I think we can collectively say that 2020 was like no other. From the global pandemic, political polarization, natural disasters, people losing their homes and lives, and the list goes on. This year also helped us understand people’s true colors. Who they are and what they prioritized. I experienced people being selfish, complicit, entitled, but also caring, understanding, forgiving, and heroic. With everything that I’ve experienced in my life, living through 2020 was the toughest thing I’ve done to date. Before I even knew what this year would be like, here’s a look back at the post outlining what I was prioritizing during lockdown. This is why I wanted to take this post to highlight some of the wins from this year.
Learned New Skills
At the beginning of lockdown, I reached out to my friends Rosie and Joy to see if they’d be up to working together to learn and grow some of the skills that business owners need. They agreed and we started meeting up regularly via video chat to work towards building a stronger framework for affiliate, email, and Pinterest marketing for our respective platforms.
Alongside those skills, I was given the opportunity to take a Digital Marketing course with General Assembly. As much as I would like to say that I know digital marketing, I wouldn’t have said I was an expert as most of my experience was just through my blog. Learning about data and analytics, paid search and advertising, and deep diving in process of building out successful campaigns was just one layer of a whole host of new things I learned. I had been wanting to take this course and the fact that it was offered to me, made this a really special win. A lot of what I learned this year will strengthen my business and put me in a favorable position.
Major Updates to my Website
I re-launched a new website in 2017 and as much as I loved it, a lot of my old content was not optimized for the new site to display it properly. On top of that, I wanted to take everything I had learned and was learning about digital marketing and apply it to my old and new content. With over 200 blog posts, I knew this was going to take a lot of time and patience. Considering this task was being put off for 3 years, it was time that I tackled it when I didn’t have too many obligations on my plate. Every single blog post was re-optimized for new keywords and phrases, photos were organized, posts were partially re-written or re-photographed, and call-to-actions were placed. From there, Made By Kingfisher helped me migrate my 9-year old blog over to my new domain name since I had grown out of the original.
Though there are still a few more things that need to be done, I am proud to say that my blog now shows up on the first fold of the first page of hundreds of search queries bringing in visitors from all over the world. As much as I felt guilty for not being able to update with compelling content so regularly, I knew bringing back old, evergreen content would be exciting for you all!
Started a Freelance Business
When I came back to America, I gave myself the rest of 2019 to take time off. Running my consultancy was not an easy task between navigating my life in the UK as an immigrant. It drained me and I was excited to finally get back to America (even if it was for a bit) to re-connect with friends and family. When December came around, I was thinking of looking for jobs on the West Coast in the start-up scene since that was my specialty. I knew a lot of those companies have business development teams in the UK and I could potentially go back (since a lot of my life was still out there).
Just when I was preparing to book a few flights for interviews, the pandemic hit and the world focused on surviving. My life took a turn as I was trying to help friends and family nearby navigate through the pandemic as they were on the frontlines, cooking meals regularly for 20-30 people for those in need, making hundreds of handmade masks to deliver to essential workers, and running errands and grabbing groceries for the elderly in my community was just the start of it.
Through it all, I had former clients and colleagues contacting me asking for help on projects concerning national security, business operations, and forecasting because this pandemic was here to stay and they were being forced to adapt and come up with a contingency plan fast. I started getting on calls with industry leaders, historians to offer an understanding of the economic impact of previous pandemics, looking at data sets to find low-risk opportunities for growth, and organizing operational strategies with what I knew of digital tools. I am now offering companies and organizations to grow their profits, secure their interests, and build out strategies for anything the global economy throws at them.
These photographs are from 2013 when I was living in Scotland. Never been shared, just sitting in my archives.
Launched Courses by Supal
With all of that, the news consistently covered the financial hit small businesses were experiencing, and no matter how many gift cards or takeout meals I ordered, it just wasn’t doing enough. I started working with a number of small businesses 1-on-1 at an incredibly small price to help finance a fund I want to establish to support small business owners and any operational cost. This was at the building blocks stage up until last week when I outlined the sales process. We’re working on building out the platform and will be officially opening virtual doors in January. You can join the waiting list in the meantime! More on this soon, I promise!
Sold My Parents’ House
This was a huge undertaking as it was something my parents had been talking about for a few years, but they just couldn’t do it on their own. With the help of a high school friend, I was able to list the house and sell it immediately. I personally took the undertaking of organizing the packing process and selling/donating unnecessary things. 2020 let me do this for my parents. I wrote more about helping my parents move here and answered frequently asked questions.
Invested in Me
For the first time ever, I listened to my own advice and invested more in myself in the second half of the year. Being rundown from the pandemic, I knew it was necessary that I did a bit more outside the usual workouts that I wasn’t really able to do because of restrictions. I listened to myself more when I felt exhausted, told myself my brain was fried or wanted to watch a film on a Monday instead of working. This was hard to do when I was in London because any time off often went to either life admin or running my blog. If I wasn’t spending my time doing those things, it was that I was running after some other blogger helping them with their things. This really slowed me down and burned me out. I took the time to find things that I liked and was best for me, which I partially covered on my blog post last week about the best products of 2020.
If there was one thing I wasn’t doing enough of in London, it was getting smart with my money. The banking situation isn’t ideal when you’re an immigrant and I could never carve out the time to get myself started on figuring out high interest-bearing savings accounts and the stock market in the US. Last year I received some stocks as a present and that peaked my interest and almost forced me to figure out what that money was offering me. Ultimately, I ended up investing in Tesla just before their 4-day hike! I was able to graph exactly when my investment appreciated. From there, I ended up following Ellevest and Minority Mindset across platforms to gain some insight into being smarter with my money.
As I mentioned above, being in London meant I was physically separated from friends and family and with that eventually comes emotional distance. You start to have less in common and don’t have much to speak about. I was in the UK during some fortifying years where my personality changed dramatically. Even my parents didn’t have much to share with me in the end because they were so unaware of my ever-changing interests and unable to visualize my day. Lots of my US friends were in the same boat. Most people romanticized my life out in London when in reality, it was no different than there’s. Coming back helped.
You start picking up little details about people when you’re forced to focus only on them rather than an external factor. Most of the time, I’ll meet with my friends for dinner or drinks and during lockdown I was just meeting up over video chat without a disturbance to worry about. The pandemic even helped me understand where I stood in a relationship with friends all over the world. Who accepted me for who I am, who saw me as a threat, who kept me close by for their own gain. I came out of this year having a tougher framework for who I let into my life and where I place others. If I learn anything from this, it’s that quality over quantity matters most.
I Survived 2020.
As much as I’m coming out of this year feeling run-down by the pandemic and ongoing political polarization, I feel more resilient, stronger, and capable than ever before. The amount I am doing and am able to accomplish on any given day makes me so proud of how I spent this year. I had plans to travel to India, Japan, and parts of the US. My 2020 list from the beginning of the year was full of bullet points that seem like such trivial and superficial things. Yet, I came out emotionally stronger, a thought leader, and a community provider. I survived 2020.