Write Time Marketing’s 2019 Year in Review
It’s that time of year again.
When you look back on everything you’ve achieved – but forgotten.
You revisit lessons learnt and changes made.
And, with these things in mind, you make plans for the fresh new year ahead.
This year, I delved into my business “full-time.” Well, the aim was to work 4 days per week, but it ended up being 3.5 days due to swimming lessons for my eldest daughter. Regardless, it was my first year without the crutch of a locked-in contract arrangement. I was out on my own – and I had a pretty good crack at it!
Here’s my 2019 year in review –
Finding my niche
Around mid-year, I decided to stop being a generalist copywriter and niche into my ideal industry. Partly thanks to the niching panel at CopyCon in May.
So I decided to become a “Business and Personal Development Copywriter.”
It seemed to make sense at the time.
But after doing a couple of jobs that didn’t seem like the right fit, I decided to go deeper. I spoke to a few people and realised “Health and Wellness” is ultimately the space I feel most comfortable in. I love writing health, lifestyle, and advice blogs – and seem to gravitate towards these business owners via networking.
So I’m owning this niche – and making it work across my Meet Up (see below) and upcoming podcast (stay tuned!). It’s already given me improved focus for networking and seeking new connections – with a couple of great potential collaborations already on the horizon…
Growing my Meet Up
After launching the Hills District Business Empowerment Network Meet Up in November 2018, I had plans to grow the group this year.
So I introduced guest speakers who spoke on various topics relating to business and self-development. And a few months into the year, I realised the arrangement at Bella Vista Hotel wasn’t working anymore. So we moved to Arthur Street Cafe from May – and it was much better.
We now have our own private section downstairs, which is perfect for presentations, and the staff take good care of us. We’ve consistently attracted an average of 15-20 people every month.
But the August event created a massive surprise when we had to squish 30 people into the room!
The feedback has been very positive – and I think it comes down to the vibe of the group. I’ve kept our gatherings casual with a loose structure.
And I’ve naturally attracted a lot of health and wellness business owners – which is partly why I’ve decided to make this group the key focus of the Meet Up. It works with my new niche as well, as mentioned above. I recently set up a Facebook group for the Meet Up as well – with the aim of increasing the engagement and encouraging attendance each month.
Workshops and Strategy Sessions
I continued with my workshop journey this year and ran a few of my own 2-hour blogging workshops – plus shorter versions at a couple of Meet Ups (including my own). I also ran a content marketing strategy session for IBN Inc. on an evening in July.
Thanks to my new Sydney Hills Business Chamber contact, Kerrie Sheaves, I discovered a new venue as well – the Foundational Business Centre in Rouse Hill. It’s a much more professional space – with all the equipment I need.
I launched my quarterly Business Blogging Strategy Sessions in September, which I was very excited about.
Rather than standing in front of a group and presenting for 2 hours, I was sitting with a group and discussing blog strategy for 4 hours.
And I feel much more comfortable in that environment.
I’ve now run two sessions (with a second one in early December), with 4 and 3 attendees respectively. I’d love to at least double those numbers in 2020 – and continue running these sessions. Perhaps even externally.
The feedback has been wonderful. Just not sure how much blog-writing has happened afterwards… So I plan to introduce a 2-hour Blogging Implementation Session next year as well. So they can actually sit in the session and get that blog actually written! Will see what type of response I get.
For 2020, I’ve started reaching out on a broader level for external workshops – including with Parramatta City Council and the Whitlam Library in Cabramatta. Very excited about the potential ahead!
Just recently, I’ve begun calling myself a Health and Wellness Content Coach and Copywriter.
Ultimately, while I LOVE writing, training and coaching others about content marketing has resonated with me this year.
When writing, I’m hiding behind a computer and hoping my clients like my stuff.
But when training, I’m part of their ‘aha’ moments and get that instant gratification that I’ve made a difference.
So I’ve set up Calendly and now offer a 30 minute FREE discovery call – plus 1 hour and 2 hour paid coaching options. I’ve only done a soft launch so far, but hope to really ramp this up in the new year. And perhaps promote in my podcast.
I did my first coaching call the other week – as a prize at a MIBA networking event – and it was very well-received. The client had a page full of marketing tips she’d never thought of before. I love the idea of helping more business owners with all this marketing knowledge I’ve accrued over the years!
Networking for Growth
This year, I planned to put a lot more focus into networking – which I did!
After joining the Sydney Hills Business Chamber in November 2018, this was my first full year as a member.
I attended a Business After 5 event most months and started to see familiar faces each time. I’ve gotten a couple of copywriting jobs from it as well. I’ve also experimented with the early morning Business Breakfasts, which were pretty good.
And my hubby and kids survived the morning drop off without me! So I might attend more of those next year.
I also joined a My Board team, which meets once a fortnight on Tuesdays. I admit to feeling intimidated by everyone at first – since they’ve all been in business MUCH longer than me – but I soon became comfortable with them all and enjoy the discussions. And we had a very enjoyable Escape Room experience, where I formed a strong bond with a couple of teammates. I can’t wait to try that type of thing again. I look forward to seeing what happens with the team going forward.
So my months were filled with networking. Perhaps a little too much…I probably should have spent that time working on my business a bit more. It might have been an avoidance issue…
For 2020, I’m going to keep an eye on my networking each month – and keep to 1 x Business Chamber After 5 or Breakfast event (potential clients and collaborations with money), 1 x HDBEN Meet Up (since it’s mine!), and 1 x other event (during business hours). Then use my time wisely for business and podcast planning!
Increasing Brand Awareness
Apart from networking in the physical world, I’ve been growing my presence in the online world.
I’ve been active on LinkedIn and Facebook – and started playing around with Instagram. (But not sure how much focus I’ll put on the latter in 2020. We’ll see which platforms attract the most traction!)
Thanks to my social media presence and newsletters, people have said to me “It seems like you’re everywhere!” But I’m just doing bits and pieces here and there. And, I admit, it’s without a real strategy. Perhaps I should put one in place in the new year…
More recently, I’ve had a couple of people say they’re been ‘following’ me online. And I had no idea!
My LinkedIn stuff paid off last month when someone saw me promote my blogging strategy sessions – and they were a connection of a connection. Then signed up to my December event! That felt great. 🙂
I also did a few guest stints on local community radio – Alive 90.5FM and 89.3FM. While I was a bit nervous at first, I quickly started to relax and realise I actually do know my stuff. Unfortunately, it seems that none of the ‘recordings’ worked, so I don’t have proof to share. But that’s okay. I’ll soon have my podcast!
Time for Tools
This year, I’ve set up various tools to keep me organised and on top of my workload.
That includes consistently using my ActiveCampaign account as a CRM and for email distibution, relying on my Google Calendar for planning my days, Asana and Trello for tracking projects, and QuickBooks for managing my accounts.
Yes, I might have been ‘reconciling’ QuickBooks incorrectly, but I’m getting that fixed. Because I now have a bookkeeper from Pengwen Bookkeeping to help me out! Thanks Joanne. 🙂
I look forward to exploring Trello more in 2020. Especially when it comes to my podcasts!
This year, I invested in 3 big conferences – with 2 of them requiring interstate flights and accommodation expenses.
- The Speakers Tribe Conference – In March, I headed to the Gold Coast for this 3 day event. Flying interstate on my own and sharing accommodation with 3 strangers isn’t something I’m overly familiar with, but that aspect went fairly smoothly! I had a great time bonding with fellow Boot Camper, Naomi Deck, and catching up with a few other people. The energy of the event was very high (perhaps too high at times) and I loved learning from the key speakers onstage. And I could relax knowing the quality would be good! But would I attend again? I’m not sure. I would have loved some more workshop stuff and less promotion. But it’s still only the second annual event, so who knows what the future may hold?
- CopyCon – In May, I was off on another independent trip to Melbourne for 2 days. After attending last year, I knew it would contain a crapload of useful information. And FOMO got the better of me – and I signed up for the Mastermind on the second day. I absolutely loved the event and meeting all these copybeasts IRL (in real life). Interestingly, so many people knew me straight away because “You look just like your profile pic!” So that’s good to know. You can read more in my CopyCon blog post.
- Mumbrella – While it was only for 1 day and was in Sydney, this was a big investment for what it was. I really enjoyed giggling and bonding with some fellow copybeasts, but the calibre of speakers was a bit average. A lot of them were too focused on self-promotion – rather than providing useful takeaways. While I took pages of notes, there’s really not much I can action. So I don’t think I’ll be going again.
While I’ve religiously attended business and marketing workshops, I’d previously avoided the one-on-one coaching experience. I thought it was too expensive.
Sure, I’ve gained lots of fab advice from Kate Toon and my fellow Clever Copywriting Community (which I remain a member of), but no one has really sat down and talked me through things in depth.
This year, I engaged the advice of Kerrie Sheaves from Foundational Business Centre and had a 3.5 hour session mapping out my 2020 business strategy. We threw up all my existing and potential offerings on a whiteboard and went from there. It’s all been typed up and I’m slowly working my way through the items.
I’ve also entered a contra arrangement with Kayne Morrison and Dee Health from Launch Scale Automate. They’re providing me digital marketing advice in exchange for copywriting. Massive win-win! I’m starting to work on some packages, which will be uploaded to my website soon. Watch this space!
On a couple of occasions, I went to John Drury’s Goal Planning Sessions (with a format that inspired my Business Blogging Strategy Sessions). I found them so useful for setting and plotting out real goals for the quarter – for every aspect of my life. I hope to attend a couple of them again next year.
Yes, among everything, there’s been my copywriting!
I’ve worked with some absolutely amazing clients this year and extended my website copywriting and blogging expertise. I’ve also written a few LinkedIn bios, About pages, and social media posts. And contributed articles towards some publications and online blogs.
While I’ve stayed in contact via email, I plan to reach out to past clients a bit more regularly in 2020 via phone calls. Just so they know I care and haven’t forgotten about them!
I’ve collaborated with Miriam Motbey from Yik Yak Creative on a few projects where she’s done the design and I’ve done the copy. I’ve also worked with Amir Rana from Aura Digital Agency and referred a client to him. I hope to build more collaborative partners in 2020.
I’m sure there are other aspects of my business I’ve forgotten to mention – but I’ve already mentioned so much. My 2019 Year in Review has taken about 1.5 hours to type….plus editing!
Typing it out has made me recognise all the hard work I’ve put into 2019. Including planning the launch of my Marketing & Me podcast in late January 2020. There’s been a lot of procrastination among the progress, but I’m ready to start recording solo episodes tomorrow…and already have some guests locked in. That’s going to be my biggest adventure of 2020 – as my biggest form of marketing to date!
The future looks bright – but I look forward to having a couple of weeks off in the meantime.
See you next year!