Reflecting Back on 2018: The Good and Bad

Reflecting Back on 2018: The Good and Bad  via

2018 was a year of reaching incredible highs and a lot of low points too.  That's how it is when you're an entrepreneur, the journey is like one big roller coaster ride; it's never going to be a straight shot ahead because things are always changing and you must adapt to it, or get left in the dust.

Keep Learning, or Get Left Behind

Well, everyone, my streak of making over $100k with my blog has come to an end, and it's nobodies fault but my own because I haven't adapted to change and to continue growing my blog.

I've been sitting pretty, not learning new techniques and just coasting along until the 4th quarter of this year my competitors flew past me outranking me.  So, what that means is being outranked by them I lost traffic, and lower traffic means loss of income.

Now, my earnings for the year is still high, and I'm proud that I can still make a livable wage with my blog business.  However, that deranking on SERP (Search Engine Result Pages) was a wake-up call for me to refocus, and never stop learning or get comfortable.

My 4th quarter was spent doing a huge audit with my blog like checking dead links and removing them, deleting old posts when I started this blog that has no value, updating posts, especially my evergreen posts that brings me traffic throughout the year.  Also, I have been working on my site speed as well which is critical with Google.

When it comes to Google, they like freshness and is all about user experience.  If a website loads slowly that would make a person leave the site and Google would not want to rank a website like that.  And, Google doesn't like to rank old information either.

So, if you noticed that I haven't been posting as much lately, that is the reason why.  I want to publish posts that add value to my blog, and readers, not for the sake of having a post daily — quality over quantity.

Pay Me For My Work, or Keep Moving!

Also, I had to start making big boss moves with brands I worked with.  A lot of the time I would receive products to review to share about on my blog and social media pages without compensation.  Well, that stopped!

How can I be a business primarily working for free?  It takes work reviewing products, for instance, taking photos on my expensive camera, doing a write up about the product(s) I'm reviewing, sharing about the product(s) to my readers and followers, doing keyword research to make sure the post ranks on search engines, and so on.

Also, this year, I have been discovering a lot of brands taking advantage of me and my influence trying not to pay me for the services I provide and getting free work out of me.

For example, this brand will remain nameless.  The brand's PR company reached out to me wanting me to visit their client's restaurant and preview their new menu.  While there, I was supposed to do social media shares during the event.

I requested payment for my advertising work, but the brand's PR company said there would be no compensation because they spent all their budget on a YouTuber that will be there.

So, let me get this straight! ๐Ÿ˜’  You want me to work for free, but yet you're going to pay for the YouTuber?  That is so wrong!

These brands and PR companies need to understand that I am a business!  I don't blog for a hobby or do this for fun!  I am a registered legitimate advertising business in the state of Georgia!  I worked hard to be what I am today with my advertising services, and don't infringe on that!

I have been encountering a lot of this mess with brands and PR companies trying to use me, but it stops now!  I have been saying a lot of no's, pay up, or keep moving!

Now, don't get me wrong, there are brands and PR companies out there that get it and know that they should pay and not take advantage.  I'm thankful to have partnered with several brands and PR companies, and can't wait to continue our partnerships in the new year.

I Will Not Put All My Focus on Instagram

I'm noticing changes in the blog industry with more bloggers blogging less and taking their talents to Instagram since it is the most requested by brands.

I will not leave my blog to do micro-posts for Instagram, and here's why; I don't own Instagram, but I do own my blog.

And remember when I said Google likes freshness?  If I let my blog sit untouched with no new posts and not updating old posts, my competitors will shoot pass me and if Instagram shuts down tomorrow or has another one of their algorithm updates I can be screwed!

To balance it out, if a brand wants me to post about them on Instagram only, I also do a post on my blog as well.  Plus, it's a better return on their investment if I do a blog post since a post can be found and ranked on SERP.

And regarding Instagram, I started slowing down my postings there because I felt like it was beginning to consume my life.  It's a very addicting platform and will have you feeling like you're not doing enough and not good enough.

Have you seen your favorite Instagrammers sharing about them seeing a therapist now for their anxiety, stress, depression, and so on?  I genuinely believe it's because of that platform, Instagram is all about perfection, living in a make-believe curated world.  And that's enough to make one go crazy trying to make their world look perfect to others.  No thank you, Instagram is not worth my insanity.

What you see is what you get with me on Instagram, well all social media for that matter.

I will try to limit my social media intake, and start living in the moment unless I am working for a brand that requires social media shares.  Already, I have a majority of my posts, except for Pinterest and Instagram automated to free up my time.

Let's talk about the good that happened this year!

I Will Always Have a Love for Travel!

I did quite of bit of traveling, discovering new places I may have never known if these travel companies never reached out.

My favorite was the Carmel, California trip because it allowed me to revisit my childhood that I have been avoiding for years.  Carmel is a quaint little cottagey town where one goes to escape the city life of San Francisco, Bay Area.  Nestled in Monterey Bay, Carmel is a walking town with cute shops, bed and breakfast accommodations, wine tasting, and picturesque beaches.

After my Carmel visit, I played tourist in my hometown area after I haven't visited there for eight years.

It was hard returning home due to personal reasons, but I had a sense of closure.  Returning home is what I needed to set myself free.

The Grand Resort in Alabama was another relaxing resort I got to review this year during my birthday.

I love hotels and resorts with history because they have a story to tell, and it's like I'm apart of history too by visiting.

I Had Some Huge Moments in 2018!

I had a huge moment this year being featured on Getty Images!  I didn't even know I was going to be walking the red carpet for the movie Crazy Rich Asians, so I wasn't dressed for the occasion.  I thought I was doing red carpet coverage, but no, I was walking it!  I was so happy that my daughters got to witness it!  They were so proud of their momma!

Also, I did do my first red carpet coverage this year for the award-winning show, Atlanta.  I was surprised I received an invite to cover the red carpet event, but without hesitation, I said yes because already I watch the show and love the actors in this comedy-drama.  Each Atlanta episode has a  thought-provoking message and has you in conversations about what you observed, plus it's so relatable.

The Best Car I Reviewed in 2018 Is.....

Now you all know I love me some new hot rides!  And I have driven a lot of different vehicles this year.  The car I reviewed that stood out the most was the 2018 Ford Expedition, that SUV took my breath away!  Ford outdid themselves with this beast of a car!  Although it's a whopping price tag over $80k, it's worth every penny!

I Faced My Fears Head On!

Last year, I told myself I'm going to start facing my fears in 2018.  If you're not facing fears, you're not growing.  My concerns have always been doing video.  I feared that I would stumble my words, look fat on screen, and my editing and video quality wouldn't be up to par.

But you know what, I was like the heck with it, so I started creating videos and talking on-screen showing my face on Instagram stories.

And you know what?

The reaction to my videos has been positive!  Including bringing me more traffic to my blog and more awareness on social media.  You see, people like seeing me for how I look and sound on videos, seeing me in action.  I'll start doing a lot more videos in 2019.  Make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel!

Goodbye 2018!

Well, 2018, you've been one helluva ride, but an eye-opener to show me to keep working hard and continue to learn to stay abreast with the ever-changing trends.

2019 I'm ready for you!  Bring it!  And to bring in the new year, our family tradition is to travel to reflect on the year past and go into the new year refreshed and rejuvenated.  Make sure to follow me on Instagram to see where we're going.

Okay, got to pack my bags!

I hope you all had a fantastic 2018 and cheers to 2019!  Thank you for your continuous support of Product Review Mom!

How was 2018 for you?

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  1. Have a wonderful relaxing trip Lou! Keep rockin. You had a fantastic year! Appreciate you and thank you for giving us such awesome information.

    1. Thanks Janet! You had such a huge year doing things that takes other bloggers years to do! I'm so proud of you and your journey and look forward to following along in 2019! I hope we get to see each other again in the new year! ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿค—❤

  2. You rock no matter what you make! You know I don't make a dime with my blob but this photography took off like whoa so I need to be creative and smart in doing that for 2019 because that's where the money is at. I am like you though I'm not reviewing nothing for free unless I need it and I was going to pay for it anyway. Other than up or move on.

    1. Thanks girl! I'm so proud of you with your photography business! I love looking at all your clients pictures and you do such wonderful work. I'll be needing your services soon, but first, I need to lose some of this weight! LOL!

      Yeah, I'm sick of these brands thinking their product is compensation. It takes work reviewing their products.

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