My Business Year 2020 In Review: Successes 🎉 Struggles😣 And Plans For The Next Year 📝

It’s the beginning of the new year and it means… it’s time to write yet another annual review post 🥂

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 me💪

I tend to forget my achievements… and posts like this one won’t let me do it 🙂 Apart from that, they help me to remember how much I have progressed and how much I have already invested in my business. It’s a motivation to push even harder 💦

Here’s what happened in 2020 – and here were my goals for the past year

Let’s see what I achieved and where I slacked👁👁

Successes and accomplishments

Let’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 😉 I put there a certain number… and exceed it 🤗

2020 was good to me… Yes, we got the pandemic, which is a sad and tragic event 😢 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 😉

🐘 Website family

Here’s the yearly traffic of Baby 🐘 Website; it grew more than 1.3 times compared to the previous year 👍 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

Here’s the yearly traffic of Mother 🐘 Website; it grew by 86% compared to the previous year – and the organic traffic grew by more than 3 times

As of revenue, I know it grew but do not know exactly by how much🤷‍♀️ It’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 🐪, Elephants 🐘, Unicorns 🦄, 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 🦄 Website.

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

At the same time, since it’s the biggest website I have ever owned, it increased my headaches by about 100-200% 😭😅😆 Index bloat, old content updates, tons of non-Amazon affiliate programs to manage… Not an easy feat! I am still getting a grasp of all of it 😅

I am so afraid of “spoiling” or “breaking” it…. Meaning that I am afraid of making the website perform worse than it did before I bought it 😬

Getting much better at outsourcing

In 2020, I had a solid team that was working seamlessly and often without my intervention 👍

I got:

  • a team of writers
  • an editor who’s managing the writers and editing the articles
  • a VA who’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 🤯

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 😏👍

Aaand… speaking of scaling 😁

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

Getting (kinda) more focused

In order to stay focused, I sold my Rat 🐀 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 🐘 Website when I bought it. The plan was to make it similar to Baby 🐘 Website that has been a great passive income earner 😏

This new website is better than Rat 🐀 Website because I know the niche very well and can use the same growth approach I used for Baby 🐘 Website.

Got lost in my Camels 🐪, Elephants 🐘, Unicorns 🦄, and other creatures? Read here to find out what the website nicknames mean!

So the plan was good.

But something went wrong… 🤔 More about it in my struggles.

Other successes

👍 I managed to fix the Pinterest issues for Mother 🐘 Website and the traffic is growing, not so slowly but very surely 😊

Mother Elephant - Pinterest traffic Dec 2020

👍 I converted Mother 🐘 Website from a seasonal website to a two-season one🎉 Last winter was a desperate period for the site because it was all about summer products. It was baaad 😅 So, I decided to double-down on winter content to avoid having desperate winters. And it worked 😁

👍 I managed to increase the revenue of 🦄 Website I bought in April by 25% 🎉 it had a lot of low-hanging revenue fruits so I just picked them up  😀

Struggles and failures

I think that I have good ideas but I am not always determined enough to pursue them till the end 🤷‍♀️

Thus being said…

Struggling with focus, still

Looking back at 2020, I feel like I need to be even more focused, yet again 😔

It seems that focus is the main challenge that stays with me throughout the years 😲🤔 I had exactly the same struggle a year ago… and two years ago… 😬😂

Each time I want to focus, I sell a website 🤣 as I did in 2018, 2019 – and 2020 followed the suite 😂

So, instead of growing 🐀 Website, I decided to duplicate one of my existing websites to get easy passive revenue.

The idea was excellent 👍 However, I stopped halfway 🤷‍♀️ Something new came (Unicorn 🦄 Website) and distracted me. 

Now, this Baby 2 🐘 Website is in limbo… I spent $800+ on the content and the website brings a measle $10 a month 😒 It’s still a thin-content site and I cannot even get it approved by Adsense 🙁 (but Ezoic did accept it 😝)

However, instead of finishing up with Baby 2 🐘 Website, I just… took an Instagram course 😮 I spent $400+ just to understand that Instagram marketing was not for me 🤷‍♀️

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

Got lost in my Camels 🐪, Elephants 🐘, Unicorns 🦄, 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 🦄 Website 🤯 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 😒

In May 2020, my websites were hit by a Pinterest update. The Pinterest traffic almost dried up; here’s how it changed for Mother 🐘 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 it…

So in 2020, I was getting mental blocks that really hindered me from moving forward 😬

I am not a big fan of analyzing my negative emotions so I just ignored these moments and went with the flow 🤷‍♀️

I feel like the next time, I should dive deeper into this and at least understand the reasons why it’s happening…

Other struggles

👎 🦄 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 😭 The tool got broken. I tried but never managed to fix it 😞 So the website lost some of its authority 😕 It was a big blow…

👎 While the revenue of 🦄 Website went up, its traffic struggled to grow 😭 I partially blame it on the loss of the tool and partially on my own procrastination and lack of focus 😒

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 I’ll talk about later in the post:

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

To summarize it: Don’t approach the important aspects of the business half-heartedly 🌓 and keep your team great 💪

FOCUS 🥅🏑👀

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 5️⃣ In three of them, I made my revenue projections way too high 😒

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

This made me so optimistic that I decided to push it again 💪 

In 2021, I want to achieve 6-digit number 😬😮🤯😆

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%… but in fact, achieving the 2021 goal currently seems like a very hard task for me 😣

The new year 2021 has started quite gloomy 😒 it looks like Google did a correction of the December 2020 Update and my traffic plummeted 😭

For my biggest hope, 🦄 Website, January traffic dropped by 25% compared to December 😭

Unicorn - clicks dropped in Jan 2021

And no, it’s not the usual difference between the high holiday season and the low after-holiday one. It’s the SERPs that went down 😭

Mother 🐘  in January is also about 20% down: 

Elephant - clicks dropped in Jan 2021

So… getting a 6-figure revenue does not look easy!

My Word Of The Year

I want to grow in 2021… which is exactly the same thing I wanted all the previous years 🙈😆

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

So my goal is to double-down on this knowledge with the eyes on the 6-figure number 6️⃣ That’s why for this year, I am choosing this word:

FOCUS 🥅🏑👀

I need to be very focused and efficient in order to get there 😅

Updating my Zoo

While writing this post, I realized how confusing it must be to distinguish three different Elephant 🐘 websites 😅

Since Mother 🐘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 🐘Website will be called… Camel 🐪 Website 🎉

Elephant cocooned and emerged into a species that’s also big, strong, and beautiful… But from a completely different world 😄

I think it represents well all the transformations it went through during the year 2020 😁

So, how was my 2020?

It was great 😍 Despite all the sad things that happened during it, it was still great.

It gave me confidence that I can pull this thing off 😎 

I just hope the year 2021 won’t spoil that 😂

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

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