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Our 2018 Year End Review and 2019 Preview

December 16, 2018


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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:

  1. Red Rising, by Pierce Brown (the series)
  2. Children of Blood and Bone, by Tomi Adeyemi
  3. 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.

Your Brightest Life book

 

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.


 

2019 Preview

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 OCD about 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!

Are you writing a “Year End Review”? We’d love to read it!

If you decide to write your own Year End Review post feel free to send it to us on Twitter or via email (head to our contact page).

The Power of Constraints and Limitations

December 10, 2018


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Episode Summary

We’ve come to realize that constraints and limitations don’t have to be bad things. In fact, we use them to our advantage often!

One of the most important parts of owning your own business is knowing how to avoid perfection and how to focus on completion. Over and over again we’ve seen the value in limiting how much time (or how many resources) we can use to get things done. And on the flip side, we’ve also used constraints to control how much we work so we can try to keep a nice balance between work and life.

QUESTION FOR YOU: What constraint or limitation has helped you accomplish something recently? (Feel free to comment with your answer on YouTube).


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.

Authenticity Isn’t Just A Buzzword

December 3, 2018


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Episode Summary

Being authentic isn’t just a tactic or strategy, it’s the core of who you are as a person (and how you should run your business).

The word “authenticity” can be a bit buzzword-y these days but if lots of people are talking about being more true to who they are, we’re all for that! The key though is to not use authenticity in a fake way or an unethical way.

We hope you walk away from this episode with a few ways to think about adding more authenticity to your business. We also hope you give yourself permission to show up as yourself, no matter how uncomfortable it can feel at times.

QUESTION FOR YOU: What do you think your “black sheep” qualities are? What are you proud of about yourself/your business that sets you apart? (Feel free to comment with your answer on YouTube).


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.

Is Minimalism Right For You?

November 25, 2018


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Episode Summary

Becoming minimalists has had such a profound impact on our lives. It’s not just about owning fewer things, it’s about being more aware of how you live and what you let into your life.

In this week’s episode, we share our journey through minimalism, how it’s made us happier people, and how we use the phrase “does this thing bring me value?”

Starting with minimalism was as simple as spending one day in our closet and getting rid of things we were holding onto just in case. After that, we applied minimalism to our businesses and found the flavor of minimalism that worked best for us!

QUESTION FOR YOU: Ready to feel a weight lifted off your shoulders? Even if you aren’t ready to become a minimalist, go through everything in your closet this weekend and donate anything you haven’t worn in 6-12 months 🙂 (Feel free to comment with your answer on YouTube).


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly of Customers

November 19, 2018


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Episode Summary

Customers are the life-blood of our online businesses but that doesn’t mean we have to bend to their every whim. So, what do you do if you have a bad customer?

Is it possible to ensure you only end up with good customers? We talk about a few tried and true strategies we use to create the best experience for our customers (without breaking the bank).

This episode dives deep into the conversation of running a business that focuses on taking care of and managing customers!

QUESTION FOR YOU: Are you currently surprising your customers in any way? Has this episode inspired you to do something unexpected for your customers? (Feel free to comment with your answer on YouTube).


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.

What Happens After Some Tequila And Wine?

November 12, 2018


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Episode Summary

What type of conversation happens after we enjoy some tequila and wine? This is Wandering Aimfully, After Dark!

We decided to keep things a little less formal as far as the conversation goes. We poured ourselves some adult beverages and explored these topics: When is it appropriate to start listening to Christmas music? What job do we think we’d have if we weren’t entrepreneurs? And what unpopular opinions did Caroline have (or not??) during this chat?

Hope you enjoy this first non sequitur episode and the roaring fire in the background (hah!)


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.

How To Handle Toxic Friendships

November 5, 2018


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Episode Summary

Friendships evolve throughout our lives and in this episode, we discuss how we’ve seen our friendships change as we’ve become adults.

We also share specific examples of dealing with toxic friendships. Like, what happens if you want to make a big change in your life but you feel like a close friend (or family member) won’t support you? And how do you know if your friends actually align with your values?

QUESTION FOR YOU: Are you more like Jason, where you have fewer friends or are you more like Caroline and you have multiple tight-knit groups of friends? (Feel free to comment with your answer on YouTube).


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.

Practical Ways To Increase Confidence

October 29, 2018


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Episode Summary

We aren’t going to lie to you and say that becoming a more confident person happens just because you want it to. However, we do believe that there are practical ways you can increase confidence and we explore them in this week’s episode.

Because we try to keep things as real as possible, we also share a story about body confidence and how hurtful a few simple words can be in a relationship.

Whether you’re trying to gain confidence in your life or in your business, this episode should give you a few simple steps to take right away.


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.

Should You Co-Mingle Finances In A Relationship?

October 22, 2018


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Episode Summary

Money is a tricky subject, especially in a relationship! How do you split bills? Who pays for what at certain times? When do you decide to combine bank accounts (or do you??)

These are the hard-hitting financial topics we discuss in this week’s episode. We share how we look at our income and expenses as a couple and when we merged everything together (and why). If you’re wondering if you and your partner should or shouldn’t co-mingle your finances, this episode is for you. Even if you don’t have a partner, you may still learn a nugget or two from our experiences managing money over the years.

Mentioned in this episode is our “Income Flow” and how we have our bank accounts set up. You can learn more about that in our debt freedom article here.


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.

Our Current Marketing Strategy And The Future Of Marketing

October 15, 2018


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Episode Summary

Marketing can be something you enjoy or the part of your business you absolutely loathe (and most likely avoid). In this episode, we break down the marketing strategies we’ve used for the past few years. Spoiler alert: Email marketing has been THE BEST form of promotion for us and we’ll share why we think it’s the marketing tactic YOU should focus on the most.

We don’t stop there though, we also talk about where social media fits into marketing and where we think marketing is going in the future.

We recommend reading our Audience Building Guide to learn our exact email marketing strategies!

If you’re someone who struggles to promote your product or service, we hope this episode gives you lots of stuff to chew on. We also hope it provides you with some clarity and new thoughts when it comes to getting people to buy your stuff!


Episode “Sponsor”

Wandering Aimfully Memberships

Our show will remain sponsor/ad-free and you can support us by becoming a Wandering Aimfully Member. Our monthly membership program offers all the courses, workshops, and software you’ll need to run your online business and you get access to an amazing community of creative small business owners to help inspire, motivate and support you. Learn more about our membership here.