2018—A Year in Review

Most of the time, I’m focused on writing things that I hope you’ll find interesting. That’s kind of the role of a blog post, after all.

But once a year year, I like to get up close and personal and share stuff that’s 100% about yours truly. This indulgent content is the Year in Review. You can check out my 2017 Year in Review here.

Anyway, I’m a few days late. It’s already 2019. But I’m making a big announcement in here, and I wanted to do it right.

Here goes:

First, some highlights from the year

Here are some good things that happened in 2018 that I happen to have pictures for.

Waking up at 6 to see the super blue blood moon

Working on a nonprofit’s marketing materials in a 24-hour createathon

(That’s me on the far right, looking like I’m about to keel over)

Meeting my nieces for the first time, and welcoming my husband’s brother and his family to Arizona

(No picture, because they’re not my kids, but I can assure you those girls are ADORABLE)

Spending a day on Bartlett Lake with the family

Living my childhood dream of taking ice skating lessons

Making squid costumes for Halloween because YOU ARE NEVER TOO OLD TO DRESS UP

🦑

Ringing in the new year with really good people

Here’s what was also good in 2018

Business growth

Growth in a freelance business is a funny thing. And by funny, I mean incomprehensible. One month, you’re on top of the world. The next month, crickets. You almost have to look at your business year over year instead of month by month to see what the true trajectory is.

My business saw a lot of ups and downs in 2018, both financially and emotionally. However, through lots of experimenting with different packages, I ended the year in a much better place than I ended the year before.

But more importantly, I got to work with some seriously incredible clients in 2018. That, I think, is the best part of growing your business—you get to work with clients you’re truly excited to work with. It’s an honor to help skilled individuals move their visions forward.

THANK YOU to the amazing business owners who invited me into their businesses this year!

A year without new clothes

Last year, I resolved not to buy any new clothing in 2019, opting only for used clothing. The reason for this is two-fold: Fashion is the 5th most polluting industry in the world, and there are still lots of human rights issues with its production. This unfortunate situation is driven by our culture of fast fashion—we’ve normalized shopping for new styles every season and treating clothing as a short-term purchase.

So as an experiment, I decided to see what it would be like to just… not buy new clothes.

This is the part when I’m supposed to tell you that it was hard-but-worth-it. But honestly, it wasn’t that hard at all. The only new clothes I bought this year were socks. When I truly needed some new shirts or jeans, I made a trip to Goodwill or a local consignment store.

In 2019, I’ll be holding on to this quality-over-quantity mentality. I love thrift stores because the clothing has already shown its durability (if it’s in good shape after being worn by someone else, you know it’ll hold up!) and you can find unique pieces for cheap. If I need to buy something new, I’ll be relying on fair trade and sustainable companies like PactGirlfriend Collective, and PeopleTree.

Going vegetarian-ish

Photo by Scott Warman on Unsplash

Last year, my husband and I made the decision to stop buying meat, except for the occasional fish. We decided we could still have meat outside the home, but we wanted to cut down on our meat consumption, and that was a really simple way to make the change.

I’ve gotta say, I really like that I don’t have to deal with raw chicken anymore.

This year, I took it a step further by cutting out red meat entirely. Factory farming is also a hugely polluting industry in the methane gas emissions and in the amount of water required to grow the crops that feed the animals. Plus, red meat is unnecessary and we tend to eat way more of it than we’re supposed to. For me (and I maintain that it’s a personal decision!), switching out red meat for vegetables has been a no-brainer.

There have been a few exceptions when we were eating dinner at a friend’s house, but ultimately I’m down to poultry and fish—and those only rarely.

This whole process has been incredibly positive. I feel great, I get so many more vegetables in my diet, and now that I have some solid go-to recipes, cooking doesn’t take long at all.

Now, here’s what wasn’t as great

It’s honesty hour. Here’s what I need to change in 2019.

Screen time

Social media was a huge time suck for me this year. It really became clear when Apple released their iOS update that included “Screen Time,” which tracks your app usage. My heaviest usage was scrolling through Tumblr right before bed.

Now, I’m going to be controversial here—but I actually think the pre-sleep browsing helps me wind down and turn my mind off from work before I go to sleep. But goodness, I don’t need an hour and a half of it every night!

And that’s not including all the time wasted on the laptop. My RescueTime account shows that I spent 34 hours in October just on social media. In November, it was 18. Since that’s all the data I have access to, I’m using that to estimate that I’ve spent around 312 hours on social media this year on my laptop alone—13 DAYS!

It never feels like much in the moment, but it’s painfully sad to look back at the year and realize that most days were just a series of screens.

And the impact is real. Even though I consciously curate my feeds to (mostly) avoid the outrage cycles and jealousy games, social media is still taking up time that could be spent on much better things. Even staring out into space is better than staring at that little screen.

Blank space gives you time to process things, after all. I’ve noticed that when I spend all day with a screen, my mind is restless at night. All the ignored fears and concerns come bubbling up, and I struggle to fall asleep.

What’s more, new studies are showing that the constant task-switching that comes with smartphone usage can hurt your ability to form memories. And it changes the way we engage in the real world, too.

So, in 2019, I’m reclaiming my mental space. Since Apple’s Screen Time feature shows percentage change from the week previous, I’m committing to keeping it on a decrease, allowing for minor fluctuations once I hit a minimum. I’ll also be scheduling regular check-ins with RescueTime on my computer to track social media use there as well.

I’m not willing to let another year disappear into the computer.

Not enough books

Photo by Tom Hermans on Unsplash

All the screen time meant less time doing what I used to love: reading books.

It’s hard to choose a book when a bite-sized article is just a few taps away. But the quality difference is notable. In general, articles are written to catch, and keep, attention. Books are written to deliver value. Books also tend to have tougher gatekeepers, so you know what you’re reading has been analyzed and approved by someone else.

In 2019, I’m going to read more books. My game plan? Regular library trips. Also, making good use of Overdrive, an app that lets you borrow ebooks from your local library without having to leave the house. (Score!)

Living without passion

Alright, confession time.

I thought I had this “passion” thing figured out. I knew that you can’t find a passion—you have to cultivate it. I followed the teaching that passion comes from mastery. The more you develop a skill, the more you love it.

This is partially true. However, I’m realizing that mastery is just one ingredient. You have to love something to begin with in order to develop a deeper passion.

Here’s the deal: In 2018, I developed my copywriting skills in big ways. I consumed a host of training materials, and as a result, each client project was stronger than the last. I’ve worked hard with the guiding belief that if I just devote enough of myself to copywriting, I’ll develop a deep passion for it.

But I never grasped that my passion is for running my business, for helping people, for business strategy—not necessarily copywriting itself.

Let me rephrase. I did know this. But I wasn’t willing to admit it.

Here’s the truth: No matter how good of a copywriter I become, it will always be a job. Which is okay! Jobs are important, and you don’t have to adore what you do every moment of every day. However, it means that my life can’t be 100% copywriting like I thought it could be. I need more balance with the activities that bring me a more personal fulfillment.

Which leads to the next section…

What’s coming in 2019

In my last post, I shared that my theme for 2019 is “creative freedom.” Today, I’m going to tell you what that means.

From day one of running my copywriting business, I’ve also been running this blog. I’ve insisted it’s just for marketing, and it’s true that it’s helped grow my site’s visibility. But if I’m being honest, writing for this blog is my favorite activity in my business.

I love creating content for you.

So I’m going to do a whole lot more o’ that this year. Here’s what you can expect:

More articles

Expect a lot more posts on everything from business and crafting a career you love to minimalism, writing, and what it means to live a meaning-filled life. My Medium experiment from earlier this year was a success, so I’ll be reposting most articles over there as well.

Art on YouTube

Fun fact: I love to draw. I studied art in college for a time and always wanted to explore that path. So in 2019, I’m making space for it.

In addition to writing for you here, I’ll be posting regular YouTube videos documenting my artistic journey. I have no idea where this will end up, but I’m terribly excited.

But what does this mean for copywriting?

I’m not taking any new copywriting clients

I want to focus on content creation and make it an income-earning part of my business—not just a fun hobby. As a result, I’ll be taking a break from one-on-one services for a while.

If you remember from a previous post, I already made this announcement. But then I went and opened up my copywriting services again, because I began to question my decision. Of course, I was on the right track the first time.

I wish I could put tidy bows on things and pretend I always make the right choices, but I think being honest with you is much more important. This is the reality of running your own business: You have to feel out a lot of different directions to find what works.

Now, if you were hoping to work with me this year, there are two options. First, I’m leaving my copy editing services open over at my other site Copykin.com (for now, at least). There, you can get in-depth feedback, fixes, and grammar edits on your content or copy to ensure it’s effective and ready to go live.

Alternatively, I’ll be coaching copywriting in Jenny Shih’s online program, Make It Work Online, which starts in a few weeks. This is an incredible program where you not only get access to a comprehensive online course on growing your online business, but you’re also given access to a copywriting coach, business coach, and success coach to ensure you get the best possible guidance to succeed. We meet every week, you get personalized attention… it’s gonna be great.

I’m not an affiliate, but if you’re interested you can learn more here. Enrollment closes by end of January, so get on the email list if you’re interested! I can’t guarantee you’ll be in my coaching group specifically (let me know if you join, and I’ll see what I can do!), but it’s an amazing experience for growing business owners who are ready to take their business up the next tier.

Thanks for sticking around

Thank you for your comments and emails throughout this year. You guys are why I write in the first place, and I’m so excited to create more content for you.

Want to see a post or video on a specific topic? You can always leave a comment below, or reach out to me directly!

Happy New Year,

Jessie

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