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Would you like 2017 to be a better year? Me too! Today is the last day of 2016, I’m going to indulge in a post that’s not a DIY craft or project, but rather about me and this blog. One of my rare #Jenuine posts. So come along, if you dare…

My Year of Challenges

2016 was NOT my best year.

No More Caffeine!For the first six months of 2016 I had health issues. Specifically, my chest hurt! A lot. This was not good and it caused much worry. Ultimately, after a lot of testing, I was diagnosed with Prinzmetal’s angina, which I’ve probably had since my 20s. The good news is that my heart was fine. No more caffeine for me and I had a medication to take, but otherwise, I was healthy.

The following month, someone moved my cheese. (If you don’t know what that means, read this book!) The world is changing. People get their information in different ways today. Print books, which have been my bread and butter for over two decades, are on the decline. Thankfully I knew this was coming and I’d been working on long-term solutions, but the reality was still pretty harsh. This was even more stressful than the health issues.

I did some soul searching and I asked myself what it was I really wanted to be doing with my life if things were to change (and change they would). I went camping at Lake Michigan in September 2016 and the answer came to me… I wanted to teach people online all the things I knew, be it travel, crafts, writing, or building a business. I’d been doing some of that already as a travel writer, but I realized I wanted and needed to do more. Teaching and writing is my passion and my calling. I’m a prodigious producer of things and I want to share all the knowledge and experience I have with the world. That simple.

But it’s not really that simple, is it? One doesn’t just teach the world ALL THE THINGS. So I decided I needed more outlets to reach more people who might wish to learn from me. Some blogs, to be specific.

But wait—I had a blog already! I began a mom blog almost three years ago in March 2014. It was simply a place I could talk about my life and my crafts. I posted about teaching my child to cook, Minecraft parties, and sweater coats. I didn’t post very often—only when something tickled my fancy. But I did use my blog as a way to play with social media beyond my normal job. I made graphics and pinned them to Pinterest and I posted my little tutorials and recipes to Facebook. It was fun and satisfying to see that I was able to help people with just my little once-in-a-while hobby blog. I remember vividly one day, maybe in spring of 2015, when I said to myself, “I wish I could play on my blog more.”

After my camping trip, I realized my mom blog was doing pretty good, despite my neglect. Several of my posts had gone viral and continued to help people around the world. Even though my visitorship had slowed to an all-time low of 6500 monthly readers, it was still bringing new people in daily. But I hadn’t posted anything new in nine months!!

So in late September 2016 I dusted the blog off, focused my content to DIY & crafts, and committed to weekly posts. I started a brand-new Pinterest account, just for the blog. I began a new Instagram account for my photos. And I began to network with other bloggers and business owners who found themselves in similar places. I posted twice in September, six times in October, and ten times in November and again in December. (This was more than I’d posted in the entire 2.5 years before that.) My Pinterest account swelled to more than 1,000,000 monthly viewers and my daily Pinterest impressions shot up to over 50,000 a day. Even my little Instagram account is now over 1700 followers strong. And my traffic? It’s increased every month and, by the end of the day (end of the year!), I will have doubled my readership since September. And I did it all in my free time (less hobbies, more blogging).

JenuineMom's Pinterest Impressions

In the end, I realized my blog has been a beacon of light in an otherwise challenging year. Thank you, mom blog!

Looking Ahead to A New and Better Year

So now I stand on the precipice of a new year and I ask myself, “What are my blog goals for the new year?” Because I know this blog is no longer just a place for my random craziness—it’s taken on a life of its own. The craziness has some form and function, and people come here looking for answers and help. And that is something worth working on. So I shall see if I can push it a little further, do a little more, and help a few more people. Here goes:

My Crazy 2017 Goals for My Blog:

Publish a new DIY post twice a week, every week. This could be challenging. I have elective surgery coming up in the new year, and lots of work in general with my company and social media consulting business. But I think this is doable with a committed effort. I’ve managed to do it in November and December already — I’d like to keep it going for an entire year! End-of-year 2017 goal: 52 new DIY posts

Start a YouTube channel with DIY and craft videos. My child loves YouTube and thinks I should do this. I think I should, too. Watch for a video from me in January. End-of-year 2017 goal: 12 new DIY videos

Visualizing Traffic Goals | JenuineMom.comExtend my reach ten-fold. If I can double my visitorship in three months again, and do that several more times throughout the year, I can make this rather lofty goal. I’ve always been a fan of reaching more people. It makes me happy to connect with so many people. I’ve always been a fame over fortune sort of girl. End-of-year 2017 goal: 100,000 monthly visitors

Improve my social media skills. I don’t just mean my numbers, but my skills in general. I think I’m doing well on Pinterest and Instagram, but Twitter and Facebook? Meh. I resolve to do better with both this year. Maybe a new social media platform will debut, or emerge, and if it does, I promise to jump on that bandwagon sooner. End-of-year 2017 goal: Quadruple all my social media accounts and try out new ones sooner.

Grow my list and send weekly newsletters. I thought I didn’t need a mailing list, but I was wrong. I’m only just beginning to accept subscribers, and I need to send out newsletters. I resolve to send out a new one every week, with a least one tip or trick in it! End-of-year 2017 goal: Send 52 newsletters.

Teach courses. This is the big one I want to do in 2017. I discovered about five years ago that I LOVE to teach. I want to teach on my local level at the community college, and to the Internet on a world-wide scale. Would you take one of my courses? End-of-year 2017 goal: Teach at least one course.

Best DIY Gifts with Heart | JenuineMom.comHelp more people. This is the big, overarching goal that is the hardest to quantify. I simply want to help more people. Every time I read a comment from someone who says I helped them, I feel uplifted. Every time I answer a question from a friend or colleague, I feel great. I want to help people do great things. Books are a great way to reach a lot of people. I’ve spent most of my adult life writing books, which I still adore. Print books may not be popular like they once were, but e-books are doing fine. End-of-year 2017 goal: Write an e-book.

Perhaps all this is a bit ambitious, but it’s good to have goals. I will be interested to look back in a year to see how I’ve done! And I could have just written this down in a file on my computer, but now you and the world know my blog goals and accountability is good!

The best news is that I have plans to meet each one of these goals. These past few months I’ve spent accumulating a LOT of really amazing information on how to make this happen, as well as setting up workflow tools. Those are all topics for a different blog, however. And none of this is replacing my “day job” of travel writing. I’m just expanding my horizons and skills!

DIY Chalkboard Globe Preview | JenuineMom.comAnd, because I can’t resist DIY, this post has a sneak peek of a future project: a DIY chalkboard globe! I’m going to show you how to transform a old globe into a beautiful work of art that you can personalize with messages for years to come! All you need is an old globe (I had one that had long since faded, but you can find them at the thrift store), some primer, some black chalkboard paint, some metallic paint, and a brush. Get your supplies ready and watch my blog for details!

I’d love to hear your thoughts! What do you think of my goals? What would you like to see this blog do in the future? What goals do YOU have for the new year?

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  1. Your goals seem very smart and very achievable. I’m so glad you shared them! I have been enjoying the craft ideas and am looking forward to the new things you will be doing with Passprter. I hope that 2017 is a wonderful year for you!

  2. That’s awesome to have high goals!!! Less hobbies more blogging is the way to go!!! Eventually you’ll be at the point you can focus on writing posts and not promoting as much and you can have time for hobbies (: happy new year keep up the good work

    1. Thanks, Kit! Right now the blog is essentially by hobby, but in time I will need to balance it out with non-desk hobbies again. But for now, I feel this is where I should be. Happy new year!

  3. Congrats on the viral posts, and thanks for the reminder to keep going, even if you take a break! Part of me wants to slow down and be more mindful with my family this year, but I”m nervous if I set my blog aside I won’t come back to it.

  4. Awesome job of setting and conveying measurable, achievable goals! No doubt you will surpass your reach before year end. Your Pinterest growth is already phenomenal. I’ve been enjoying your DIY posts and can’t wait to see your first You Tube presentation, so I will eagerly await your newsletters. Perhaps resuming your hobbies will propel unique new forms of DIY projects. Best wishes for a profound and joyous 2017!

  5. I think your goals sound wonderful. I think you planned them out well enough and specifically so that they are attainable. I am really excited to see how it all goes! I don’t believe that anyone can be too ambitious. If you have a passion and drive to make something happen, you will! I always say “Reach for the Moon, if you fail you will still fall among the stars!” You will rock 2017!

  6. Great goals! I don’t think 2016 was kind to many people. Mine wasn’t too bad but it wasn’t the best either. I have set some blogging goals, but I need to really iron them out visually.

  7. Even though 2016 wasn’t a great year for you, you have done great things with your blog. What incredible growth you have seen after reviving your blog. Your goals for 2017 are really wonderful and I hope you have great success with achieving them.

  8. I have debated about doing a YouTube channel, and feel like I “should”… but not sure what I’d do. Or show. Or teach. But, still debating about it. Might be good to have another social media connection out there.

  9. I love your motivation. So sorry to hear that 2016 was a rough year, but how inspiring that your posts were still living on and bringing in new readers. I hope you have a good 2017 and can achieve all your goals! I love that you wrote them all out to keep yourself accountable! Happy new year!

  10. it’s great to aim high! especially with blogging because it is definitely what you put into it! our 2016 didn’t start out great either but here’s to 2017!

  11. Oh goodness you’ve sent some amazing goals for 2017! I am so excited for you. Sometimes we do just need something to help us resent and find a new path, even if it’s scary.
    I hope your feeling better health wise and as someone who also can’t have caffeine, there’s so other warm goodness to be had.

  12. Love making new goals for the new year – it keeps me on track and gives me a good look for the upcoming year.

  13. Best of luck in 2017! You have great content and I don’t see why anyone wouldn’t want to come visit you daily here!

    1. Thanks, Debra! Prinzmetal’s angina is not your typical angina — it tends to start in the 20s and is caused by vasospasm, a narrowing of the coronary arteries caused by contraction of the smooth muscle tissue in the vessel walls rather than directly by atherosclerosis (buildup of fatty plaque and hardening of the arteries). It happens at rest, not with activity like other anginas. So it’s a bit weird. I am glad to know what it is and how I can deal with it. When I had problems in my 20s, the cardiologists said I was fine and I eventually went to a naturopath in desperation (and he did help me).

  14. This year wasn’t a very friendly year to all of us. I think it’s packed with lessons learned from all those bad experiences though. I’m glad you were able to improve your blog along the way though. Blogging can be very rewarding and relaxing.

  15. I love when the answers to what we should do come to us in the most unexpected ways! So awesome you have grown your blog so much in such a short time and I think with that drive you will have zero problems in achieving all of the goals you have for 2017!

  16. It seems like 2016 had lots on ups and downs for you, but you are definitely taking the right steps to make 2017 the best year ever! I think I will borrow your idea and will start visualizing my social media and blog goals too — it seems to be super inspiring!

    Also, I’m wishing you to accomplish everything that you’ve planned in 2016 and have the best year ever!

  17. Sorry 2016 wasn’t the greatest. Let’s hope 2017 is better!
    As for your goals, social media I say figure out the one that brings the best ROI (clicks back to the blog) and focus on the top couple. I figured out recently U was spending so much time on FB get it was my lowest ROI! I barely spent time on Pinterest and it was my highest. I’m turning the tables this year on social media.

  18. Wow it looks like you’ve had some great successes this year as well as some crazy times. This year was really hard for my family, but I was able to turn things around at the end of the year.

  19. I think you have great goals for your blog and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t achieve them, you’ve already accomplished so much in just a few months. Happy. New Year

  20. Sorry about your difficult year. Your plan for 2017 sounds amazing! Lots of very achievable goals in there. Good luck with everything and witty your surgery.

  21. Helping people is always a great goal! I would like to help people more as well. Also I am glad your heart is okay that sounds like it was pretty scary before you were diagnosed! Take care.

  22. Wow, your blog journey is so inspiring!! I’m sorry you’ve suffered health issues this year (I can relate, I spent most of this year in bed in pain with severe nausea and migraines T_T), but it’s so wonderful to see how your blog has thrived! Good luck on your goals, I think they’re definitely achievable!! I love your DIYs and think starting a YouTube channel is a fantastic idea!

    1. Thank you so much, Amanda! I’m sorry to hear you also had health issues. I hope your 2017 is better, too!

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