Wow, how do you even start summarizing a year like 2020? If at the end of last year you said that people would start routinely wearing surgical masks in the streets, that the international airport would be empty and closed for months, and that there would be a shortage of toilet paper in supermarkets around the world – I probably would have rolled my eyes at you and told you this could make for a bad movie script 😂 But sometimes life surprises us with bizarre scenarios we could never have thought of, and despite it all, we find a way to readjust. As the saying goes – c’est la vie!
So even though the last year felt like an insane roller coaster ride, with extreme ups and downs, unexpected turns and loops that changed the way we look at life – I can personally say that it completely changed the course of my life on the one hand, and strengthened a lot of things when viewing the world of business, entrepreneurship and digital on the other.
End-of-year posts have already become a tradition in this blog (you’re welcome to read End of the Year 2019 and End of the Year 2018), so of course, I have decided to also look back at 2020 and ponder the year that went by, so we can start the new year with a more focused point of view. I’d like to share my thoughts with you in this blog, so here is a short summary of all the things that happened in the blog, and thanks to it, in the past year.
If there is one thing that characterizes this year, it’s the word ‘changes’, or to be even more precise – dramatic changes. Other than the obvious ones we have endured this year in terms of our social lifestyle, I have experienced many business changes and a conceptual change regarding my job as a business owner, as well as personal changes.
let’s start with the fact that a major part of my occupation in recent years went hand-in-hand with the world of tourism, both as a travel blogger and a content creator for hotels around the world. When people were just starting to talk about the coronavirus pandemic at the beginning of the year, it was unclear to me how much it would change the way I conduct myself in my work, as well as the resource appropriation and income of my business. In the beginning, most of us looked at the coronavirus as a Chinese virus that would not impact our lives in the Western world too much. Only by the end of March, with the first lockdown in Israel, did I realize that the rules of the game had changed, and that the business had to adjust accordingly – and immediately. The shift into the content world of entrepreneurship and blogging had already largely started for me at the end of 2019, but the coronavirus made me deal with those matters even more directly – as expressed in this blog’s posts and more prominently on my Instagram account. If most of the content on my feed and stories were about travel, you must have noticed that these focused more on my life as an independent business owner and tips on how to manage a more organized lifestyle, and ideas for self-development (for independents and employees alike), in the last year. I will talk more about the business side later in the post 😊
PERSONAL LIFE - WISE
there is no doubt that the coronavirus is a terrible thing, and I do not believe in sugar-coating reality. The lives of many people were severely damaged, our culture is dying in many respects, families have fallen apart and humanity has suffered many losses. But you cannot say that the coronavirus didn’t bring on some positive things. The world of medicine and science has catapulted forward with medicine that would normally take dozens of years to produce, technology also has progressed along with the understanding that we can do more things remotely; socially, we have started slowing down a bit and enjoying the little things, like spending time with our families, redecorating our houses and even open-air picnics made a comeback. In my case, you can also say that all the changes in my personal life (and there were a lot of them) directly came from the way the coronavirus affected our lives.
Let’s start with the obvious – Daniel and I travelled a lot less this year. Compared to the 14 destinations we travelled to last year, this year was very minimal, with only 3 destinations (Milano, the Dolomites, and Athens, Greece). Many of our reservations were unfortunately cancelled, such as two new destinations we’d planned to visit: the Music Festival in Lisbon and my birthday trip to New York (I can’t believe I’ve never been there! 😲). Except for short trips inside Israel, we spent most of our time in our Tel-Aviv apartment.
As a result of the vast change to our lifestyle, Daniel and I decided that it is time to expand the family 🐣 I was pregnant by the second lockdown! Yes, that came quickly (knock on wood 🧿), and it took me some time to process this huge change in our lives, but there is no doubt it came at the best imaginable time for me. Those of you who follow me on Instagram and have signed up to my newsletter already know that the first months of my pregnancy were tough, so much so that I was lying on the couch for days without being able to function. The thing that brought on the change was the huge change in perception regarding my job as an independent business owner.
I suddenly realized something very important about my work – I can let go a bit and the skies are not going to fall!
If before the coronavirus and my pregnancy I was non-stop full throttle with the business, I found out during my months of inactivity that I have reached the point where my business is well-established and has a solid enough foundation to run independently even without me guarding it day and night. This business realization, along with the reappreciation of our leisure time outside (thanks to the stifling lockdowns of the last year) made me let go and enjoy the little things in life much more – strolling down the boardwalk or in the park, hanging out at the port or simply resting on the couch at home.
So, yes, as an independent business owner whose business is practically me (of course Daniel does a lot to manage the business, and I also have a small group of freelancers that I regularly work with), most of the work still hinges on me and very much depends on my presence and creativity in the business. My future goal is definitely to expand the Hedonistit team and reach new places 😊
The last great change that seals 2020 for me is leaving our Tel-Aviv apartment, scheduled for the very last day of the year! Yes, you heard it… after only 18 months in Tel-Aviv, after decorating our rented apartment so well and making it our home, we have decided to leave the big city. With the new addition to our family on the way, we’re moving to Herzliya. I will of course share the entire moving process with you as well as the new apartment’s decoration, here on the blog, the newsletter, and Instagram 😉
THE BUSINESS (Blog, Freelancing and everything in between)
First and foremost, blog. While it feels like a decade has passed since it happened, on January 1st, 2020, the new and improved Hedonistit site went online – the huge project I worked on throughout 2019! This new website had been my dream for a long time and served as a serious stepping stone for my business. As the new website launched, much new content was added to the website, as well as a brand-new shop which became a colossal success in 2020.
As far as new blog posts – there is no doubt that with all the changes and adjustments I had to make for my business this year, along with slowing down my pace and almost completely stopping my work due to the pregnancy, the blog had less new content this year than I would have liked. With that said, all the content I have chosen to share were things that came from the community, and they were all comprehensive and profound (as I believe quality content worth reading should be 🤓).
Aside from the posts I published this year, I have launched a new free video workshop called Picture Perfect, in which I teach my formula for creating the perfect picture for business owners, content creators or simple people who like photography.
I came back with full force to social media this year! After being worn out by Instagram for a while, I have decided to make a big change in my relationship with that social media platform (you can read more about it here) – I feel that I’m back, big-time, and this time on my own terms. I decluttered my account of things that added nothing to me, I started following new accounts that inspire me, and mostly stopped managing my life based on the whims of the varying algorithm. I enjoy every story and post I upload and feel that the relationship between me and my community members also grew stronger through my private messages there. My Pinterest also went through a major upgrade this year, updating and reconstructing the entire account, including the rebranding of the graphics displaying Hedonistit around the platform. In terms of Facebook, there is not much to say about the business page, since Facebook doesn’t give as much exposure to business pages in recent years and I put in my work there accordingly.
The Photo Booth - digital photography course
During 2020, my professional photography course got upgraded with new content and rebranding, and it now has over 400 students! Beyond that, Daniel and I finally fulfilled our dream of translating the entire course to English and started building its marketing and promotional platform abroad 🥳🥳
The new shop is something huge I have been dreaming of doing for a long time now, and finally made it happen at the beginning of the year! One of the important things I’ve realized in the last few years is how much I love that the content that I share inspires people, but it is also important for me to create things that will give you more than that – actual tools with which community members can transform inspiration to action. This is exactly the thought behind the digital products I created for my digital store, and I was very happy to see you enjoying the products I have created for you, and the way in which they upgrade your business’ and content’s visibility.
As part of the freelancing jobs I have taken in recent years, I created visual content for brands around the world, built visual branding strategies for social media and also advised dozens of small business bloggers. This year, these three things slowed down a notch due to the coronavirus changes and the changes in my personal life. Projects-wise, taking lifestyle and atmosphere photos for businesses – as Studio Hedonistit – this year, we have created visual strategies and content for only four businesses: Zaban Jewelry, Herods Hotel Herzliya, Boutique Hotel Renoma, Nova skin care brand and Boutique Hotel Flora Valley.
As I wrote in the “How to prepare your business for 2021” guide, not all of my business plans were carried out in 2020. Despite this year not going as I had planned somewhere at the end of 2019, most of the goals I set for myself came true, and more than that – financially, this was the best year for my business. So how did that happen? There were many changes and decisions made as we went along (I recommend reading this guide I wrote with tips on how to establish and strengthen the business during a crisis), but the basis of all the decisions made for my business this year were uncompromisingly rooted in the annual plan I prepared before the storm. One of the decisions we made at the end-of-2019 meeting was to increase the financial investment in the business – both by working with freelancers as well as increasing advertising budgets and sales promotions. Due to the unexpected changes, beginning this year we eventually decided on increasing those expenditures by more than 15%, and as a result I worked less and we increased the business’ profitability by about 25% compared to 2019.
2020 was undoubtedly a revolutionary year that will go down in history, full of great changes and surprises, and I can’t wait to see what the new year will bring!
To sum up, I'd like to wish you all a year full of goal achievement, health, love and enjoying both the small and big things in life.
Happy new year! ⭐
I’d love to hear how the changes following the coronavirus affected your life this year – tell me in the comments below 🙂
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