Cheers to The New Year

Bring on 2018! This year has been filled with so many highs and lows. To be completely honest, I’m ready for a fresh start. There were a lot of lows when it comes to illness in my family. My mom went through learning she had breast cancer, a hip replacement and gallbladder removal, so we are believing that 2018 will be a year of good health for her and the rest of the family. 

There were also some really great highs with the many firsts new experiences for my son. First birthday, first family vacation, learning to walk, starting to talk. Singing ALL THE TIME (he gets it from his dad). 

Professionally, I had feel this year was a victory year for me. After having a baby last year, I feel as though I overcame the fog of new motherhood in 2017. I had no idea the first six months would be as tough as they were. And I’m so blessed to work in an environment where family is valued and grace is given as I navigated work and life as a new mom. I also had the blessing of taking a trip with coworkers that I'm lucky enough to also call friends, and it was EXACTLY what I needed to end the year with some rest and fun. And the scenery wasn't so bad either. 

 
Jay and Laura Johns
 
 
Napa Valley
 

Relationally, I felt like I wasn't giving 100% to anything or anyone at the beginning of this year. I was running at about 60% as a mom, in my career and for my immediate and extended family. I always prided myself in having great relationships, and I found myself in a place where I didn't really talk to anyone outside of work and my home, and all I thought about was work or the baby. This was SO tough for me because I care deeply about people and love relationships that I can sink into and grow from daily. I had very little of that, and it was rough. Thankfully, God brought me an early Monday coffee friend, a wonderful women's small group, some great counsel and a phenomenal book called Present Over Perfect by Shauna Niequist.

Creatively, I've been challenged in an area that I hope 2018 brings improvement. While I am educated in advertising and PR, back in the stone age of 2005-2006, they weren't teaching social media classes. Facebook was just getting started and Instagram was nonexistent. I've been listening to a lot of podcasts this year and have really challenged myself in learning more about how to gain influence, build a brand and boost sales with online and social media marketing. So, a goal of mine for next year is to continue to learn and improve in this area. Some of my podcasts favorites are:

Market Beautifully- Haley Burkhead

The Science of Social Media - Buffer

Coming in 2018

In the near future, I will be sharing an interview with the amazingly talented Robby Followell of Followell Fotography, about when to know if a store front is right for your business. Also, I'm excited to share about how public art shapes a community with one of the most talented artists in all of Mississippi, Scott Allen of A+ Signs. I will also be sharing my favorite user-friendly website building tools for those who have been procrastinating on building or replacing their website, and some easy graphic design hacks that anyone can use to create custom graphics. I will also be joining other small business marketers on a monthly basis, so I will be getting feedback from the group and providing the findings and (hopefully) some valuable tips from there as well.

I'd love to know what's important to you, what you'd like to hear more about, what marketing goals you have and anything else you're finding to be a challenge in your small business work life. I'm sure you're not alone, and I'd love for us to learn from one another. 

Cheers to the New Year!