Funny how you can sit down on December 31st and feel like you did nothing the whole year... and yet it was the busiest one yet.
WeddingLovely continues to grow, even when I step away from actively working on it. I unfortunately lost my awesome community manager this summer and had to step back into managing the community and growth more directly. I get down on myself because it didn't turn into a super-funded-behemoth, but my vendors and engaged customers have had nothing but good things to say. Revenues are up and page-views are up, and I continue to work on some exciting updates that'll launch in 2016.
Hello Web App
I started Hello Web App (my book series) after getting burnt out on WeddingLovely and it's exceeded my wildest expectations. The book is selling awesomely and I'm going to jump into 2016 with a new website and increased marketing. Honestly I got burnt out on this project too — Hello Web App: Intermediate Concepts launched in November and I didn't market it at all. No launch announcements, nothing. I fulfilled the Kickstarter orders and then let it slide. It sucks that I didn't muster up the effort for a pre-order and launch campaign, but I'll just have to do better in 2016.
I spoke at Refresh Portland, DjangoCon EU, DjangoCon US, and ELA Conf this year. It was also the year of applying to, and getting rejected from, 90% of the conferences I applied to speak at (very discouraging). 2016 though is looking much better, and I already have several conferences lined up.
This has been the most travel filled year.
January: Went to Cancun, Mexico for my long-delayed honeymoon with my husband. Very much a do-nothing-sleep-on-the-beach kind of vacation. We did head into downtown Cancun as well as a excursion to Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is not recommended, complete waste of a day (in my opinion). The grounds are covered in horribly annoying vendors, the bus ride was long, and my favorite part of the day was actually the stop at a Cenote. I was the first one into the freezing waters (with the audience of the rest of the tourists) and it was magical.
February: Trip to Reno, Nevada for a friend's birthday. Shenanigans were had.
April: Trip to Ohio to visit my extended family. I grew up in California, largely apart from the majority of my mother's family. It's nice to know I can visit and be welcomed with open arms.
May-August: Super travels begin! I was invited to give a workshop at DjangoCon Europe and they covered the cost of flights and hotel. Andrey and I decided to make a big trip out of it, first heading to Portland to visit some friends and speak at Refresh Portland, then to NYC for meetings, then we flew to London. After a week of London, we road-tripped to Cardiff for the conference, took the train back to London for another week, then flew to Croatia.
June: Spent three weeks in Split + Zagreb in Croatia (the latter of which, while incredibly cheap, was the most forgettable spot in the trip).
July: Headed to Slovenia, which I've lusted after for years. It was exactly as I imagined. Gorgeous, clear lake perfect for swimming in, amazing hikes, gorgeous scenery. I couldn't as for more. Then to Vienna for a week (terribly, awfully hot), then to Budapest.
August: Budapest! A wonderful city. Cheap, great food, and great people working on Django that I got to meet up with. So much fun being in a city with new friends. The biggest downside was getting food poisoning for the first time after having a burrito du jour at a fancy French cafe (whaaaat?) We stopped by NYC for another visit on the way back home for more meetings.
September: DjangoCon US! My favorite conference of the year. Held in Austin (awesome city), I had the best time with friends new and old. I also gave another workshop which was my best one yet (and I even ran it solo.)
October-November: Sabbatical in Costa Rica. I spent the previous months working insane hours on workshops, my Kickstarter campaign and production/design for my second book. I went to School of the World for three weeks, taking weekly surfing and yoga lessons, and it was _amazing. _I had internet but I didn't get much work done (mainly because I was exhausted all the time) but I learned how to surf and made amazing new life-long friends. A friend and I also visited the rainforest, rafting in and out (!!!) to a remote lodge. The last bit of the trip, I went to Playa Carmen on the Nicoya peninsula for some alone-time (and to work on my presentation for the next trip...)
November part 2: Ela Conf in Philadelphia! I flew back to PHL from Costa Rica and spoke about salary and negotiations to an amazing audience.
December: Toronto! Visiting my husband's family and seeing friends in downtown.
Goals for 2016
Do something with WeddingLovely
WeddingLovely has kind of stayed the same for a few years now, and not for lack of trying. There are several things in the works at the moment, but nothing I really can talk publicly about at the moment. But what I've built has so much potential, and something needs to be done about that.
Continue growing Hello Web App's empire
I've hit on something super awesome with Hello Web App, and I feel like it just needs a little push to get it someplace super magical. I'm also kicking around an idea for a third book (Hello Web Design) and have a few conference talks lined up on the subject so I can start refining the idea. First, though, I need to really work on marketing for the first two books, some place I haven't done well enough in.
More conference speaking!
This year will hopefully, finally, be the year that my conference speaking career takes off. I really love being on stage and sharing information, and I've booked several big conferences this year (MicroConf in Las Vegas and Fluent in SF, notably).
I'm turning 32 this year. Holy shit!
In terms of personal projects, this year has been a rousing success and yet I still feel like I haven't gone anywhere. Is that weird? I also traveling a shit-ton this year and still feel like I'm stuck.
I think the biggest issue I have right now is money — I've been living paycheck to paycheck for years now (I can travel a lot because I rent my place out when I'm away!) I'd really like 2016 be the year where I feel like I have enough money to be comfortable and stop worrying about expenses like getting dental xrays (which I have been putting off for like, four years now, due to cost).
I'm really lucky though, that I can do all of the above, I can't forget that.
Here's to a new year!