Well, we’re here, friend. The last blog post on A Branch of Holly for 2016.
I can't really believe it, can you? I was really struggling to know what route to go down with this, but then I took a look through my Bloglovin’ feed and managed to find some inspiration.
So I thought I'd take a look back over the last year and how my blog and online presence has grown and developed - boy has a lot changed! I've done a personal year in review on Little Branches (where I announced we've bought a house!), but here I want to reflect in a little more detail.
I wanted this to be helpful for me as I go into a new year, but also an inspiration to you to see what you can do in a year if you put the right plan in place, work in a smart way and believe in yourself a little bit more.
I just wanted to quickly tell you why I love doing these end-of-year reviews. When my blog was very young and only my family were reading my content, I saw some bloggers I admired write posts like this and I thought it was so honest and refreshing. They were people with successful blogs and thriving communities, and they were exactly where I wanted to be. Of course, I was falling into the one trap all bloggers should avoid - comparison.
But then I read more about the journey they'd been on, what they'd done to make their blogs successful and I didn't compare myself anymore. These were no overnight successes. They were real. There were late nights, lack of sleep, sacrifices, hard decisions and sheer determination. That's what pushed me forward.
So here we go - my 2016 in review.
- Prepped and launched the Blogging Breakthrough challenge on my blog, which was a massive success and kick-started my year.
- Due to reader feedback, I decided to turn the challenge into a free eBook and started putting that together.
- Decided to document as much of my life this year as possible and note down what I was grateful for.
- Launched the Blogging Breakthrough as my free opt-in freebie for my email list.
- Recapped my survey results and got some great feedback.
- Brought Tom on board to the ABOH team as my official photographer!
- Delivered a personal branding workshop at Lancaster University - my family told me they were proud of me.
- The ‘How I Got to Where I am Today’ interview series launched on the blog.
- Published content every day and shared my thoughts about feeling guilty as a blogger.
- Continued to publish a piece of content every day during April, but definitely started to feel the pressure!
- Swapped my bedroom around at home and set up a proper working area.
- Interviewed my good friend Stephie for the career series.
- Delivered a talk about my education and career journey to a group of pupils at my old high school.
- Honed in on my categories and finally cut my posting schedule down to five times a week instead of seven.
- Found out that Snapchat has had more downloads than Twitter and soon jumped on that bandwagon!
- The first issue of the Blogging Breakthrough magazine hit inboxes!
- A calendar of fantastic guest posts launched on the blog.
- Cut my publishing schedule down to three times a week and started creating more free downloads.
- Enjoyed the heatwave that hit the UK!
- Tom and I took a five-day trip to Dublin.
- Hit my mid-twenties!
- Took the time to reflect on what I'd learnt about building my online presence so far this year.
- Tom took me to see my favourite band in the world, OneRepublic for my birthday ( a definite highlight of the year!)
- Had some more amazing bloggers guest post on my blog.
- Took a trip back to my childhood and spent a week in Ireland with Tom and my family.
- Hit 10,000 pageviews!
- Had a conference call with my first official freelance writing client.
- Launched a series on my blog all about my creative process.
- Started using a bullet journal and never looked back.
- Celebrated my three year blogging anniversary and got lots of lovely messages.
- Supported Tom in the Great North Run!
- Gave myself a bit of a break and cut my posting schedule down to one piece of content per week. It was definitely needed!
- Sent my first ever freelance contract to a client.
- Had my first ever barge trip to celebrate my mum’s birthday and we all loved it.
- Delivered a blogging and social media workshop at the university of central Lancashire and got some great feedback.
- Finally decided on a posting schedule - twice a week!
- Tom got a brand new job at the University of Cumbria!
- Started thinking about revamping the Blogging Breakthrough magazine.
- Got nominated for a UK Blog Award.
So there you have it friend - my 2016 in a nutshell! Some things were planned from the very beginning, but a lot of them were very spontaneous ideas.
It just goes to show that all of this has been possible whilst succeeding in my full-time job and living my life to the fullest. Hard work does pay off, sacrifices don't last forever and most of all? Sleep is one of the most important things EVER .
This will be the last time you hear from me properly in 2016 so I wanted to first of all say THANK YOU for all your support this year. Have an absolutely wonderful Christmas and all the best for the new year!
Now it's your turn - I'd LOVE for you to leave a comment and tell me what your biggest accomplishment has been from 2016. Let me know! Do you find it helpful to reflect as you move into a brand new year? And what've you got planned for 2017?