2021 Year in Review



It’s been a really weird year for us at Product Powerhouse and myself personally as well. I wanted to share the good and the bad moments of 2021 from my business because I know as humans and fellow business owners we get curious! That’s why episode 88 of the Product Powerhouse Podcast is our 2021 year in review! 

In this episode of the Product Powerhouse Podcast, I’m sharing the top nine experiences from my business in 2021, inspired by the top nine Instagram app. 

Some of the experiences I go over in this episode include:

  • The Nashville Retreat I attended with my mastermind group.
  • Hiring two new team members last year.
  • Finding strategic partnerships that helped carry us throughout the year.
  • Building more than 12 sites last year!
  • Celebrating one full year in podcasting!
  • My family bought a boat!
  • Took a family vacation.
  • The many places I have traveled to in 2021, both in state and out of the country (Safely, of course).
  • My second annual business retreat
  • Firing my first client and the valuable lesson I learned through that process
  • How my medical issues in the last year have flipped my mental dialogue.

I never want to paint the picture that entrepreneurship is easy or always perfect, which is why I included a few negative sides of the business in 2021, but please realize that having a few negatives in your business is normal. So be sure to tune in to all the episodes to receive tons of practical tips on growing your product shop and to hear even more about the points outlined above.

Thank you for listening!

If you enjoyed this episode, take a screenshot of the episode to post in your stories and tag me!  And don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review the podcast and tell me your key takeaways!

Learn more about Product Powerhouse and Erin at https://productpowerhouse.co/podcast/

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Show Notes

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The following is an unedited transcript of the episode.

 If I could give anyone or everyone, just like one blessing or wish or anything, I wish that people would get to have this perspective shift without going through the hardship. I don't wish having these serious complications on anyone, but I wish that everyone could have this feeling of gratitude, this feeling of abundance without that hardship. You're listening to product powerhouse a podcast to inspire and empower you while you build a powerful product based business that fuels your passion and feeds your family. I'm your host, Erin Alexander, I run an E commerce web design agency that helps shop owners build, grow and scale. This podcast is all about actionable strategies specifically for your product based business. So friend, grab an iced coffee and let's chat because DIY in your business doesn't mean you have to do it alone. Hello, friends, welcome to another episode of the product powerhouse podcast. It is 2022. And I am finally creating new content for the podcast and I am thrilled to be here. It's been a bit of a weird year for me. That's the understatement. But I'm so excited to be creating new content for you guys. So let's just jump right in today's episode is all about what happened in my business in 2021. The good and the bad. And I wanted to share with you some of those insights because I know as humans and fellow business owners, we're really curious about these types of things. And every year I do a newsletter, or blog posts like this, and it's really popular. So I figured this year, let's do it on the podcast. So first of all, let me say how excited I am to be creating new podcast content. In my personal life. I was very, very sick in November in December with some gallbladder issues. And my son was sick. And at the time, my priority had to be taken care of my clients. So that meant podcast content kind of got put on hold. And we were playing repeat episodes, which was really fantastic. Everyone listened to them anyways, so and I've heard people say I haven't listened to this one before, it was a really great reminder. So I was really excited about it not being like such a big deal that there wasn't brand new podcast content out. But I am really excited to get back into creating. I love content creating. And as a sneak peek into 2022 I am going to be grabbing hold of the reins of content creation. It's where my heart has always lied. I've just felt very hesitant to do it. And so now is the time I'm going all in on content creation, we will still take client projects. But I'm going to be creating tutorials and videos. And course a course the one stop DIY shop is coming up in February. And I'm just going to embrace teaching and sharing what I know about Shopify, so I'm really excited about that. But like I said, I was sick in November in December, at the very end of December, I had my gallbladder removed, which resulted in a very rare complication. And I spent 10 days in ICU 10 more days at home on bed rest not doing much. So today I am recording this it is January 21. I have not worked in over a month, because I took some time off for the holidays. This is it's very unprecedented for me because I'm definitely a workaholic. But man am I so excited to be back into my office and creating new content for you guys. So thanks for sticking around. So one of the things I have done every year for the last several years is send out a newsletter with my top nine. And if you're on Instagram, you know that you can like download this app that shows you your top nine popular posts on Instagram. It's cheesy, it's silly, it's fun. But I have always taken that to pick out the top nine moments or things that I'm most proud of, or were most transformational in my business. And I'm going to share those with you today. So number one, in my top nine was the retreat I went to in Nashville with my mastermind group the elevator Joy collective. There is a group of four of us we had an Airbnb in Nashville and it was fantastic. It was a big turning point in my business and in my personal life. And I saw where a lot of ways where I was too afraid to admit what I really wanted, therefore not going for it because I wouldn't actually tell people what I actually wanted. So that was fantastic getting to see my business friends who have been in my corner for the last, I want to say three years now in real life for the first time was absolutely phenomenal. So great. And it just strengthened our bond. So that was really fantastic part of my year. Number two in my top nine is also I hired two new team members last year, and they came on as part time contractors for my company. There was two of them, Leah and Katherine and they really helped me get a lot done in my business in the last six months. So I hired them in June. They Fantastic. I love these women. They are like, super cool like badass mom business owners just out there like conquering the world. Now, one of them has stepped down. For personal reasons, we ended on very great terms. I adore her. I'm sad because she helps me take care of all the marketing for the podcast, and the other one is still on my team. And I am excited for what we can do together, she has been such a great help. As I dealt with my health issues and spent time in the hospital, she really grabbed hold of the client projects and just did what she could. And I felt like I was like, throwing her in to the deep end without a raft without a life jacket and nuts should know how to swim, except she doesn't know how to swim because she was able to figure everything out. I'm so grateful to have her. So if you're listening to this, Katherine, I cherish you with all my heart. So there's that. Number three, top nine in my business last year was finding strategic partnerships that have carried me throughout the year. I am only one person, I cannot do everything as much as I wish I could. Also there are things I just don't like doing. For example, I love talking about SEO. I hate researching it, it is boring. My ADH brain cannot stand doing repetitive things over and over and over. So I started partnering with amazing people amazing business owners who fill in those gaps. We have a brand partnership with my friend Shana from diamonds like creative. I partnered with Julia from Julia Renee consulting for SEO, I have an amazing developer omit who builds out all the things that I conjure up, he puts them into code for me. So finding those strategic partnerships to make my services more well rounded and less reliant on just me having to learn everything myself, has been a game changer in my business. Number four, I have on the list 12 Full Shopify stores built last year. Now there's a couple others. There's another one I did with a, in a partnership with another designer, or I did the development and built out the store. So I technically built out that store. It doesn't count as my project. So I'm still so proud of the 12 stores we built out. They are incredible business owners, I'm not going to list them all out here. But I will include show notes to the live sites. Sometimes, after we build a site, a client doesn't take it live right away. Like they have to do things on their own. They're still figuring out things, they're still getting product. So I think there's two sites that we finished last year, that are not technically live at this moment, but they will be in the future. I can't wait for them to be live. But I really respect my clients and don't share their business website until it's live for their business because it's their news. We're just a partner in the back. I'm still so proud of the work we've done though. So if you want to see some of the sites we built this year, you can head over to our website at product powerhouse.co. On the podcast episode, we'll have links and we have links to a lot of them in our portfolio. So that's really exciting. Number five I think I put on the list is celebrating a full year of podcasting. I started the podcast in June of 2020. All of 2021 was a full year of podcasting. I absolutely loved it connecting with other business owners and interviewing them for the podcast is absolutely one of my favorite things in the world. I love reaching out to people asking them to be on the show and then getting to celebrate all the wonderful things they've done. It's phenomenal. I'm really excited to keep going with the podcast. We're nearing 100 episodes, some in the next few weeks we'll be hitting 100 episodes that will be really fun. We'll have to do some kind of fun celebration. Number six is a personal thing, but man is it a good one. My family bought a boat. So my husband found a boat on Facebook marketplace for 500 bucks. It didn't work and he spent all summer fixing it up. We had so much fun taking this boat out on the water. I learned to drive I got my boaters license. The kids went to Bing I went to Bing. It was fantastic. It was one of the best things we've done. I can't wait for another summer of that together. I love being out on the water. Ever since I married into my husband's family we have spent time out on the water to the point where now I crave it. And last year in 2020 I bought a paddleboard so that I could you know go out whenever I wanted. And so I'm really excited to do more of that this year and spend time on our little boat. If you want to see a picture I will put it in the newsletter in the blog post. My kids have named the boat Red Rocket super fast dad machine so it is very cool. Okay, so number six also on a personal note, oops, I think number seven sorry. We took a family vacation in Oregon. And it was incredible, like I completely checked out. And that is very difficult for a workaholic. You know, all my clients knew what was going on. We took a week off and spent time on the beach and it was it was so wonderful. And that is definitely a highlight of my year and I cannot wait to book a new one this year. We can start booking in February for like camping sites on the beach and I am going to be online first day of February booking our next trip. Number eight is kind of similar, but I actually got to do a lot of traveling last year. Thankfully, it was very safe. I have been you know, it's very small gatherings. Very safe. I'm fully vaccinated. I've been very careful. But last year, I went to Nashville, Tennessee, Utah, which was absolutely stunning. Oregon, Idaho, California, San Diego, and Mexico. Kwik Trip Across the border for my first time out of the country. It was really great. I think that's the most traveling I've ever done in a single year. I'm really excited about it. It's mostly because my husband was home and could stay with my kids this year. He's gotten a job for a few hours a day. So traveling is going to be a little different for me this year. But I'm really excited about possibilities. I don't have anything planned, but I can't wait for it when it comes up. And then number nine was my business retreat second annual business retreat with Shana. You guys have heard me talk about her before or if you follow me on Instagram, you hear about her all the time. She is the wonderful business owner I share an office with she's like, she's become my real best friend. For the past two years, we've taken a fall business retreat to work on our business like in a new place. We get an Airbnb this year, we rented this adorable 1900 cottage in quarterly in Idaho. It was so cute. We just nailed down our client process. Both of us worked on our client process during that weekend. It was fantastic. It really helped me streamline a lot of things so that as we're bringing on projects, the beginning piece where we're like getting started before I start designing is going very smoothly. And I'm very happy about that. Because that's something that a lot of designers struggle with. And six years into my business this year. It's just like, come on, like this should be easy by now. And all it took was sitting down and really finessing the system I already had in place. So it was really fun to go to Idaho because they have trees and I do not have a lot of trees where I live. So there was beautiful fall foliage, Shana took some some business pictures of me like it did a photo shoot, which was really fun. So there's my top nine, beyond our 12 websites built. I also have a handful of clients who I have worked with all year long in support role capacity, where we're helping them with website updates, running promos, creating newsletters, anything kind of tech related in their business, we're the ones that help them with that. And we have probably four or five of those clients, we also do VIP days for smaller, like you need a few things done. So we were it was a very busy year with clients. And most of our clients have been fantastic, which makes me want to bring up things that did not go well. I don't want to paint a picture that business is like all rosy. That is the last thing I want to do. We had some very hard moments last year. Also, last year, I fired my first client, which sounds really harsh, but I had to fill the contract, they were very rude and hurt. I don't know if I don't even know the right way to say it because there was just definitely a communication gap. They were not a good fit for my process and how I do things. There were some red flags where they had had the same issues with other designers. And so once I had fulfilled my contract I had to in our working relationship, and that was very difficult. I do not and never want to end a project on a bad note. But I have also learned that taking on projects that that stress me down to the point where like getting an email from someone brings me to tears and I haven't even opened it. It is not good and is not good for anyone. And so I had to really learn to stand tall and the boundaries I've set in my business. And I think that's a valuable lesson. For every business owner. No matter what you do, no matter how your company makes money, there are certain boundaries you're going to have to put in place to protect yourself, protect your mental health and protect your capacity to provide for your clients. I had a couple different situations where things did not always go well. And that's normal. I mean, out of hundreds of business owners I've worked with over the last six years, having a few that don't go perfectly smooth is normal. If you think about like all the times you go to the same place. Let's say you go to your favorite coffee stand and they 19 times out of 20 make your drink perfect, but that 20th time it's not great. That's bound to happen in any business. So we did have some projects were made to inter work working relationship, I had one where I declined a project after agreeing to it and refunded the total. Those are really hard things as a business owner, and as someone who really values serving others, so those that was difficult, I won't get too much into it, I just want to say that there are times when it doesn't go great. I also did struggle a lot with my mindset and feeling like enough this year. And to be completely honest, I am so grateful that I did not record this episode prior to my health issues prior to spending time in the hospital, because that gave me such a beautiful shift. In my perspective, now, I am so grateful for everything I've gotten to do and get to do that I have such a beautiful outlook on life, like I am so grateful to be alive, and to do the things I do. And to celebrate the success that I have had over the last year and five years. I am the type of person who tends to focus on the things I didn't do rather than the things I did do. And I have to remind myself of that a lot. Like, if you will see me on Instagram making $2 lists of things I have completed, which is what I'm doing today. Because sometimes just seeing that list of things I didn't get to really drags me down. The script of my life has been flipped now, after going through this, this health crisis and being in the ICU for 10 days, and not getting to see my family. I was isolated because of COVID. And I am ready for so much more. And I am excited about it. And I am confident about it. If I could give anyone or everyone just like one blessing or like wish or anything, I wish that people would get to have this perspective shift without going through the hardship. I don't wish having these serious complications on anyone but I wish that everyone could have this feeling of gratitude, this feeling of abundance without that hardship. So yes, I am proud to celebrate my top nine with you this year. And you know what I would love to celebrate your top nine or your top one. If you're listening to this episode and you want to send me an Instagram DM about something wonderful you did this year, I want to celebrate that with you send me a DM you can find me at product powerhouse and I will celebrate with you. Whether it's a huge thing, like you made a million dollars or whether it's a tiny thing like you got dressed, which sometimes feels like a huge league. I am here to celebrate every moment with you. If you're a longtime listener, I I think you're gonna see this shift throughout all the episodes that are coming up. That's it. Okay, I have poured my heart and soul out into this episode. I cannot wait to share more with you next week. If you're not following me on Instagram, that's the place where I'm sharing all the things so come find us over there. Thank you for listening to the product powerhouse podcast. I hope you have a great day


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