2022 has been a different year for me. I’m adjusting to both business slowing down a bit, while also growing in my business in a few different ways. I sat down this afternoon to do a some business reflections about the past twelve months and there’s so much to be grateful for. I launched the Talk Copy to Me podcast in January, onboarded some temporary contractors to help me grow my business, and I did this all while I homeschooling my youngest child without any childcare.
My journey as a business owner and work-from-home mom deserves a post of its own (note to self 📝), but to help you understand — the entire time I’ve owned my business (over six years now!), I’ve had children at home with me full time. No daycare. No nanny. And only a bit of babysitting help when my schedule got really wonky right in the last moment…and that was probably less than a dozen times.
I’m sharing this detail because I’m about to tell you a some of the biggest lessons I learned in 2022 — and many of those lessons were struggles of some sorts. I’ve spent too long beating myself up when I didn’t hit certain goals or things weren’t as perfect as I expected them to be. But I often don’t factor in my bandwidth or life circumstances when I do things like sit down to write my business reflections.
Don’t worry—I’m not only going to share the big lessons of the year. In my 2022 business reflections, I’m also going to share some of the highlights that happened throughout the year to practice celebrating my wins. Boasting is not something I’m completely comfortable with, but I’m trying to work harder at celebrating both the little and big things that I accomplish.
5 Business reflections on what I’m celebrating in 2022
Well, I certainly wish I had taken better notes on both the little and big moments that happened throughout the year. I’m going to have to put that on my to-do list to prep for next year’s business reflections post. For 2022, I’ll just have to put on my thinking cap and keep my fingers crossed that these highlights are the best of the best.
🎧 Starting the Talk Copy to Me podcast 🎧
I love my podcast. You know how I just said that it doesn’t feel natural for me to share my wins? Well, that goes for everything other than the podcast. I’m so proud of this show—and myself—for so many reasons.
First, I’m so glad I finally jumped in and launched a podcast. Starting either a podcast or a YouTube channel has been on my to-do list for years now (and when I say years, that is not an exaggeration!), but I never made the space to create content for my own business. For so many years, I was head down working on my clients’ businesses. And sure, as a service provider, client work is incredibly important when it comes to running a financially-fit business…but so is actually marketing your own business. And that is something I hadn’t been doing a good job at.
But it’s not just the launch that means so much to me. I’m also so proud of my consistency. As a person with ADHD, consistency isn’t necessarily my strong suit. So putting out episode after episode every single week has been such a blessing when it comes to proving to myself that I can be consistent when it comes to creating my own content. And while that’s more of a life lesson than business reflections, I feel like it’s important to share with you.
And finally, the content I created for the Talk Copy to Me podcast has been awesome. Period.
The guests I’ve had on the show have been incredible. I’m so proud of the research that went into my solo episodes. Honestly, I’m really just grateful for the show and how well it’s turned out. It’s definitely a huge undertaking, but it’s worth all the work that goes into it.
🤓 I was asked to teach SEO to a fellowship program at Yale University 🤓
I can officially put “Yale Professor” on my resume.
OK, for the record here, I’m totally joking. I wasn’t an official Yale University professor by any means, but I was invited to come to the school to teach a class on SEO to a summer fellowship program.
You may be wondering how I got this opportunity, right? I’d like to take a moment here to remind you why content creation and content repurposing is so powerful. Someone from Yale saw a Twitter post I had shared via my social media scheduler about an older SEO episode of the Talk Copy to Me podcast. I didn’t just post it. I didn’t even know it was on Twitter that day, because the post had just been relegated to send on some random day in the future. But to the point: that person clicked to listen to the episode and then went on over to their email and invited me to speak to their fellowship program.
And of course I said yes.
I’m a really confident and comfortable speaker, but I won’t lie and say that I wasn’t nervous to drive down I-95, arrive at the Yale campus, and present the content to a bunch of super smart humans. Because I was. Thankfully, everything went swimmingly. The presentation was awesome. The students asked incredible questions, and best of all, I was able to eat dinner afterward with one of my MFA mentors, Lary Bloom, as well as my “little sister” from the MFA program, who are both so near and dear to me.
👀 I put a lot more effort into being visible this year 👀
Back on the theme of treating my business like a client—this year I pitched myself and volunteered for opportunities that made me more visible. I won’t spend a lot of time here, but here are some of the things I’m celebrating in regards to visibility:
- I was a guest on 23 podcasts, some of which you can listen to here
- I participated in 8 bundles
- I presented at 3 summits
- I spoke at FUMFA Poets & Writers Live about running a literary journal
- I did 4 trainings for brands I really admire: Dubsado (watch it here), Interact, Rising Tide Society (RI chapter) and Copyhackers for their 10xFC program
- I was a guest lecturer at Clark University 2 times, speaking to a total of 4 creative writing classes
- (and my Yale experience. Have I mentioned Yale to you yet?)
I really didn’t know those numbers until I just wrote this list. That’s 42 completely different visibility experiences in just 12 little months. I’m impressed. Think I can beat that number in 2023? I’m going to try!
🥳 I launched a few of my own things 🥳
Prior to 2022, I created quite many different things that never saw the light of day. In fact, even now, I have a folder in my Google Drive that contains a few courses and lead magnets that I’ll work on in 2023.
This year I created quite a few trainings from scratch for those events listed above. But there are two things I’m especially proud to have launched this year: The Testimonial Toolbox and SEO for Copywriters and Content Creators.
The Testimonial Toolbox was such a joy to bring into the world. I had some mild testimonial content I had created for my own clients before launching it, but I hadn’t really done anything with it until the spring of 2022 when I decided to use my good ol’ course-curriculum creating skills to develop it into a full-blown, yet easy to digest course. As of right now, I’m just shy of 1,500 students in the program, and I’ll likely do some updates thanks to my student’s excellent feedback in the spring of this year.
Want to dip your toe in to learn more before buying the course? Check out this freebie about the four types of testimonials and how to use them in your business. (Hint: there may be a few discounts offered to you as you sign up!)
I also developed a long-term SEO program for copywriters and other types of content creators temporarily called—get this—SEO School for Copywriters and Content Creators. I soft launched the program in November with the advanced warning that I would never run the program in this format again. It’s a nine-month program that is mostly focused on SEO strategy. Anyone can teach SEO best practices, but I was seeing so many of my peers struggling with how to know what choices to make with SEO, and that is exactly why this course was created. It starts this month, so I’ll be sure to take notes so I can review it in the 2023 business reflections post.
📚 Spry Literary Journal published two issues this year 📚
Something you may not know about me is that, in addition to being a full time business owner and conversion copywriter, I also co-founded and publish an online literary journal.
Almost ten years ago, when my colleague Linsey Jayne and I first conceived the idea to create an independent, online literary journal, we definitely didn’t think it would evolve, change, and grow in the ways it has over the past decade of publishing.
We now have 14 full issues under our belts, 6 mini issues, events, and even awards! We’ve published over 400 experienced and new writers (and artists!), and we’ve received thousands of submissions for each issue.
This little passion project of mine brings me such joy, and I hope you’ll take a moment to view the writing and artwork at Spry Literary Journal so it can bring you joy as well.
To continue my business reflections, here’s 6 key lessons I learned in 2022
👉 I need help — like, other people’s hands in my business. 👈
I mentioned earlier that one of my lessons this year was that I needed to treat my business like a client. To add to that, the lesson that I couldn’t do it all alone repeated itself over and over again this year.
I celebrated my sixth business anniversary in August, and almost that entire time I’ve been a one-woman show. Now, for true business reflections, I should stop here to celebrate how awesome it is that I have been able to run a business alone and for so long. But goodness gracious, folks. It has not, in any way, been easy.
This year I onboarded some contract help in the form of writing, admin, and editing teammates. Now, truthfully, the time we’ve spent together has been slim, so I can’t quite analyze how well it’s worked. But I can say, the small amount of work these contractors have helped me with has been business-altering—at least in the potential I see in bringing on more consistent help over the course of the next year.
👉 Onboarding staff takes a ton of time and effort 👈
Now, I worked in HR for 12 or 13 years, and I’m fully aware that it takes a lot of work to hire employees, but goodness gracious, it’s so different going through the process it for your own business.
When you try to bring people into your business, you learn about all the gaps you didn’t know your business had before. You’re forced to create systems, document SOPs, create training videos, provide guidance, learn how to trust in the process, and oh, so much more.
That all being said, I have to remind myself that once that bulk of the work is complete…well, it’s complete. Sure, all processes and systems need to be reviewed and updated over time, but the hard work of bringing on one contract team member will help for all the future people who join in on the fun with me.
👉 Remember to build in space for the unknown 👈
I always build in a lot of flex time within my projects because I know that life happens. I’d rather finish a project early than need more time to finish my work. But it seems like the last half of the year I was always playing catch up, and Q4 may have been the worst of all. It started with getting covid in July, and then the colds picked back up again in the fall after my kids restarted school.
From Halloween through now, someone in my house has been consistently sick, and December especially was filled with the most sickness on my part. To say I felt burned out from being behind would be an understatement. And worst of all, now, in early January, I’m still so sick.
I’m fortunate for understanding clients and that over the years I’ve built up a good system to survive times like this, but goodness, this has been physically and mentally exhausting. It’s also been a good reminder about the importance of always working hard to future-proof my business by building in buffer time and setting hard deadlines for all projects. Boundaries and systems are a blessing!
👉 Changing website hosts is a massive amount of work 👈
For the record, it’s okay to move away from tools and services that are no longer working for you.
I was with the same website host for over 12 years, but after a lot of issues that started in April and continued for weeks on end, I decided to move to a different host. I struggled with this decision a lot (eh hem, three full months), but ultimately, I knew it was better to put in the work to switch now than to keep trying to deal with issues as they arose.
I had maybe seven sites to move over and I planned to do it slowly and cautiously….but to be honest, I didn’t. I just kind of shoved everything over on the new host — and even worse, I completely redid my entire main business website from scratch.
The good news is—it’s done. I survived, and I’m darn proud of my work.
👉 Writing your own web copy is extremely difficult 👈
Y’all writing for yourself is the worst. (Which is why hiring a pro is such a good idea).
When I moved hosts this year, I didn’t bring a lick of data for this site over from my old host. I didn’t want any bugs in the code to affect how the site performed on my new host, so I recreated this website from the ground up. Yes, that means 100% new design and about 60% new website copy too.
I struggled with a lot of perfectionism mindset “stuff” when I worked on my own website copy updates, and it really brought up a lot of empathy for my clients who come to the process of rebranding their website with anxiety. It feels frustrating to know your brand so well in your head, but struggle to get that vision and message out onto the page.
Again: reminder why it’s such a good idea to hire a website copywriter to do this for you.
Sure, I’m thrilled with the outcome, but I’m even more thrilled I won’t need to rewrite any copy for (hopefully) a few years.
👉 SEO is Everything 👈
Alright, did you really expect me to say anything different in this business reflection? But truly, I saw some wild and huge SEO wins this year for myself and for my clients.
A few of my clients were able to see fast growth in 2022. One client learned some pretty interesting insight about her clients, and she took that data to her launch copywriter to adjust their launch sales emails and strategy and the changes were massively successful. We don’t have the precise numbers, but I’ll be back in a couple of weeks to share more about this awesome launch once all the figures are available.
Oh, and for my SEO wins? Well, when you change website hosts, there is a potential for a big SEO drop off, and I’m so pleased to say that I didn’t quite take a hit.
As you just read, I didn’t switch over the sites as strategically as I could have, so there was definitely an opportunity to tank some SEO scores. I’m especially proud that some keywords I previously ranked in the top 3 spots for came back quite quickly (after dropping off with the change), and I’ve even earned new rankings. I’ve barely put in any SEO effort into my own site in 2022 as I’ve been focusing on client work, but I’m absolutely upping my SEO game next year and I’ll keep you updated on how it goes.
Now that we’ve worked through my 2022 business reflections, here are 3 things I plan on accomplishing in the beginning of 2023
🤩 Continue on with the podcast 🤩
I’m so proud of everything I’ve built for Talk Copy To Me. The guests have been awesome. There’s not one episode I don’t love, and there is so much incredible content already scheduled for the first few months of 2023. I honestly just want to continue creating great content for the show, and hopefully getting the episodes into the ears of new listeners consistently.
🤩 Develop SEO School for Copywriters and Content Creators 🤩
I soft launched my high-level SEO program in November, and we begin for real this month. Since it’s a long-term program—nine months together so I can teach them about developing SEO strategies, creating SEO-rich content, analyzing all SEO efforts, and then improving on what we learned from that SEO analysis—I’ll be working on it throughout all of 2023. I’m really excited about the content I’ll be presenting, the copywriters I’ll be teaching, and the SEO results that will come from their hard work.
🤩 Put in some SEO effort into my own website 🤩
No more cobbler’s kids syndrome here, friend. I’m going to spend quite a bit of time working on my own SEO throughout the year.
I have an entire content strategy planned out, and I know exactly what I want to create. I just need to do the work and get it all written and published. Anyone want to help cheer me on with this? I thrive on public accountability, so feel free to check in and give me a nudge if you don’t see me sharing new content frequently.
AND THAT IS IT! My annual business reflections for 2022 are complete. See you at the end of 2023, friend!