Hey guys, and welcome back to the Pursuing the Happy podcast. And welcome, to the last episode of season one of this podcast! I thought that this would be a great wrap to the year, and to this first season.
Today’s episode is unpacking everything that’s happened in 2020, and reflecting on the lessons and experiences. I’ve got to say, while 2020 has no doubt been a crazy year, and a long one for many, I found that it still seemed to fly by for me. Like, I still remember in March when in-person classes were cancelled and everyone transitioned to online school to finish off their year. I seriously can’t believe it’s already been 9 months since then. And yet when I look back, it also seems like the year where the most happened, and in that sense, I do agree that it’s been a long and jam-packed year.
And really looking at the events that perspired this year, I’m really quite in awe of how vast the impact of COVID has had on the whole world. Never would I have thought that I would live through a pandemic that has shaken the world to this level. To be frank, I don’t think many people have really digested or acknowledged the impact and severity the coronavirus has had on our society, in areas more than one.
A Year of Gratitude
The first thing I have to say when I think of 2020 is gratitude, and I know it’s not a word most people would use to describe this year. I’m am so, so grateful to God that my family and friends have been safe and healthy this year, because I know this has not been the case for millions all over the world. It’s no doubt been a very saddening and dark year for many, so I’m incredibly grateful for being able to say that I’m safe and healthy. My heart goes out to everyone who’s lost a loved one this year, because I cannot even begin to imagine the heartbreak you feel, and I recognize that I’ve been so incredibly lucky.
Being accepted to a great university
It was also in March or so when I got my acceptance letter to a top university, so for that, I’m also incredibly grateful. I was also awarded a really great scholarship, and overall, being accepted to this university opened so many opportunities. For that, I’m really grateful as well.
The growth of my business
The pandemic really skyrocketed the growth of my business, and I’d say I was able to grow it much more because my classes were online. But beyond that, I helped many small businesses also launch during the pandemic, through helping them rebrand, to creating websites so they can run their business online. It’s so rewarding seeing my clients also grow their businesses because of the things I’ve been able to help them with and I really appreciate each and every one of them for trusting me with their business goals. It’s such an honor to design for fellow small business owners.
Things I’ve learned
“Quitting” Instagram and its Effects on My Business
So in September, I took a break from Instagram and really only posted again like, a couple days ago, so a 3 month break basically. So here’s what I’ve learned:
- You miss out on the community. I did miss out with engaging with some great people on Instagram. If anything, Instagram is a great place to build community. But I did re-niche, so now my audience is quite different than what it was before, and now I’ve got to find a way to attract people from my new target audience.
- But you really don’t need it. In terms of the numbers, Instagram truly didn’t drive that much for my business (even with my prior target audience). I think the lesson here is that it’s different for everyone. Some people get all their leads from Instagram, so of course it doesn’t make sense to leave. But the key is to choose a few platforms that work for you, not necessarily be on all of them.
Am I going to use Instagram again?
Maybe. Maybe not. I think I’ll try to post a few things again. But from what I’m seeing right now, the work to build up an engaging audience might not be worth all the effort right now. And to be honest, might not even be possible given this aggravating algorithm. Currently, I deleted the app from my phone again because I found out it uses up 50% of my battery usage everyday. In my opinion, that’s wayyy too much. Even though I only spend about an hour and a half on it (I set a time limit for myself).
Feeling Overwhelmed? Take Breaks.
I really found the power of taking breaks this year. If you sat at a desk working for a long time, stand up and walk around. That’s a break. If you’re feeling overwhelmed with your business, studying for a course, or working on a project, take a step back. Take a day off if you can. The reason why it works is because it prevents your brain from going down that spiral of “work”.
Sometimes the best parts of life are when you step out of your comfort zone.
I talked about this in my “go with your gut” episode, so listen to that for some stories on my experiences, but there were some moments this year that really pushed me out of my comfort zone. They made me super nervous beforehand, but after doing them, it was so rewarding. Seriously. They were probably one of the best parts of my year.
So overall, in 2021, I hope to take more risks and comfort zone challenges. I encourage you to do that as well, because you’re going to hate it at first, but it’s going to feel real good after, and you’re going to grow a lot from it.
Niching Down is Really That Important
Okay, I’ll admit it, I’m guilty of being one of those people who tried to juggle 2 different niches and smush it into one platform. And I can tell you now, after trying for months, it just doesn’t work.
I’ll definitely do a separate post and episode on niching down and re-niching, but here’s the slimmed down version.
- It’s hard to monetize an audience when you are trying to juggle two. I really wondered what some of my clients thought when they came onto my site, saw my services, and then saw me blogging about self development and lifestyle (AKA nothing about design). And when I came across some other sites that were doing it, I kind of found the reason why. It’s because you don’t look like the “expert” or “professional” for either of them. When you specialize in one thing, you’re much more trustworthy and your platform seems more professional.
- It’s hard to grow two separate audiences. I’m reading a book by Seth Godin (a well known marketing guru), and he says that it’s best to focus on ONE small pool of people, and really create something that makes an impact for them. And that means turning away people not in your target. It’s hard, but that’s your job. Not to appeal to everyone, because that’s impossible. That’s why books will always have some 5 star, and some 1 star reviews. Because it’s not for everyone. So you’ve gotta choose who you want your services to be for.
So what’s my new niche?
It is really hard to niche down, because you feel as if you’re saying goodbye to a lot of people. But I kind of found a way to keep who I had before, and “mix” the two in a better way.
Here’s what I’ve got it down to (so far): ambitious female entrepreneurs, who are relatively new or are currently small and looking to grow further. The ones that are looking for resources, and services that will truly be a game-changer and help them, instead of the fluff that’s being put out online. And the ones who are done with DIY-ing things in their business, and are looking to invest in their business in a way that’s going to pay off. Also, because of my passion for time management and self development, I’m still integrating that in because I think it’s a crucial part of entrepreneurship. So my content isn’t necessarily ONLY for those who have businesses, but it’s for those with an entrepreneurial mindset.
I’ve got to say, after saying all that, I’m reallyy excited for what 2021 has to bring. Plus…I have an exciting announcement coming already. Stay tuned for that in January!