2020: Year in Review
What? Is this a blog?
So, admittedly, this is a blog post that I want to write mostly for myself, but I feel a strong inclination to share it as well.
If you have been with me from the very start, then perhaps you remember when I was trying to post a blog every single week. The truth is, I stopped doing it, because it was hard to keep up on that schedule and my blogs were not feeling as polished as I wanted them to be.
Ever since I took down my original blog, I’ve been wanting to start another one with more quality posts, and now in the year 2021, I think I finally feel ready to do just that. And what better way to start than with a review of 2020?
As much as I LOATHE brightsiding, I am going to keep things relatively positive here. It’s not because 2020 wasn’t hellish, and it’s not because I subscribe to toxic positivity. Rather, this is a practice I do every year for my life and my business.
As a disabled business owner, it is all too easy to fall into the trap of feeling like I’m not doing enough. There are hours, days, weeks, and sometimes even months when my body keeps me in bed when I’d rather be working on the projects I love.
Especially through the stress of the holidays, I start to think, “what did I DO with my year!?”
As it turns out, I actually did a lot, and I’m damn proud of myself.
Plus all year long, I’ve heard countless people - sometimes even friends - devalue my life as an excuse for their reckless behavior in the midst of a global pandemic.
It has not been fun. I have literally not left my house in almost 10 months, but despite everything, I’ve managed to keep my head above water.
One of the things I’m most proud of this year is being able to use my work, my business, and my platform to raise money for organizations who are doing important work. When I started my business, I decided that it was going to be a business that does good, and I’m always striving to find new ways to bake giving back right into my business model. It’s a work in progress, for sure, and I’m always hoping to do better.
Through my business, I have been able to raise a total of $2,509.10 for charity.
In addition to monetary support, I’ve spent many hours volunteering and raising awareness for The CROWN Act, and I will continue to do so in 2021.
At the beginning of 2020, I dubbed it my YEAR OF FEAR (hahahalolsob) Little did I know…
So anyway, I had this absolutely crippling fear of singing. The problem with this is that I LOVE singing, so I decided to enter a live singing competition (a la The Voice). Within the first couple months of the year, I managed to sing live on stage 8 times. It was HORRIFYING and SPECTACULAR.
Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented me from returning to the stage to give my last performance(s), so I will never know if I had a shot at winning or not, but it was certainly an experience to remember.
(I might still be terrified of singing)
In 2020, I created and published 29 public YouTube Videos.
I also created and published 25 Patreon-exclusive videos (including hairwork tutorials, bloopers, and bonus vlogs), 2 Patreon-exclusive podcasts, and countless blogs/life updates.
Speaking of Patreon! Thanks to my amazing supporters, I was able to reach a major goal of mine last year which includes beginning work on a secret project. So, stay tuned for that!
Of course, since I was unable to teach my regular in-person hairwork classes, I taught 2 via Zoom this year. Although I would always much prefer to meet people in person, these classes were quite successful, and I intend to host more in the future.
So I’ve been learning Swedish for the last year and half or so.
I’m incredibly fond of the history and skill of Swedish hairwork, and even though I’ve already been studying this history for several years, there are some Swedish resources that have not been translated into English.
This year, I reached a 365 streak on Duolingo, I took two online Swedish classes, I read 3 Swedish books (OK, OK. They were children’s books, but I’m not fluent in this language yet, so it’s still an accomplishment), and I even managed to play one entire video game in Swedish.
In addition to my 3 children’s Swedish books, I also managed to read 78 adult books (in English, obviously).
I even did a full review of a book about Swedish hairworkers that I read over on YouTube!
I had a wonderful chat with my friend George the Giant: The World’s Tallest Sword Swallower. Usually, George opens his Strange Museum of Oddities & Wonders, but since he took it virtual this year, I was able to participate! You can watch the video of our whole conversation on Facebook.
If reading is more your speed, I was interviewed for Folks about my work as it pertains to my chronic illness, and I was also interviewed by Startland News about my business as well as my disability and asexuality activism.
Although I was not interviewed for this one, I was also mentioned in the Recollections blog. Coincidentally, I have been a customer of Recollections in the past, so that was a fun surprise!
Obviously, I haven’t left my house since March, but past that, I’ve been focusing on exercise as much as I’m able. My body doesn’t always let me move as much as I’d like to, but I’ve taken advantage of (almost) every opportunity to move.
As a result, I did a push-up.
I’ve never in my life been able to do even a single push-up, but now I can do 3-4 in a row on a good day. This might not seem like much, but to me, it’s huge.
Early in 2020, I had my 5 year business anniversary. Statistically, many businesses fail by the 5th year, and in 2020 I watched in horror as countless small businesses permanently closed their doors due to COVID-19.
I was exceedingly fortunate that my business was already run from a studio in my own home with sales run almost exclusively online. Although there was some pivoting I needed to do to compensate for lost income from in-person events, I still had my biggest year yet.
I still managed to complete 12 large hairwork projects (I have what is probably an arbitrary system of determining whether a project is “large” or not, and for some reason, I only track large orders in my list of yearly accomplishments) and I was invited to participate in the online Mortals’ Market which helped contribute to my most profitable month ever.
Overall, my number of sales were up over 50% from last year and my total revenue is up 237% and for that, I have my patrons, customers, friends, followers, and community to thank. Stability as a disabled woman can be hard to find in the best of years, yet alone in the nightmare of uncertainty that was 2020.
I still have a lot of room to grow to meet all of my business and financial goals, but I have every confidence that someday I will get there.
COVID hobbies include…
- Growing our own blue oyster mushrooms
- Starting a franken-garden
- Picking a lot of locks
Also, I saved a bird’s life.
Every single year, it seems that injured, sick, or dying animals have a way of finding me. I always take them in and either nurse them back to health or hospice them in a peaceful death. This year, it was a robin. She was injured and stunned (and also laying right where the killer neighborhood cats like to stalk about), but after my care, I’m happy to say that she flew away alive and well.