Work and life inevitably affect each other. Learning why and how is how we understand ourselves to define whatever this "balance" word means. This month, I'll be covering what went well, what didn't, and why.
I'm doing this for myself first to truly internalize what's currently happening in my life and how I can do better as a marketer, a leader, a creative, a wife, a daughter, etc. In doing so, I hope at least one person feels less alone as they read the highlights and the not-so-great parts of my month.
Social media tells us to "open up and be vulnerable to connect with your audience". But vulnerability doesn't have to mean being entirely emotionally naked in public through my content
Vulnerability can mean having the self-awareness to know what filters I'm comfortable with. I'llshare a more big picture overview to help you understand:
- The problem I faced
- The goal(s) to achieve
- The (potential or actual) solution I've found.
What Went Well and Why
Here's the highlight reel of my month!
VEED's new user blog traffic increased by 44.6% in January
The goal is to drive 100,000 new users and we're almost halfway there at 43,996 new users in January whereas in December we sat at 30,000. Our growth was averaging about 3,000 to 5,000 new visitors every month.
My background is as a social media marketer and although I worked on blog content before, I never managed one at this level.
It has been a journey that's exciting, it's the challenge I wanted and needed after feeling bored with social media work. But also I'd be lying if I said I only ever felt pure joy and confidence when managing the blog.
Oftentimes I was riddled with imposter syndrome waiting for Sabba, our CEO, or Vincent, our Head of Growth, (or anyone really) to discover I'm a fraud and don't even know what an Instagram like is 🤣 ahhh my brain is such a lying prick!
Although I've worked past this (mostly but not entirely) I still am not comfortable when I see recognition. It's something I need to not only get comfortable with seeing but also get comfortable with recognizing and pointing out things I'm proud to have accomplished without waiting for someone to see them, see me, and highlight me.
Organic blog growth can be painfully slow so I've learned..but thankfully I'm starting to see the fruits of our labor!
The blog growth went well because...
1/3: We've heavily prioritized what we'll create and how many links we build
In May 2021, the VEED blog became my core focus with the goal to drive 100,000 monthly visitors.
Before May, in the early days of the blog, it was super unstructured. It wasn't our main focus and it was managed internally by whoever had a moment to write.
Now that we're focused on growing the blog, we know the value prioritizing what we'll focus on can have.
What topics will we prioritize to cover next?
Everything we make at VEED from blogs to YouTube videos and landing pages is assigned a number from 1 to 5 to label the level of relevance to us and how deeply it ties into the product.
- There are "shut up and take my money" topics that solve a deep problem for people
- And there are topics that can educate people on relevant topics that funnel attention to the "shut up and take my money" topics.
Around 80% of the time, we focus on the topics that solve big high-intent problems.
Prioritizing topics by links to build
While our outreach team has grown a lot, there's sooo much content and only so many people to help build links for it.
After finding some patterns across some of our best-performing blogs I added a new point to consider when qualifying content opportunities we cover based on backlinks we need to build.
- How many links do we need to build to get this to rank?
- Will the number of links to build be lesser than [#]?
This means I had to learn how much time it takes the average person on the outreach team to build [#] links.
This helps me know approximately how much time it'll take one person to complete building links after a blog is marked to be prioritized for link building. Plus it makes collaboration with the outreach team much more transparent and actionable.
2/3: The growth team is insanely focused
We operate with a startup within a startup mentality. We each are "founders" of our assigned areas. And within that assigned area, we have clear KPIs that support our company's north start metrics.
I'm also kinda...no...totally obsessed with having control over my calendar especially after reading about Deep Work.
I carry this focus over when I assign three big priorities to handle each day that'll further my weekly and quarterly goals. This helps me objectively decide what I invest time into both at and outside of work. I'm fiercely protective of my time and how I invest or in who I invest it.
3/3: An overflowing scoop of patience with organic growth + confidence in my ability to learn
Blogs we posted in May are only picking up steam now in December/January. I'm grateful I work with people who understand this type of content isn't an overnight viral success like a TikTok.
It takes time to build successful organic content, especially when it comes to a blog.
And although imposter syndrome kicked me in the ovaries a few times, my faith in myself (if visualized as a chart) had a few dips but overall trended upwards. I've done difficult new things before and I will do and conquer them again!
I made time for reading and just being a "kid"
As a kid anything was possible. I wasn't thinking about monetizing things. I just wanted to have fun. But somewhere down the road that became less of a priority without me noticing it.
My needs also always tend to come last. While I won't get into the why, sometimes there are things in life that condition us into thinking at a bone-deep level that putting ourselves first is selfish.
I'm challenging this bad conditioning just like if anything is super important to me, I don't find the time–I make time for it.
Here's what helped me.
1/3: Block out "me time" with the same level of importance as a meeting for work
I treated appointments with myself with the same level of importance as a meeting with a teammate. I struggle with giving back to myself so what worked for me was putting it on my calendar.
- I was able to hit my goal of reading two books this month (Sapiens and Lean In)
- I started reading short fictional stories by Neil Gaiman before bed instead of watching TV
- I made a couple new drawings on my tablet where an hour passed and it felt like a minute!
- I took a much-needed bubble bath until my fingers and soles of my feet became wrinkled
2/3: I found ways to combine two important parts of my life (art and family) into a fun activity
Sometimes I feel bad I don't spend as much time as my family would like me to spend with them. But I also tend to always put myself last. Terrible habit!
I found a way to mix a creative activity I really wanted to try with meaningful family time though!
I got us air-dry clay and scheduled a home brunch with them. We drank coffee, had a typical Venezuelan breakfast with arepas, and then made some clay creations!
3/3: I reduced my total screen time by 83% by auditing my phone habits and employing deep work practices
I'm guilty of saying I don't have time when I'm also poorly investing my time.
I started to turn off my phone and put it on the couch or in another room while in a deep work time block. But also, encouraging a flow state by allowing for 90 minutes or so of uninterrupted work helped me do more in less time.
This opened up time for me to spare and reinvest into the creative, educational, and just for fun sort of things I wanted to do but never had the time for.
Maybe by Q4 these hips wont lie and I'll be Shakira-level with my dancing skills. A girl can dream right? 😂💃🏽🇨🇴
Successfully navigated stressful conversations about our relocation with my partner
My partner and I both work. And because we're only human, we both have stress and we're not always great at managing it.
I admit I can be intense when it comes to getting shit done at home.
While in the past my partner admitted he was grateful I kicked his ass into gear, lately I was being more of an inconsiderate drill sergeant.
Here's how I fixed things so we could calmly discuss our plans to leave Florida...
1/2: Reading about psychology, negotiation, and calm communication
I was trying to have difficult conversations and make big plans when I felt ready but my partner was drained.
I felt frustrated because at first, I thought I was the only serious one. But I believe to always look at yourself to to see if there's anything you're doing wrong.
I've always been interested in psychology, negotiation skills, and anything that helps delivering ideas in the best format possible. After reading and reflecting I noticed I was also to blame for bad timing and delivery when communicating.
2/2: Recognize how they feel, state my intentions + goal, and agree on a day/time to calmly discuss
At this point, I understood why my partner felt like I was attacking them with my poor timing, choice of words, and tone of voice.
So I used a more gentle tone and selection of words to recognize they were stressed. I followed up by stating my intent and goal: to calmly resolve the relocation challenges at a time that works for us.
But after that, I addressed objections by mentioning I was not looking to have a big conversation right then and there.
From that point, I told him I just wanted 45 seconds of his time to agree on a good time headspace-wise where we could chat over the weekend to work out our relocation.
When the time came, he was already mentally prepared to tackle the topic and we did it without a fight arising from an anxious state.
What Didn't Go Well and Why
I had a really big cry after one of my worst mental health months in a long time
Life has different key pillars such as:
- Friends & Family
- Financial Wealth
- Wealth of Time
Those are some of my personal key areas.
Here's what's wrong that I need to build up.
Not being active or eating well when I need it the most
When my body is physically tired and I've eaten well I sleep like a baby. It's easy to follow a good routine when I feel great.
I need to force myself to maintain the discipline on days I feel like shit because that's when I need it the most. I won't have more better days if I don't help myself. Nobody else can do it for me.
Bottling up my emotions to the point I had difficulty crying even when I felt the insanely strong urge to shed tears
If a life pillar is shaky then deep dissatisfaction is born. The symptoms of a falling pillar are often extreme sadness which can be mislabeled as depression.
While nothing is actually completely falling, I admit I've been neglecting reflecting on my emotions and getting help. While in the past I couldn't afford therapy because it's fucking insane how inaccessible health care is in the US...now I have no excuse.
I'm just scared to be vulnerable in front of a total fucking stranger. Every time I go to find help I convince myself its stupid even though I know it's not stupid.
I tell myself I'm so fucking strong and badass for having made it this far that why would I need help?
But honestly, while I can be 100% transparent with my partner there are things I don't want to always have them be the one to hear. I want other perspectives that have no emotional attachment to me. While I know I'm not a burden, it's not fair to someone to be my sole go-to "therapist" but that's just my personal opinion.
I need a Hispanic female therapist who can guide me through shit I've been through that I no longer want to hold power over me and help with navigating new challenges I face.
There are things in life I may have been a victim of but I don't need to continue being one. I know I can change my inner narrative and create real inner and external changes.
I've found two interesting therapists who specialized in my trouble areas and reached out.
I'm not moving to London anymore and I have no clue where I'll live next
I was so excited to move to London. I'd been bugging Katy, VEED's HR manager, about updates on VEED's sponsorship license and the timeframe to get my visa. But then I found out my dog, Baloo, is a banned breed in the UK.
I tried to see if there's a way around it but no. They literally use the word "destroy" in reference to what will happen to Baloo if he goes to London.
I'm so bummed. I want to meet the people I work with since we were a team of just seven people. I was even looking forward to the gloomy London weather as I envision myself drinking a hot chocolate or perhaps a cup of tea while romanticizing my own life typing away at a new content brief.
I'm moving this month to another apartment temporarily because the rent went up by 29% in my building.
The uncertainty of where I'll live after that is stressing me out. But I know deep down I'll sort this all out and my life won't suddenly go to shit.
My Key Takeaways
- Continue prioritizing content based on historical data of what has worked and what paying users are actually paying for.
- I will no longer just drop an energetically draining topic on people and expect them to be ready to discuss.
- My "me time" is just as important as working hours and making time for myself will actually make me a better, happier worker.
- Reading more has shown me how much I don't know but I also no longer feel the type of imposter syndrome that tells me I'm an idiot waiting to be caught.
- Having a bad mental health month doesn't make me weak and getting help does not make me unreliable, fragile, or incompetent.
- If I treat my mind and body like a dumpster I will feel like a fucking dumpster and operate like trash.
- I need to learn how to become comfortable existing in an uncomfortable state of uncertainty. I'm hoping that a combination of my own research plus working with a therapist in March will help me.
I don't expect I'll flawlessly fix everything here by next month even though I like to ambitiously and unrealistically think I can on a near-toxic level. But I will start being more disciplined make myself do hard-but-good-for-me things on bad days.
I'm feeling great today as I write this. When you keep everything in your head things have a way of being blown out of proportion.
Looking forward to the next reflection!
If you enjoyed reading this, you might like my article about quitting entrepreneurship for the 9 to 5 and how I wondered if that made me a failure.