I always feel a sense of gratitude when the year comes to an end.
And sadness, because life goes so dang fast.
So let’s dive into a 2018 reflection highlighting the good, bad, and ultimately, what I will do in 2019.
This was a huge year for me. Like huge! I grew a lot personally and professionally and started to fix a lot of my stuff. Here are some of the fun things that happened in 2018.
The Good Stuff
I quit my 9-5.
I’ve been building my business since 2014 (or 2015, I forget) and always stayed patiently behind the scenes, coaching, writing, connecting with others, and recording podcast episodes. There were so many times I wanted to jump ship earlier and dive full force into my business, but it didn’t make financial sense. It’s one thing to have your business self-sustain, but an entirely different analysis when you need to live on your business income as well. This was such an exciting year for me to earn the privilege to work full-time on whatever projects light me up. I’m proud of the path I took, because I had some many people try to “entrepreneur shame” me by saying thing like, “only the true entrepreneurs go all in on their business” or “you’re too risk averse for this business.” But I had to recognize where they were coming from, and ultimately trust my gut and my own financial projections to make the right move for me. Instead, I started by building up a 6 month business emergency fund to help me float biz expenses in the down months, saved as much as I could before quitting, reduced my personal expenses even further, and temporarily pushed pause on large trips while I navigated this huge life change.
Biggest lesson: Everyone has an opinion about when you should jump ship, but you’re the only person who knows your finances and life outlooks. No one has a right to tell you how to live your life.
Celebrated my 30th birthday at a fire lookout.
Okay, I know this sound absolutely crazy, but I was incredibly bummed about turning 30– at least leading up to it. It felt like this turning point where it’s time to get (more?) serious about life. There are also so many expectations put on people that by the time their 30 they should have everything figured out, 2.5 kids, be married, and be super serious.
My life is quite the opposite. I’m still figuring out my career, I don’t plan on having kids until I’m at least 35 (yes, I’ll be having a geriatric pregnancy), I’ve been engaged since 2012 without a marriage date set in stone, and I recently told Tony I feel like I’m getting less serious as I age instead of more.
I didn’t realize that these stupid expectations impacted me until I started looking 30 in the face. That’s when I felt this tinge of guilt for things I hadn’t done yet, and the life I hadn’t lived. Why 30 triggered so many emotions for me, I really don’t know, but it was a grueling process. But I had a lot of time to sit in nature at the fire lookout, reflect, plan, and ultimately, pat myself on the back. Life is tough enough without all the expectations placed on it and I was finally ready to live life on my own terms.
Biggest lesson: Society’s standards of where your life should be is outdated and not necessarily right for you. Also, 30 really is just another day.
Travelled to Italy and explored Venice in nice weather, Florence, and Cinque Terre with Tony and my cousin.
I love traveling to new places and experiencing them with people I care about. This trip to Italy was a great one. I found a roundtrip ticket to Venice for $389 and strong-armed Tony and my cousin to come with me. My cousin had never traveled outside of the country, so it was a really awesome time seeing her experience Italia. Last time I was in Venice was in December. It was freeeeeezing cold, foggy (which added to the charm), and felt like we had the city to ourselves. This time we went in late April, so the weather was perfect.
While I love traveling with others, I always feel most at ease when it’s just Tony and I. One night in Venice, we were getting ready to go to bed, and got a spur of motivation to go explore. So T-Dawg and I threw on some normal clothes and walked through the maze-like streets of Venice to a remote location that more of the locals hang out. We had a quiet, romantic, and beautiful night exploring a new part of Venice. Then out of nowhere we came into an incredibly lively street full of music, wine bars, and places to grab appetizers. We ordered a really great meat and cheese tray, some wine, and just enjoyed each other’s company. My favorite memory by far.
Biggest lesson: Always give yourself some free time in you travel evenings to just wander aimlessly. We will definitely be incorporating this in our next trip.
Spoke at two of my favorite events (FinCon and Camp FI).
Anytime I speak at events, I get thrilled. I used to be so terrified of public speaking that I would break out into a mild sweat, my voice would get shaky, and I would feel like everyone was judging me. Through lots of practice, and purposefully putting myself in situations where I had to speak, I was able to overcome this fear. I was invited to speak at a huge conference in Orlando, called FinCon and a financial independence retreat in Arkansas, called Camp Fi. Every time I speak, I always get a little bit excited, because I remember how far I’ve come.
PS. I highly recommend attending both of these events! I’ll be at both of them next year as well (FinCon is in Washington D.C. and the Camp Fi I’ll be at is in Joshua Tree– I’m extending my time in Joshua Tree- some if you’re there, come hiking with me afterwards!)
Biggest lesson: you grow by actively put yourself in really uncomfortable situations. And you might even find a new passion.
Started working out again.
Okay, my health and fitness journey has been a freaking rollercoaster. I have started and stopped. Lost weight and gained weight. And while, I did rollercoaster a bit with my working out during 2018, I actually ended on a really strong note and am carrying that forward into 2019. I learned to have a lot of compassion with myself and actually started working out to help me gain peak energy rather than for aesthetic reasons.
Biggest lesson: if you fall off the wagon, jump back on. It’s totally normally to have setbacks, just pick up where you left off and start again.
Began creating the Become A Financial Coach course.
I’m super excited to be launching a new digital product. This is something I’ve been wanting to do again for a while, but needed a good offering that people actually wanted. After a surge in emails, DMs and comments from people asking how to become a financial coach, I started turning my business experience into a course. It’s set to launch January 2019 and already has a waitlist of over 100 people.
Biggest lesson: courses take a lot of time to create. ????
Organizing my house.
Over the summer, I got on an organizing kick and started decluttering my home. It was a couple month journey and still isn’t exactly where I want it to be, but it was well worth the effort. My pantry and kitchen are still organized and by far my greatest decluttering accomplishment. It gives me such joy to open my pantry door and see everything neatly lined up, visible, and clean.
Biggest lesson: it’s sickening to see how much money we waste on material items throughout the years. Decluttering will help you be more intentional with your spending when you see how much money you wasted.
Invited to join Facebook’s Small Business Council and toured their headquarters.
This was so much fun to me! I spoke at a Facebook Boost Your Business Summit in Boise a few years ago. From that panel discussion, I was invited to apply and join their Small Business Council. I did, scared and unsure, but was accepted and even given an all expenses paid trip to their HQs to learn from Facebook and Instagram directly. It was incredible and I met some really amazing people. By far one of my favorite memories.
Biggest lesson: put yourself out there- you never know who is watching and paying attention.
The Money Nerds 2 year podiversary and Podcast of The Year nomination.
I don’t know if I ever really shared this, but I didn’t launch The Money Nerds podcast for a year. I had the idea, recorded, and sat on the idea for one solid year. What the hell, right? Frankly, I was nervous that no one would listen to the show, intimidated about adding another thing to my “plate”, and did’t really know if I had what it takes to create a successful podcast. THANK GOD I went for it, because I have really found my groove with podcasting. It’s fun, challenging, so fulfilling, and I often record and think, “how the heck is this my job?”
In October, I celebrated my 2 year podiversary. It feels great to keep a project alive and growing for a couple years and the connections I’ve made from the podcast have been the greatest gift. It received a Plutus Award for the Best New Personal Finance Podcast in 2017 and was nominated as Podcast of the Year during 2018.
Biggest lesson: it take a lot of time for podcasts to grow. If I quit after my first year’s results, I wouldn’t have seen the huge growth that took place in year 2 and never would have received emails about how the podcast is changing lives.
What Will I do in 2019
I’m finding my stride as a self-employed person working from home. So I expect business to be absolutely amazing this year! But while I am in love with my business, I am also working towards a lot in my personal life.
Here are a few things I’ll be working towards in 2019:
- More travel exploring National Parks and hiking in my own back yard
- A few solo-trips (it makes me uncomfortable, which is why I want to overcome that)
- Creating content that is for fun and doesn’t necessarily make “business sense”
- More speaking (I’m leaning into this season of my life and can honestly see myself speaking in front of thousands of people)
- A healthy workout and nutrition routine (5x per week and practicing mindful eating)
- Monthly date nights (I’m starting to book date nights with Tony for at least 1x per month)
- Putting my action plan together for paying off my primary residence in 5 years
- Purchasing a lot to build a tiny tree house
- Hiring a PT assistant to help me as my business continues to grow
- Getting my podcast on Alexa so you can hear The Money Nerds Daily Brief
- Working with bigger brands for sponsored content and video creation
- More video. I have slacked off on my video creation and I’ll be doing much more of that in 2019
That’s it in a nutshell. I hope you enjoyed this post, it’s not my typical content, but I wanted to share a bit more of the behind the scenes of what I feel were my highlights and hopefully inspire you through my lessons learned.
Thanks for reading, I appreciate you and wish you happy 2019!
What are your goals? Anything exciting that you’re working towards in 2019?