.
- One last service that I just started using in the past few weeks is Tailwind. It’s a service that lets you schedule Pinterest pins ahead of time. Pinterest is my #1 source of traffic so I spend a lot of time trying to optimize it. Up until a few weeks ago I was using a spreadsheet to organize my pins, but Tailwind seems to be much easier and worth the investment. I’ve just scheduled all the pins of my premade logos for my upcoming shop launch, and can’t wait to start using it regularly.
- Last year I was posting new blog content three times a week, but this year I’ve moved down to blogging just once a week (if that) but my traffic doesn’t vary much. This is great because I usually try and batch write a few posts and then I don’t have to think about it for a while. I definitely miss weeks here and there, but for the most part it’s working well! Instead I’ve started focusing on reworking and reusing old posts and that means I can add new content less often.
- I also started a YouTube channel. I’ve always wanted to include videos in my posts but never got around to it. This year (in the past few months) I finally made some videos to clarify a few tutorials, and then made a channel to add them to. It’s growing slowly and I plan to make many more videos this year!
- I started using affiliate links this year and have made a decent income from them so far! I’ve also figured out how to add an easy affiliate disclaimer that I can just toggle on with the click of a button so I don’t have to copy and paste it into every post that requires it.
- In the past month or so I started dedicating real time to my newsletter. Before it was just an RSS feed of my latest post sent out once a month, but now I’m taking time to actually write content once a week and send it out to my readers. I’m being real and honest and I’ve gotten some great responses so far.
Last year’s post says that I was nervous to share my stats, and to be honest I still am. It’s scary putting yourself out there for people to see and judge, but atleast this year I have something to compare myself to and I can track my growth! The first number is last years 2015 standing, and the second is my current status! I’m excited about my growth so far and hope I can keep improving over the next year.
- Facebook – 427 // 528 Likes
- Instagram – 768 // 1252 Followers
- Twitter – 898 // 1045 Followers
- Pinterest – 675 // 5,775 Followers
- Newsletter – 235 // 1251 Subscribers
- Bloglovin – 55 // 102 Followers
- Blog – 5,063 // 13,958 Monthly Sessions
- Blog – 8,261 // 22,638 Monthly Pageviews
- Blog – 81% // 71.72% Bounce Rate
- Blog – 610 // 983 Comments
- YouTube – 10 Followers
My biggest areas of growth this year were definitely my newsletter and Pinterest. I’ve made progress on the other platforms, but this year I’d really like to focus on growing my Instagram and Twitter, and see what I can do with Facebook (though my hopes aren’t high).
- In the past few months I’ve changed my business model, and this was a big step for The White Corner Creative. Through WCC I’m no longer focusing on custom branding and web design, but instead am transitioning into a DIY design resource. I’ll be writing more applicable tutorials to help people achieve a beautiful design and blog on their own. You can read more about how we’re changing here.
- Business wise, I’m now working almost solely through the design agency of a friend of mine – Simply Elaborate. Looking at my 2015 review post I see that I mentioned Emilia there as well. I can’t believe we’ve been working together so long already! While before I was just doing contract work periodically for her, I’m now part of the team and am doing custom branding work exclusively for her. She loves clients and project management and I hate that and love design, so we’re a perfect fit. We’ve been working this way for a few months now and so far I’m loving it. It’s also great to be part of a business community and a team. I’m so excited for what 2017 is going to bring for us.
- Of course, the biggest accomplishment of 2016 is The White Corner Shop. Technically it’s launching January 9th, 2017, so it’s a next year accomplishment, but I’ve been working hard on it for the past few months so I’m going to take credit now. Who knows what kind of success I will find, but I’m excited about taking a chance and opening something like this. The income is more passive than custom branding work and I love that I can help entrepreneurs find a brand they love at a price they can afford.
- A big step I took this year was investing in things. I’ve always been frugal and tried to get by without paying for things when I can. This year I realized that investing is really worthwhile in certain areas, and I bought several things that I never would have before. I subscribed to Adobe Creative Cloud, Tailwind, BigStock, and even got myself some health benefits! I’ll also be paying for my yoga membership from now on, where as before I was working energy exchange and getting free yoga. Investing feels good!
- This year I also started using Pancake App. It’s a client management platform that I’m in love with. It has so many capabilities, but my favourite is how easy it is to track my time and to dos, and then create invoices from those. It has improved my workflow exponentially and my record keeping is now really well put together.
- This year (well Jan 1 2017 to be precise) I started charging tax. This was a huge step for me. It’s not a huge step in the scheme of businesses, but this is a milestone that I have been anticipating since I first started freelancing, and in the past few weeks it finally came time to do it. I waited until January first for record keeping purposes but I’m really excited to pass this milestone.
Goals for 2016
Looking back at the goals list I wrote in my 2015 review post, I feel like I accomplished a lot of what I wanted to. I grew my newsletter and Pinterest, opened a shop, and found a way to harness some passive income. I also built a workspace I love with a big screen (something I was dreaming of back then). I’m no longer afraid of investing in my business the way I was in 2015, and I’ve monetized my blog through affiliate income. Lastly I’ve establish a routine that really works for me, though right now (even a year later) I still feel like I’m in sort of a honeymoon phase of freelancing because it’s so great.
Last year I wrote that I want to get out and start networking more. I think this was because I just thought this was something that you had to do to grow. In the past year I’ve realized that you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do! There is no norm. I don’t like networking. Atleast not in the traditional events and handshakes sense that I was referencing last year. And now I know it’s okay that I don’t go out and do that. Instead what works for me is making connections over social media and then, when people are local, meeting up with those people one on one for coffee. I’ve made some great connections this year that way.
Now for looking forward. Here are the things that I’d like to accomplish in 2017. Hopefully this time next year I can look back and check most of these things off my list again!
- Build my Instagram following by commenting and interacting more.
- Build my Twitter following by interacting and doing more Twitter chats.
- Keep working on my newsletter content. Send it out regularly and provide value to my readers.
- Build more connections. I want to find more awesome local ladies online and then meet up with them in person.
- Sell 100 premade logos from my shop. (I hate making numerical goals because you either reach them or you don’t, but this is one I’d like to make!)
- Start getting dressed. I wear comfy clothes all day while working at home and it’s easy to get lazy, but I’d like to start actually getting up and ready every morning.
- Do more yoga! At least 3 times a week would be ideal.
- Read more. I want to read at least 26 books this year. Right now I’m reading Thrive by Arianna Huffington. Let me know if you have any recommendations!
- Make time for self care. Breath. Relax. Stop multitasking. Slow down.
- Purge. I have way too many clothes and just stuff I don’t use. I want to move towards minimalism and get rid of a lot of it.
- Open my planner shop. I’ve made a printable planner that I want to sell to the public, but I’ve been putting it off forever.
- Build a WordPress course. I want to take participants through everything. From setting up your business and site to making sales. I’ve been thinking of this for a long time but I’ve never taken action.
- I want to make more videos and freebies and content upgrades to add to my blog posts.
- I’d love to start a Twitter chat and a Facebook group. I love both communities and would love to lead them.
- I’d really love an iPad pro. That’s not really a goal, more so an investment I have to consider making, but it’s something I want to put thought into this year!
- I want to stick to a work schedule. Right now I just work all the time. I don’t really know what I do when I don’t have my computer in front of me. I’d like to stick to a daily work schedule and stop working at 5pm everyday and focus on other areas of my life.
- Lastly I want my business to grow. I’m so excited about my new working model with Simply Elaborate and I can’t wait to see where this year takes us. I’d love to keep growing my income and savings account, and be able to invest in something substantial soon.
And that’s that! Having last year’s post to look over while writing this has been such a pleasure. If you haven’t written out your yearly review and goals yet this year, go do it now! It doesn’t have to be public (though I would love to read it) but just somewhere where you can look back on it next year and appreciate and evaluate it!
I’m so grateful for all the amazing things that have come my way this year, and I couldn’t be more excited for the year ahead. I feel like it’s going to be a really amazing year, and I can’t wait to dive in! Happy New Year!