Whether you’ve heard of ‘personal brand’ or not, the truth is that you already have…
On New Years Eve last year I was in bed by 9pm.
‘WHO THE BLOODY HELL AM I?!’, I said to my friends.
Secretly though, it felt kinda good (in a smug-HA-HA way) to finally be that sensible, grown up person that I had heard people in their thirties were supposed to be.
And, thanks to my early bedtime, I woke up on New Years Day completely hangover free for the very first time in my adult life.
(Eep. If that wasn’t a sign of great things to come, then I really don’t know what was).
That morning, Jules and I got up early to go for a walk.
(By a walk, I mean a walk + condescending smirk-fest at all the stragglers coming home from the Valley even though that was me last year BUT IT DIDN’T MATTER BECAUSE I WAS SO GROWN UP NOW!!!!).
I was kind of at a loss when I got home.
With no hangover, I had no need to grab a family feast KFC box and nap the arvo away. Considering that’s what everyone I knew was doing, I was really bloody bored.
And so, I dug out my journal, which in recent years I’d only ever written in when life was dealing me lemons.
Reading back on it was like reading the equivalent to a teenage emo/goth’s neg-o perspective on life, and I was mildly horrified.
It’s time to turn this around, I remember thinking.
I was feeling positive and happy in my post-walk-non-hangover-smug-AF-glow, and so I wrote four things down on a scrap of paper in the diary.
They were literally just things that I thought might be nice to tick off at some stage in the future.
They weren’t SMART goals; and they certainly didn’t have timeframes or action steps or accountabilities or any of that stuff ‘they’ tell you that you need tied to them.
This is that scrap of paper.
Now, I’ve never really been one for vision boards or positive thinking because to be honest I’d always slagged it off as woo woo and hippy.
But this year, I just think I might give it a go.
Because every single thing that I wrote down on that scrap of paper came to fruition in 2017.
I’m shocked, because honestly?
That has NEVER happened to me before.
And so, I thought – for the first time ever – it might be useful for my OWN sake to review the year that was.
I clearly did something right this year, and if you’re anything like I have been in every other year of my existence – aka flapping about wishing for things but never actually getting to the point that they happened – then maybe reading it will help you, too.
And so, here it is.
Just another blog writer’s year in review. Except this one is mine, and it’s better 😉
For the first three months of the year, I didn’t touch a drop of alcohol.
I also went to the gym, and Jules got me weights training.
I kind of didn’t recognise myself.
One day in January, I rocked up at the gym and tried to pull the door open only to realise it was locked and I was there ONE HOUR BEFORE IT EVEN OPENED.
I wasn’t just the first one in the gym, I had BEAT THAT PERSON by an hour.
That was not the Stevie of pre-2017.
I mention this only because I really, honestly believe that the clarity and energy that I got from that time set me up for the whole remainder on the year.
It’s actually kinda mental how good you can actually feel when you do all of the right things. Eat well. Exercise. Stop drinking. Sleep.
My skin improved, my energy was nek level and I was just generally a much happier and better human.
In February, my clarity and energy helped in kicking off the thing that set me on the path to starting my own business.
If you haven’t read this post yet, I recommend that you do.
Because the number one question that I seem to get asked at the moment is ‘how did you quit your job and start a business (and how can I do that too)?’
And honestly, the answer to that is so fricken simple.
You just start.
And you accept that you’re gonna suck.
And you work really fucking hard without any idea where it is all going or really what the eff you’re actually doing.
This is how it went for me:
I registered the domain name for steviesayssocial.com in January.
Then, I decided that it was a shitty name, and so I chewed Jules’ ear off for a month or so about whether I should call it ‘The Social Service’. Or ‘Social Honey’ (WTF). In the end, I stuck with Stevie Says Social. Obviously.
Then, I opened a Canva account and played with a logo for way too long.
And I got a Squarespace website and built the ugliest crappiest website ever with RED all over it before realising how butt ugly it was and starting with another.
Which was also ugly, but I ran with that for about six months after.
Then, I wrote a blog post.
Literally, every weekend for those few months I would spend my time writing epic 3000 word blog posts and uploading them onto the site. No-one read them.
I opened social media accounts. No-one followed me.
I remember doing an ‘Insta Story’ in David Jones one day and not a single soul watched it.
I kept going.
It wasn’t until the second quarter of the year that a few people started following along.
My advice to anyone thinking about starting a business, or a blog, or doing something cool in 2018? Just start. Like, now.
It will be shit and you will suck, but it’s better to go through that now than in six months.
You learn by doing, and the funny thing about momentum is that once you start and gain some momentum it just keeps going.
Anyway, that’s enough about biz stuff for now because it wasn’t until later in the year that I managed to get any level of ‘success’ with it.
In June, I BOUGHT A HOUSE.
THAT win is the result of about 20 years of pre-work, though.
Here’s the story.
When my little brother and I were YOUNG, we (on the advice of our parents) saved our pocket money and bought a house in Burleigh Heads.
And this year, we sold it.
Channel 9 even did a story on the sale.
Buying that house? Probably the best decision we have ever made in our lives.
It enabled us to both split the profit, and to separately go out and buy our own houses.
And I am now the proud owner of ANOTHER house just one street over, and can’t wait to move in and start renovating in August.
It’s gonna be the ultimate beach house and I don’t think I’m ever gonna move again once it’s done.
In July, my blog started gaining traction.
People were asking what my services were.
Ummm, I didn’t have any.
I was still working full time in Digital Marketing for a company that I can hands down say is the best I have worked for, and starting a business was a ‘far off in the distance’ plan.
In the meantime, I was gearing up for a month in Europe in August which I’d spent FOREVER saving for.
In August, we visited the Croatia and sailed around for a week on Yacht Week with 11 absolute legends.
We spent four days in Barcelona with our beautiful family friends, drinking Sangria and making Paella.
We went to see Real Madrid play Barcelona, which is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had.
We went to Rome. I spent two days with my oldest friend and walked the streets with Jules and my family.
We spent four days hiking and beach-clubbing in Positano (that place is out of this world beautiful).
And we capped off with a couple of party days in Ios (holy) and four nights in Santorini.
On our third last day away, my brother, Jules and I all woke up at 4am to go and watch the Mayweather v McGregor fight in a bar in Santorini – one we had to beg, borrow and steal our way into because it was completely sold out.
When we got home, I crashed.
In the meantime, I had absolutely no idea that Jules and Scotty were planning everything for a very special night.
Just before sunset, I woke up and Jules and I went up to the rooftop deck on top of our villa.
HE PROPOSED AS THE SUN SET OVER SANTORINI.
Ummmm, very well played.
It was so perfectly orchestrated and planned, with help from my brother and support from my auntie Vikki and my Mum and then capped off with the most beautiful seafood celebration at the restaurant down the road.
I spent the next two days before we came home on scooters exploring the island and it was pretty much the best time ever.
Errr. waterfront dining at its best.
I came back from Europe on cloud nine.
I ALSO came back to a zillion client enquiries from my blog. I had started doing a few side jobs before I left, but the level of enquiry grew really randomly (by a LOT) in September/October.
Being away had also given me time to think.
It’s very interesting to me how time away from your normal routine can give you a unique sense of perspective.
I’d spent quite a few days whilst on beaches in Barcelona, Italy and Greece musing about whether I should consider giving full time biz life a crack.
One night in Positano, I just decided feck it.
Why NOT try?
The next day, I changed my mind. And then, changed it back. And so on for quite a few days.
When I came back from the trip and saw the demand though, my thinking really solidifed.
And here’s the conclusion I came to:
It’s SO EASY to maintain the status quo but in the end, it’s so fricken cliched but its the chances that we DON’T take that we always end up regretting.
A week after returning from Europe, I resigned.
That sentence sounds so easy and definitive, but in reality it wasn’t like that at all.
I literally spent the first days I got back googling ‘should I quit my job’, ‘how do you resign?’ and other crazy things.
I found myself in warm sweats sitting at my desk waiting to go in and tell my (awesome) boss.
It was HARD, and honestly?
Emotionally, I grappled with it quite a lot.
I liked my job, I liked my co-workers, I loved working in digital marketing.
But I figured it was now or never, and so I did it.
There were nine weeks between resigning and starting my new biz, as I wound things up and my work searched for a replacement.
In Mid November, I was officially unemployed. Or a full time business owner, depending on which way you look at it!
I woke up that first day feeling SO WEIRD. I didn’t have anywhere to be, and it was the strangest feeling.
Honestly, though? The feeling that I have now isn’t really one I can explain, but it’s a good one. I just feel like things are right, and that I am doing the right thing.
As far as the work goes, there have already been SO MANY LEARNINGS.
Clients who haven’t paid.
The BEST new people to work with and to have met.
Opportunities to speak and workshop and strategise and just generally spend every day pinching myself and scratching my head trying to work out how it is that I now get to spend every day doing what I love and getting paid for it.
And that brings me to now.
On Tuesday, I decided to really BIZ PLAN. I hired a biz coach (the awesome Pru from Owners Collective, in case you’re wondering – and yes, I recommend her), and together we sat down and made a plan for the year to come.
And we did it here, in Byron Bay, on a perfect 30 degree day:
UMM WHAT. So good.
And today – December 22 – I’m sitting on my bed doing the same for other areas of my life – relationships, financials, health, the works.
Because this planning thing?
IT WORKED last year. And by putting more effort into it for 2018, I’m so fricken excited to see what i can pull off.
My plans are BIG. But feck it, why not?
I genuinely feel more excited than ever for the future and the opportunities ahead.
And even more than that, I feel really confident about ACHIEVING these things.
It’s a mental shift, but I really do now feel that I can do what I want and that it’s up to me to actually put into place the things I want to happen in my life.
It’s a massive bloody cliche, but the only thing stopping us is ourselves.
Literally, that’s it.
Here’s to a cracker 2018 – for every single one of us x
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