Happy New Year’s Eve!
Doesn’t it always sneak up on us? It’s the last day of the year, which can evoke emotions from relief to anticipation of the new year, which we hope will bring us a “fresh start” and a chance to do better.
Stop all bad habits
Get more organized
Be a better person…
But why wait until January 1st to make these resolutions?
Why not every day? Why not make every day “January 1st?” After all, if we’re really serious about keeping those resolutions, don’t we need to be mindful every day to make that change?
Still, it’s always good to regularly check in with ourselves for some serious introspection. Let’s be proud of our accomplishments but learn from our failures and near misses.
So, with that preamble, it’s time to look back at Laurel Home 2023. It’s been a wild year!
Usually, I do something like the 10 best blog posts, but this has been such an unusual year. Therefore, I’d like to share some of the behind-the-scenes goings-on for a change. And, I’ll also slip in a few favorite posts.
You can follow along by clicking on the month links. If you don’t already know, there is an archive of past posts by month and year in the blog sidebar.
However, most of January was devoted to sharing two readers’ homes and my attempts to design spaces that functioned optimally and looked beautiful, as well. Several of you disagreed with my use of slipper (armless) chairs. I say keep doing those squats and take the stairs! Stay strong! We can do it!
This month covered another reader’s vacation home in Florida and the first of numerous renovation posts focusing on the design of my new kitchen.
Remember when the sink wall looked like this?
Fortunately, while this plan is okay, I adore the plan we ended up with so much more. It’s more open, and there’s more counter space, as well. I don’t need all of it, but I love looking at it! Every time I walk in there, I think I’m dreaming.
Photo – Rodney Collins
We explored numerous topics this month, including some little-known Furlow Gatewood decorating, neutral paint colors, and granny decor mistakes. We also visited my bathroom renovation. Remember when I had the idea to add an interior window? It’s fun to see its evolution, and like an embryo beginning to take shape, we’ll begin to see the beginnings of the embrasure hall.
And, the kitchen design was tweaked for the final time.
However, in mid-March, I contacted the general contractor I had been working with for 21 months, only to find out his promised start date for the renovation sometime in June had to be pushed back to the following February. Talk about “a fly in the ointment!”
This month was interesting with some of my favorite topics, such as sprucing up cheap drapes, inspiration from Mark D. Sikes, the best sofas, and RH.
In addition, we also changed email providers and migrated everyone from Mailchimp to Convertkit. Thank you, Tim! (my web developer)
But, April also had my little freak-out (disguised as satire) post about artificial intelligence and how, without warning, like a tsunami, it usurped the entire internet and threw every content creator in the entire webisphere into a blind panic.
Why? Because most of us with internet businesses rely on Google as a major source of our website traffic.
It’s a simple equation. Loss of traffic = loss of income.
Fortunately, before the month’s end, I found my darling GC, Robert, who is not inexpensive, but compared to Rick, the contractor who blew me off, the savings were significant. (Shhh…)
Thank you Rick! You did me a favor.
Incidentally, Robert has told me not to share who he is. He is turning down work left and right as it is.
I signed the lease on my rental for June through November and hired an architect to draw up formal plans. I’m glad I did. He’s a good architect, but we had a rocky beginning, which you can read about here.
We also fully formed the embrasure (or embrasured) hallway, the backbone of the downstairs bedroom suite.
A reader reprimanded me for putting two halls side-by-side. However, the dividing wall must be there to house the electrical panel. Plus, each hall has numerous closets, openings, and rooms off of it.
In addition, I was also taking steps to make at least 90% of the renovation posts part of premium membership content.
In my heart of hearts, I didn’t want to do that, but I saw no other choice. I’ll get to all of that in a sec.
I moved to the rental apartment and adjusted to my new life on Beacon Hill. I have to say I loved living “on the hill,” as Bostonians say. However, my rental was cramped and noisy with copious amounts of traffic, jackhammers at 2:00 AM, sirens going to Mass General, drunk folks pouring out of Teddy’s bar 150 feet away, and a plethora of open trolley cars carrying tourists.
I often heard snippets from the tour guides coming through the window:
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, the Freedom Trail…
I’m glad to be back in relatively sleepy Back Bay.
The demo began on my condo on June 5th, and I was starting to write about the renovation despite plans to put most of it behind a paywall. Make no mistake, I felt like a creep for holding back, but at the time, I couldn’t see any other way out, as my income had been slashed in half.
I began the month feeling quite anxious. Everything on the reno completely stopped after about seven days of the guys working on the demo. But, then, it was the July 4th holiday. And almost nothing happened with the renovation in July.
However, shortly after the July 4th holiday, I was having a Skype sesh with my fantastic developer, Tim.
Tim is amazing! He keeps my website running smoothly and optimized to please the almighty googlegod.
If Tim has any faults at all, it might be that he can be a little too analytical. I’ll say, “Oh, let’s just do it.” “Or, please pick one.” So, I said, “Tim, we have to get this membership thing going! But I’m worried; I know I’m going to
piss off anger a lot of people who will unsubscribe out of disgust. I wouldn’t blame them!
Plus, my traffic WILL go down even further, causing more loss of income. I have calculated that I’ll need at least X subscribers to purchase a premium subscription to break even. Why am I going to all this trouble only to maybe break even?
Despite my continuous yapping, I could hear Tim’s wheels turning madly… hmmmmmmmmmmm, was all he said.
Uh oh… a hmmmmmmm from Tim means time, and time was up as the reno was underway. So, I said, “Well, how long do you think it’ll take to get things going? I can’t hold off much longer, and I reiterated, plus, I’m really worried that this whole thing will flop, and then what?”
Well, Laurel, he said, “You could divide the posts in half and post four times a week instead of twice to make up for the lost traffic.”
Now, it was my turn to say hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… because at that moment, Tim had metaphorically parted the seas for me.
Gosh, Tim. That’s a bloody fantastic idea! We ended our sesh shortly after that and without distraction, I did my calculations. The answer was clear. I wrote Tim back to thank him for helping me figure this out.
There would be no membership site. I will post four times a week instead of twice. That will bring in more income in an organic way without having to ask readers to cough it up for what they were formerly getting for free.
The relief I felt was enormous. While my advisors pushed me to do the membership thing, it didn’t feel right.
It’s going on five months now, and by August, I was asking myself why I hadn’t done these shorter more frequent posts sooner.
There’s much less pressure, and I rarely have that hit-by-a-truck feeling after pulling off a 3,000-word blog post with 25 images in one day.
But, then, simultaneously, a miracle happened, as the return on ad revenue increased substantially in the middle of summer when it normally pulls back.
Huh? I have no idea why, but let’s not question it. It’s a gift, and I’m grateful.
While my income isn’t back where it was, it’s enough to sustain me. Please keep clicking the Amazon link. I so appreciate many of you doing that. It has helped enormously!
Okay, I know you’re probably bored to tears by now.
zzzzzz… Did you say something, Laurel? ;]
Yes, please have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year!!!
***But, also, the sale of my digital products ends at 11:59PM January 1st. I’m extending it one day since New Year’s Eve isn’t the best. However, the prices are definitely going up on January 2nd 2024.
January 1, 2024!
All the guides’ prices are going up on January 2, 2024!
***Gifting is available and easy.***
When ordering, click the gift icon, then follow the prompts.
(Click on the links below to learn more about my interior design guides)
Laurel’s Rolodex (just released for 2024) – A unique shopping guide that shares hundreds of my favorite sources, especially for decorators and designers, tells you the best sources that sell directly to the design trade. You will always get lifetime, annual updates with this guide.
Six-Figure Income Blogger. (This should be required reading for everyone who has a website and wishes to get the most out of it for their business)
Thank you, as always, for your kindness and support. I appreciate it more than I can say. Please have a blessed new year!
PS: Please check out the newly updated HOT SALES!