Every year since I started running my freelance business, I’ve used my freelance-versary as an opportunity for reflection. What have been some major accomplishments, learnings, or highlights of the past 12 months?
If you’re curious to see the previous versions, you can check out my four-year anniversary post here, my three-year anniversary post here, and my two-year anniversary post here.
Astute readers may notice that I’m a little late publishing this year’s post. Technically, my freelance-versary is in October, but I’m not publishing this post until November. Oops.
The truth is that I’m still learning how to prioritize my own projects. It’s always much easier to do something my clients are asking for rather than something I want to do for myself. And that’s a balancing act I’ll continue to practice in the coming months (and, let’s be honest, probably years, too).
2022: An overview
Last year, I mentioned how awkward everything felt. There was a wave of optimism when the vaccine initially became available, followed by several waves of disappointment when we learned of new variants and increasing breakthrough infections.
In many ways, 2022 has felt spookily similar to the Before Times. I’ve traveled. I’ve attended conferences. I’ve traveled TO attend conferences in person! I hung out with friends indoors. WITHOUT WEARING A MASK.
But I’ve had plenty of reminders that the world has changed, even if most people have grown tired of accepting it.
Those conferences that I attended? Many people ended up getting COVID there or soon after.
Those trips that I had planned? I ended up having to cancel one I was especially looking forward to (a Zumba retreat in Mexico) because I ended up getting COVID myself. Luckily I had a mild case with very few symptoms, but it was still a low point of the year. The isolation and loneliness I felt during that time was reminiscent of the early days of the pandemic.
The year has also been defined by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, record inflation, the threat of a looming recession, and layoffs and hiring freezes, especially within the tech industry.
So while 2022 looks and feels different from 2021, it’s certainly no 2019.
Still, I’m grateful for the past year and want to take a moment to celebrate a few highlights.
Meeting my clients in person for the first time!
Last year, I mentioned that I’d started working with the lovely Petra Wille and Martina Hodges-Schell. I’ve loved getting to know both of them through our monthly Zoom calls and various content projects. But what I loved even more in 2022 was being able to meet both of them in person. There really is something to be said for those IRL (in real life) interactions!
Going back to in-person events (now with more risk!)
I was excited and cautiously optimistic to attend a few in-person events, including the CEX conference, Greenhouse OPEN, World Domination Summit, and the Product Excellence Summit. For me, it was wonderful to connect with clients and friends (both old and new) at these events. One huge highlight was breaking the world record for the largest number of people gathered in inflatable dinosaur costumes at the T-Rex Takeover at the World Domination Summit. Of course, the downside of being in the same place as many other people is the increased risk of contracting COVID, as I mentioned earlier.
Filming and launching a new Skillshare course!
One of my goals for the year was to launch a new Skillshare course and I’m happy to say I was able to make this happen! While I was in Portland for WDS, I spent a day filming and in late August, I released How to Start Freelancing: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Basics. If you’re interested in checking it out, my code will give you access to it as well as a free one-month trial of Skillshare. And, of course, my previous course LinkedIn for Freelancers: Build Your Brand & Business is still available to check out as well!
Completing several big projects
In 2021, I had the honor of working with Teresa Torres on editing the manuscript for her book, Continuous Discovery Habits. It’s been truly incredible to see the reception and praise this book has received (over 1,300 Amazon reviews at the time of writing this post!). While I haven’t edited a book this year, I’ve contributed to several big projects, including Textio’s Inclusive Employer Brand certification (available exclusively for Textio subscribers), the Greenhouse hiring glossary, and Petra Wille’s product Communities of Practice project, which has involved speaking to several Community of Practice leaders around the world (including Nesrine Changuel, Zainab Arilesere, Teresa Torres, Patrick Sauerwein, and Jennifer Michelmann) about how they create ongoing learning and development opportunities for their teams.
Going to Europe (and mostly not working)
One of the highlights of my year so far was taking about three weeks to visit family and friends in Europe. This trip was mostly about taking time off from work, and I enjoyed some of my favorite activities like checking out cool cafés, going to art museums and installations, eating all the vegetarian food I could get my hands on, and going for loooooong urban walks. But I did manage to squeeze in a visit with Petra Wille in Amsterdam. While we had originally hoped to spend more time outside, the Dutch climate had other ideas for us, so we mostly hung out in a café and took a brief walk in the rain. But it was still so much fun to meet in person after so many hours of Zoom meetings and I’m looking forward to more in-person meetups in the future.
What’s in store for the next year?
In the very near term, I’ll be heading to Japan for the first time since 2019. While this isn’t exactly a professional accomplishment, I’m grateful for the flexibility freelancing has afforded me to plan and take a trip like this on pretty short notice. I can barely contain my excitement at being able to return to a place that I love so much and that has been so meaningful in my life.
I’m excited to continue working with both my solopreneur and mid-sized clients and I’ll be adding some new names to my list of clients in the coming months.
I’ve been exploring the concept of offering a VIP day—essentially a condensed version of my services that can be delivered in a single day. I’m still working out the details of what to offer and how to streamline this experience for clients, but I’ll certainly share updates here when I have them!
And I’ll be continuing to work on this balance of work and personal time and projects that I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I love the work I do for my clients, but I also tremendously value having time to go for long walks, take yoga and dance classes, and wander around different corners of the world. Here’s to another year of all of that!