2019 Year in Review

By Sean Ondes

As part of my new(ish) tradition, this is my second annual year in review.

I’ve seen some changes in 2019. Along the way, I’ve had a few successes and a couple of failures. That makes me pretty much like everyone else. Read my 2018 Year in Review to see how things have been developing for me.

What Went Well In 2019

Client Work

Just like in 2018, my client work was a highlight of 2019. I continued to have very steady work with longstanding clients. Improving over 2018, the periodic gaps in work were virtually nonexistent in 2019. This is great news for a few reasons. First, it means that my income is essentially stable from month to month. That means I can get a little more ambitious in my future projections and planning. Second, and arguably just as important, stable work means that my clients are doing really well!

Every client I work with has seen business growth in 2019. Their websites are getting more traffic, their social media accounts have more followers, and they’ve seen an increase in scheduled appointments and sales. I can’t take the credit for their successes. I’m privileged to work with a very talented and dedicated group of clients. I can say that I have without a doubt helped. Cheers!

Web Projects

In 2018, I launched WP Pagebuilder Pro (WPPBP). This is where I review the more popular WordPress page builder plugins like Beaver Builder and Elementor. Like I mentioned in last year’s review, I do any audience building before launch. That was a decision I made mainly because I wasn’t totally confident that I know who the audience would be.

I know. That’s absolutely a less than good way to start a project. I can’t begin to recall how many times I’ve sympathetically criticized clients and colleagues for exactly the same thing. Basically, I simply had the idea that I wanted to build a resource for people who work on WordPress sites.

Even considering my lack of planning, the site has seen some moderate success. WP Page Builder Pro is definitely a labor of love. The fact that I enjoy working on the project makes it even sweeter that it almost pays for itself.

Klaviyo Partnership

I attended the Klaviyo:BOS conference in 2019. It was awesome! The talks were all informative and inspiring. I sometimes forget how important it is for me to spend time with people working on the same things I enjoy.

I was blown away by every aspect of Klaviyo’s email platform. It was so impressive that as soon as I got home I applied for their partnership program and signed up two of my longstanding clients. Klaviyo is a perfect fit for both of them.

Time Management

There’s still never enough time but I have been much better at prioritizing it. I’ve had a lot of life changes this year. They have all required my attention and I’ve happily given it. In spite of all those commitments, I’ve managed to stay not just sane and mostly stress-free but dare I say even happy!

I’ve reduced my overall work hours in 2019 but somehow managed to get even more accomplished.

Last year, this was my plan to make that happen:

  1. Get more efficient in my client communication and project planning
  2. Review my project workflow and revise my standard operating procedures to include repetitive tasks

My efforts to be more efficient in my client communication and project planning paid off in 2019. I help myself to four tiers of communication frequency with clients: daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly. I put every client on one of those schedules depending on what projects we were working on and their overall need for my help. That has proven to be a good plan. I feel much more in touch with all of my client projects and have much more familiarity with each of their businesses.

There’s always room for improvement when it comes to managing time. Maintaining a healthy, enjoyable life can’t happen on autopilot. It takes consistent effort and regular pulse checks to make sure that I’m living my life the way I really want to be living it. After all, what the hell is the point of any of this if I’m not truly satisfied?

What Didn’t Go So Well In 2019

Education Products

Not much change here from 2018. I’m still not prioritizing my education products. It’s not that I don’t believe that they could be valuable. The problem is simply working them competes for time with less prospective work. I’ve also been able to scratch my itch to serve others more in the way I conduct myself with clients. As a result, the desire to work on products has been a bit less than it has in the past.

What I’m Looking Forward to in 2020

Turning up the heat and taking more breaks

I’ve held myself to incredibly strict (for me) schedules and calendars in the recent past. I was trying to squeeze every bit of effort out of myself that I could. I scheduled strict routines for work, personal projects, martial arts, and exercise.

My results for all that effort were good but not great. I noticed a tendency to go hard for a few months. After that, I’d find small excuses to rebel against my own calendar. Imagine how that process works in a person’s head. I’m rebelling against myself. Huh?

My mantra for 2020 will be “tune into your own channel”. I mentioned pulse checks earlier. This is what I was referring to. My goal in 2020 is to push hard and then stop, take a break, reassess, get out of the chair, go outside, reflect, play with the dogs, get some exercise, and then hit it hard again.

I think that I used to have a secret crush on being stressed out. I treated stress as an indicator that I was gettin’ stuff done! I plan to keep better guard against that kind of destructive thinking in 2020.

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2020 will be challenging, enriching, and truly fulfilling for you all.

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Sean Ondes