At the beginning of 2018, I decided not to make New Year’s Resolutions or goals until I slowed down. I wanted to sit in Paris at a café and think about what I wanted for this next year. I wrote a few things down on paper and turned the page and didn’t really look back until just a few weeks ago.
It has been nonstop since that week in Paris. I never slowed down. When I slowed down even for an hour or two I found another way to make myself busy with another project. Some of it was my own doing and others were just work opportunities that popped up.
I remember when I was in Paris in April, I was so overwhelmed. That is when it hit me that I was in over my head yet I kept pushing myself. If you have been following me for a while, you might remember I had a terrible cough and laryngitis at this part of the year. I was dating a doctor while I had this cough back in Chicago and instead of encouraging me to rest, he was inviting me out to do activities. I wanted to give the relationship the effort it deserved and I put that before my health. It sounds even worse as I type this. The relationship didn’t work out for a lot of reasons.
In May, I had a friend get married which included me planning and cohosting a wedding shower, a bachelorette weekend, and a wedding all in the same month. My period has always been like clockwork and during this time, I was late. I stressed and panicked because I knew something wasn’t right. (I wasn’t pregnant if that is what you are thinking). My body was giving me all the signs that I was stressed and in over my head. I read the signals and stopped for a minute but then I just kept pushing myself.
In June, I participated in Wells Street Art Fair which was completely rained out and my tent was flooded for two days. It looked like an I Love Lucy episode in real life. Water was coming through the tent with holes everywhere. It was a disaster and a show that I rely on for a big chunk of my income was a complete wash. I took a last minute job opportunity at the end of the month to go to the South of France. It was one of the most spontaneous and adventurous things I have done. My article was never published from the project but I was still compensated. I am so grateful that I had the job flexibility to say yes and that I took the chance even though I had no idea what was on the other side.
The same week I was in South of France, I flew directly to Cleveland to reconnect with my 92 year old grandmother with my sister, mom, niece and nephew. My body was so confused on timing because of flight delays and jet lag. I ended up with one of the worst migraines I can remember. I felt sick most of the day and then suffered from a migraine hangover. We were in Cleveland for less than 48 hours so it was just one big mess. It was still worth it to see my grandma, sister, mom, and Emma all together in one room. I could have extended my trip in the south of France but this was more important.
August and September seem like one big blur. I made it to Florida for Bobby and Emma’s joint birthday celebration.
October I was back in Paris. It was the busiest I have ever seen the city. The weather was also the nicest I have ever experienced in the Fall. We didn’t have one rainy day and I could walk around without a coat for more than half of my trip. Once I was back from Paris, life just never stopped. My biggest regret of the year is not taking more time off. It is something I struggle with and will really have to focus on in 2019.
Once November hit, I was so overwhelmed. I was just pushing myself through to December 20th. It wasn’t healthy or smart. I am still shocked I didn’t get sick. Content on the blog suffered in December and stats that I spent all year building were not where I wanted them to be. I had my biggest show of the year at the Merchandise Mart, work obligations, The Print Shop, and the blog. I do everything on my own and nothing was planned ahead of time. I was just reacting instead of planning.
I feel incredibly grateful for my life. I know it isn’t normal to travel to Paris as often as I do. I want more than anything for the blog to be crazy successful. It is going to take time. It is still a baby in blog terms. I will be 3 years old in July! I play the comparison game to successful bloggers that I follow. I feel defeated in so many ways. My instagram following isn’t my main focus, the blog is where I put my time and energy. I am passed up for so many opportunities just because my follower count isn’t higher. It is something I have to surrender to and know that my strategy is more long term than short term.
The last week of 2018, I was scrolling through Instagram and Facebook and so many people said it was their “best year yet” I wouldn’t say 2018 was my worst year, but it wasn’t anywhere near my best year. It was a year of struggles, challenges, and rebuilding.
Here is a look into what I wrote down in my notebook at the start of 2018. I honestly believe that you can manifest what you want by writing what you want down and putting it into the universe.
1000 people in the EDP Community Facebook Page. Right now we have 600 and I know I can get it to 1000 by the end of 2019. I let this one slide towards the end of the year but I have plans to be more active in it in 2019. If you haven’t joined, this is a great place to connect with other Francophiles around the world. A lot of readers will ask for travel advice and other members will chime in with replies.
5000 people on my email list. I am about 800 people shy of this goal. I doubled my mailing list in 2018 and I can’t wait to watch it grow in 2019. If you want to join my weekly newsletter, you can sign up here!
I had a goal to double my revenue on the blog and I passed that goal by a significant amount. This was a big win of 2019.
At the end of 2017, I started The Print Shop. It was my first time building by business off of Etsy which I had depended on for so many years. This was so scary and a big challenge. I had a small goal because I didn’t know what to expect but I nearly matched my Etsy income in my first year!
Blog Growth in 2018. My page views were up 112% from 2017, Visits were up 68.5%, and Unique Visitors were up 155%!!
I did forget to mention one unexpected BONUS highlight from 2018. I met my French teacher Caroline at the local boulangerie in my neighborhood. I noticed her French accent and took a chance by asking if she was open to lessons. She has given me the confidence that I was missing to practice and speak French. She has also taught me through learning French that it is okay to make mistakes. A big fear of mine that was holding me back from a lot of things.
I didn’t meet every goal for the year but I had growth. My friend Meghann taught me that growth is the important part. No matter how small it is, it is a step in the right direction. I have to remind myself this as I look at my goals and growth for 2018. This year had more challenges than I ever wanted but I have learned a lot from my mistakes and I have grown stronger as a business and as a person.
So how was your 2018? Did you have more highs or lows? I didn’t plan on doing a year in review but I know it will be important to look back in a few years and see this written out. I also want to be able to share my struggles and lessons and hopefully it will help someone else along the way.
I haven’t decided my focus for 2019 just yet. I have some ideas. In 2018, I was all about mastering the art of sleep. It is still a work in progress.
In my personal life, I hope that 2019 is the year I finally find love. I have kissed enough frogs over the years that it is about time!