2020.

I feel like you could just write the numbers and have it sum up so much for so many people.

Wildfires, Kobe Bryant, COVID, Tiger King, George Floyd, Black Lives Matter protests, quarantine, cancelled events, the debates, the election…. and those are just the first things coming to mind as I write this.

It’s been a year that has opened, broken, elevated and changed us in ways we never imagined.

It also did so in ways I believe we needed, as both humans and business owners.

To start, here’s a quick run down of a few things that went down this year.

On a business level:

  • After three years, I made the decision to discontinue the Freedom Driven Success Podcast in order to focus our efforts on blogging.
  • We created three new products: The Presell + Profit Method™, Course Success Bundle and Six Figure Scale Up Workshop.
  • The Clients to Courses® trademark is officially, official!
  • As our profits increased this year, so did our giving, which makes me incredibly proud of what we do here at Freedom Driven Success and how we can continue to support causes close to my heart.
  • Moved off Kartra and both clarified and aligned our business (including the tools and team that support it) to our mission and beliefs.
  • Connected with amazing humans in the Six Figure Course Creator Challenge in September as we welcomed new women into Clients to Courses® as a result!
  • Hosted an in-person retreat for The Collective  rightttt before COVID hit and my first virtual one this Fall! #yaypivots
  • We grew our team with some amazing humans!
  • Celebrated 1:1 and The Collective clients who hit HUGE launch goals this year!

On a personal level:

  • I decided to create a 40 to 40 list (here’s where I’m keeping track on Instagram) and did things like getting ordained, leaving 100% tip for a server, an adult cake smash photoshoot with my sister and more!
  • When my trip to Costa Rica was cancelled, I spent the week redoing our bedroom and making it one of my favorite places in the house!
  • We celebrated our ten year wedding anniversary!
  • TikTok and Reels gave me ways to express my personality in ways that have made me say “omg, this is what was missing in social” more times than I can count.
  • We’re prepping our home to sell in 2021 which feels both exciting and scary!
  • Joe is no longer working inside the business and, instead, is at a local tech company which has been really good for him (andddd I get to hear cool coworker convos without actually having to work for someone!)
  • I did a lot of work on my health and mindset around diet culture, my body and how I want to show up in it which I’m really excited to dive into more in 2021.

And now, if you want all the nitty gritty of what happened in between all that… read on!

1. Your Struggle Doesn’t Have to Look Like Someone Else’s to Be Valid

Everytime I try to write this sentence, I feel like a cocky mc cockerson and worried about those who aren’t able to say the same but, here it is….

Freedom Driven Success did great throughout 2020.

Actually, really great.

When COVID first hit, I had the space to create a smaller offering to meet the market, adjust my content and the finances to buy when others were pulling back.

I could go on a tangent about how a big reason for this is because a mentor told me, a few years ago, that we were due for a recession and I built my business to withstand a major downturn or how this why it’s so important for me to show business owners how to have a business that can pivot with the market, no matter what but the truth is… myself and a lot of people around me had some of our best years in business, despite the pandemic.

However, others did not.

And, no matter how much I tried to help others I kept feeling this pit of guilt, anytime I dared to complain or show disappointment in what I was experiencing throughout the first months of the pandemic.

“Oh, you had to cancel that trip to Costa Rica? Boo hoo. People can’t afford groceries right now.”

“Awww you can’t host your retreat in person. Shut up. There’s people who don’t even know how their business will stay afloat next month.


“Omg you’re tired of being at home?! At least you have a comfortable one with food and heat!”

It didn’t help that, in between that, I’d see the posts on social media talking about how “our ancestors made it through X so you can sit and watch Netflix inside” which only further solidified in my mind that I should just be grateful and continue on my day.

Do you know what happens when you don’t allow your feelings to be expressed? Anxiety comes knocking at your door. Or, at least mine does.

This left me struggling with feeling this heavy weight inside, when everything was “fine” on the outside.

It’s never fine when you aren’t allowing yourself to be heard (especially by yourself).

It wasn’t until I began hearing these same worries from both the women inside The Collective as well as friends of mine in business that I realized this was an issue that wasn’t just within me.

They were carrying this same story with them and it was causing a collective heaviness.

While it may have been at a different level and in different areas of life, we also have disappointments and sadness that are making us feel uneasy.

And when I saw the next wave of COVID memes started going around, one finally expressed it correctly, “We’re all in the same storm, but not in the same boat.”

Yes. Which means that we all have different ways we’re navigating our own storms in our own boats… and they’re all valid.

ALL feelings are valid.

There will always be someone who has it “better” and someone who has it “worse” but ignoring your own feelings will never help anything or anyone.

It’s ok to be sad because you have been thrown one shitstorm after another this year. It’s ok to feel sad because someone close to you has died this year. It’s ok to feel sad that business didn’t do anything according to plan this year.

It’s also ok to be sad you haven’t seen your friends this year. It’s ok to be sad about events that were cancelled this year. It’s ok to be sad about the parties you didn’t get to host this year.

2. If You Remove the Fear, You Remove the Growth

In May, I got to experience the feeling of being on a livestream with thousands tuning in live around the world on Tea with Gary Vee…

All while I shared one of the biggest fears I have when it comes to my BIG vision. (You know, the one that all of your actions are taking you towards or away from at any given moment. #nopressure)

If you follow me on Instagram, then you already know that my very first reaction when I got off the livestream was complete freak out.

I don’t feel I articulated my question as clearly as I wanted to. I struggled to find my footing in the conversation. And I honestly didn’t feel like I made much sense at all.

Whether any of that is true or not (as we all know the mind can play tricks on us!) it didn’t matter.

The truth of the matter is, I said yes to myself by taking action despite the fear.

Action in giving myself five minutes to send in my question so I wouldn’t overthink it to oblivion.

Action by being in front of my computer and ready to go for three days until I got my chance.

Action in spilling water on myself right before I was about to go live and needing to do the fastest shirt change of my life.

Action by sharing my current situation in the best way I could that day.

Action by asking on livestream if it was possible to shadow the team at Vayner (and getting a yes!)

It wasn’t perfect. It also didn’t need to be.

Because, after eight years in business, I can confidently tell you that…

1. If you don’t have fears, it’s because you’re in your comfort zone and comfort zones don’t produce growth.

2. I am where I am today as a result of years of small actions over time, regardless of the fear I had through many of them.

You can spend months or years, trying to work through that fear until you finally take action to move forward or…

Just do the thing, learn the lesson and move along however you need to from that point.

This year has shown me just how much I’ve done this over the years and how important it is to keep doing it.

3. Your Silence is a Response

Back in my 2019 wrap up, my third lesson was that “You don’t have to scream your mission for it to be heard.”

I can’t help but laugh  because my 2020 self is saying YELL. THAT. SHIT.

Why?

Because us not doing so is causing a much bigger issue and I was an unknowing part of the problem.

As the killing of George Floyd, at the hands of the Minneapolis police, went mainstream in May and kicked off protests around the country, I found myself becoming incredibly aware of just how much work we still have to do as a society. 

Myself included.

I also realized, as Rachel Rodgers so perfectly said on this video, that this is the time where unequivocal is the only way.

Silence and tolerance is no longer acceptable. Especially because both are part of what got us to this point in the first place.

Ignoring the snide comment from an uncle not to “make it awkward.”

Scrolling by a post on social media because you don’t want to call out a friend and make them “feel bad.”

Avoiding uncomfortable conversations because it’s easier to stay with the status quo.

Not speaking up because you’re more afraid of “getting it wrong” than learning and evolving.

It all adds up.

And I committed to doing (much) better at that point.

This led me to looking at who we spend our money with in our business and if those companies hold the same values and beliefs that I do, all while starting the work of unpacking my own unconscious biases and what it means to do you part in anti-racism work.

A few months later, I released:  The Real Reason Why I Left Kartra (and Why You May Want to Avoid/Leave it Too)

I also…

  • Clarified and publicized what I aim to be accountable for as the CEO of FDS.
  • Communicated with the team my thoughts, intentions and beliefs and where we are moving as a company to promote more equity and inclusion.
  • Said no to Summits, communities and/or paid offerings that lack diversity.
  • Created a list of Companies Committed/Not Committed to Black Lives Matter for Online Business Owners for business owners who also want to be more conscious of where their money is going.
  • Joined new communities and groups that would keep in with a diverse group of business owners.
  • Discounted any and all advice to “keep politics out of business” because… #NOPE
  • Stopped following or supporting “influencers” who refuse to acknowledge the need for change and/or have chosen to love and light it away.

And there’s still a lot more I both can and will be doing because this work doesn’t end.

I’m also not going to stop vocalizing any of it because the silence is what got us here in the first place and that’s not ok.

Don’t just have a mission or a belief.

Vocalize it.

Loudly and unequivocally.

4. If You’re Going to Make Up a Story, Make It A Good One

This one makes me laugh a bit because I’ve had enough conversations about it throughout this year to know that we’re all guilty of it.

Someone doesn’t respond to a follow up…
“It’s because they think I’m annoying.”

You post about your paid offer for the third time this week…
“People are going to think all I care about is the sale and unfollow me!”

A member of your program posts that they don’t understand something in your community…
“Oh no, I did an awful job teaching that!”

If we’re going to make up stories that have zero proof behind them, why not make them ones that actually serve us?

Someone doesn’t respond to a follow up…
“They’re probably just busy. I know I can get behind on emails too! When they’re ready, I’m here.”

You post about your paid offer for the third time this week…
“This is for the person on the fence, I’m not giving up on you!”

A member of your program posts that they don’t understand something in your community…
“They are loving the program enough to be implementing it! Yes! Let me take this info to make it better!”

I have a habit of making up a lot of stories for other people so this year has been a process of being hyper aware of when I’m doing it and changing it into one that serves me because it’s either 1) grounded in reality and/or what I can actually do something about or 2) Is a heck of a lot better than me putting myself down for no reason at all.

Feel free to use this as your personal nudge to be aware of the stories you tell yourself as well.

Are they helping or hurting?

5. Don’t Let Jadedness Take Away the Magic

Do you know the hardest part about both being an experienced business owner and working with experienced business owners?

We’re all jaded.

We see someone sharing a win on social and say things like “they don’t mention how many hours that took!”

We see someone talking about their revenue and say things like “ok, how much was profit?”

It makes sense because we’ve seen things, both good and bad.

And we’ve been in business long enough to have seen that not everything is as it seems to be.

This makes it hard for us to dream as big as we once did and be open to the magic that can come in between it all.

I’ve been thinking a lot about that this year as I worked with a few women who weren’t as “in” the online business bubble.

The launch that generated $70k with no social media presence, the launch that brought in over $100k with less than $5k in ad spend, the single email that brought in a few thousand dollars on a passive product, the “unicorn” ads, the blog that hit SEO just right to the point where passive affiliate income was coming in in just two weeks…

All from people who were open to the magic that can also happen in business.

These experiences were a reminder of the power of the space in the middle of big audacious dreams and being realistic.

And the importance of being open to both.

This realization has changed the way I set and work towards goals and how I lay out the options for the women I support

It’s important to know industry averages, what to expect and how to navigate it all. It’s also important to know that “this, or better” is an option too.

6.  You Have Proof of Success All Around You, Celebrate  It.

“Remember when you got your first webinar sign up?  Or your first passive sale? It was like ‘PEOPLE ACTUALLY CARE ABOUT WHAT I’M SAYING?!’ and you almost lost your mind with excitement? Sometimes I miss that.”

^^^ This came up in a conversation with a friend last month as I was sharing how much we can take for granted in our business.

In those days, everything was a BIG deal because everything was so new.⁠

As the years went on though, our goals got bigger and we began to celebrate much different milestones.⁠

We share about deep parts of our life on social media like it’s nothing.

We talk about a $10k month being a “what went wrong?!” month.

We quickly click payment notifications for passive products as read in our inbox to get to the other emails.

Things that were once a dream became our everyday realities and we began to treat them as such.⁠

For a week, I began celebrating the everyday things that the right year ago version of me would have DREAMED of.

I set up alerts for new email subscribers and said thank you to each one.

I danced to each payment that came in.

I extra appreciated waking up without an alarm clock.

You know what? It was pretty powerful.

This is also something I’m taking into 2021 with me as I continue to aim for bigger goals to remind myself of just how capable I am by taking note of the proof all around me of previous big goals and dreams.

7. Let Go Of The Pressure, Everything We’re Doing is Just One Experiment After The Next

This lesson is a little different as it’s one I didn’t realize I had already learned and had embodied until it was reflected to me by a few of the women who worked with me inside the second round of The Collective in 2020.

Since the women in The Collective have 1:1 access to me, a lot of deeper conversations will happen, via Voxer,  when it comes to what they are navigating in their business.

It’s how I can say that no matter how much we earn or what our businesses look like, we’re all going through the same human experience behind the scenes. Simply at different levels.

And, as I look back at all of the businesses I’ve been fortunate enough to be behind the scenes of, including my own, I continue to see just how much their attachment to the end result helps or hurts their results.

When there’s a launch that consists of a high attachment to the outcome, there’s high pressure on yourself, your team, your offer and your audience. And with high pressure, comes frantic energy that can only see things in black and white. This type of attachment ignores the bigger picture of business and the marathon of it all and makes it so everything rises and falls on each decision you make.

Except, that’s not how sustainable businesses operate. Nothing rises and falls on one decision, it’s the sum of multiple mini decisions over time. Some that work and others that don’t.

That’s where the experimental mindset comes in.

A launch with an experimental mindset is focused on what can be learned in the process, how to enjoy the experience and serve at the highest level, and using the data at the end to change and tweak, you show up in a completely different way.

Sometimes we hit it out of the park on day one. Other times, we don’t do it until season two.

At the end of the day, our only job is to keep trying new things and looking at the data from it.

Keep what works and change what doesn’t.

It’s all one experiment after the next.

Get aware of the attachment you have, what you’re making it mean about you, release it and allow your business to be a fun experiment.

In fact, this quote that I shared on this Instagram post in March says it all… “”When you make decisions out of panic, your dollars turn into pennies. When you make decisions from principles and patience your pennies turn into dollars.” – Mel Abraham

What Have You Learned in 2020?

I write this wrap up blog every year as a service to both you and myself.

For you, my intention is that you are able to see that there’s always more that goes on behind the scenes of business than just a revenue number.

For me, my intention is that I can look back at this and see my continued evolution as a business owner.

Which now leads me to YOU because, right now, this is a super one sided conversation.

What have you learned about yourself in 2020? I want to hear it! 

Come on over to Instagram and let me know!

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