2016: In Review

Greetings from year three of freelancing! Man, time flies.
 
I loved writing this year in review post last year, so I’m excited to do it again. It’s such a nice way to step out of the day-to-day operations and celebrate all that you’ve accomplished over the past 12 months.
 
So what was this year like?
 
Niche Livin’
 
This year, I feel like I really found my place within my niche (SaaS and eCommerce, that is.)
 
I continued to work with some amazing companies and started working with some lovely new clients like BigCommerce, AT&T, and GetFeedback.

Researching for content meant learning a lot this year, too. From eCommerce trends to tactics for driving customer retention, I feel like I earned my expert badge.
 
I also started writing in a few new places, which was fun and challenging:

  • SumoMe
  • Inc. Magazine (I did a three-month column here called ‘Copy Talk’)
  • Crazy Egg (This one's about to come out in January)

And, randomly...I helped Casey Neistat come up with a few vlog titles (using my headline writing knowledge.) That was fun.
 
Revenue-wise, I had another great year. I’m up 60% over last year’s billing, and invoiced more than 50% of what I made in total last year within the first three months of 2016. January through March was really busy. Maybe too busy, in fact. I had to take it down a notch the rest of the year.
 
My newsletter, A Cup of Copy, is now nearing 500 subscribers—and I’ve enjoyed writing about freelancing and copywriting twice a month here. I’ve also been able to test some email subject line tactics here with fascinating results. I love it when you guys respond to these. Makes my day!
 
Hobbies
 
This year, I wasn’t as deliberately outgoing as I was last year, as I had some health issues that kept me from being super active several times this year. However, I did a few things:
 
Yoga: Yoga has become an almost daily activity for me. When I’m not taking my weekly class, I’ve been using YogaGlo and YouTube videos to get in a good stretch and unwind session.
 
Reading: I read the most books I’ve ever read this year (I’ve lost count, but it’s more than 75.) Some of my favorites were Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels, David Foster Wallace’s Consider the Lobster, and Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
 
Culture: Explored The Getty, the St. Louis Art Museum, St. Louis Botanical Garden, Grant’s Farm, Allerton Park, Andrew Jackson's home "The Hermitage", Chicago's architectural water tour, The Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Library, the Henry Lay Sculpture Garden, and Barton Springs.
 
Spanish Lessons: I recently started taking conversational Spanish lessons with a teacher from Venezuela over Skype to help sharpen up my rusty language skills. I took six years of classes in school and use DuoLingo for practice, but it’s been quite a while since I’ve had to speak conversationally. My teacher, Veronica, and I chat for an hour each week about different articles and current events.

Work Travel, Life Travel
 
In September, I went to my first conference as a freelancer with my fellow writer Emma, and she and I worked together in Austin for a few days after the conference. It was so nice to get some face time with people I’d been working with for months, and Emma and I had several brainstorming sessions that I’m very excited about.

Brandon and I had more travels this year, with our longest trip being to California. While we were there, we visited San Diego, Santa Monica, LA, and…my favorite…Palm Springs.
 

I loved staying at the Ace Hotel. Thank God for their swimming pool. It was June, and temps were 100+ degrees in the dessert, but it was so beautiful and charming. I want to go back again!

Other trips included:

  • Louisville, KY
  • Nashville, TN
  • Chicago, IL
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Sanibel Island, FL
sanibel.jpeg

Sanibel Island/Captiva is one of my most favorite places. This was our third trip there (Brandon had a work conference) and so we spent a few days escaping the Midwestern winter defrosting there. I had my first experience with stand-up paddle boarding (fun!), and we rode bikes ate tasty bagel sandwiches. This island feels like its own little world.

I also recently spent a day working from a remote cabin about an hour from the home office. It was nice to get a change of scenery without having to travel very far. Would do again.

Goals for the Year Ahead
 
Looking forward to 2017, there are a few things I want to accomplish.
 
First, I’d love to do some mentoring/coaching with beginner freelance writers who need someone to help them find their path. I’ll be officially introducing my four-week, one-on-one coaching sessions in January. This will be extremely limited, as I only plan on working closely with one or two people at a time. More details to come, but feel free to email me if you want to be notified ASAP.
 
I’m also planning on meeting up in person with fellow freelancers next year, because face-to-face interaction is important to me—and it’s a great way to get inspired with new ideas. Emma and I are already working on this. Exciting!
 
Other goals:

  1. Release an eBook (or two)
  2. Reach a targeted income goal (which is actually not set as high as what I earned this year, because SANITY)
  3. Keep healthy habits, like drinking 64 oz. of water per day
  4. Take another international trip (maybe put those Spanish skills to work)

Right now, I’m really happy with where I’m at in my business. So happy, in fact, that I sometimes find it hard to strive for more than what I’ve got going right now. However, I know it’s always a good idea to challenge yourself and try new things…so I’ll be doing that, too.
 
Looking forward to 2017. Thanks for reading...and I hope this coming year is a good one for you, too!