When it came to writing a 2020 year in review post, I was originally disinclined. Sometimes when I see a trend, I’m opposed to following it, especially when it seems like everyone else is doing it. But this time, I thought, if they’re doing it, it must be for a good reason and I actually love this sort of stuff. And even right here, three and a half sentences in, I can see why this type of post can come in handy. It allows you to reflect, review, and reassess. Most importantly, for me personally anyways, it gives me reason to celebrate and really start out the next year on a positive note. Plus, I get to share my lessons from this year and hopefully you can benefit!
So let’s begin. I’m going to share my wins and will-dos for next year. Let’s start out with the wins, shall we?
Salted Pages, for the longest time, was a side hustle without a specific niche or name. After three years of freelancing, I decided to create an actual business — one that I would run full-time, advertise for and create a network with. I left my full-time job and did everything I could to finally make this official. I knew what my niche would be (copywriting & content marketing for creatives) and had at last come up with the business name. Yes, I already had clients, but had never given my entire energy to this work. Giving Salted Pages my all was one of the best decisions I made and has directly impacted the success of my business.
From a brand name, website (without Wix or WordPress attached to the url name) and business-specific social media pages, running this ‘hustle’ as an actual business has given me the space to run it well, and it has worked its magic in terms of gaining new clients and growing. I’m in love with what this business has become. I admire those who I’ve worked with and look forward to what will come in 2020. If you want to see your business grow, think of what could happen if you gave it your all and actually allowed it to become official.
I put myself out there, attending in-person networking events where I didn’t know a soul in the room. I showed my face on Instagram stories and had conversations with individuals who became friends. One of my favorite coincidences from the year was meeting someone from my new town in Texas through Instagram. Now we’re business besties. (hey Amanda Kolbye!) If you’re not sure where to start, check out your local chamber of commerce, Facebook groups, the Meetup app, and Young Professionals.
This photoshoot set me up with official images for basically the entire year, and I’m still not tired of looking at them. I’m almost dreading taking new photos because the bar was set so high with my first brand photoshoot! My very first week after leaving my office job, I had a photoshoot at Ultraviolet Studios with Ashley Thalman. I brought all of the props, outfits, did my own hair and makeup, and even brought my husband and dog along to be part of the shoot.
Ashley made me feel so comfortable and I’ve never looked more like myself in photos. She saw my vision and brought it to life, and she sees things that even I don’t notice — like what colors I prefer to wear and how I look when I’m thinking of certain things. The resulting images blew my mind. These images gave me crucial content for my website, social media and even client proposals! I plan on having at least one photoshoot every year, perhaps even every quarter! I’m a writer, which means my words are what I’m hired for, but the images capture attention and I’m so grateful I had Ashley take my photos. She’s in Ogden, Utah. If you’re nearby, check her out!
Before I moved from Utah to Texas, my old company’s women in business organization reached out to see if I or my connections could take headshots for their conference. I reached out to Ashley and the two of us sponsored headshots for the event. This meant taking professional headshots for over 50 women! This also resulted in my first printed ad (eek!) and getting to see old friends (also eek!).
I lucked out somehow and met Katie from The Kate Collective on Instagram and then Tatum from My Clear Site through a Dubsado Facebook thread. These two create beautiful websites and I get to write the website copy for their clients! It’s a total package deal, and not only benefits our clients, but allows us to work together to improve our services and values. Plus, it’s so nice having a sort of co-worker or business bestie to communicate with. Having work friends is something I definitely miss and these two have helped to fill that void.
I wrote a separate blog post all about how I use Dubsado to manage clients, send proposals and invoices, coordinate projects, and more. You can check it out here. Having an official CRM helped me step up my game and ultimately improved my client processes. My code, saltedpages, can save you 20%!
When I graduated with my bachelors degree, it only took a couple of months before I missed learning. My mind craved discovering new skills and challenging itself. This year, podcasts and reading have given me that opportunity, as well as space to be inspired. I got a library card, downloaded the Libby app, signed up for Audible, and actually made it a priority to learn. And honestly, it’s been relaxing! Reading and listening to podcasts gives me time to rest and be filled.
Boundaries are so important and I discovered specific ways I can create boundaries and clarity with clients, all by using my contracts and follow-up communications appropriately. Here’s the post with lifesaving clauses.
Last, but certainly not least, I had the pleasure of working with photographers, graphic designers, coaches and even a realtor, food blogger, and pilot! Helping my clients grow their businesses by improving their content is such a joy. To see their satisfaction when the blog is written or the website copywriting is done reminds me who I’m doing this all for. I like to make my clients feel valued and heard, and go above and beyond to help them. If you were one of my clients this year, thank you!
I’m sure there’s more I haven’t thought of. And of course, there’s been woes too. One of the biggest lessons I learned this year was the fact that I need to give myself grace, grace to mess up and make up for it twofold, grace to turn off work and set boundaries, but most importantly, grace to run this business in a way that makes me feel content and joyful, while also providing value to my clients (Shout out to Frankie Simmons for teaching me how to find joy in everything I do). It’s not an easy line to find, and I know it will always shift as I work on new projects with new people, but oh boy is grace important when you’re running a business.
As for next year, here are my will-dos. In addition to the above, I plan to:
Like I said, I’ve made some great friendships and connections on Instagram. It’s often been a reprieve for me, as well as an opportunity to find new clients. I want to continue to show up and share value on Instagram by using my feed, stories, and (a new one for me) IGTV.
Truth be told, I recorded one episode already, but I’ve kept it on the down-low because I’m afraid. This is a BRAND new thing for me and it’s quite honestly super scary. But, it’s something that I cannot get off of my mind. There’s something about this idea that I know has value, and at this point, I’m dying not to leak it right now! But just you wait, 2020 will be bringing some amazing content! Also, one thing you don’t know about me is that my first job was on the tech crew at my high school — working the stage, lights and occasionally sound for the shows. I always wanted to learn more about AV and now I’m jumping back into it with the podcast.
You guys, I have SO many ideas and I already have some content in the works, but basically, there will be a 2020 Salted Pages Shop filled to the brim with templates, guides and content that can help YOU grow your business. The first one will be a copywriting guide so look out for that in the next two months! I’ve come to the realization that I can only help so many clients per year, but if I create content that can help you beyond my limited hours, I can help so many more people. Be sure to let me know if you’re struggling with a piece of your content marketing or email me if you want to be a beta tester (i.e. discounted content just for checking it out and sharing feedback).
I’m not sure which goal is more out of my element, this or the podcast, but it’s time for Salted Pages to expand! I’ll be hiring a VA and copywriters. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’re interested and I’ll add you to the list when I share the contract positions online. (P.S. They’ll be flexible!)
My CRM has a lot of capability that I still haven’t fully taken advantage of. With hiring team members and taking on new clients, I want to be using as much automation and efficiency as possible so that the time I spend is valued.
This is something I’m always working on, but right now, I’m very interested in adding productivity to my personal and professional life. I downloaded a time tracking app on my desktop so I can see where time is being wasted, and I’ll be using my calendar to block out time. This is in addition to changes I implemented this year, like blocking off Fridays for behind-the-scenes work (no client calls or projects), only taking calls during specific hours, and using the first hours of the day to write and produce my most creative work.
I’m sweating just writing and thinking about all of this, but it could be the coffee I just drank. What are your big 2019 wins and 2020 will-dos? Comment below and Happy New Year!