2016: A Retrospective on my First Year Working From Home

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In November I surpassed the 1 year mark of working for myself.

2016 was the year I took a jump of faith from part time employment to working for myself. Before that it had been over a decade since I haven’t had a boss or regular paycheck. Until this year, I had to keep something that was reliable because I was scared. The year that a huge check bounced that I had paid bloggers on, right before Christmas made an impact. That year I didn’t have enough to pay my mortgage. I had no backup. It took 3 months to get paid but in the meantime I found a job. That was a particularly traumatic year that I’ll never forget.

Still, I felt like I was losing opportunities by not having more freedom and time to work on my business.

Note: this post contains affiliate links.

The Year of No Coworkers—Besides My Facebook Friends

Another thing that kept me from quitting my day job is that I hated working alone. But after a year of working in a small room with about 10 other people I was cured. A few months of coworking helped me adjust. I had some killer coworkers there. We were all independent businesses and I loved the ambition. There was a lot of hussle. That was an important middle step for me and I know I can always go back if I need to.

After a while I began to prefer working by myself on my computer, no commute or parking and easy access to healthy food. I like the quiet and the pace of my days. My desk is in the kitchen and I drink shakes for breakfast. Sometimes I drink a shake for lunch too. It’s helped me lose weight and break my sugar and chocolate addiction. I love that I get to set my schedule every day.

Some days I’m very productive and don’t want to talk a lot. I just want to work. Other days I’m more social or laid back. Or, there are days I skip out on work to go get a massage or take my daughter to see a movie. If it’s a bad day to learn a lot of new things, I stick to blogging or things I know well. At work I didn’t have that luxury! As I get older, I can clearly see how much sleep and what I eat play a huge role in how motivated I feel. There are days I’m forgetful and scattered, but I don’t have to stress. I just don’t take on something new on those days. I like to update my progress on Facebook, either on my personal page (here’s my Newspapergrl page) or in Facebook groups.

Tough: Adjusting to the Income Roller Coaster

I still sweat it when people don’t pay on time or my income drops. I’ve had months over $7,000 and months under $1,000. I got stiffed for some work with bloggers. It really stung because the people involved weren’t honest. I put so much into it despite my reservations and got NOTHING from itexcept a lesson. I learned I better not trust people even if I like them and always get paid up front. I broke that rule for a client that needed a rush job in November. I still haven’t been paid so I’m not perfect at this and there are still times it’s not feasible.

This quote and blog post from John Chow (I remember that HostGater shirt – I have one from Affiliate Summit) helped me realize this income roller coaster is normal. I still have a paycheck mentality. It doesn’t make me quit but I need to adjust how I spend and think about money. My husband is self-employed too. That means that taxes and health insurance take a huge cut of everything we make!

For 2017 I want to make and sell my own product that helps even out some of the dips.

paycheck mentality

Challenge: Performance Anxiety

I took on some freelance work with a large company you’d all recognize. I was so honored but for some reason it also freaked me out. I had so much anxiety I could barely work or focus. This is not like me at all! When I did get myself to work on it, things never really clicked. I felt like I’d failed. Except that I learned that money isn’t a good enough reason to do something. I learned what I’m not good at and appreciate the opportunity. I’d like to figure out why I had so much unnecessary stress about it and work on that.

Goal: Build up My Passive Income

I’m investing a lot of time and money in learning, like taking this Facebook ads course. In addition I took several classes on SkillShare and found some excellent ones that I applied right away. I won’t link to the ones I took until they accept me into their affiliate program, dangit!

So far things always pull through. As part of my goal to be a queen of revenue streamsI have built up more passive income than ever before. This isn’t a straight line though because I plowed a lot into a new affiliate site that, despite a lot of work, hasn’t made a sale yet. 🙁

I took on YouTube in 2016 and I have a lot to learn to get good at it. For the most part but I still want to improve because the ads are paying for daycare bill right now. Plus, I can use my SEO skills in a new way.

In addition to passive income, I’ve created sponsored post campaigns and hosted events for bloggers. The influencer marketing part of my business is fun and I get to meet all sorts of interesting people and business owners.

2017, Here are 9 Things I Want Out of You:

This is a random list in no particular order and since I believe your personal life affects your business life, it includes both.

Lose another 12 or more lbs – I love how it feels to be thinner!

Master funnels, I don’t know why they’ve been so challenging for me. I have a mental block I need to overcome.

Make an additional $1k in passive income per month, through existing and new partnerships – I recently added two. Funnels can help with this goal.

No debt except my car which may take 1.5 to 2 more years to pay off.

Do something purposefully in service to my husband and children each day, think of something they are or do to give gratitude for (see my list of books to read below for more context).

Read scripture or meditate daily to reconnect and center spiritually every day.

Plant at least 2 fruit trees in our yard and start to compost. As usual I plant a garden every summer but I’d like to add some potted herbs this year.

My dream is to get the HOA where we live to turn the kiddie pool that isn’t used that much into a hot tub or put one in.

Rebuild Utah News Source, my press release distribution site for Utah news. It was deleted a few months ago so I get to start from zero. This only solidified my hate for Bluehost and never should’ve happened. Thanks for the bad advice to my business partner, guys!


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2 Comments
  1. Carey January 3, 2017
  2. Janet Thaeler January 3, 2017

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