Brace yourselves. House of Brazen has just entered the terrible twos!!! 🙈🙉🙊 My little virtual baby has grown so fast and I’m feeling like a proud mama bear right now!
I was going to do a video for this post but learned pretty quickly it would be about 4 hours long. So here I am writing a post which I haven’t done for months! Let’s see if I’ve still got it. 😅
This post contains affiliate links.
2017: A YEAR LIKE NO OTHER
If you had told me that by the end of 2017 I’d be single, living location independent, traveling the world, meeting incredible people, giving in-person workshops and private sessions in Bali, attending business conferences in San Diego, masterminding with millionaires in New York and living off a business I freakin’ LOVE — I would have laughed in your face and said, “Yeah right!”
I was very happy with my little domestic life. I lived with my boyfriend and my best friend in a big beautiful million dollar rental overlooking the harbour. I had a good support network of family and friends and my business was growing quickly. Why would I want to change that?
Well, what I didn’t expect was that with having a thriving business, stable income and no 9-to-5 to constantly have emotional breakdowns over, I would naturally start to think about my life long dream of traveling the world being location independent and realize that I could actually do this now.
The only problem? My boyfriend wasn’t in a position to travel with me long term, but more than that, he didn’t want to. Long term travel didn’t excite him like it did with me, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But therein lies the rub. It came down to, “Do I give up my dreams for love? Or do I give up love for my dreams.” Poetic, huh?
When I really sank down into my heart, the answer – although heartbreaking – was crystal clear. So I made the decision to end my 7 year relationship, moved out of our beautiful home, sold most of my things and purchased a one-way ticket to Bali. Hmmmm.. this story sounds kinda familiar.. 😅
What transpired from there was absolute serendipity. I met a beautiful couple in my second week who became my instant family. I swear they were sent to me by an angel or something. They helped me heal when all I felt was guilt and they showed me what value I had to offer this world and how much of an impact I could make in peoples lives when I felt like there was nothing special about me.
I started working out of cafes and co-working spaces, met TONS of online entrepreneurs in many different industries, made wonderful friends, spent my evenings watching sunsets at beach bars and explored the beautiful island of Bali.
I remember thinking how crazy it was that if I didn’t have the courage to take this leap and stayed where I was back in New Zealand, I would never have known that this world. I would never have discovered that there was far more possibility and opportunity out there for me than I realized. That’s why I completely listen to my heart and intuition now. Even if it doesn’t make sense or I don’t agree with it, I still listen and follow, because it winds up leading me to something amazing and better than I could have imagined.
The reason I’m sharing the personal side of my story is because I want you to see that even though you’re doing everything right in your business, that doesn’t stop life from throwing curve balls your way. But, you can still build a successful business even when those challenges and obstacles arise. Even when you feel like your life is falling apart, you can still win. Don’t forget that.
Alright, let’s get into the break down of how my year in business went:
WHAT WAS MY GROWTH FOR THE YEAR?
- Email subscribers: 3238
- Unique site visitors: 104,508
- Number of blog posts: 35
- Facebook group members: 1689
- Facebook page followers: 580
- Instagram followers: 689
- Twitter followers: 812
- Pinterest followers: 4032
- YouTube subscribers: 162
My numbers have always been pretty small compared to most bloggers and entrepreneurs at a similar level of income. I really don’t mind that because what that tells me is that the people who are in my audience are well and truly engaged and invested in me and my ability to help them succeed. It’s the old “know, like and trust” factor.
I started putting more effort into Instagram this year while I was traveling. Mainly because I finally felt like I had something mildly interesting to post on there. I still feel like I’m flailing around though. Definitely going to invest more time into a strategy in 2018. My Facebook Group, Pinterest and Twitter followers had steady growth throughout the whole year. I only resurrected my Facebook Business page in October but honestly I’m considering scrapping it again. It still feels like a giant waste of time. And the most – albeit tiny – growth I’m chuffed about is my YouTube subscribers, which I only actually started actively trying to work on acquiring in November!
And I feel like I finally found a good balance with my email list this year. You know how sometimes you need to be told the same thing over and over a million different ways until you get it? That’s what happened with my email list. The increased connection and engagement came when I started to be more like myself in my emails and less like a marketing muppet.
HOW MUCH DID I EARN?
- Revenue for the year: $45,497.99
- Total number of customers: 1469
So yeah, I tripled my income from last year without launching a single new product AND I honestly didn’t do a whole lot to make it happen. No, I’m not one of the lucky ones who just makes money without trying. The reason this happened was because of two main things. 1) The automated sales funnels I set up the year before and using these landing page templates for my tripwire pages 2) My amazing affiliates who brought an insane amount of customers and traffic to my website.
I also participated in a few promos like bundling my product with other bloggers products and running a Black Friday sale. But this year my ebook DOMINATED. I made over $28,000 alone from that one product. The other $18,000 was from my Flawless Funnels course (which I barely promoted) and through affiliate marketing commissions.
I stopped doing my income reports after I hit my first $5000 dollar month. That was my BIG goal. But after that the income fluctuated. Most months I made between $3000 – $5000. My highest month was July which brought in a decent $7000 followed by a close $6500 in September. Overall I had a 31.81% conversion rate on my products which I am pretty damn stoked about.
WHAT WERE MY ACHIEVEMENTS?
Starting a youtube channel: I’d actually been wanting to start doing video for years but I always let my fears hold me back. Having lost my passion for writing I knew that if I wanted to grow, video was how I was going to do it and a Youtube channel was how I was gonna get started. The second I started doing video it brought down a veil between me and my audience. They were now able to connect and interact with me on a visual level which in turn increased my income!
Hiring my first VA: The second big girl thing I did was hire my first virtual assistant. I really needed help keeping up with customer service. At the time I was using these email scripts to create canned responses but even then I couldn’t keep up. When I put up the job posting I had over 50 applications! Overwhelmed was an understatement. I spent a good 8 hours going through every application and culled the list down to 12 and out of that I set up 5 interviews. I was so nervous about taking that step but I knew – yet again – if I wanted to grow and scale my business, I needed help. To help me get started I bought the book Virtual Freedom by Chris Ducker. It has been a life saver!
Running a live workshop + mentoring sessions: This one was totally unexpected. While I was in Bali I decided to put my name forward to run a workshop for the other members at the co-working space I was working from. I called it ‘Passive Income for Entrepreneurs’ (which you can totally watch the replay of here) and OMG WAS I NERVOUS!!!!!! It was something that was on my list of things to try and I actually had fun and am considering doing more in 2018 while on my travels! I also did a couple of mentoring sessions with a few entrepreneurs getting started with their businesses. It really helped me see just how much I could help. I could see clearly what they needed to work on and gave them the quickest steps to get there.
Upgrading my website: I had known for MONTHS that I wanted to upgrade my website from the overdone pink branding that I had. I got professional photos done in February but I hated them so I put the branding change on hold. I started thinking about upgrading again in September and shopped around for the perfect theme. I finally chose the Corinne Theme by HerPark on Creative Market but I didn’t upgrade it till November. It only took me a day to make the switch. I felt so pro! 😎
Running a successful affiliate program: This year my affiliate program really took off! Altogether my affiliates made a total of $11,842 in commissions for themselves! I was so proud! I learned that what makes a good affiliate program is actually taking care of your affiliates and making sure they know how much you value them and I will continue to do that from here on.
WHAT WERE MY BIGGEST CHALLENGES?
Setting boundaries: I learned I was being way too hospitable with my time and energy with certain people who wanted to “pick my brain” when really they wanted me to build their businesses for them for free. My normal reaction is to avoid people like that if I feel like I’m being taken advantage of, but because we were in a small community it was inevitable I’d bump into them. 😅 So I finally grew a pair, took ownership and told these people that if they want to work with me, I can invoice them for a fee and we can schedule a time to meet. Otherwise they can take the information I gave them and go and do it for themselves.
Rude customers: Getting used to dealing with angry and irrational customers was interesting. Not because it hurt my feelings or anything but because I never had previous experience with these situations before. From a customer service point of view, what are you mean’t to say to someone who calls you a scam artist, writes a post bashing your business or threatens to tell everyone your ebook is garbage if you don’t refund them immediately? WHAT DO YOU SAY!?!?!?!? Well, this is where I had to tighten up my terms and conditions (which is a legal binding document customers agree to when they purchase your products) and start seeking legal advice and *gulp* consider hiring a lawyer. Do not ignore this part of your business. Cover your ass and if you don’t know how or need help then I highly recommend you invest in this legal kit of lawyer-drafted contract templates and terms which is what I use.
Digital Nomad life: Another was adjusting to living location independent and learning to be extremely organized when it comes to visas, booking flights, accommodation and transport. I had a lot of close calls and near misses solely from the lack of planning on my part. So I learned that it’s better for me to base myself in one place for several months rather than move around all the time as it means less stress and more stability.
Scarcity and lack mentality: Oh boy, this came up HUGE for me when I went to the states. I don’t know why but I just kept telling myself, “It’s so expensive here.” I really talked myself into a panic and started operating in survival mode when really everything was totally fine. I had to go into emergency recovery mode and work on my money blocks constantly because it was taking me to a dark place of scarcity.
WHAT WERE MY MOST IMPORTANT LESSONS?
On the business side: My most important lesson came from seeing the results of what I focused on from the beginning – the money making tasks. Doing that from day one enabled me to take time away from my business when the unexpected happened. But more than that it allowed me time to assess my business and see what areas were performing well, what areas needed work and what was no longer working or out of alignment with where I wanted to go.
On the personal side: I really toughened up this year. I stopped blaming myself for other peoples behaviour, believing it was something I did wrong and apologising for things that weren’t my fault. I fought back and stood up for myself when people tried to disrespect me, I cut people out of my life who didn’t have my best interests at heart, I said ‘No’ and didn’t give in to peer pressure AND I didn’t feel guilty about it. I also owned up to my own shit and took responsibility for my behaviour and actions. And more importantly, I invested my time and energy into the people and activities that did make me feel good about myself.
WHAT AM I MOST PROUD OF?
Hands down I’m SO DAMN PROUD of my courage. It takes some serious lady balls to walk away from comfort and stability for the unknown. Looking back to who I was a year ago, I wonder what I’d be doing right now if I stayed? Would I have grown this much? Would I be talking about the same things? Would I be happy? I named this website House of Brazen for a reason and now I finally feel like I’m living up to the name. Heart of a freakin’ Lion right here! 🦁
WHAT WERE THE BEST INVESTMENTS I MADE?
Upgrading my lifestyle: Bali is like the mecca for the good life on a budget. I got live out my dream lifestyle and I LOVED EVERY SECOND OF IT. Seriously, there is no ideal day I could have envisioned that could top the lifestyle I was living in Bali. Everything was EASY and CONVENIENT. Need food? Just Whatsapp your local restaurant and have your dinner delivered for $5. Thirsty? Text the local Balinese lady in the village to bring you 5 fresh coconuts for $5. Need transport? Get someone to deliver your scooter to you at home for $50 a month. Don’t want to clean? Have your on-site housekeepers do all your cleaning and make up a fresh bed for you every other day. Don’t wanna do laundry? Drop it off at the family owned laundromat where they wash, steam and press your clothes for less than $5. Wanna take a trip? Pay a local driver $60 for 10 hours to take you anywhere you wanna go on the island. Want to watch the sunset? Go sit on beanbags at the beach and have some ciders for $2. Feel like a massage? Get a luxury hour long spa treatment for $20. Wait, why am I not there?!?!?
Live events: Oh my gosh. I wish I’d known sooner how amazing live events are. They up your game tenfold! Seriously. I attended The Entrepreneur Edge live in San Diego and a Money Mindset Tour and VIP Millionaire Mindset Day with Denise Duffield-Thomas in New York. I met so many amazing women at these events and learned so much about the next steps to take in my business.
WHAT WERE MY MOST POPULAR POSTS?
- My #1 Advice for Newbie Entrepreneurs
- January Income Report: $4084.20
- March Income Report: $5227.07
- The Ultimate Guide to Creating An Ebook in 24 Hours
- How I Leverage SendOwl to Bring in 4 Streams of Income
- The Quickest Way I Drove Traffic to my Blog
- How to Design a High Converting Tripwire Page
- Should You Start a Blog When the Market is Saturated?
- February Income Report: $3990.22
- My First Year in Business Review
GOALS FOR 2018
Get really f*cking organized! I was in no way as consistent as I should have been in 2017. If I’d just planned ahead, it would have meant I could have maintained consistency while all the personal stuff was going on. Alas, I’ve now learnt my lesson so in 2018 I’m staying well ahead of the game by getting organized and planning ahead. This means I need to delegate a lot more on to my team as well as outsource the tasks I can no longer keep up with or just flat out hate doing. This will free up time for while I’m traveling and wanting to explore and in case anything goes wrong. *touch wood*
Be more visible & make more offers: These two really go hand in hand. The more visible and helpful I am, the more money I make. In order to be more visible I have to put myself out there! That means consistent weekly videos, more livestreams, more speaking gigs and live workshops and more products and offers being made – which makes me nauseous like you wouldn’t believe! I’m also planning to do video interviews. So if you’ve ever wanted to interview me, let me know!
Attend more live events: This lit me up so much in 2017 and I want to keep doing it in 2018. I’ve already pinned a ton of events I want to go to – are you attending any? The energy is electric at live events and you seriously feed off it. It’s one of the best ways to meet other amazing entrepreneurs and that’s really important to me. I thrive on connection with people face-to-face and that’s what I want more of this year.
Have a shit-ton of fun: Last year was fun but I was still finding my feet after doing a 180 on my life. This year I turn 30 and I wanna go ALL OUT in every ridiculous way possible. And that begins with following my heart and traveling to some exciting and very different places and going from there! So if I happen to be in your area, let me know and let’s meet up!
WHAT ARE MY GROWTH GOALS FOR 2018?
- Email subscribers: 10,000
- Unique site visitors: 500,000
- Number of blog posts: 50
- Facebook group members: 5000
- Facebook page followers: 1000
- Instagram followers: 5000
- Twitter followers: 1500
- Pinterest followers: 10,000
- YouTube subscribers: 5000
- Total revenue: $100,000
Some of those goals are veeeery lofty, but hey what have I got to lose? Some I know I’ll hit by default based on the growth from last year and the automations I have set up. Others I’m gonna have to work my butt off to grow them, like Instagram and YouTube and making $100k!
But anything is possible and I’m determined to make this year MY year. Are you?
If you’re still with me, thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to read this post. I so appreciate it and can’t believe how long it is. If you found any of it helpful or insightful for you, I would appreciate it if you could share the post with your friends.
Let me know in the comments below: How did your 2017 go? Did you hit your goals? And what are your three big goals for 2018?