I am finally in the swing of this thing called blogging. When I launched in 2017 I had no vision for where this blog was going to go. The first few months of 2018 I started trying to monetize the blog without growing a real audience to monetize. By April of 2018 I lost my focus and in June 2018 I hit the road again which made it even harder to focus. The last six months of 2018 Living Dreams Joyfully just sat around with no activity.
As always life stepped in and tested how bad I wanted this to work. February 2019 dealt me an interesting blow as a travel agent, but that gut punch led to me finally having a real vision for where I wanted to go with the blog. April of 2019 I started my own travel agency Living Dreams Joyfully which is now my primary monetization effort for the blog. I was excited with a new vision and monetization strategy, but I had one distraction after the other so executing this new vision that I had was a struggle.
I decided the remaining travel that I had for 2019 was going to be scrapped to working trips. I traveled to Manchester and London United Kingdom; Amsterdam, Netherlands; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Dubai, UAE; Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town South Africa to spend 90% of my time in these places in a hotel room in front of the computer. This was a sacrifice I was willing to make to invest in my business in the hopes that this sacrifice will pay off.
I made some improvements in the areas that I failed miserably in year one. I still have A LOT of work to do, but I will share my wins I had in year two because I am motivated to keep moving ahead as long as I see progress.
1. Monetizing: The blog as a stand-alone is still not profitable, but combined with the income and expenses of the travel agency the blog became profitable in 2019 including the 2017 and 2018 expenses. As an accountant profitability is always my main goal so I was super excited when I sat down with the numbers from 2017 to current and had a profit. Now that profit was nothing to write home about, but if I decided to quit blogging today I literally lost nothing! What I improved: I reapplied for my Amazon associates account six months after I lost it and they let me back in with the 90 day trial period. When I got this approval I contacted everyone I had information for and asked them to check out my content about things they may buy. I have to give a special shout out to two of my readers who also own businesses Uendure Tea Company and Mrs. Bee’s Private Care. They used my links for their purchases for their business and it got me over the hump with making my required sales. I also made sure I put affiliate links in all my blog post. Work to do: Now I would be homeless, hungry and naked if I was depending on this to live but I am happy to see that there is a few cents trickling in here and there that can grow.
2. Content Creation: I still struggle immensely with releasing content. I am out traveling and creating the content, but I am not getting the content edited and produced into something to share with my readers. Thankfully in spite of me producing very little this year I did accumulate a few new followers, so I’m hopeful that once I get more consistent the numbers will grow. What I improved: I made editing and producing a priority to complete the Vietnam series that was a real creative block for me. Once I got that out of the way I was able to release a couple of post I created earlier in the year before life pinned me to the ropes. Work to do: I need to figure out a content creation strategy that will allow me to get more things edited, produced and shared to grow my following.
3. Networking: I made a HUGE improvement in my networking! I went to Travelcon for a second time and nurtured the relationships that I made there in 2018. I also met some new people that I am happy to have in my new blogging family. I also attended Audacity Festival which is focused on bloggers of color and their allies. I met some great creative and business minds in Memphis and I have already started to build strong relationships with them in a few short months. Work to do: I am seriously thinking about putting myself out there as a speaker at Audacity Fest 2020! I need to really stay focused on creating content and building a presence that will get me selected.
4. MARKETING: I make an effort to tell people what I do! I’m still not as shameless about promoting Living Dreams Joyfully as I should be. My new friend from Audacity Fest advised me to stop having secret businesses this year. So in December I took her advice and started reintroducing myself and the services I provide. Work to do: I have to find balance. As a solopreneur it is extremely exhausting trying to be great at everything. I want to make sure I get my systems in place that allow me to provide outstanding customer service to the people who answer my marketing call.
I am happy that I was able to provide a more successful update on the second anniversary of Living Dreams Joyfully, which was my hope at the end of a disastrous year one. This is not an easy business. I question why I’m doing this to myself every day. The answer to that question is that I see the potential in it and I am fueled by my passion to inspire others into Living Dreams Joyfully!