Welcome to the first blog post of 2024. I’m in a new home in a new state, working out of a new space with new goals for Unleashing the Next Chapter. I’m listening to coffee shop jazz as I write this. The sun is streaming into my new study and my plants are happily soaking up the goodness. The crock pot is happily crocking, so the house smells wonderful.
Every year I evaluate the wins and lessons for the year in my five domains: faith, relationships, business, health & wellness, and personal interests. I find what is working and what is not. Additionally, I consider what is bringing me joy, and what no longer serves me or Unleashing the Next Chapter. That leads me to create new goals and strategies for the new year.
If you want to know more about my process, check out this blog post: “Smart Tips To Move Beyond SMART Goals This Year…”
We also discussed some of the behind-the-scenes of these transitions on the last Authorpreneurs Unleashed podcast of 2023: Restarting & End of Year Review with Kathryn McClatchy.
To make room for those new goals we have to leave some things behind in 2023…
- We left Texas behind on November 30, 2023, and are becoming Arkansans (or Arkansawyers depending on who you ask).… It’s been over a year in the process, but we finally moved to Arkansas. It took longer than expected for Hubby to get his Arkansas LPC license as Arkansas was changing its processes and became the 19th member of the Interstate Counseling Compact in March. While we didn’t realize it then, this is a big advantage for Steve as a counselor, and for all who need counseling. We also are optimistic that the climate and new doctors will be advantageous for my health challenges.
- Leaving Unleashing the Next Chapter on the back burner will be left in 2023 …. I realized a while back that I’d been focusing exclusively on clients’ content and inconsistently creating content for UtNC when I had time. I am thrilled that my coaching, consulting, strategy, and management clients have leveled up and met their goals while working with me; however, in the process, I often neglected my own marketing. It’s the old story of the cobbler’s children having no shoes.
- We are leaving the UtNC Creative Community on Discord in 2023 … In 2022, we moved the UtNC Community off of Facebook Groups after growing there for three years. We moved onto a Discord server and invited all creatives, not just writers, to join us there. While many joined over the last year, the community never became the interactive and supportive tribe I hoped for. They were there to learn from me and get updates on the podcast and other events. After talking with the admins, we decided we could satisfy that easily and more effectively through other channels. Click here to find all the links.
- I’m leaving Evernote for Notion after a decade of dedicated use … I also had to reconsider many of my systems and processes over the last few months. I have used Evernote since 2012. In the last year, they were bought out, and there have been many changes that caused the note-taking app to no longer serve my needs. That was the impetus for deep diving into several apps and tools I had never considered using before, including Obsidian, Milanote, Google Keep, Notion, OneNote, and more. There is a world of productivity apps out there! If you want to know more about them, let me know. I gave them all a trial run, before settling on Notion. I’m not here to say this is the best or only note-taking or productivity app you need, but it serves me well, I’m drafting this post in Notion.
That makes more room for the new things you can expect in 2024…
- New sources of inspiration, creativity, and networking in Central Arkansas. We’ve already discovered so many things and places we want to explore, I’m meeting new-to-me creative entrepreneurs, and learning different ways to get the writing and marketing done. For personal, creative, and professional development, we have to get out of our comfort zones, explore, and to quote Miss Frizzle, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” I look forward to documenting the journey, and sharing what I’m learning in the process.
- Updated, more active, and focused strategy for the five areas of marketing we specialize in — brand, content, email, research, and social media. Sprinkled in there will be a bit of productivity, encouragement & motivation, creativity, reading & writing, and inspiration. While I will continue to stay abreast of the current trends and best practices across dozens of social media and content platforms and tools, I will be focusing my attention on Instagram, LinkedIn, X, and Facebook as that is where the majority of my community and clients are active.
- Email and long-form content will be a priority in 2024. All the industry statistics and trends confirm my experience and findings. Email/Newsletters, YouTube, podcasts, and blogs are getting the most ROI for creative entrepreneurs. While there have been rumors that each of these mediums is dying, the numbers say quite the opposite. To build relationships, credibility, and sales consistent emails and long-form content are becoming increasingly important.
Suggestions for you to welcome in 2024…
New Email Guidelines based on Yahoo and Google’s new policies. I’m including links to a few of the more popular Email Management Systems and their explanations and best practices for 2024.
- MailerLite: New email guidelines effective February 2024.
- Constant Contact: Google and Yahoo’s email authentication requirements for 2024
- Mailjet: Gmail and Yahoo’s 2024 inbox protections and what they mean for your email program
Instagram has recently changed its recommendations and best practices. They still recommend Reels, but not to the exclusion of other types of posts. They have also changed the way the algorithm responds to different-sized accounts. Make sure you create a variety of content types and then evaluate how YOUR audience reacts to it. Key metrics to look for are Shares, Comments, and Completion Rate. If you are still working for likes and follows, know that those metrics mean less and less across most platforms.
Want to learn more about current best practices and opportunities for learning and marketing your creative endeavors? Subscribe to this blog and the Unleashing Newsletter to get all the latest updates. I can’t wait to see what you unleash in 2024!