Transcript: An honest review of 2019 and what’s coming next!

Susanne Rieker: I just looked back at 2019 and all the things I’ve done this year, and  – let me tell ‘ya, I’ve been busy last year!

In this episode I’m going to share my biggest learnings from 2019. You get all the nitty gritty details of what worked and what didn’t work so hopefully you can learn from my mistakes – and my successes.

Sometimes I think I don’t celebrate enough all the things I achieved already, I’m always busy working on the next thing and rarely allow myself the time to look back.

If you can relate, I invite you today to look back. Take some time and write down everything you’ve accomplished in 2019.

Seriously, you need to do this.

That’s what I just did to prepare for this episode, and it felt really good!

So, what’s been going on!

I started the year on a yoga retreat with the wonderful Meghan Currie in Bali. Bali is my happy place and I’ve been spending around 6 months a year here since 2014.

The yoga retreat was awesome, really lovely people and GREAT yoga classes. I mean – Meghan Currie, she’s it, really.

But I remember how eager I was to get back to work and get started on all my big plans for the year.

I’m so grateful for that! I really, really love what I do.

So in January I run a 10 day marketing challenge. I had around 250 people signed up and I didn’t pitch anything, it was totally free and awesome to start the year.

In February I just focused on blogging, creating content for my membership and list building, by that I mean I created a new freebie so I would get more people on my email list.

I also experienced with setting up a welcome gate on my website.

A welcome gate is a page that shows up before your homepage and where I offered my new freebie. People only had 2 options here, sign up for the freebie or continue to the homepage.

I’ve seen other people do it and though it would be great to get more sign ups but it really didn’t work for me, nearly no one signed up. Maybe it was the wrong freebie that simply wasn’t interesting for enough people, or it’s confusing for my audience, but after 10 days or so I took it off again.

To tell the truth, I also find it annoying when I see other people doing it, so it’s just not really aligned with me I think.

But I improved the style of my popups I use on my website and I’m still mostly happy with those, even if they don’t convert super good as well, I might have to get back to them.

So here’s a tip – I’m all about getting things done and simply get started, but you also need to analyze your results so you can learn and improve. I actually put this in my calendar, at the beginning of each month I record all my numbers, like my social media followers and website visitors, but I also look at things like what blog posts performed best, what emails got the best open rates or what forms got the most subscribers. It’s not always immediately clear if or what you need to change, but in most cases it will get clear over time and it’s so important to track what’s working and what isn’t.

In March I completely redid my build your website course and relaunched it as blissful websites.

I created a new template website and refilmed all the videos. It was a crazy amount of work but it was worth it!

This is why I’m always smiling when people talk about online courses being passive income. There’s really nothing passive about it, at least in my business.

Yes, you can earn money in your sleep, and I love that, but you’re also going to want to work on your course content and improve it and make it as good as possible, so you’re going to get back to work on it again and again.

I want my website course to be the best course out there on WordPress websites and I’m actually going to refilm all the videos again in February, because so many things look differently in WordPress and I also have more feedback from my students and know where I want to improve some things.

I also took on a freelance job in Hamburg, working 3 days a week in an advertising agency in Hamburg on a big online campaign.

Oh my good, just thinking about that time makes me feel stressed. It was just too much. I have the highest respect for people who have a job, and a family, and are managing to build a business on the side.

I mean, I’ve done it too, I’ve been freelancing fulltime for around 6 months a year in the first years I was building my business.

But I was always sooo stressed out in those months and thankfully I had my time in Bali to recharge and focus on my business. I really don’t know how I could have done it otherwise…

So if that’s what you’re doing right now, I applaud you. And I want to support and inspire you as much as possible to help you make your dreams come true.

In April I launched Blissful Websites and had my first 5000 dollar launch! Since I did this launch while also freelancing in an agency and I wasn’t as present as would have liked to, I was super happy with the result! I’ve worked on much bigger launches with clients of me, one of my clients just had a 20000 $ launch, but for my business that was a great success!

In May I was still working in that advertising agency and I also enrolled in Tribe, a course by Stu McLaren on memberships and started to completely redesign the Blissful Biz Hive, my membership community for yoga teachers.

I started the Blissful Biz Hive in May 2018 and back then I wasn’t ready to join Tribe because it’s an expensive course, it was 2000 dollars, so I decided to wing it and set it up in a way that I thought would make sense.

Well, this was a mistake. I would have avoided so many mistakes and been able to grow so much faster if I’ve joined Tribe in 2018 already.

But anyway, I did it now, and I learned so much from it. So I basically set up the Blissful Biz Hive from scratch. I updated all the trainings and I launched it again, with a much lower price point of just 20$ per month because there would be less trainings available for the new start and I wanted to get as many people interested as possible.

I launched it in June with a yoga business bootcamp, where people got a video every day from me for 4 days with tips and strategies how to grow their biz.

I got 20 people to sign up in June which was disappointing, I had hoped for a lot more interest, but it was a start and I was very confident with my set up and the way I structured it. I just had to give it time to grow!

But well, I was a bit frustrated, and also tired of Hamburg, so I decided to go to Bali for 4 weeks in the summer. June and July is actually the nicest time in Bali, it’s much colder and not as humid as in the rainy season and still not as busy as August when it’s high season and crazy busy.

So I enjoyed life in Bali, did lots of yoga, and worked on content, list building, blogging… the normal things that are ongoing.

When I got back to Hamburg I thought I had to get a new freelancing gig because I still didn’t earn enough money with my business to support me fully.

Since I started freelancing in 2011 I never had problems getting a job. I have a lot of experience and a big network and well, online is still growing. It was always like this, I come back from Bali, and I get a new job within the next week or so. It always simply flowed perfectly.

Well, not this time!

I had 3 inquiries, but all of them didn’t work out for different reasons. It was really weird!

And after reflecting on this I decided it’s the universe giving me the probably much needed push, to get my shit together and focus on my business.

I mean, I was really, really unhappy in my last freelancing jobs, because it was so much to do it all. I was working long hours 6 days a week and on Sunday I would go and visit my mother who unfortunately is sick. It meant I rarely had time for me or for a social life and I hated it, and I also just wanted to work on my business, I just wasn’t interested in other projects anymore.

But, I have an apartment and have to pay rent and that costs money. So now I had to  find a way to live with less money, and increase my income…

So here’s what I did:

I launched a new coaching program, the Blissful Biz Accelerator, where I taught my students with lots of 1-on1 coaching and support how to build an online course. It was 1500 dollars and I enrolled 3 students. So that wasn’t a huge success, but it brought in some money, and I loved working with those students.

I also pre-sold the course for the first time and dripped the content every week, so this time I didn’t have to create all the trainings in advance.

I got a new client that I’m working with 1-on-1, which is great. Working one-on-one with clients hasn’t been my focus in the last years because I knew I wouldn’t have enough time to do it all and I really want to focus on online courses and my membership, but I might change this in the future because I really enjoy it.

A huge success was that I set up a successful evergreen sales funnel for my website course blissful websites that converts really well.

I also sublet my apartment so I didn’t have to pay rent.

And then I made one of my biggest dreams come true!

My lovely and generous dad and my stepmother, offered me to borrow their campervan and so I went on a trip for 5 weeks, by myself, to France and Italy!

Originally the plan was to drive all the way to Portugal, but I got stuck in France. I really fell in love with the Provence, it’s soo beautiful there and I could totally see myself living there one day.

I explored the south of France, I went to Avignon, and Saint Tropez and the Cote D’Azur, and then to Alba in Italy for some white truffles and finished at the Lago Maggiore.

I really, really loved living in a campervan, but unfortunately trying to also work and run my business on the road was a real challenge because the internet reception is incredible bad in France. It’s not about finding WiFi, you don’t even get 3g.

But still, I got done what had to get done. And I loved living in the van.

I just can’t see myself working and building a business while traveling in a campervan, so the idea to do this for a longer period is put on hold for now.

I’m really grateful that I was able to try it out before I bought my own van, because I was already looking at vans all the time. But that has to wait for now.

So, after a few weeks in Hamburg staying with my mum at the end of October I flew back to Bali and, here I am!

So, here’s a summary what I’ve done in 2019:

I relaunched my course Blissful Websites, I relaunched my membership program the Blissful Biz Hive and created 19 brand-new trainings for it and I launched a new course the Blissful Biz Accelerator. I also posted 37 blog posts and I don’t know how many social media updates, and I worked as a freelancer for 2 months. I also designed 5 websites for clients.

And of course, I traveled for 5 weeks in a campervan and I spent 5 months in Bali.

So. Wow! It’s been a busy year!

I feel exhausted just looking at that list.

No, I actually feel great. I’ve been meditating a lot the last weeks, doing lots of yoga, and working less hours, and it feels good.

I learned that I have to ease up a little bit, to have more balance in my life. It’s great to have a vision and ambition and I strongly believe there are times where you have to work hard and hustle when you’re building a business, but I’m turning 50 next year and I don’t want to kill myself over it.

I’ve always been working super hard in my career. In advertising the hours are loooong. I had jobs where 50, 60, even 70-hour weeks where normal, for years. I don’t want that anymore, working like this isn’t why I started my business.

I’m going to share more about how I structure my workday and week in a coming episode so make sure to subscribe to get notified when it airs, if you’re interested in learning more about how to bring more bliss into your workday.

For now, let me finish with sharing my biggest learnings from 2019 and my plans for 2020:

My biggest learnings?

#1You have to invest in yourself and your business. Not enrolling in Tribe in 2018 and trying to get my membership the Blissful Biz Hive off the ground without any real strategy behind it was a big mistake, that I actually already made in 2018.

#2 I didn’t show up enough. I was so busy with creating content, I didn’t do nearly enough live videos or connect with my audience, and it affected my results.

#3 Not going to move into a campervan any time soon. I’m simply too focused right now on my business.

So, what are my plans for 2020?

Well, the biggest thing already happened, you’re listening to it right now, and it’s my brand new podcast!

I hope that this podcast will help me to connect with you in a deeper way and also inspire you to build your online business.

I love my freedom lifestyle that allows me to live and work anywhere, and if this is your dream as well, I want that for you, too.

I see so many yoga teachers struggling and then there’s this huge potential in the online world opening up right now with more and more people getting interested in online education, and I just love being a part of that.

I’m also growing my team! I just hired an editor for my podcast, and a new VA, and I‘m really excited about that. Shout-Out to Collen, my VA, I can’t wait to see what 2020 brings for both of us!

A big goal for me for 2020 is to be more visible, so I’m working on that, too. You are going to see much more of me on video, especially on social media, but also in my programs. I love the connection this builds, and I know it’s going to help my business grow, so I’m working hard on getting comfortable with video. Not there yet, truthfully, but doing it anyway. Progress, not perfection, right?

What else. I plan to launch my Blissful Biz Accelerator course this January and one or 2 more times in 2020 to help you build your audience and launch an online course.

I also want to grow my Blissful Biz Hive to over 200 members and update the Blissful Websites course and launch it with webinars and everything.

So the focus is going to be on visibility and selling in 2020, not on creating new products.

This is something that’s really been holding me back in the last years, and I know it’s the same for many of you, so I want to talk about it a bit more.

A big mistake I made after I launched my first online course and it didn’t sell as good as I thought it would, well, actually, my conversion rate was totally fine, I just didn’t have a big enough audience, instead of focusing on improving my selling, I started working on the next thing.

I’ve seen other people make this mistake as well. And I’ve also seen people have huge successes just by sticking with one thing, at least for the first year, and selling it again and again.

I wish I would have done that, but well, I can’t change that now. And it’s all good, I’m really happy with my offers right now and I love working with my students and that I can still be so hands-on and involved in supporting them!

But I don’t have plans to add any other courses to my offerings for now, in 2020 I’m going to focus on selling them, increasing my visibility and growing my audience, and through all that, increasing my income so I don’t have to freelance anymore to support myself but can 100% focus on my business.

I’m just realizing that I’ll be able to re-listen to this episode myself at the end of 2020 and see how that turned out! I’m really looking forward to that!

If you haven’t done a proper review of the last year yet, of what worked for you and what didn’t, I really recommend that you do that. It really helps you focus on the things that you got done, and not on everything that’s still waiting to be done.

Take some time and think about, what where your biggest achievements, what were your failures, what worked and what didn’t work, what don’t you want any more in your life and what would you like more of in your life, where do you see growth in 2020, and overall, how did 2019 feel.

Reflect, and then, celebrate!

Very often we forget to celebrate everything we accomplished already; we are always thinking about what’s ahead!

Well, I’m celebrating 2019 right now. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved and happy with where I am. So I’m going out to celebrate with a nice dinner tonight, and maybe even have a glass of wine, and I’m going to raise a toast for all of us and for making our dreams come true.

I’ll leave you with that. Thanks so much for listening, and until next time.