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What Went Well In 2018?
We launched Wandering Aimfully (WAIM)!
In 2018 we made a huge shift and combined our separate businesses (JasonDoesStuff + Made Vibrant) into Wandering Aimfully (WAIM). While it was tough, we shared every step of the journey and feel really great about the future. We’re excited to have streamlined business offerings, a consolidation of our work-focus, and we feel we’ve laid the foundation for the next few years!
Life, marriage, and friendships
We stayed married, hurray! Jokes, lol. We got married in 2017 and continued to find new growth opportunities for our relationship by joining forces in business (if you want to test the strength of your relationship, that’ll do it!)
For Caroline, she flew back to Florida and helped her Mom recover from surgery and then took a separate trip with her Mom to NYC. Caroline had her annual “girl’s trip” at our place and carved out more time for calls with friends.
It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of work and we both felt we did a good job of balancing friendships, family trips, friend trips (hello, Caleb and Jen!) and generally staying in touch with the humans that mean the most to us in our lives.
We traveled a good bit
Speaking of balance, we didn’t travel as far as we did in 2017, but we still filled up our travel-buckets. The relaxing travel highlight of 2018 was definitely San Cristobal Hotel in Todos Santos (photos below). The business trip of the year definitely goes to Imperfect Boss Camp where Caroline spent four days with a hundred amazing and creative ladies in the woods of Canada. Here’s a recap of our travels:
- Jacksonville, FL (Caroline spent time with her Mom through her surgery)
- Big Bear, CA (trip with friends)
- Jocassee Gorges, SC (Jason’s family trip)
- Todos Santos, Mexico (this amazing hotel!)
- Santa Barbara, CA (Caroline’s 30th b-day trip)
- Boston, MA (friend’s wedding)
- Outside Toronto, Canada (Imperfect Boss Camp)
- New York City, NY (Caroline’s Mom + Daughter trip)
- Los Angeles, CA (three times!)
- Jacksonville, FL (Family Christmases)
Jason read a lot of books
Continuing the trend of the past two years, Jason read 35 total books in 2018 and made a big shift to fiction books. While nonfiction books can be helpful and enlightening, Jason has been using reading time to unwind his brain and take a break from constantly thinking about work. Jason’s top three books of 2018:
- Red Rising, by Pierce Brown (the series)
- Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
- Genome, by A.G. Riddle
Feel free to read Jason’s 1-sentence book reviews on his Reading List.
Our WAIM Community has continued to be amazing
We continue to be floored by the generosity, thoughtfulness, creativity, and all around awesomeness of our WAIM community. It really is a joy to show up on a daily basis in our Slack channel and for our monthly-ish calls. This community is something we cherish and are extremely grateful to be a part of.
Caroline’s book was released, Jason got a traditional book deal
Caroline’s book, Your Brightest Life, was released by Chronicle Books this year. Chronicle was a dream publisher for Caroline to work with and it happened! Hurray! Jason, on the other hand, launched a very weird project called Dear Book Publisher where he tried to land a book deal in an unconventional way. Spoiler alert: The idea worked! Jason signed with the publisher Running Press and his second book will be released in 2019.
Caroline invested heavily in her mental health
Nearly every week in 2018 Caroline went to therapy and stuck with it, even when it got hard. We’re big believers in taking care of your mental health. In fact, we recorded a podcast episode about it.
Honorable mention: We did an okay job with work/life blend
We can’t say we did a great job with balancing work and life since Caroline got sick due to stress, but it wasn’t all work-stress. That being said, we do feel we set some solid boundaries for work hours for most of the year and enjoyed life while taking on ambitious moves with business.
What Didn’t Go Well In 2018?
Overall business revenue was down for the first time in years
Overall total revenue was down and we didn’t hit our revenue projections (who are we kidding, we missed the projections by a mile). BUT… life isn’t all about hitting revenue projections and we saw this down year as a good thing as it’s helping us “pivot” in a better direction. Plus, we still lived a pretty damn full life in 2018 and cannot complain.
It was a stressful (and shingle-filled) year
Life stresses reared their ugly heads in 2018. Caroline had to deal with the emotions of her Mom’s cancer diagnosis and helping her get back to full health. Our pup Plaxico had some weird hindleg issues that persisted throughout the year (and may simply be his first sign of old-age). Those things, along with everyday stress, led to Caroline getting shingles and being down for the count for two months. Again, not fun, but a good lesson to help us realign how we’re spending our hours each day and trying to not overdo it.
Not enough time spent on creativity
For Caroline: Not making enough time for creating art. She didn’t make it enough of a priority and think it would have gone a long way to making her feel centered and inspired. For Jason: We’ve said it for 2 years and still haven’t made simple, helpful tools. Mostly this is a lack of technical knowledge, but we want to finally crack this nut in 2019.
Spruce Metrics didn’t ever get back off the ground
Spruce Metrics has had a rough go of it and never re-launched. The writing may be on the wall for this idea.
We didn’t hit Teachery’s revenue goals and we know why
While Teachery got a few bigger features out the door, it didn’t grow much revenue wise (we’d hoped to double revenue from 2017 to 2018). The big takeaway for Teachery is that we just don’t want to play the games it takes to grow quickly. We’re trying some Facebook Ads the next few months and will see how growth goes in 2019.
Biggest Surprises of 2018?
For Jason: Zelda Breath of the Wild on Nintendo Switch
Jason is only a year and a half late on this amazing video game, but holy moly it rocked his socks off (in the best way!) The game is full of adventure, fun, puzzles, and is challenging enough to keep you playing for hours on end. This was the first time Jason got enthralled with a game of any kind since his college years. If you haven’t played and you own a Nintendo Switch, Zelda BOTW is a must-play game!
For Caroline: Digital Planning
Caroline is working to integrate this fun new hobby into our collaborative workflow, but she’s realized she’s much happier overall (and more productive) when she has a PLAN. Normally that means just writing things down on a calendar, but that’s not fun. Digital planning lets her creativity go wild and she’s gotten excited to plan the week ahead on the weekends.
Shifting our focus for Wandering Aimfully
We’re making a big move with WAIM and creating a cornerstone program that solves a specific problem for a specific person. The program will be a 6-month hands-on academy called Build Without Burnout. We’ll still offer all the existing WAIM Membership goodies, but this program will be the featured aspect of our membership!
Prioritizing helpful/fun content
Since the conception of WAIM in late 2017 we knew we wanted to make short, helpful YouTube videos. We simply never could find the time to fit it into our schedule. That’s going to change in 2019 along with peppering in a few weird off-the-wall ideas.
Some travel, but not too much
Our only big trip planned in 2019 is to Oslo, Norway to speak at a conference. We’re going to spend 10 days exploring Norway and we’re super pumped about it. Otherwise, we don’t have a lot on the travel calendar just yet. We know we’re going to take it a bit easier though.
Continuing to enjoy each other’s company
We want to make our relationship a continued focus. Find time just for each other, but also be more thoughtful and appreciative of what we love about one another. We’ll constantly be trying to do more things outside of work together.
Focusing on our ENOUGH number for buinsess revenue
We have a public goal of hitting 330 paying WAIM Members. That’s our “enough” number. We don’t want to grow our business beyond that just because we can. We want to hit our goal and not have to worry about sales and marketing.
How Are We Framing 2019?
Each year we pick a word that helps us frame the next year. The word becomes a mantra and we’ve done this since 2015 (it’s super helpful!)
Caroline’s word for 2019: Abundance
Caroline spent a lot of this year admittedly in a scarcity mindset. It never felt like there was enough time or space or even money with trying to get WAIM off the ground. In 2019, she wants to set the intention to shift from this place of fear to a place of acceptance, flow, and trust. She wonders how this will affect her overall creativity and motivation when the focus shifts to all that is already abundant and readily available.
Jason’s word for 2019: Loosen
Jason is admittedly a bit overly focused on work and life and wants to loosen the reins a bit. That doesn’t mean his desk will become messy (that would be insanity), but he just wants to try to fight some of the urges to make everything neat, tidy, and line up perfectly and with maximum efficiency. We’ll see how this goes! Hah!