Looking Forward to 2021
I'll do my best to keep this brief, but if I run a little bit long-winded, it's only because you guys are so awesome, and I want to make sure I get my point across one last time in 2020.
Goodness knows everyone could use the good vibes.
This year started off on a very strange note, as I'm sure you're all aware. The pandemic had an effect on everyone, but in hindsight, I've been so busy that I haven't taken a moment to just sit back and contemplate how much my life changed this year.
At the end of February, I was coming back from Fur Squared, and selling every book in my stock for the first time in...30+ sales conventions, at least. It was going to be an impressive convention for sales to begin with, but someone came along the last day and bought almost everything I had left, which ended up being one of everything.
That was an incredible moment, and it had me riding a high for the month of conventions to come; that never happened, of course, as every March convention cancelled shortly thereafter, and one by one, all of the cons I had scheduled for spring and summer fell off the map. This was, of course, a good thing, as even one of those events could have spread thousands of cases and exposed even more people unnecessarily.
What it left me with was a massive gap of time to fill, and in that, what I found was one of the busiest years I've ever endured. Right now, it's occurring to me that this is one of the first things I've written "off the cuff" in months, and it's fun to just let me consciousness stream, but I'm grateful that this has been a rare thing: my supporters and customers came together and kept me busy with commissions like they never had before, and that kept my depression from utterly taking me down in April and May.
I made a lot of progress this year. My pace continues to improve, my posting habits are coming back, and after reaching a new high weight in April, I managed to lop off about 50 pounds (and won some cash for doing so, which was nice.)
I accomplished a lot of things I'd always wanted to, and though I didn't have conventions anymore to celebrate those milestones with others, my wife and I made the most of our time together. I'm in a weird position, as so many people utterly hated this year...and I think it's guilt that I'm feeling that I'm actually closer to where I want to be than I've ever been.
Some of it was circumstance. More of it, though, was the hard work I've been putting in every day, and I've got all the progress I've made as evidence of what I was able to accomplish when I just kept my nose to the grindstone.
This year, there were none of those "things aren't going so well" type posts where I bemoaned the fate of the business. There were no complaints about a lack of customers, no posts where I vented worries that I should have kept closer to my chest. I managed to strike the balance of being a real person, but still running a professional business that people weren't afraid to trust for a certain quality of product in a certain time frame.
Looking back and knowing that, I feel incredible. I feel like I really, finally have turned a corner, despite losing all the convention sales.
The tradeoff, of course, is that I didn't have to spend all the money up front for sales cons: no hotel stays, no flights, no book production, no advertising...and at the end of the day, though I probably did a little less than breaking even, the greater volume of commissions made up for that gap.
I've got the blueprint for continued success in 2021, and that, too, is profound. It's no longer -finding- success, but remaining successful in a new year. My debts are shrinking, my credit is rebuilding, my body is healthier than it's been in years, and I've got a strong, loyal customer base that I'm proud to retain and keep with me going forward.
Being self-employed takes time to get used to. I'm still not all the way there, honestly, but I'm there enough; this is where I should have been back in 2015 when I started the business. You live and you learn, and what I know now about how much better I perform when I wake up early, exercise, eat healthy, and keep a positive outlook, I wish I would have known back then.
I had the smarts and the business acumen in 2015, mind you, but a college education and sales experience do not make a professional author. There was an element of experience that was missing, and this year, I've added a key chapter to the book that my soul is ever writing. The structure was already sound, but there's so much more depth now, and I'm truly blessed to have it.
Thank you all so, so much for being part of that continued fairy tale and seeing me through 2020. May 2021 be the better year that we all hope for it to be, and in that year, let's all take our next step toward health, happiness and success together.
I can't wait to see what January brings.