My Business Year 2020 In Review: Successes ๐ŸŽ‰ Struggles๐Ÿ˜ฃ And Plans For The Next Year ๐Ÿ“

Itโ€™s the beginning of the new year and it meansโ€ฆ itโ€™s time to write yet another annual review post ๐Ÿฅ‚

At the end of each year, I always try to take some time to reflect back on the previous year.

In this blog, I write about what I am doing to create various income streams that come from online endeavors. The yearly reports let me take a look at my business from a distance.

The reports also motivate me๐Ÿ’ช

I tend to forget my achievementsโ€ฆ and posts like this one wonโ€™t let me do it ๐Ÿ™‚ Apart from that, they help me to remember how much I have progressed and how much I have already invested in my business. Itโ€™s a motivation to push even harder ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Hereโ€™s what happened in 2020 โ€“ and here were my goals for the past year

Letโ€™s see what I achieved and where I slacked๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

Successes and accomplishments

Letโ€™s look at the first three achievements I accomplished in 2020.

Increasing the revenue

There is no doubt this item was on my 2019 list for 2020 ๐Ÿ˜‰ I put there a certain numberโ€ฆ and exceed it ๐Ÿค—

2020 was good to meโ€ฆ Yes, we got the pandemic, which is a sad and tragic event ๐Ÿ˜ข but I cannot deny that it helped to achieve my business goals since many more people started shopping online.

Also, I put a lot of focused efforts into growing ๐Ÿ˜‰

๐Ÿ˜ Website family

Hereโ€™s the yearly traffic of Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website; it grew more than 1.3 times compared to the previous year ๐Ÿ‘ Revenue from ads only grew by 72%. Here, I look only at the Aug-Dec period because I set up the Ezoic ads only in Aug 2019.

Baby Elephant - ezoic revenue + traffic Aug-Dec 2020 vs 2019

Hereโ€™s the yearly traffic of Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website; it grew by 86% compared to the previous year โ€“ and the organic traffic grew by more than 3 times

As of revenue, I know it grew but do not know exactly by how much๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Itโ€™s hard to calculate it since the website got moved to a new domain at the beginning of the year 2020.

Mother Elephant - all traffic 2020 vs 2019

Got lost in my Camels ๐Ÿช, Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Unicorns ๐Ÿฆ„, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean!

New website

Aaand in April 2020, I finally took a step to get to the next level (as planned in 2019) and bought a big website. I called Unicorn ๐Ÿฆ„ Website.

It immediately increased my revenue by about 30% ๐Ÿš€ The site also made my income less dependent on Amazon since it runs other affiliate programs.

At the same time, since itโ€™s the biggest website I have ever owned, it increased my headaches by about 100-200% ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜…๐Ÿ˜† Index bloat, old content updates, tons of non-Amazon affiliate programs to manageโ€ฆ Not an easy feat! I am still getting a grasp of all of it ๐Ÿ˜…

I am so afraid of โ€œspoilingโ€ or โ€œbreakingโ€ itโ€ฆ. Meaning that I am afraid of making the website perform worse than it did before I bought it ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

Getting much better at outsourcing

In 2020, I had a solid team that was working seamlessly and often without my intervention ๐Ÿ‘

I got:

  • a team of writers
  • an editor whoโ€™s managing the writers and editing the articles
  • a VA whoโ€™s formatting posts, taking care of Pinterest, and doing other routine tasks
  • A designer to take care of producing media

During 2020, I understood how it is to have a great team that you can rely on. I appreciated it so much that even gave some of my team members bonuses ๐Ÿคฏ

Thanks to having a reliable team, my processes got more defined and scalable. Now, 50% of the time, I find myself reviewing work of the others rather than doing this work myself ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ‘

Aaandโ€ฆ speaking of scaling ๐Ÿ˜

As mentioned above, I bought a new website that became the biggest website I ever own ๐Ÿคฏ

Getting (kinda) more focused

In order to stay focused, I sold my Rat ๐Ÿ€ Website. It lacked love and I lost interest in it. I did not want it to go wasted nor did I want to continue building it. 

So I sold it off.

Instead, I revived a website that came along with Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website when I bought it. The plan was to make it similar to Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website that has been a great passive income earner ๐Ÿ˜

This new website is better than Rat ๐Ÿ€ Website because I know the niche very well and can use the same growth approach I used for Baby ๐Ÿ˜ Website.

Got lost in my Camels ๐Ÿช, Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Unicorns ๐Ÿฆ„, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean!

So the plan was good.

But something went wrongโ€ฆ ๐Ÿค” More about it in my struggles.

Other successes

๐Ÿ‘ I managed to fix the Pinterest issues for Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website and the traffic is growing, not so slowly but very surely ๐Ÿ˜Š

Mother Elephant - Pinterest traffic Dec 2020

๐Ÿ‘ I converted Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website from a seasonal website to a two-season one๐ŸŽ‰ Last winter was a desperate period for the site because it was all about summer products. It was baaad ๐Ÿ˜… So, I decided to double-down on winter content to avoid having desperate winters. And it worked ๐Ÿ˜

๐Ÿ‘ I managed to increase the revenue of ๐Ÿฆ„ Website I bought in April by 25% ๐ŸŽ‰ it had a lot of low-hanging revenue fruits so I just picked them up  ๐Ÿ˜€

Struggles and failures

I think that I have good ideas but I am not always determined enough to pursue them till the end ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Thus being saidโ€ฆ

Struggling with focus, still

Looking back at 2020, I feel like I need to be even more focused, yet again ๐Ÿ˜”

It seems that focus is the main challenge that stays with me throughout the years ๐Ÿ˜ฒ๐Ÿค” I had exactly the same struggle a year agoโ€ฆ and two years agoโ€ฆ ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜‚

Each time I want to focus, I sell a website ๐Ÿคฃ as I did in 2018, 2019 โ€“ and 2020 followed the suite ๐Ÿ˜‚

So, instead of growing ๐Ÿ€ Website, I decided to duplicate one of my existing websites to get easy passive revenue.

The idea was excellent ๐Ÿ‘ However, I stopped halfway ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Something new came (Unicorn ๐Ÿฆ„ Website) and distracted me. 

Now, this Baby 2 ๐Ÿ˜ Website is in limboโ€ฆ I spent $800+ on the content and the website brings a measle $10 a month ๐Ÿ˜’ Itโ€™s still a thin-content site and I cannot even get it approved by Adsense ๐Ÿ™ (but Ezoic did accept it ๐Ÿ˜)

However, instead of finishing up with Baby 2 ๐Ÿ˜ Website, I justโ€ฆ took an Instagram course ๐Ÿ˜ฎ I spent $400+ just to understand that Instagram marketing was not for me ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

I definitely need to do something with being more focused! โœŠ

Got lost in my Camels ๐Ÿช, Elephants ๐Ÿ˜, Unicorns ๐Ÿฆ„, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean!

Procrastinating

During 2020, I often found myself paralyzed and not being able to make any decision or do what was needed. 

For example, it took me more than two months to add Ezoic to Unicorn ๐Ÿฆ„ Website ๐Ÿคฏ I bought it in April 2020 and got Ezoic only at the end of June. For some reason, I felt a big resistance inside despite knowing that I need to do it ASAP to start paying off my investment.

Same thing happened with the Pinterest traffic drop ๐Ÿ˜’

In May 2020, my websites were hit by a Pinterest update. The Pinterest traffic almost dried up; hereโ€™s how it changed for Mother ๐Ÿ˜ Website:

Mother Elephant - Pinterest traffic 2020 vs 2019

It was a big blow since about 30% of the ad revenue came from Pinterest traffic.

However, I did not do anything about it for 5 months. Only in November, I started experimenting with fixing itโ€ฆ

So in 2020, I was getting mental blocks that really hindered me from moving forward ๐Ÿ˜ฌ

I am not a big fan of analyzing my negative emotions so I just ignored these moments and went with the flow ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ

I feel like the next time, I should dive deeper into this and at least understand the reasons why itโ€™s happeningโ€ฆ

Other struggles

๐Ÿ‘Ž ๐Ÿฆ„ Website came with a free tool that was designed to increase its authority and brand. Unfortunately, it used a third-party API that got shut down ๐Ÿ˜ญ The tool got broken. I tried but never managed to fix it ๐Ÿ˜ž So the website lost some of its authority ๐Ÿ˜• It was a big blowโ€ฆ

๐Ÿ‘Ž While the revenue of ๐Ÿฆ„ Website went up, its traffic struggled to grow ๐Ÿ˜ญ I partially blame it on the loss of the tool and partially on my own procrastination and lack of focus ๐Ÿ˜’

Top lessons learned

The top lessons are talking pretty much about the same things and this is where I got the inspiration for my Word Of The Year Iโ€™ll talk about later in the post:

  1. Want to make money? Focus on what makes you money ๐Ÿ’ฒ
  2. Stop chasing shiny new things! Master what you are already doing โšก
  3. Having a great team is essential in business. Value your key people ๐Ÿ†

To summarize it: Donโ€™t approach the important aspects of the business half-heartedly ๐ŸŒ“ and keep your team great ๐Ÿ’ช

FOCUS ๐Ÿฅ…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘€

My income reports for 2020

If you feel like drilling into some particular details of my last year, here are my income reports for 2020 to check:

Report Revenue
Jan-Feb 2020 $1,424.97
Mar-Apr 2020 $3,793.28
May-Jun 2020 $4,042.34
Jul-Aug 2020 $3,906.22
Sep-Oct 2020 $4,247.75
Nov-Dec 2020 $4,386.57

Plans for 2021

Revenue projections

This is my annual report number five 5๏ธโƒฃ In three of them, I made my revenue projections way too high ๐Ÿ˜’

However, the year 2020 was so good that I exceeded the projection I made in 2019 by 50% ๐Ÿคฏ

This made me so optimistic that I decided to push it again ๐Ÿ’ช 

In 2021, I want to achieve 6-digit number ๐Ÿ˜ฌ๐Ÿ˜ฎ๐Ÿคฏ๐Ÿ˜†

Revenue + Expenses Per Year 2016-2020 + projected Revenue 2021

It may look like nothing compared to 2020 when I not just doubled the previous year revenue but exceeded it by 250%โ€ฆ but in fact, achieving the 2021 goal currently seems like a very hard task for me ๐Ÿ˜ฃ

The new year 2021 has started quite gloomy ๐Ÿ˜’ it looks like Google did a correction of the December 2020 Update and my traffic plummeted ๐Ÿ˜ญ

For my biggest hope, ๐Ÿฆ„ Website, January traffic dropped by 25% compared to December ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Unicorn - clicks dropped in Jan 2021

And no, itโ€™s not the usual difference between the high holiday season and the low after-holiday one. Itโ€™s the SERPs that went down ๐Ÿ˜ญ

Mother ๐Ÿ˜  in January is also about 20% down: 

Elephant - clicks dropped in Jan 2021

Soโ€ฆ getting a 6-figure revenue does not look easy!

My Word Of The Year

I want to grow in 2021โ€ฆ which is exactly the same thing I wanted all the previous years ๐Ÿ™ˆ๐Ÿ˜†

This time, I also want to be very targeted with what I am doing. Iโ€™ve got much more experienced compared to a year ago. Now I have a better idea of whatโ€™s working and whatโ€™s not.

So my goal is to double-down on this knowledge with the eyes on the 6-figure number 6๏ธโƒฃ Thatโ€™s why for this year, I am choosing this word:

FOCUS ๐Ÿฅ…๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘€

I need to be very focused and efficient in order to get there ๐Ÿ˜…

Updating my Zoo

While writing this post, I realized how confusing it must be to distinguish three different Elephant ๐Ÿ˜ websites ๐Ÿ˜…

Since Mother ๐Ÿ˜Website has diverged so much from its original niche and it now has little in common with two other namesake sites, I decided to rename it.

So from now on, Mother ๐Ÿ˜Website will be calledโ€ฆ Camel ๐Ÿช Website ๐ŸŽ‰

Elephant cocooned and emerged into a species thatโ€™s also big, strong, and beautifulโ€ฆ But from a completely different world ๐Ÿ˜„

I think it represents well all the transformations it went through during the year 2020 ๐Ÿ˜

So, how was my 2020?

It was great ๐Ÿ˜ Despite all the sad things that happened during it, it was still great.

It gave me confidence that I can pull this thing off ๐Ÿ˜Ž 

I just hope the year 2021 wonโ€™t spoil that ๐Ÿ˜‚

How was your 2020? What were your top achievements and lessons learned? Let me know in the comments!

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 0 comments