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Biz Advice

How My Business Thrived During My Hardest Personal Year Yet

January 5, 2024

In 2022, I had a tough year. I had to take a huge step back from my business multiple times. Fortunately, I had put some things in place to help with the space I needed to take. These systems explain how my business thrived during difficult situations. Hear what preparations you can make in your business in this episode!

Listen to this episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify!

Lisa’s Story

I still remember it clearly. It was May of 2021 and a sunny day in Ohio. My husband, Michael, and I are very close with his parents. We went to their house expecting to have a normal day. 

My husband went to the backyard with his mom, and soon after, I saw him crying. I followed him to see what happened. It was then that I learned she had been diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. She said she knew exactly where she would go, and we all cried together. 

Our Vision

In the months to come, Michael and I created a vision for the hard times ahead: to show up. I wrote down that I would show up for her, for Lisa. Additionally, I committed to showing up in my business, and I was determined to show up for other important figures in my life. One thing I did not want to become in that season was passive. 

The following February, Lisa passed away. At that time, I was especially thankful for the vision Michael and I had created and committed to. We spent multiple days each week with her. Even if half the time at her home was spent with her resting, we were still there. 

The rest of 2022 was one of my hardest years yet. I was pregnant with our twins, and to our surprise, they arrived five weeks early. We spent two weeks in the NICU, and due to a lack of support from the staff, I felt uncomfortable there.


Michael was still working full-time at his job, and I was the primary caregiver for our daughters. I love motherhood, but it’s hard! Later that same year, we moved to a brand new state. We knew no one. At the same time as this transition, Michael quit his job.

Even with all of these difficult contributing factors, in that year, my business reached its first multi-six-figure income year ever. That blows my mind. The times that I had set working hours that year were so rare. At the end of 2022, my husband quit his job and my business has been our sole income for 13 months. 


Here are five things I did in preparation so that my business would not only survive but thrive during the times that I stepped away. 

1. Get Clear on My Time

I defined not only what was important in my business, but also, what drove the needle. There’s a rule in business that twenty percent of the work you do drives eighty percent of the results. Meaning, a lot of what you do is not making the money in your business. A solution might be to delegate those less important tasks or eliminate them.

I sorted between things I thought were important vs. what was earning money in my business. This distinction was transformational. 

I also got clear on my time outside of the business. If I wanted to be present for my family, I could not work up to sixty hours a week anymore. 

2. Set Up Systems and Automations

Think, how can you save as much time as possible by creating a workflow or automation? This could include Zapier, email automations, or sales funnels. I made it a priority to automate my marketing with YouTube.

After two years and developing a consistent YouTube rhythm and strategy, I gained 500+ subscribers on YouTube every month. Additionally, I earned about $1,400 per month in Adsense revenue and earned thousands of dollars in sales from those opting into my list.

Unlike Instagram, YouTube does not require you to show up and post every day. You can gain leads & earn income without being present on the platform. 

Free YouTube Class

By the way, our YouTube course is coming out in a couple of weeks! Plus, we just opened registration for a free online class. If you’re interested in how to scale your business with YouTube in four hours per week, without the need for any fancy tech, the class will be live on January 11, 2024! Click here to sign up for the live event or, after January 11, watch the replay!

In 2022, when I had to step away from the business for large amounts of time, YouTube was my automated marketing plan. At the time, I was transitioning between Instagram accounts, and I did not have an Instagram account pointing to my paid offers. 

Even my older YouTube videos still gained views and leads while I was away. In total, we took a six-week break from YouTube at the end of my maternity leave, and our overall views did not dip much. YouTube takes time to build, but it does not crumble easily. 

3. Build a Team

I hired my first employee, Maggie, in February of 2022. It was short of two months before I had my twins. I also had a few contract workers who took things off my plate. Video editing was a huge one.

Giving up a little control was an amazing decision. It helped my business grow a great deal. My business would not be where it is today if I had not taken steps to get things off my plate and give myself more time for the things that drive the business. 

4. Passive Income

In mid-2021, I was transitioning my business from being built on client work to passive income. I knew I wanted to be a business educator rather than a photography educator. I built out my product suite with some digital products about Instagram reels. Then, I installed email funnels, evergreen webinar replays, upsells, and tripwires to pitch these products on autopilot. 

This was especially successful for my Reels Class replay strategy. I hosted the webinar live and then offered a free replay. People sign up to watch the replay and are pitched the course inside. We still use this strategy today and continue to see incredible results!

Installing passive income goes hand in hand with marketing via YouTube. People find my videos, sign up for my list through the freebie mentioned in the video, and they are automatically pitched products. 

Using YouTube + passive income in this way helped me to set up a business model that does not require me to physically show up every single day.

5. Work “Smarter”

With the time that I worked, I wanted to be intentional about how my time was spent. I eliminated distractions and stayed away from time wasters (such as aimlessly scrolling on Instagram). Instead, I put my energy into things that moved the needle in my business.

When my twin daughters were younger, I had to learn to use small chunks of time well. It was not realistic for me to reserve an entire eight-hour workday anymore. When I had time, I was hyper-focused on my work tasks and got as much out of that window as possible.

Something that helps me in this area is to write down everything that I do in a week. After analyzing this list, determine what can be delegated or eliminated. Stick to your “zone of genius,” what you thrive in doing, and your business with flourish as a result. 

First Steps

In the beginning stages of your business, this might look like hiring a virtual assistant for a few hours per week. It’s important to have someone who knows your business well so that when you need to step out, there’s someone to keep things going. It’s important to have these things in place before the time you need them.

Prepare for Personal Time

Life has so many ups and downs. 2022, while full of wonderful things, was one of my hardest years yet. Having systems in place in my business so that I could step away for those much-needed periods was crucial. I felt like I had the space to show up well for those who needed me & heal when I needed to. 

If you needed to step out of your business for a month, would your business be okay? You might be more client-heavy, but that’s where diversifying your income streams becomes most important. Have a plan for what emails would go out, how you could push deadlines, and know what’s in your contract. Think about what space you need in your business to be fully present in your personal life when the time comes.

Thank you for tuning in & we’ll be back with another episode on Thursday at 8 AM!

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