2023 Year In Review

Revisiting the past year

In 2023, I visited 26 destinations across nine different countries. All while managing my online business, married life, and walking with God. In this 2023 year in review, I’m inviting you to look at the miles travelled and sharing mistakes made and lessons learned.

2023 year in review as an online business owner
2023 year in review: reflecting on the past to better move forward

Taking stock of the past 12 months

I cannot share any learnings without reflecting on the past 12 months. It’s essential to take stock, so let’s do this first before we dive into details for each quarter. Use this process for your 2023 Year In Review if you haven’t done yours yet.

This year was full of crazy plans!

I say crazy because most people would not typically do these in a single year (a big move + possible emigrations in two different countries while working and travelling the world).

It starts with a move – from living in Malta to being nomadic again without a fixed home address. Then, follow this up with a road trip on the Albanian Riviera that spans over approximately three months to finish off in various other countries. Add a long-term training (two years), enrolling in and completing a travel writing course, an iPhone photography & editing course, as well as a possible company restructure. Plans to emigrate to Greece or Middle East (more on this later), while still researching properties in rural areas to turn into a guesthouse or B&B.

Reflecting on 2023, I have so much to be thankful for.

A husband who loves and supports me during the crazy plans. I received a lot of things freely (and I know my giving needs to be generous too), including a scholarship into the training I always dreamed of doing. Wonderful clients who teach me that it was worth going through this entrepreneurial path and do what I do.

Now let’s dive in the 2023 Year In Review by quarters.

2023 Year in review q1- January to march (Gozo, MALTA, BERKSHIRE U.K)

My husband and I were leaving Malta where we had enjoyed being temporary residents. As with any move, there was a lot to do (selling some items, donate our plants…).

Business-wise, I was motivated but really keen to innovate how I work. I audited my own Instagram account which had been stagnant.(not because I wasn’t posting, but because my reach had stalled). I experimented with some Reels to try to ‘revive’ the account.

By end March, I became aware that I was spending far too much time in Reels creation that didn’t include learning a dance choreography on ‘trending audio’ I didn’t like. After I surveyed some of my clients, I realised that like me, they too had similar Instagram challenges and were either taking a break or learning from elsewhere.

I suffered from some strange type of mental sorrow and when I sought a counsellor, I was told that what I was going through is known as a ‘midlife crisis’. I thought only 50-year old married man had that, but as it turns out a creative 43 year old woman can also have that and it’s a real condition, not a myth. I don’t know when I will get out of it, but I will be patient and trust God too.

2023 Year in review Q2 – APRIL TO JUNE (SICILY, ALBANIA, GREECE)

As summer began in Europe – and we started road-tripping in Sicily and Albania respectively – things slowed down with work. I was still trying to figure out how else to work. I wanted to spend less time on screens and on video calls, and more time writing. Usually, I’d sell my digital courses but Teachable had changed its plans and that didn’t work in my favour. I looked at various other options, and still begged my husband to build me an app. But once again, I failed to grasp what he really does in tech! (sorry my love, if you’re reading this).

I was considering a company restructure – for me to take a backseat and invite my husband to be director so I could focus on the creative part and he could take care of the operational side. In the end, it was better for him to set up his own company, and so he did. I remained the director of my own company but was looking at other ways to work more passively.

On a personal level, I struggled with the summer heat (tension headaches, migraines, heat exhaustion). There were also wildfires while we were on Corfu island (and tourists were being evacuated from their hotels). Throughout everything, I could see God’s hands holding me and giving me strength.

2023 Year in review Q3 – JULY TO SEPTEMBER (SURREY U.K, SPAIN)

We had already contacted an immigration lawyer about emigrating to Greece but after several issues when we were there, we decided not to go ahead. Free from the paperwork, I focused my energy and time on my studies, my business, and my marketing efforts.

I took the opportunity of being in the U.K to upgrade my most important work tool: my iPhone. I got the iPhone 14 Pro with maximum storage space for my gazillion photos and videos.

I spent most of summer in other people’s gardens, tending to their greenhouses and veggie patch. I felt the desire burning inside of me – I deeply wanted my little guesthouse where I could write books, host people from all over the world and grow my own food. Is this too much to ask??

2023 Year in review Q4 – OCTOBER TO DECEMBER (TUNISIA, italy, VATICAn CITY, the NETHERLANDS)

My marketing efforts (and prayers) paid off. The connections I had made and the conversations I had turned into clients. I enjoyed coaching over Zoom or Google meet. It was such a blessing to work with phenomenal clients who were kind and a pleasure to work with.

I can’t figure out a lot of the tech to change the sales of my products without resorting to expensive solutions or subscriptions. I’m trying to keep my costs as minimal as possible because I need to follow on the plans of the ‘guesthouse vision’.

However, I made progress about Instagram. I created a new account where I’d share all my nomadic travels as a separate venture. Then for this online business, I have an alternative way to use my Instagram that I won’t have to update so often – I’ll explain soon.

On a personal level, we are considering a move to the Middle East and received approval for the first step (to be continued).

2023 Year in review: Lessons learned and final words

I learned that…

  • It’s okay to slow down, even if this means you will not have as many clients or income as usual.
  • It’s perfectly fine to pause and catch your breath (or in my case, breathe in the British countryside air) while you figure things out.
  • It’s okay to seek professional help for your midlife crisis (even though you never thought you’d need therapy in your early forties). This does not make you less of a strong woman; in fact it takes strength to ask for help.
  • I love building new connections, plus this is what drives profitability in my business.
  • Instagram and its constantly changing features drive me crazy and I do not want to use it to market this online business.
  • I prefer an evergreen sales funnel for my services and digital products.
  • I need to break the reliance of third-parties and host my digital products on my own website.
  • It will take time to build the next level and steps in my online business, but I can do this.
  • I work better in cooler climatic conditions.

The main focus is to become aware that we are not the same person who started the year 2023. I know for a fact that I’m a changed woman. Can you see the transformation in you?

Have a beautiful end of year, and I wish you the best for 2024.

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