2017: In Review

My fourth year of freelancing just wrapped up, and it’s time to look back on everything that happened in 2017.
 
I do these reflection posts each year, so you can read recaps from 2015 or 2016 if you’re interested.
 
Here’s what this year was like.
 
New Things, Big Projects
 
This year, one of my biggest projects was working with Paul Jarvis to re-vamp the Creative Class, a course on the business side of freelancing.
 
I took the course myself back in 2014, so when he sent out an email this spring asking for feedback on how he could improve the course in V2, I responded with a few ideas I had. He ended up bringing me on as a co-teacher/editor/partner, and over the summer, we re-built it from the ground up.
 
We also created and co-hosted a brand new podcast and are getting ready to host our first live, interactive productivity workshop in January.
 
I worked with a few fantastic writers this year who participated in my one-on-one coaching program—I’m so proud of the progress they’ve made and am constantly blown away with the work they’re doing.
 
Aside from this, I continued to write a boatload of blog content for a pretty regular group of clients in the SaaS and eCommerce worlds—brands like Campaign Monitor, GetFeedback, and SnapApp (to name a few). My annual revenue was down about $16,000 total from last year, but I’m happy with the decision I made to take on less work and enjoy a bit more freedom and flexibility this past year (more on that later).
 
When I wasn’t writing, teaching, or coaching, I popped up in a few new places:

And in September, I had the opportunity to write a bit about my experience as a female working in the freelancer/tech space over on the Jennifer blog. Paul and I also discussed this topic in depth on the podcast, and I hope to continue these conversations into 2018.

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I’ve stuck to sending out my newsletter 2x per month (as promised!) and plan on continuing that into the year ahead as well. I can’t believe this is year three of it already. 😮
 
Hobbies
 
Spanish/Guitar Lessons: Early in 2017, I was regularly taking both Spanish and guitar lessons—something to keep me from having idle hands during winter months. I didn’t end up sticking with either, though—and it pains me a bit to admit that. As soon as it started to get warmer, I fell off with both. I guess a little practice is better than none…
 
Reading: I read a ton of great books this year. Some of my favorites were:

Goat Yoga: I took a goat yoga class a few months ago where little goats and sheep hang out around you while you do stretches as a group. The animals were very cute and I think I enjoyed feeding/petting them more than the actual class itself.
 
Culture: In Paris, we went to the Louve (which was very crowded and overwhelming, but still lovely). In Cadaques, Spain, we visited Dali’s house and museum—which was incredible. Highly recommend visiting it if you’re ever in the area of Barcelona. The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City also took me by surprise—it was excellent and is in my top five for favorite museums I’ve visited.
 
Work Travel, Life Travel

I traveled to two conferences this year: An IRCE pre-conference gathering hosted by BigCommerce in Chicago, and Content Jam (also in Chicago.) I’ve mentioned before that conferences are not really my jam, but the city is only a few hours away by train—so I went and checked these two out.
 
Brandon and I also did some recreational traveling throughout the year, with our biggest trip taking us to Paris and Barcelona in May—more on that trip here.

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Other trips included:

  • San Diego, CA
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Louisville, KY
  • St. Louis, MO
  • Kansas City, MO
  • Denver/Silverthorne/Colorado Springs, CO

In February, Brandon and I went out to California for a work conference he had in San Diego. We extended that trip a bit with a long weekend in LA where we met up with his brother, Josh.

Our time there was FUN: We made it to both Largo and UCB comedy clubs, ate incredible Korean food, visited a dog beach (!!!), had tasty lobster rolls, stayed at the Ace Hotel, visited The Getty—and those are just a few of the highlights.

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Later in 2017, my brother, Brandon, and I drove out to Colorado. I had never been there before and was blown away with how beautiful it was.

A memorable moment was in Silverthorne when we drove up into the mountains where there was a stream running alongside the road. We stopped and parked by the pine trees for a while, enjoying the fresh air and the sound of the water. It. Was. Bliss.

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Goals for the Year Ahead
 
I always struggle with this part. What do I want to accomplish in 2018? To be completely honest, I’m not quite sure yet.
 
I do know I want:
 
More Skype chats.

I made this a priority every month in 2017, and I got one-on-one time with lots of fellow writers that I now talk to on a regular basis. Plus, it helps keep me from getting too lonely and it’s nice to have a network of people I can refer work to as well.

More in-person meet-ups. 

I have a bad habit of staying in my hermit hole, but I always like it when I get out and meet up with people. This year I had coffee with my semi-local writer friend Courtney a few times, and a friend and I are meeting up in St. Louis in a few weeks for a mini-workcation.

More work-life balance.

This year I finally got to enjoy some of the perks of freelancing and gave myself permission to take a day off for things like hiking in the summer and the occasional mid-afternoon movie. I said no to a lot of opportunities, but in exchange, I wasn’t constantly worried about my to-do list. It was pretty great.
 
The rest is still kind of ??? for me. And I’m okay with that. This openness leaves room for new ideas and opportunities that pop up along the way.
 
Thanks for reading—I hope 2018 is your best year yet!