The new year is just starting out, and it’s the perfect time to look back at 2017 and remember both the lessons learned and the areas to improve during this year. I also wanted to share this to inspire you to do the same even if you keep it private.
What went well during 2017?
Finally stabilizing my finances. The year 2016 was an incredibly rough year for me that ended up costing me most of my savings and most of my high paying clients. In 2017, I worked like a madman to recover and stabilize my finances. I consumed every book about personal finances and learned everything I was doing wrong. Around August of 2017, my income was stable and predictable, and I was able to sleep a lot better.
Better and stronger client relationships. This is perhaps the reason why I was able to achieve the above goal. I decided to stop working on projects that I didn’t enjoy for industries that were driving me completely crazy and then started investing more time working with people who I feel they are more grounded and better able to collaborate with me on any project. And I think that was the key, it felt more like a collaboration rather than they hired me to do something. Also, I’m happy to call most of these clients my friends now, they inspire me to reach new heights and I love when we launch one of their new projects.
Relaunching my site. I first launched my website on 2015 and to be honest, the previous design was wonderful… For someone else. I never tried to keep the site updated or do anything with it. This year I decided to redesign it. It’s in no way perfect or the final version. I keep making changes to the styles and improving it bit by bit. But I have been thrilled with the result, and I’m incredibly happy to be writing again on my blog.
I developed a morning ritual. I think this was one of the biggest successes of last year. On my road to improving my quality of life, I decided that waking up early and trying to work like crazy was terrible for my health. I went ahead and revamped my mornings to avoid early work. Now I include exercise, meditation and healthy eating way before I touch my computer.
Back to investing in myself and my workflow. After 2016 I barely had any cash to spare on learning new technologies or improving my workflow. I’m grateful that after stabilizing my finances in August, I was able to start investing in myself again. Now I can spend more time working on my design and creating amazing websites while I automated a lot of processes that just take a ton of time out of my day.
Gaming time! By now you probably know I’m a total video game geek, they have been a huge part of my life. I also learn a lot of things about myself through them. Gaming has always been a way for me to processes the challenges of the day and a way to come up with new ideas. But since I focused on rebuilding my business for the first half of 2017, I pushed my hobby aside to work more hours. Now I’m happy to say that I have scheduled gaming sessions that help me reduce my stress.
What didn’t go well in 2017?
I was completely burnt out during the first half of the year. It turns out the desperation that I felt during late 2016 was still a shock during last year. During my recovery period, I committed to a ton of small projects and trying to manage so many at the same time took a huge toll on me. I learned my lesson, so that’s why I developed a new plan for 2018 (you will find it in a section below).
Lots of unexpected home improvements. The apartment where I live is quite old, and I used to live here some years ago. Once I returned here in October of 2016, I was pleased to be in a familiar environment. However in 2017 everything started failing, from electricity to running water and leaky faucets. I had to divert a ton of time making sure everything was working because trying to work without power is… hard.
Earthquakes, too many earthquakes! Just as I was recovering after August, September had in store a ton of earthquakes here in Mexico City. After a big shake on September 7th, the whole city was already on edge, but we didn’t know what was coming. On September 19th around 1:15 pm a massive earthquake hit Mexico. After what felt like the longest minute of my life, I was looking around at a lot of broken glass and open cabinets in my apartment. However, I could see the real devastation from my window. I saw huge dust clouds rising in the distance. Several buildings collapsed in the city, and whole towns were devastated. It was a sad view. I still feel that pain in my heart as I write this. Most of the affected buildings were around the part of the city I used to live during 2016, so it felt incredibly personal.
What surprised me about 2017?
The people! No, seriously. I’m known to be a bit of a hermit (after all I’m a huge introvert). But seeing how people in the streets tackled the earthquakes and gathered to help one another felt truly inspiring. Not only that but my clients and friends from other nations were glued to their Facebook accounts until I answered back. To all of you thank you, that warmed my heart in a big way during those difficult times.
Back pains are a thing of the past. After a rough wake up call of how I was losing mobility and range of motion, I decided to challenge myself with yoga, meditation and a bed of nails. After a few difficulties when starting out and laughing at myself nervously whenever Adriane did something that I found impossible, I can now say that I have an established Yoga and meditation practice. Also, on The Tim Ferris Show, I heard him recommending a bed of nails that you can get from Amazon that helped me with my back problems. If you are facing issues with your back, I highly recommend getting one.
I went back to pen and paper. Since almost all my clients use their favorite to-do list system ranging from Todoist, Asana or Trello, to more obscure ones like Habitica. Trying to keep up with tasks from all different projects quickly became a nightmare. That changed when I found the Bullet Journal System. I adopted a barebones structure of the idea proposed by Ryder, and now I’m pen and paper user. I can trust my journal has all my tasks and projects, and I know what I need to do every day. If you find apps and online planners lacking, check it out.
What’s ahead for 2018?
Focusing on building better websites and delighting my clients. Since I manage a significant amount of client websites now and I still want to create designs for new sites, I want to improve the workflow with my clients. My goal is to offer them a more holistic approach to all their online properties, so they have complete peace of mind knowing that their sites support their business goals.
Mastering Google Analytics. It’s no secret I’m a data nerd. I love graphics, understanding trends in values, and I love to have as much data as possible to make the right decision. That’s why this year I want to focus on learning Google Analytics. I know the dashboard looks intimidating, but once you start learning how to track things, the amount of valuable information there is astounding. That’s why I want to start offering this as a service for my retainer clients in 2018.
Teaching how to grow your business sustainably. After rebuilding my business, I have learned a ton of lessons that are valuable especially to people just starting out. The so-called “experts” usually want to push a lot of tools to newcomers, and they just glance over business concepts. I want to reverse that by giving new business owners the knowledge they need to create a business that sustains the way they want to live.
Grow my audience. Since I want to help as many people as possible, I need to grow my audience and strengthen my relationship with you. I want to offer more valuable lessons and insights. To achieve my objective, I need to learn even more about you and your goals. So expect me to write more in-depth articles and ask a lot of questions so you can help me better serve you. ?
Learn about social networks. As I said before, I’m a huge introvert. The 16 personalities test gave me a score of 92% introvert. As such, social networks are not exactly my cup of tea, but I do recognize their value to grow your audience especially in your early days. That’s why I want to find a way for me to use them without feeling like I’m trying to be an extrovert. I will, of course, publish the results of my experiments.
How am I framing 2018?
The whole idea is to choose one word to describe the tone for the year ahead, and that word is experimentation.
As you may have noticed from past articles, I know how perfectionism and procrastination can be crippling. That’s why this year I’m tackling them head-on by launching myself into new things. I want to publish my results and lessons learned on this blog as I learn new skills and try new mediums.
Now back to you. What are you planning for this year?
I invite you to complete this exercise, Review your last year’s lessons and frame the way you want to grow in 2018, even if you don’t publish it online it’s a great thing to tackle to get you in the right mindset for the year.
You will see that even with all the challenges, 2017 still had some fantastic lessons for you, and they make you who you are today.
Now let’s tackle next year and grow together!