So, this year, my word is balance. Two months into 2017, and I am reminded everyday as to why I chose it. From the moment I get up in the morning to the moment I go to sleep, there is a constant battle between what my infant needs, what my preschooler needs, blog stuff that needs to be written/scheduled, freelance writing stuff that needs to be done, housework that cannot be put off another day, and actually spending time with my husband.
Most of the time, I feel as if I'm trying to do everything but actually accomplishing nothing.
As I'm typing this, my daughter is dressed up like Doc McStuffins and is telling me the diagnosis of her toy horse who, unfortunately, had a rough time after the surgery she performed five minutes ago. So, that pretty much sums up my working conditions lately.
While that balance continues to be elusive, I managed my first trip with both kids. We headed to Walt Disney World with my mom and younger sister for a long weekend. I thought that since there were two other adults going with me that the trip would be a piece of cake.
Let's all laugh together, shall we?! My preschooler decided that she didn't want to walk more than three feet (but didn't want to ride in her stroller either), and my 3 month old (who was, up until our second night there, a fantastic sleeper) went on a sleep strike and only wanted me to hold him. Two days of walking in the parks with two small humans clinging to you is exhausting, and I think I'm just now recovered from our trip.
Now that I have the world's tiniest violin playing for me and my exhausting experience at the most magical place on Earth, onto the blog recap!
February's Goals: A RecapPost 6-8 times. I only managed to post 4 times in February since I'm really struggling with balancing blogging and the required social media promotion with parenting my two young kids and actually seeing my husband. And the housework--don't even get me started on the housework. Of the four posts I did, I worked very hard on them, so I feel that what I lacked in quantity, I (hopefully) made up for in quantity. I had my second best month EVER in traffic, so I guess the lack of multiple weekly posts isn't hurting me too badly.
Work on my email opt-in. I thought about this. I thought about it hard. Does that count?! I actually did some research on how best to set up my email opt-in, so I managed to put some legwork in towards this goal. At the very least, I now know what I will be offering for my email opt-in, which gives me a direction to work in once I get the time to devote to setting it up. Now, to find the extra time to do it...
Get my monthly newsletter back up and running. There were some brainstorming sessions for about 3 minutes one night while I was drying my hair. And by "brainstorming sessions," I mean I remembered this goal and said, "Hey, I should probably do that" only to forget about it before I walked out of the bathroom.
Organize sponsored stays/ activities on select days of our upcoming Western U.S. road trip. I made some great progress towards this goal! Since it's first and foremost a family trip, I didn't want the road trip (which is happening in May) to be all work, but I couldn't let a few opportunities slip through because of that. Even though I have an online business, a huge amount of my sponsored travel comes through referrals from previous partners, so I'm always looking to find new people to work with. I can't wait to share these new partners with you when they're finalized!
Raise more awareness of my sponsored travel e-course. I made a new pin to share on Pinterest, and I added a button to my side bar. There's still so much more I could do to promote the course, but this is a good start with my limited time right now. [And, if you want to learn how to land sponsored travel--hotel rooms, attraction tickets, and more--see my e-course offerings here.]
Rehab 4 more old posts. I have been working like a crazy lady to rehab some older posts--I've had a huge jump in traffic since I started doing this, so I am glad I've made it a priority. I've definitely updated more than 4 (with a new Pinterest pin, header photo, SEO keywords, new affiliate links, new photos, etc.), so this goal was a major win for me in February.
Update template. Done! I actually finished this goal before I even wrote last month's goals, so it was one of those I'm-adding-this-to-the-list-just-so-I-can-cross-it-off moments. There's nothing more satisfying that crossing something off a list. :) I'm a big fan of the new look: it's so much more modern and fresher looking than my previous template.
March's Goals: A Look ForwardHit 11.5K on Instagram. I had a love-hate relationship with Instagram when it first came out--I loved the simple formatting, but I didn't like how it took some of my precious time while not driving much traffic. These days, however, I've decided I love it as it's a key part of my branding, and SO many brands are reaching out to bloggers for opportunities just because of their Instagram following.
Finalize the itinerary for our Western U.S. road trip. We have a rough idea of where we are going to be on what days, but I need to finally nail down and book the non-sponsored hotels. I also need to figure out the final count of our daily activities, pay for our rental car, and get a food budget organized.
Post 2x/week. I still have a ton of content that I need to get up on the blog (including two fantastic upcoming giveaways), and posting more than once a week would help me get it out to my readers in a more timely fashion. I tend to write massively long posts that take forever which is great for SEO, but isn't so great when I have limited time. I'm trying to find a good balance between quality and quantity here.
Figure out what we're doing in North Carolina later this month. My husband is running a half-marathon towards the end of the month, and the kids and I are going with him as a short family trip. I've never been to this part of North Carolina, so I need to do a little research on what we can see and do while we're there!
Build my Facebook audience to at least 2900 followers. Ever since Facebook redid their algorithms and made it harder for businesses to organically reach new people, I have struggled with growing my audience there. I have good interaction with my existing followers, but a large Facebook following is a major element that brands look to when selecting partners. I'm happy with how my other social media channels are growing, but Facebook just sort of putters aimlessly along. I might need to do some targeted ads (ugh). If you've had any luck with growing your Facebook following, either organically or through paid FB ads, let me know! I need all of the help I can get.
Monetize all of the relevent/evergreen content from 2014. 2014 was the year that I discovered travel blogging (literally, as I had no clue that the genre even existed before I won my first press trip), so much of what I wrote after May 2014 is eager but completely disconnected with my current brand. Not only to do I want to rehab the evergreen posts from this period, I want to update them and add in appropriate affiliate links.
What are you proud of accomplishing this month? What are you hoping to conquer in March?
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