2018 Recap – What Really Happened Behind The Scenes

Well… Looks like we are meeting here again.

At the end of every year, I like to look back at what’s happened.

What I was able to accomplish, what I struggled with, and what really happened.

You guys only see a tiny little part of my life. Of this blog really.

And when you think I’m thriving and killing the game, on the inside, I could be falling to pieces. And that’s happened a few times this year.

I’ve had those days where I’ve completely lost it. Where I let the overwhelm get to me and just shut down into a crying mess.

But I’ve also had those days where I ran several victory laps around the house because I was so proud of what I had accomplished.

Overall, this year has been a massive struggle. And an even bigger learning curve.

So today I just want to reflect.

I want to look back at all of the good and bad and just see how far I’ve come this year.

Let’s get started.

THE START OF 2018

I started the beginning of this year jobless.

My first and only freelancing client said they couldn’t afford me anymore and I was left with just my blog.

So I started the year by applying for a lot of freelance jobs and getting very little of them.

RELATED: How To Become A Freelancer On Upwork

For the first two months, I really struggled with what to do. 

I couldn’t land a consistent client. I dealt with some people who didn’t respect me or my work. And I was at the point where I didn’t want to be a freelance writer anymore.

I just wanted to work on my blog. But my blog wasn’t making enough money to only do that.

So I decided to throw my heart and soul into creating a paid product.

But instead of creating 1, I decided to create 2. Of course, typical Cathrin.

I spent over a month just working on developing those products and nothing else.

To be completely honest, I didn’t make any money that month. I was flat out broke. I couldn’t pay my credit card bills. And I couldn’t contribute to the life I was living with Alex.

I relied on him to support us. And looking back, I regret my actions over the next few months. But we’ll get to that.




THE LAUNCH OF THE BLOG BIZ PRODUCTS

In March I launched The Blog Biz Bundle and The Blog Hustler.

And they both went amazing!

I was so freakin happy with how many people signed up and purchased my ebook.

But shortly thereafter I realized that I completely messed up the pricing of my course.

I originally offered it for $35. 

Yeah.

That’s extremely cheap. 

Way too cheap. And it was devaluing my work. So I quickly changed the price to $97. 

RELATED: What I Did Right (& Wrong) With My Last Course Launch

I can’t even begin to explain the joy I felt when I landed my first sale of the course after I bumped the price up. It was just the validation I needed to know that I was worth it. And that my work was worth more than I was even willing to charge.

Today, I have 56 people that have their hands on my ebook and 25 people enrolled in The Blog Biz Bundle.

And that brings me so much joy!

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APRIL – MY MONTH OF SURRENDER

After March, I felt like I was leading myself to a point of burnout.

I had worked so freakin hard to create that course and my ebook. So many nights I was working from bed trying to get things done in time.

And let me tell you, writing a book is no joke!

RELATED: 6 Tips To Avoid Blogger Burnout

So in April, I decided to slow down. I knew that I had to slow down.

And that’s what sparked my month of Surrender.

I set rules for myself where I wasn’t allowed to check my analytics and I could only work 4 hours a day.

And it was life-changing.

I gave myself permission to take the time in the mornings to meditate, read, journal, and spend some time connecting with The Universe and my purpose.

And because of it, this month ended up being one of the most successful months for my business. 

RELATED: What I Learned From Only Working 4 Hour Days for 1 Month

But again, I relied on Alex to fend for our family. Something I never should have done.

At that time, I was a bit lost. I was longing for clarity on what to do to make money and still follow my passion.

I refused to go back to freelance writing. And at the time, I didn’t really know what else to do. I didn’t think I had other services to sell other than consulting.

So I sat back and tried to find a sense of belonging. And a sense of peace.

And honestly, a message from the Universe for what to do.




THE TAXES WAKE UP CALL

April was the first month that I had to pay my estimated taxes.

The year before, I wasn’t making enough money with my business to pay them quarterly. And my business wasn’t full-time, I had another full-time job, so I didn’t have to.

But this year was different.

I was working for myself full-time. So I had to pay quarterly estimated taxes.

Of course, I had no idea how much I would owe.

I thought since I wasn’t really making much money so far that year, that I wouldn’t owe anything. Something I read said that if you made less than what you made last year. Honestly, I didn’t understand. So I thought I owed nothing.

But of course, I owed something.

Alex did the math. And as I saw it add up, I started to have a panic attack.

My chest started to feel heavy, I couldn’t really breath and all I wanted to do was cry. But because I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t cry. And I started to hyperventilate.

I collapsed down to the floor and told him that I owed more than what was in my bank account at the time.

$626.

That moment was a huge wake-up call.

I knew that I couldn’t coast anymore. I couldn’t rely on Alex to take care of the finance for us. Because I was half of the equation. And I couldn’t even take care of the finances for myself.

That just wasn’t fair.

THE MIDDLE OF THE YEAR

Up until this point, I was learning a lot about manifesting and my purpose. I was trying to uncover my limiting beliefs, what was holding me back, and where I belonged.

But that wasn’t paying the bills.

So from May to August, I jumped around taking various jobs.

I helped people with their SEO and with their Pinterest accounts. 

I did a lot of Pinterest cleanups, Pinterest strategies, Pinterest consultations, and even Pinterest setups. 

At this time, I was just thrilled to be making money and to be able to contribute to Alex’s and my finances. It felt like things were going well.

But it wasn’t enough.

I was averaging around $700 a month in income.

And if you know how much it costs to run a blog, then you know that there was no way that I was covering my weight.

Everything I made was going to Alex and I. 

To our house. To our groceries. To just being able to live.

So month after month I watched as my credit card bill grew. I stopped going to coffee shops. I stopped shopping for myself. And I only allowed myself to buy the necessities.

All of my business expenses were changed automatically to my credit card. My gym membership was charged to my credit card. Tampons, contact solution, etc. They were all charged to my card.

But that’s all I allowed for.

And yes. I did think about canceling my gym membership because that’s not 100% necessary. But without working out, I notice a big shift in my mental health.

So I made the executive decision to suck up that payment so I could stay in a good mental place.

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AUGUST & SEPTEMBER

These 2 months were… rough. To say the least.

Things happened. 

Things that I’ll never talk about. But things that broke me to my core.

There was a point where I didn’t know what my life would look like. Where it was taking me. And what I was supposed to do.

I asked the Universe for a sign and boy did he hit me with a big one.

The weeks following were not enjoyable.

Alex and I had several talks about me going back to work. And I felt more lost than ever before.

So my fight or flight instincts kicked in. And I decided to fight for my life.

I gave myself a month to figure out what I was going to do before I had to have the answer. And what that really meant was to figure out a way to make money in 1 month. 

So I started to apply monthly Pinterest management freelancing gigs. 

Up until this point, I didn’t want to manage people’s Pinterest accounts. I liked to work on them once and then hand them back over. I didn’t like the responsibility of monthly management!

It felt like everything would fall on me and that I would have to perform well month after month.

But I sucked it up.

Deep down, I knew that I was good at Pinterest. I’d grown mine to over 1 million monthly viewers. So why couldn’t I do that for someone else?

RELATED: How I Went From 100k to 600k Monthly Viewers on Pinterest

I signed on my first monthly client at the beginning of October. But it wasn’t enough to pay the bills.

So I started looking for part-time jobs.

And this is what led me to GrubHub.

THE TCB VAULT

Before we get to talking about GrubHub, let’s talk about my 4th product launch in 2018: The TCB Vault.

(I skipped over my Big Plans Productivity Guide & Planner. But if you didn’t know, I created that in 2018 too.)

I first came up with this idea in July when I was in the car headed to Philadelphia.

I pulled out my phone, opened up the notepad app, and started writing down everything I was thinking.

And as soon as I got home, I brainstormed a way to make it happen.

For the next few months, I worked hard on developing this product. I just knew how amazing it could be.

So after a few months of work, I decided to launch The Vault at the end of September.

RELATED: The TCB Vault Is Open For Enrollment!

Now what you guys saw was me excited about every new member who joined.

I hung a banner of my wall and shared each new member that signed up on Instagram stories.

With each new person, I did a victory lap around my house. And after making over $350 in just 1 day, I started to cry.

That’s what you guys didn’t see… my breakdown.

When good stuff happens to me, I tend to feel the opposite of happy.

I feel unworthy. Undeserving. Small.

And because of everything that was happening, me trying to find a way to make sustainable money and all (this was before GrubHub), I felt defeated. 

Like my business had the potential for growth. It had shown me it’s potential. 

But it was never going to see the light of day.

Now let’s get back to the GrubHub thing…

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DELIVERING WITH GRUBHUB

I’ll be the first to admit it… I’m a terrible employee. TERRIBLE!

I don’t take direction from others easily. 

Honestly, when someone tells me something to do, I never want to do it at first. I have to tell myself what I have to do in order to do it.

Does that even make sense?!

So working for someone else isn’t great for me.

But when I saw an ad for GrubHub saying they were looking for drivers in the area, I decided to apply.

And within an hour, I had applied and was through to their background check process.

The cool thing about GrubHub is that you get to schedule your hours like you would a part-time job, I would still be able to work on my blog and for my Pinterest client, and I was promised to make $10 an hour during the hours that I scheduled.

So within 2 weeks, I was driving for GrubHub working about 10 hours a week. Making around $150 a week.

Looking back, it’s pretty amazing that I found GrubHub instead of another part-time job. Because a week after applying for GrubHub, I ended up landing 3 Pinterest monthly management clients. 

2 of which signed on for 3-month contracts resulting in $1,600 in 2 short days.

If I had found another part-time job, I knew that I wouldn’t have been able to handle it all. But since GrubHub was as much of a commitment as I wanted it to be, it was easy to manage everything.

THE TURNING POINT

At the start of November, I had $2,000 in my bank account and 4 consistent monthly clients.

And all those clients are still with me to this day.

2 of which are working through their 3-month contract. And the other 2 I’m working with through Upwork and am being paid monthly for my work.

But the best part is because I signed on 3 clients at once, I ended up booking myself out on Pinterest clients for a couple of months! Which is pretty insane to think about.

Thanks to the growth of my Pinterest business, I was finally at the point where I was making enough to contribute my portion to Alex’s and my finances every month AND start to pay off my credit card debt that I let build up.




MY MONEY STRUGGLES

One day, I plan on opening up more about my money struggles. Just how much money I made this year and how much I spent.

How I let myself go into credit card debt. How I’m still digging myself out of it.

But at this point, I still feel like I’m living it.

Because I am. And I’m not at the point where I feel comfortable to share.

I like to share stories with you guys once they are finished. Once I feel like that chapter is over. Once I’ve achieved something specific.

But at this point, I haven’t.

I’m still struggling with money. And I think until my business is making double what it’s making now, I’m still going to struggle.

Because owning a business is not easy stuff.

And saving money for taxes seems nearly impossible to grasp when I also just want to live my life and grow my business.

SO THAT’S IT

That’s my story of 2018.

What you guys didn’t see behind the scenes. And some of which you will never see.

This year… boy.

I’m not sure I have the word for it.

Maybe we’ll call it transformative. And a learning curve. Because it was sure as heck that.

But what I will say is that I learned a heck of a lot this year. And I watched myself grow and transform in ways I didn’t know I could.

I stopped swearing. I cut out coffee and chocolate. I launched not 1, not 2, but 4 paid products.

I created 3 Days To Purpose.

I grew my YouTube channel like crazy. Reached over 5,000 followers on Pinterest. Learned how to edit my Instagram photos better than before.

RELATED: 10 Tips To Take Better Instagram Photos Of Yourself

And I made it right here.

Back to where it all began: blogging.

The last thing I’ll say is thank you.

Thank you for being here. Thank you for supporting my journey.

Thank you for loving me when I couldn’t even love myself.

I often don’t feel like I deserve the love and support that I get from complete strangers over the internet. But I’m thankful that I do.

This journey with TheContentBug has been one that I never could have imagined. And I can’t wait to see what’s in store for all of us in 2019.

Sending endless love and good vibes your way…

XO, Cath

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Cathrin (Cath) creates content that encourages bloggers & online entrepreneurs to be themselves, chase their passion, and create their success online. 1 year after started her blog (TheContentBug.com), Cath left her full-time position working in the digital marketing industry to pursue her dreams of being her own boss. In weekly blog posts, sporadic YouTube videos, and constant talking on Instagram stories, Cath hopes to spread her story and be an inspiration to others who desperately want to change their lives.

Owning a blog isn’t easy. And if you’re thinking about starting a blog, then you need to know what it’s like being a full-time blogger. So today, I want to share with you what really happened behind-the-scenes of my blog in 2018. From the struggles of growing a blog, to tracking my blog income, and even finding a part time job to make more money. Everything is inside. And this is definitely something all bloggers need to know. #blogging #blogsecrets

4 responses to “2018 Recap – What Really Happened Behind The Scenes”

  1. I understand this journey all too well! Thank you for sharing.

    Blogging is fun, but it sure ain’t easy! 🙂 There’s so much to learn and then there’s always something new to learn around every corner. In a way, I enjoy that part of it because I love learning new things. At the same time, it’s hard to keep up with everything.

    You’re doing a great job. Keep pushing through. You got this!

  2. Hi Cathrin,
    This story is such an inspiration. You are truly amazing, I don’t think anything should bring you down, there’s so much power in your words, and I think there’s so much power in you.
    Thank you.

    Maggie

  3. Shannon says:

    Love your candidness. It’s this kind of honesty that is really helpful to us just starting out in this. So many profitable blogging posts are too heavy on ads and don’t have enough of this raw, real experience. Thank you and all the best to you!

    • Cathrin Manning says:

      Thank you so much! When I started this blog my goal was to be as transparent as possible. It isn’t helpful to anyone to paint a perfect picture when nothing is truly perfect.

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