Hi friends! This post is one I didn’t know if I’d be excited to share at the beginning of the year. Once March hit and the pandemic worsened, I really didn’t know if I’d meet ANY of my goals. That said, I have honestly excelled at everything I wanted to accomplish this year and more! This is not a self brag, it’s more of an “allowing myself to be proud of what I do for once.”
Although 2020 was obviously a terrible year overall, with all the bad, there was some silver lining as well! One of the biggest things that helped me achieve my goals this year was working from home for 9 months out of the year. I was able to shoot + create content for my blog on my lunch breaks, shoot right after work because I was already home, and so much more!
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Goals Recap – Goals I Met
Gain 17 Additional Backlinks to My Blog
I was able to accomplish this one and this is the goal I was most anxious about actually being able to complete. It’s hard to get back links to your blog without swapping blog posts with other bloggers, so I set out to accomplish this in other ways! I had a review with Fox5 New York about blogging and the Black Lives Matter movement, I had two guest posts with Debt.com, I was listed in roundups of Black bloggers to follow, and so much more!
These were all organically written, and my content was authentically included. There wasn’t much backend work on my end (except for a post I wrote for Traackr), and it helped me to create authentic content on my own platform! All of these helped to increase my domain authority and thus get better organic search volume with Google! This factors into another one of my goals too.
Get To a Domain Authority of 20
One of my goals was to get a Domain Authority ranking of 20! At the end of 2019, my DA actually dropped from 17 to 15 and I was not at all confident that it would bounce back the way I wanted it to. It was actually back up to 17 a couple months ago, but since it doesn’t change too often, I was convinced I wouldn’t hit this goal in 2020. Well guess what?! As of THIS MORNING, my Domain Authority is 20!
I took an SEO course and in the group it was mentioned that blogs under a DA of 20 aren’t really considered as much as blogs that are above this score to rank for Google. That was the main reason I really set this goal in my mind! Having a higher DA will also help you get additional organic traffic, and thus, more sessions to your blog!
Reach 30K Sessions Per Month
This was another goal I had NO intention of actually attaining! I started the year with roughly 1K-3K sessions a month. Very abysmal and far from what my goal was. I started the year focusing more on Pinterest SEO (and actually implemented keyword research starting late last year) and this is how I ended up succeeding! A course that really helped me was Pinterest With Ell which you can check out (here).
Pinterest is a GOLD MINE when it comes to SEO and getting traffic to your blog or website. I took (this) Pinterest course and it changed everything! Now everywhere from 70-90% of my traffic comes from Pinterest. I’ve also been able to get my organic search traffic from around 1K sessions a month to upwards of 5K sessions a month! My goal for next year is to hit 10K sessions a month from organic search.
Make $25,000 Blogging
I actually ended up more than doubling this income….which I still can’t comprehend. I honestly feel like I would’ve exceeded this even more, but I was under-charging for campaigns until about June of this year. My blogging friends kindly bullied me into realizing my worth and I am forever grateful for them. If you’re a blogger, def find blogger friends who will tell you what your worth is.
Previous to my amazing group of Black blogger friends, I was in another group where the girls told me getting free product was enough…I PROMISE YOU THAT IS NOT TRUE! No matter what your following, you better charge (unless it’s an expensive item like a Dyson vacuum, obviously know your price). Even if it’s only $50 for an IG post, your influence matters.
Hit 20,000 Followers on Instagram
Again, another thing that I had no idea if it would actually happen! In June, a lot of people were trying to diversify their feeds because of the Black Lives Matter movement. This ended up causing me to gain around 10k followers in a little under a month! I frankly couldn’t believe it, but it happened and it allowed me to flourish. I loved having more people on my platform because I could reach a larger audience when it came to educating people on BLM and race relations.
Take Medicine for My Mental Health
One of my main goals for 2020 was to get help with my mental health issues! I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression about 4 years ago now, but had some averse reactions to medicine that scared me. Basically the first pill I tried caused me to feel so sick I couldn’t eat, gave me palpitations that woke me up over 13 times in one night, and put me into a fog. I also moved around a lot because of internships so it was hard to keep one PCP!
This year I decided it was finally time to get help….so I did! I’ve finally been living in one place for longer than a year, so I have been able to keep the same doctor. He’s been awesome and actually listened to my issues and gave me a medicine he thought would work great for me! I was obviously very skeptical to try a new medication, but once I did it was AMAZING! I finally wasn’t sad every day, I felt more balanced, and everything got better because of it.
Find a Job I Love
I didn’t realize how unhappy I was in my previous job until I got my current one. The difference in culture is just much better and more relaxed where I’m at now, and it’s been so much better for my mental health! I also realized this year how much I truly love the e-commerce space, so I’m so happy to continue my career in this segment of corporate retail.
Read more about how I decided to leave my job here!
Goals Recap – Goals I Didn’t Meet
Get Better With My Camera
One of my goals was to get better with my camera which did not happen. I DID, however, buy a Canon 80D that I plan on using more in 2021! One thing I did in 2020 (which is why this is still kind of meeting my goal), was hire a photographer! Hannah is my photographer, who is now a friend, and she changed my LIFE! Obviously I pay her, but just this one thing being outsourced gave me so much time back in my week.
I still want to improve my own photo skills so that when we can safely travel again I can take great photos too! My biggest tip here is to make sure you invest in a GOOD camera that has the lens you need for the look you want. I wanted a lot of bokeh (background blur) so I made sure I got a 50mm lens! I took (this) photo with it and I love how it came out! The brand did too.
File As An LLC
So this is 100% on my goals list for 2021! Last year I still didn’t really make enough side hustle income to warrant needing an LLC, but after this years income, I definitely think it’s needed. An LLC mainly just helps with taxes and if you get sued by a brand for any reason. It’s insurance that your personal income (in this case, my full-time job income) can’t be touched in legal proceedings.
Here are 10 Things You Need to Know If You’re Going to Monetize Your Blog
Go to NYFW
I think this goal just warrants an “LOL” and now we can move on.
Pitch (At Least) One Sponsored Stay
So I actually did this, but then COVID happened. It was supposed to be pushed back to the fall, but since America has leaders that just golf every day, that didn’t happen either. I’m hoping that we have another lockdown (that’s actually done correctly) in 2021 so that I can actually start to travel! I would love to travel more and consequently start pitching more paid travel.
Some of My Dreams Places to Travel:
- Tulum, Mexico
- Paris, France
- London, England
- Bali, Indonesia
- Banff, Canada
- Koyoto, Japan
- Murren, Switzerland
- Rothensburg, Germany
See a Therapist
So I actually started to see one in high school, but between school, cross country, applying to colleges, and working, it just was NOT happening. It was adding stress instead of removing it! I wanted to start seeing one this year, but I realized working from home, combined with my medicine, made my anxiety IMMENSELY better. I definitely put it on the back burner as something I needed to do, but it’s one thing I really want to start up in 2021. I’d like to thank TikTok for making me realize I still have #trauma I need to unpack!
Obviously this post showed that I met a lot of my goals this year, but I want to remind everyone it was a PRIVILEGE that I kept my job and also found another one. It was also a privilege that I was able to keep making side hustle income too. Because of this, I donated a lot more money, I sponsored a kid for Christmas, and used that additional incomes for my debt!
If you had goals this year that you weren’t able to complete, PLEASE do not be hard on yourself. It was a PANDEMIC. Just being alive and healthy is an accomplishment in itself. You are amazing and no matter how this year went, I want you to know you’re special and you’re cared about.
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Photos by Hannah Lozano
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