My mind is bubbling with a ton of ideas, and I’m feeling a little bit like the sassy & confident red lady emoji at the moment. Nothing inspires me quite like a new year and a fresh start. I want to do everything all at once, and it’s a little bit exhausting and overwhelming, but it’s also so refreshing to feel like “Yeah, I’ve so go this”. Finally.
2016 was a year of self-discovery, self-acceptance and new adventures, and although it had its fair share of rough patches (heeeey PhD exams!), I’m really proud of what I’ve accomplished last year. I was going to write about it, but halfway through writing my 2016 roundup post, I realized that I really just want to focus on the year ahead.
When I think about how I can make 2017 a good year, I think about taking my blog to the next level, growing my business, being honest with myself and finding a career path that works for me. That’s what happiness looks like in 2017…for now, anyway.
Psst. I also made a cute printable weekly planner, which you can get for free at the end of this post. Let’s make 2017 our best, most productive year yet!
Grow my blog. I’m just starting to feel like I’ve shaped this space into something to be proud of, and I want to continue growing my blog and working on my photography and content. How? I’m glad you asked. I actually do have a plan with concrete steps and everything. I’m going to join a few Facebook groups for bloggers and see where that takes me, take an online course to learn the manual settings on my camera and (hopefully) improve my photography, continue to search for bloggers who inspire me to add to my list of daily reads, and try to find my ‘voice’ as a blogger.
Write fresh content. As much as I love beauty reviews, I also feel the need to branch out a little bit more. I’ve really been enjoying the few style posts I did this year, and I’m also itching to travel and write about it. If the year doesn’t take me anywhere new, I’d still like to do a few travel posts about Toronto.
Get more opportunities. I’m so thankful that I get to work with brands I love, and I hope 2017 brings more opportunities to collaborate with brands I’ve worked with in the past and brand new ones too. I have a list of dream brands I want to work with in the future, and…the worst thing they can say is no, right?
Value my work. I’ve not been very good at monetizing my blog in the past, but I’ve had some small sponsored opportunities recently that have renewed my love for creating content. Getting paid for your work is such an amazing feeling – it’s basically like being told “you’re really good at this and we love what you’re doing so much that we want to give you money”.
Be kinder to myself. I want to let go of the blogger’s guilt – that nagging feeling that you could do more, do it better, and that falling behind on reviewing PR samples makes you not only a terrible blogger, but also a terrible person. Hey, real life gets in the way sometimes. And I promise you, the content will be up at some point. I have to remind myself on a daily basis that this is a hobby that I do for free (most of the time) and not worry too much about the working relationships that I may or may not ruin by taking some time to enjoy my life…or working my butt off to meet a research or teaching deadline.
Create a business plan. I don’t consider myself a business owner at all, but my Etsy shop has brought me so much happiness since I opened it back in November. The thing is that it kind of just…happened. I didn’t plan it, I just did it. Literally in one day. That means that there is a ton of things I have to learn and work on. I want to take some time to think about what I do and where I want it to go. It’s usually the first step, but I just skipped it and jumped straight in.
Help people find me. I need to work on improving my SEO and my listings’ descriptions. I’ve also been terrible at updating the social media accounts and growing my following on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. As I focused on my blog for the past couple of months, I haven’t been able to find the time to truly dedicate myself to growing my business’ social media presence. I must learn to juggle many, many accounts.
Offer new products & services. I have a few very exciting ideas that I want to make happen before September comes around. It will be quite time-consuming to set up, but I already feel like I need to do more, more, more with this business.
Take time off. One of the most difficult things about doing a PhD is that you never get a moment to truly relax. Whenever I take a day off, I feel guilty and can’t help but think I should go back to work. It makes it almost impossible to enjoy any sort of activity with friends. I feel guilty most of the time, and I really, really want to let go of that guilt.
Invest in myself. Over the past year I’ve thought a lot about what I want to do with my life, and discovered that my PhD research isn’t exactly fulfilling. I started taking courses in digital marketing at U of T last year and it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. It doesn’t feel like work, and I got to meet some
amazing people along the way. I don’t know where life will take me and if it will ever be useful (beyond helping with my blog), but it’s never a bad idea to invest time and money in yourself and learn new skills.
Save. It kind of goes hand in hand with the business and sponsored blogging things, but I recently opened a savings account where I transfer all the money I make from side hustling. It’s really nice to keep track of how much money I make from my hobbies, and that way I don’t accidentally spend it. New camera and studio lights, here I come.
Be more organized. I know I say I want to be more organized every year, but it has to stick at some point, right? I got really into InDesign recently and made myself a cute weekly planner, with a daily schedule, a notes section and a to-do list. It really does help, plus it’s pink, gold and cute. Get it by signing up for my newsletter!
I hope you’re having a wonderful start to the year…I’m going to Nando’s now so we’re off to a good start!