Whenever a year starts nearing its end, I reflect on the effectiveness of my past efforts, and focus on my goals for the future. As my business evolves, naturally, so do my goals. When I started this blog, I never intended it to be or dreamed it would become –a business. But my blog (and Youtube and the whole social media Influencer thing…) IS a business. At least, this blog is the trunk to my business tree. Amazingly, I have been blogging for nearly 9 years! Thank you for following along!
Looking back at all the projects I’ve worked on over the last couple years, I can clearly see what areas I want to continue to develop, and what things I can eliminate from my “goals for the future” list!
A lot of what I blog about is my home renovations. You’ve watched me transform my Illinois House. I’ve shared glimpses of Julie and my flipping adventure on Calderwood Cottage. Lastly, you’ve agonizingly waited to see completed projects as I trudge through the renovation of the 6000 sq/ft TN House which I am currently living in. I still have many projects to complete in this house but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Continue: Transforming houses from blah or “what in the world” to amazing is what I love doing. I will continue to do that in one way or another for as long as I can.
Another part of my business is teaching. I’ve taught classes at conferences, given presentations at clubs, and I’ve mentored clients through projects of their own through Skype. A lot of those projects I shared with you in The Sawdust Diaries. Eventually I stopped sharing those because getting photos of completed projects often requires camera equipment (and sometimes styling skills) that non blogging people generally don’t have or have access to. I visited a couple clients and personally did the reveal photo shoots, but I couldn’t do that for everyone. I am just a one woman show after all. Eventually I stopped taking clients because, while doing the flip house I barely had time to sleep, let alone mentor anyone. That’s also when I let go of my SG Squad (blogger mentoring group).
Revive: I love teaching and want to continue to do more of that, in photos here on the blog, in videos on Youtube, and in person.
Plans and Projects
Youtube is a whole different animal than blogging. It’s a separate platform and in large part, a different audience. Although I often share the same projects on Youtube as I do here on the blog, it’s more difficult to share renovation projects on Youtube. It’s difficult to sort and store video footage from multiple projects that take months (to years) to complete. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered what works best for me on Youtube is complete project builds. My Youtube audience specifically love my Workshop Storage projects.
One and done projects require dedicated space to create and film. This is a problem for me because my little workshop is usually full of multiple renovation projects that are setting, drying, or storing until I’m ready to put them in the house. I am not a person who likes to move things around constantly in order to utilize a single work space. So YouTube hasn’t been getting the attention it needs from me.
Improve: Stop ignoring my Youtube audience. I want to try to post at least two Youtube project videos each month.
TV … TV
If I had a dime for all the times someone said (or wrote), “You should have your own TV show”. Let’s talk about that… Getting/Having/Participating in a TV show is not as simple as having a big personality, being at least semi attractive, or having decent skills. Here’s the reality about getting a TV show.
- The process of producing something to pitch to a network is usually a long road, requiring you to invest your time and effort (without compensation).
- THEN the odds of a having a network green light the production of a pilot are about 1000 to 1. (If that.)
- THEN only about 1 out of every 250 pilots that get produced — even air.
- THEN only about 1 in every 50 pilots that air — get an order for a full season.
I know all this because I’ve been down this road a few times over the last few years. There are literally thousands of production companies (just in the US), all searching for new faces to pitch to networks. These production companies have people who’s only job is to hunt for new faces (talent) that they can pitch to networks. If you have any kind of personality and put out videos on youtube or social media (having an existing audience seems to be a plus)… you WILL be contacted by a production company. That first contact can be exciting. Me? A TV show? Heck yeah I could rock that!
And I totally believe I could! However, there are a lot of factors involved and the odds of having even the mere possibility of potential success — are very low. Obviously, you have to try in order to succeed or fail. So if you find yourself on the receiving end of that “First Contact” email and you want to go for it, go for it. But go with realistic expectations.
Maybe but Unlikely: Unless a TV show falls from the sky and lands in my lap, it probably won’t happen. But who knows?
I flipped a house with my sister. That was a LOT of work and we made a decent profit. What I learned from that: I do not want to be doing that much manual labor, ever again. Also learned from my “flipping experience” is that I can’t capture the renovation process to share on the blog when the renovation has to be done in a ridiculously hurried timeline. When I’m the person doing the labor(with Julie of course) and we’re “just get it done as quickly as possible”, it’s nearly impossible to also be the person capturing the process on video and then editing that footage and producing content. So, “flipping houses” proved not to be something I could record and share – here on the blog. One renovation at a time, slowly, as I live in the house — that’s what works for me. At least that’s the only kind of renovation I can do, film and blog/Youtube about when I’m the one doing everything.
House Flipping: I’m pretty sure I’m done with that. Most likely.
The Powell Residence
Crossing something off my “goals” list isn’t disappointing. It simply allows me to move on to the next adventure. Wes and I recently decided we’re ready to tackle an especially big adventure.
We love the East TN area and we really like this house. I had to completely reconfigured almost the whole thing, but it’s now a pretty great house. I like SO MUCH about it. But it isn’t perfect for us, for two reasons.
- This house sits on 1 acre and we want more space.
- With my business goals, my single car garage workshop — just doesn’t cut it.
Wes and I have talked a lot this year about how to create a bigger workshop for me. Most of our acre is a hill so it would take some work but we COULD build another, separate garage. Also, there is currently an empty lot beside us that we could purchase. It’s full of trees and ground cover and makes our home feel more remote and private. If we bought it that would ensure no house is ever built there. We could do all that.
But it doesn’t really make sense to do that to this house. After all, we bought this house specifically so Madison could attend the Maryville city schools. She is in college now so our house wants have changed.
A few months ago we finally decided our best option would be to start looking for something else — and sell this house. Once it’s finished, of course. There are still a few unfinished rooms and a couple I haven’t even started on yet.
So, it could take a minute, but that’s the plan.
Barbara H. says
I like your process of assessing and judging your past and future goals. I came in somewhere here in the Tennessee house, maybe in the last year or so, so the adventure of following you through the completion of this house and the process of finding the new one and moving is appealing, but then I seem to like everything you do.
LOL Well thanks so much! I’m excited about the future and all the possibilities.!
feral turtle says
Catriona Johnstone says
Hi Sandra. I LOVE this post. So excited for you. We recently down-sized… bit-time! Whilst sorting out extension plans and permissions we’ve put our energy into renovating the garden. I’m looking forward to using all the things you taught me over the years to build my own kitchen.
May I recommend you watch a UK Chanel 4 TV show called “Escape to the Chateau”.
I will check out that show. Wes has been saying for years that we don’t need a house this big. I don’t mind the house. LOL But we are really looking forward to moving out of the city and onto some land. Wes and I both grew up on farms with lots of space between houses. I am not a fan of being so close to neighbors that I can smell what they’re grilling for dinner or worry that the tv is too loud when we’re watching a movie in the screened in porch at night. Can’t wait!
I had a feeling that you were selling! Can’t wait to see the next place.
Love you and Julie!
We decided a couple months ago. It’s funny to say, “I’ve been trying to figure out how to tell you this…” but it’s so true. I know a lot of peeps are going to feel disappointed or even frustrated that I’ve been hemming and hawing on projects here and now I’m going to sell. But alas, this is my actual life and I just share it on the blog. The blog story isn’t a made up fantasy life. LOL But telling my story on the blog does require a lot more thought and planning that one might think. Because there is a bit delay between when things actually happen and when I get to editing photos and writing it up on the blog. In some ways, It would be great if I just had live stream videos going constantly and people could just tune in…and I didn’t have to drag a camera around everywhere and then do something with the footage. LOL
Sandra, what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been doing it works so well. Looking forward to the journey of finishing your home and starting a new one. I not only learn much from you, I gain confidence in my skills and find myself stretching myself with new ones. Thank you for staying true to your vision with your blog!
Thank you so much Guerrina! It means a lot for me to hear that. There have been many times (over the years) when I felt like I was talking to a brick wall and I thought I might simply quit blogging. It does require a ton more time and effort for me to drag around a camera to record everything as it happens. Then edit and write or create videos. Hearing from people that truly value what I put out here is what keeps me doing all that extra work. Obviously, from all the ads you see on this page (and the sponsored posts I do from time to time), there is some income from it all too. Most people need to earn a paycheck from their job. But earning a paycheck is not a passion and I am so grateful that I can share doing what I love with a great community of amazing people — and earn a paycheck at the same time. Thank you SO MUCH for coming along on the crazy journey of my life with me!
Loved hearing how you broke down the parts of what you do. Whatever 2019 brings I look forward to following along!
Thanks for following along Sarah! I look forward to 2019 as well!
i’m an 46 year old guy from Belgium i’m amazed about your blog, the enthousiasm your skills and even your swinging hips 🙂 keep up the good work keep posting those videos you should be proud of your work seasons greetings from belgium and enjoy 2019 xxx
LOL Those hips have a mind of their own at times. Thanks for following along.
Janice | SawdustsisteRs says
I’ve been following you for 3 years and have learned a lot from you Sandra. Thanks for your candor. My husband and I are in the same season of life and ate pondering selling as well. I’ve also always wanted to flip a house and find it interesting that’s the one thing you want to give up. Have you considered hiring a team? Glad to know we can continue on this journey with you!
Oh yes, we would have LOVED to be able to hire out more. The issue is, the construction industry is booming in this area so it’s difficult to even get subcontractors to take on jobs. They have work lined up for months from big builders who will continue to keep them busy. People who have experience building want to work for a company that will keep them in a job, long term. Unless you have ongoing work to offer, it’s difficult to get people to accept a job (if you want quality work).
I have been following you for years and am so in awe of everything you tackle and accomplish! Keep in doing what you enjoy, wherever you are! Thanks for sharing all of it with us.
Thanks for following along! I’m excited to move forward into the future.
Sandy Klinkey says
Hey! I miss you still here in IL. I would love to reconnect and really admire your progress and work. 2019 will be great for you and yours!
OMG Sandy! HI! I see your posts periodically while scrolling through facebook. I haven’t been back to IL for about 6 years. You have to visit us next time you come out here to Gatlinburg.
Sandra love how you broke everything down to make way for a clear path moving into the new year! I live in Maryville and kept thinking about doing a drive by of your flip house but never did that! The flip seemed like extremly hard work with very long hours! I dont blame you for focusing somewhere else! The best part of the flip for me was the videos of you and Julie even if you was just in the truck driving! So awesome to see your dynamic together. So whatever the future holds i hope it includes you and Julie together on instantgram stories or videos! You may have said in past but does Julie have a blog or IG account! Good look on all future projects!
On instagram Julie is Sawdust_Julie. I’m encouraging her to start a Youtube channel. When she gets back from vacation (in February) she’ll be completely recovered from her surgery and she’ll be helping me finish my house. I’m sure we’ll capture plenty of video. We do have a ton of fun together!
I hear you on wanting more land. We are stuck on a postage stamp and after living rural it is difficult but we have decided to make the best of our circumstances. I understand the dream of wanting a larger workshop. A car has never seen our garage for it is an everything shop. You need a grand shop because it is your calling and talent. You teach, inspire, give girl power to us all so much and I am truly grateful. You have given me courage and confidence in just stepping ahead on projects all by myself and that is priceless. I can’t move on to greener pastures and the only cow I can have now is a picture on the wall, but if I can live virtually through someone else’s adventures I’m on board! ……Just take us with you.