What a year.
What a bluddy magnificent, successful, profitable, happy, can’t-wipe-the-smile-off-my-face, faith restoring, vote of confidence’ing, healing year.
2018 was the “funeral”, and it was the year I genuinely thought this business would absolutely die. There were just too many critical mistakes that my – usually optimistic – self had me feeling like it was all just too imposs. to recover from.
2019 though? Well, it’s been living proof that good prevails, that hard work is the solution, and that innovation saves. Literally, saves.
Wanna walk through a TDP year in review with us? Month to month? … let’s do it.
January: I took my first ever annual leave. I’ve always taken “leave”, of course … but it’s always been stressful > interrupted > and has very-much-so involved phone out / laptop open etc. but this particular holiday? Zilch internet reception, and deep within rainforests almost every day, and it was GEWD.
February: this was an is-Don-is-good kinda month.
We promoted our beloved Studio Manager Cat, to General Manager [I actually can’t remember a time where she was ever not GM here, tbh?!].
We cleared 80k’s worth of debt with the ATO, and were no longer on a repayment schedule for our BAS [we shared this online, and the crowd went wild].
We introduced far more progressive HR policies to TDP, and our HR consultant [Carly, from Armadillo HR if anyone needs an incredible freelance consultant] presented them to the team, and I felt indescribably proud knowing those bad boi’s were going to positively impact lives here.
And finally? I got a new car. A “company car”. It felt like one of the best “sole Director perks” ever, because in the past? That would have been something I’d have rightfully had to request of my former business partner, and given they had a perfectly functioning car … it wouldn’t have been right [nor fair] for me to benefit from company car perks, when they couldn’t.
My old car on the other hand? Old. Slowly [but surely] dying. And zilch air con for x5 years. Yep … five long Summers that I went without air con, and every time I slide into my [brand new’bie] Mazda? I am so grateful for a) heated seats in Winter, but more importantly b) air con in Summer.
March: we launched online learning with TDP, and it went nuts. Actually, it generated a quarter of a million dollars for our company … and I am indescribably proud.
More important than the revenue though? The feedback we got. My goodness. I fell in love with every human being that invested in our course, and their genuine thank you’s as the course wrapped up? … I printed them out, and I keep them in my office at work. #truestory.
April: we won some big clients; Wittner and Rollie Nation, to be exact … and our team subsequently grew.
We added x2 new team members to our strategy team via x2 ‘community and content manager’ roles [first Eloiza, and then Poppy shortly after]. We celebrated “one year work’aversaries” with our strategists Tess and Michelle [and that kinda employee retention to me feels good. Gosh, we’re rapidly approaching two years with the pair o’ them now].
May: this was a big-girl-pants kinda month.
I finally [for the first time ever] discussed my bullying experience more openly. With integrity, of course … but it was a discussion that needed to happen, because I know [I know!] that workplace bullying happens to a lot of people and yet, it’s this very silent [very secret] shame that you carry with you.
I wanted more bullying victims to know that it’s their bully who should feel ashamed, and not them – and that it’s ok to discuss bullying out loud [actually? …it’ll save you].
My advice to you if this is you? Practice saying it out loud. I started with my husband, “Dave? xyz is bullying me. Relentlessly, actually” … and then I told him the whole story [for the first time. I’d been so proud + stoic, that I felt such deep, deep *shame* admitting that my situation was far from ideal, and that I’d been lying to him about it being a “happy situation” for so long].
Truly though? Practice saying out loud, “I am being bullied” [that alone, will free you].
June: more growth, Jesus. So much growth this year, now that I’m reflecting back.
We brought a customer service officer on [hi Katie. #bestdecision]. We made our contractor Ali permanent here via an eMarketing and Online Coordinator role [again, best decision].
And to accommodate our [rapidly] growing team, we took a second lease via the building attached to our current building with the view to knock the walls in between the x2 building [hindsight? Massive f*cking mistake]. A-OK though, #lessons.
July: ok. This was a really sad month. I’ll call it “death month”, but only because my humour is dark, dark dark.
I had been working 80+ hours for x6 months straight to try and financially recover from buying out my former business partner, and this was the month where I dropped [after ignoring – very obvious – warning signs for months].
Death month, honestly.
I’ll cut a very long story short, but it was discovered that my stomach was covered in gastric ulcers [stress] … and I was wheeled in for surgery to correct this. During surgery, my oesophagus was accidentally snipped by my surgeon and air began leaking into my heart & lungs [at this point, nobody knew]. I was discharged home with chest pain [which I chalked up to anxiety, as I just wanted to be home with my children], and when I got home? I stopped breathing / 000 was called / I was rushed to hospital, and stopped breathing again in the ambulance.
I remember the feeling, guys. My body [and my brain] knew that I was potentially taking some of my last breaths, and it was fighting to make sure I just kept breathing. It’s the most awful feeling. I felt like I was suffocating, and the chest pain was excruciating [my God], and my son was screaming [but I couldn’t open my eyes nor speak to say, “it’s going to be ok”]. The truth? … I wasn’t entirely convinced it was going to be ok [tears are streaming down my eyes as I’m typing this].
I survived though, and I’m *incredibly* lucky. I’m grateful for the healthcare we have in Australia. I’m indescribably grateful to the paramedics that treated me, and I’m grateful to my son [who was home alone with me when I collapsed, and he called 000 of his own accord].
Please note, we see a child psych. fortnightly now to help him process this trauma, and he is genuinely ok.
I haven’t been the same since I returned to work after that experience, in a good way. I refuse to work until I drop again. I haven’t got it in me to do the late nights any more. I simply won’t onboard red flag’y / pisstake’y clients, who push my team [and subsequently push my anxiety] until I [and we] break. I say “no” more. I can’t travel interstate the way that I used to any more [it quite simply exhausts me]. And instead? I say yes to myself, a lot more.
I’m a different person, and she’s happy … really happy.
August: would you believe it? … more growth. We promoted our Senior Strategist Michelle to Head of Social, and our Social Media Strategist Tess to Senior Social Media Strategist.
Also it’s worth noting that in August, our #shyboiSam Senior Social Media Strategist first appeared on Instagram [despite having been here for months, ha!].
September: we renovated our offices, and made them so damn good? … we no longer needed the sh*tty second building lease we’d taken. #bestnewsEVER.
We left, immediately.
October: another [bluddy] brilliant month!
We celebrated our business turning five. We finished paying out my former business partner. Because we were no longer paying that payout, we could afford to bring in x2 full-time strategists, and we brought in Mel + Sav [a.k.a x2 UNICORN HIRES!].
November: we launched our very first Black Friday sale, and generated 30k+ from that 48 hour sale alone.
Honestly? It was so successful, we’re planning on writing about it as a case study, i.e to highlight which businesses benefit most from Black Friday [as opposed to getting screwed].
We were the business who killed it on Black Friday, and it’s put us in incredibly good stead for a wonderful January!
December: I’m currently in ab.so.lute beast mode for an epic 2020.
I’m planning. Innovating. In DND mode. I’m working from home x1 day per week, to minimise distraction, and I am really focused on stuff that’ll significantly move the needle on this here little business.
I’m ready, are you?
Our 2020 social media workshops are live here.
Or perhaps you need some real 1:1 mentoring via our brand new monthly social media membership, available here.