Year In Review – My 2019 Business Recap (with NUMBERS)

Well. Hello there. Welcome to my channel and if you’ve
been here for a while you’ll notice that this is looking a little different today. I’m bringing you into my actual home
office because I’m taking you deep, like deep behind the
scenes of my business. In this video I’m going to share with
you a year in review of my 2019 business year. I’ve been writing
year end reviews since 2016 however, this is my
very first video review, so if you want to catch
any of the previous year in
reviews head to my blog at EliseDarma.com. When I do
these year end reviews, I go deep like I share with you all
my numbers. I’m talking revenue, expenses, profit, how much I
traveled, how much I spent on ads, how many people work with me. So if you’re interested in going deep
behind the scenes of a multiple six figure online business, this video is for you. And stay tuned until the end where I’m
going to share with you all my numbers. I’m talking revenue, expenses, profit. I just got caught up on my
bookkeeping this past weekend, so everything’s up to date and at the
end I’m taking you behind the scenes and sharing it all. I’m Elise Darma
and I’ve helped thousands, literally thousands of entrepreneurs
like yourself, hint hint, stay to the end for the exact number, to use Instagram as a revenue
stream in your business, and in today’s video, I’m taking you deep behind the scenes
of my own business so that you can see what really goes on behind the scenes
as flashy and sexy as it might look on Instagram. I’m showing you the real and
the raw stuff. Before I get started, I want to make one small caveat and
it’s this, I’m going to be transparent. I’m going to share with you
all my numbers, my lessons
learned, the good, bad, the ugly, but this really is just scratching the
surface of what it takes to run an online business. So for you to
continue your learning, be sure to subscribe to my channel right
now and hit the bell so that you don’t miss any future videos like this
one. All right. Without further ado, let’s dive into what went well
in 2019 what didn’t go so well. What I’m working towards in
2020 and my theme for 2020. Let’s talk about what went well for me
in 2019 and feel free to use the same format. I highly recommend it, I’ve used it since 2016 and it’s
great for reflecting on your business. So the very first thing that went well
for me in 2019 was team and systems. Yay. Not the sexiest thing.
I’m not leading with, you know, big revenue numbers, but truly this was the year that I
invested more in my team than ever before thanks to making a full time hire. And with that it meant I had to
get really organized as a CEO. So I brought in systems, tools and processes so that I
was actually an organized CEO. There’s nothing like paying someone a
full time salary on your team to make you stop and make sure, Hmm, do I, am
I organized enough for this person? Like, I’m asking them to invest all
their time in me and my business. Am I worthy of it? So working on my team and my systems was
the number one thing that was great in 2019 and I do have to give
a shout out to Clockwork, which is a book written by Mike
Michalowicz and a program run by my friend Adrienne Dorison, so I did invest in the live Clockwork
coaching program this past year and it really, really helped in my business. I’ll link you to the book
right below this video, but the program was a nine
month commitment and it
really made me look at my team and my systems and where I
was losing money in the business. The results from clockworking my business
resulted in the second thing that went well in my business, which was we maintained our profit margin
of about 20% but revenue increased by about 14%. For a little
context, last year’s revenue was $350,000, we had a 14% increase
this year, so you do the math. The best part about this is because we
increased our revenue by about 14% and kept our profit margin at
20% that actually meant we
had more money left in the business, which ultimately meant that
I was able to give myself a raise. Yay. So last year, if you
read my income reports, I was paying myself generally between
three and $4,000 a month I believe. And in 2019 I was able
to give myself a raise, a salary of anywhere between
six and $8,000 a month. Now, steady profit is something that I’m
actually really proud of because we reinvested so much money back into the
business this year. I’m talking ads. We created way more free content than
usual and of course hiring team members. So the fact that we were able to keep
our profit margin relatively healthy, I’m super happy about. That leads me to the third thing that
went well in 2019 which was launching this YouTube channel. Yay. Okay,
I’ll stop doing the yays. Launching a channel on YouTube was
something that I’ve wanted to do since literally 2016 when I bought my very
first online course and it was all about YouTube for business, but it wasn’t until 2019 that I actually
put the systems and the processes and the team members in place
to make this happen. So we went from like 300 subscribers
earlier this year to 5,500 subscribers by the end of 2019 I’m super proud of this
accomplishment because it’s not just me who creates this channel. I have a
content manager and a videographer. So together the three of us have really
created what is one of my favorite parts of my business. Now with YouTube, it
was kind of a slow burn initially, but I’m really loving the momentum that
we’ve seen since the end of 2019 and it’s just making me more
excited to produce more videos. So if you’re here watching and
subscribed, thank you for being here. I really appreciate it. The fourth thing that went well for me
and my business was I hosted a retreat in Bali way back in the beginning of
2019. It feels like it was so long ago, but this was a success for me because
honestly, nothing dramatic happened. No one died. Everyone had a great time. That experience had brought
its challenges for me. I made such a stupid mistake
right when the retreat started, I forgot to cancel a hotel
booking. So day one of the retreat, I looked at my credit card and I
had a $6,000 charge from a hotel. So I just remember it being kind of a
stressful time and I was a little stressed the whole time. I felt the pressure of hosting people
from all around the world and making sure that people were getting a lot of value
and applying it to their business, but also enjoying Bali and having a
nice time. So looking back, all in all, I’m happy that I did it. That was
my last retreat that I’ve hosted. And right now we don’t really have
plans to host future retreats. You never know. I might
bring retreats back, but for now they’re just not
an active part of my business. The other pro of hosting the retreat was
I got to work from Indonesia for about four weeks in the dead of Toronto winter,
so that’s always a win in my books. The fifth thing that went well in 2019
was we really invested in creating case studies all about our students. My business is at a point now where it’s
really less about my personal success and it’s more about the
success of my students. So we’re really proud to have featured
some star students from my programs. They cover so many niches and
industries. We have copywriting, real estate, medical
aesthetics, business coaching, digital marketing and photography. So our big goal in 2019 was to showcase
that Instagram can work for many types of businesses, businesses
across many niches, and I think that our case studies
really highlight that. The best part? Just from these six students alone, they have generated over
$227,000 in revenue. That’s crazy. At the end of the video, I’m going to share with you my
total number of course students, but just from six people
alone, mind blown. The next thing that went really well
for me in 2019 was I was able to grow my business’s revenue without
ever live launching. At the beginning of 2019 I was obsessed
with my funnel and I pretty much spent the majority of the year
tweaking and testing my funnel, which meant that I never
really live launched my course. So it was a cool exercise in generating
revenue without ever having to do a big launch, which can be exhausting if you’ve
ever done one, but at the same time, it makes me wonder, Hmm, if
I actually live launched, how much more could I
have generated in 2019? So I’m super happy that revenue increased
by 15% all through a pretty passive funnel, but it does make me wonder. The next thing that went well for me
in 2019 was I created a group coaching program. This was a big win because I wanted to
do this since 2018 when I shut down my one on one coaching and it
was just something that I
had a mindset block around. I couldn’t figure out how to do it, and in 2019 I just put like the
bare bones of a program together. I didn’t even write a sales page. I wrote a Google doc and I just released
it to my students essentially and we started a group coaching program. It’s
The Adventure Club and we started very, very small kind of as an experiment for
me and for my students to see how we all like it. From my end, I really like it and of course we’re
going to grow it in 2020 now that I know it’s a great fit for my business. The last thing I want to mention that
went well for me in 2019 was there was no burnout. So personally, when I look back
on all of my reviews that I’ve written, typically at one point in the year I
feel burned out or I feel like I want to burn my business down or I
want to just be done with it. I don’t recall ever feeling that
in 2019 so I consider that a win. And in addition to that, I took almost three weeks off at the
end of 2019 in December I was working lightly here and there, but that was the closest thing I’ve
had to a long vacation in a long time. So that’s a big win for me in my books. I truly believe it’s because
of my point number one: team, systems, processes, that I didn’t experience
burnout and I took a vacation. Let’s talk about what
didn’t go so well in 2019. This list isn’t as long as the first one, but I think it’s important to address
where I could improve in 2020. So the first thing that didn’t go well
for me was this huge insane website project that I took on in May. And we didn’t actually move to
our new website until October. So like any classic website project, this one took twice as long
and cost twice as much. I’m talking to the tune
of $8,800 over budget. And by the way, all of the numbers that I’m going to
share with you in today’s video are in Canadian dollars. So just FYI. So I decided in May to move my website
off of Squarespace over to WordPress. This was because I had noticed my organic
traffic was slowly declining every single month since it peaked
at the beginning of 2019
so I was trying to figure out why. And I reached out to an
SEO agency and they said, you know, we can’t really help you unless
you move to a WordPress site. So in May I committed to this project. I committed about $8,000 for it and I
hired the SEO agency to help with the migration because I didn’t want
to lose my organic traffic. So the plan was to launch
the new website in August. It actually didn’t go up until October
and it took three migrations to finally get it live and get it working properly. So three migrations was
extremely stressful. The first one happened by accident where
my test site went live in August when I was on a vacation. And then we tried to make the
second site live in September, but there were technical issues. And then we finally got it right in
October when we officially made the site live. So it was truly a huge headache and
it costs way more than I expected. But the good news is since we made
the switch to WordPress and since the migration was successfully completed, we have seen a steady growth in
organic traffic back to our website. And that truly was the
whole point of this project. So I am happy to finally see results from
all of the headache and tears that it took to get there. What I learned from that experience
was that when I hired the developer and designer for the project, initially I was thinking in terms of
how do I save as much money as possible. I wasn’t thinking in terms of the
mindset of the business I wanted to have. So if I wanted to run $1 million business, what would million dollar
Elise decide about who to hire? So I kind of hired the person who had
the best deal or the best bang for my buck, and I knew it was a bit of a
risk and it didn’t pay off in the end. But lesson learned for me. The second thing that didn’t go so well
in 2019 was the Bali retreat in the sense that it didn’t actually
drive profit to my business. Now, this is the second in-person
retreat that I’ve hosted. The first one was in Portugal and I
didn’t ever make money on that one. And so when I decided to host
the Bali retreat, I thought, I’m going to do it differently now and
actually make it a revenue stream that’s profitable in my business.
Well, after the retreats, I looked at the numbers and
again, it wasn’t profitable. I basically charged enough to cover
my expenses and in that sense, when you’re not earning
money from a revenue stream, the experience itself
really has to be worth it. And I can happily say
it was worth it for me, but ultimately because it wasn’t
a profitable revenue stream, I did decide to put retreats on
pause in my business. For now. What I learned from this experience was
the whole idea of hosting retreats came out of my warm audience telling me, Oh,
Elise, if you host something we’ll come. And I didn’t really do my research into
how to make this a profitable stream in my business. I just did it because people said
they would show up and it seemed fun. So that’s the lesson learned.
I need to do my research, especially when I’m going to introduce
a new revenue stream in my business and going forward since that Bali
experience, I definitely do that. Now. The third thing that didn’t go
so well in 2019 was looking back, I can see that I kinda got
sucked into a funnel black hole. Like I had this one automated webinar
funnel that was accounting for majority of my revenue and I became obsessed with it. I was either tweaking the pages or playing
around with the ads or trying someone else’s new funnel methodology and
it just started to become like a Franken-funnel, but I was so deep
in it, I couldn’t even see that. So it wasn’t until the end of 2019 where
I decided to kind of put my tweaking on pause and just let it run as is
and then create a new product. It wasn’t until then that I could see
where I was obsessed and stuck in this funnel black hole when really I
wish that I’d been more focused on, you know, looking at the market, looking at what was interesting to
people and staying fresh with a fresh product. So that was a really
good lesson learned for me. The last thing that didn’t go so well
for me in 2019 was my return on ad spend actually dropped. Now, I’m
probably not alone in this. If you’ve ever spent money on ads, you’ve probably seen a difference
in 2019 versus 2018 but again, this just fueled my obsession. I was
obsessed with getting that return back. And so as a result, I jumped around from ad agencies to
contractors to Facebook ads courses and I just never really felt like
I found my groove there. And at the end of the day we still
did get a return from our ads. It was about 2X, but all
year I was chasing a 3X, 4X return. And really when I read my report from
2018 I was doing the exact same thing. So in 2018 and 2019 I still hadn’t really
nailed down this Facebook ads thing. To be honest. I don’t think I have yet, but I hope to kinda hit
my groove there in 2020. Now that we’ve covered what went
well and what didn’t go so well, here is the point where I like to share
what I’m going to work on in 2020. So I actually looked at my 2018 review
and what I wanted to work on in 2019 and what I said I wanted to
do was to do less better. And when I look back on my
2019 year, I think that’s true. I truly do feel like I did less, meaning
I wasn’t the one writing my blogs. I hired a content manager and
expanded my team in that way. Plus we also increased our revenue
and I was able to pay myself more. So all of that tells me that I think I
achieved that goal and definitely going through the clockwork program and
hiring my amazing team member. I have a handful, but
one full-time person. Hiring my amazing team members
certainly helped me do that. So what am I working
on for 2020 this year? I’ve decided I just have a straight up
revenue numbers goal and my goal is to hit $1 million in revenue. Yup. That is just a straight up numbers goal. I don’t think I’ve ever
had this goal before, especially at the million
dollar revenue mark, but I’m really excited
for this to be my goal. It feels like it’s a stretch,
but also very attainable, especially with all the momentum we
built through 2019 with the blog and the YouTube channel and the Facebook ads
and the funnels that are converting. So I think we’re just going to be adding
more fuel to the fires that are already burning. And I’m really excited to be doing this
a year from now and telling you did we do it or not? So that’s the goal.
1 million in revenue. Here we come. Next step in my review is covering
what this year’s theme is going to be. So for 2019 I decided that my
theme would be essentialism. The way of the essentialist is
the pursuit of less but better. It’s living by design, not by default.
And I truly think I achieved that. So for this year’s
theme, 2020 – Oh my gosh. And I just realized how fitting this is
because it’s the year 2020 the year of perfect vision. But my theme for 2020 is
straight up visibility. Just like a concept I teach
in my product Story Vault, visibility is the season that
I’m focused on for my 2020 year. What do I mean by that? I mean
more YouTube videos, more ads, more content, more podcasts, press, all the ways to get in front of
the audience that I want to reach. So this is the year where I just
feel like my channels are in place. My confidence is where it needs to
be to really put myself out there. So I’m excited to see what’s going
to happen. Now, without further ado, let me share with you my final
stats for 2019 here we go. So in terms of travel, I had
eight trips including Bali, San Diego, Amsterdam,
Vancouver x2, Boston, Costa Rica and Mexico. This
is actually down by half. In 2018 I traveled to 15 locations, so clearly my priorities shifted in 2019. In 2019 I worked 71 days remotely, which is definitely down from
106 days from the year before. In terms of revenue, we were just shy of $400,000 but
we maintained a profit of 20%. In terms of my core students, we’re up to 2,166 which is just incredible
that you decided to enter my world and we are certainly up from
the prior year, which was 685. In terms of coaching clients in 2019 I
had 12 and that is a little less than the year prior, which was 16.
With email subscribers, we are at 26,589 which is
higher than the year before, which was just about 17,000. With Instagram followers
we’re pretty much the same. It’s 77,400 and it was
the same as last year, so a little bit of growth, but I don’t mind being steady too because
I really pivoted in 2019 especially when I grew my Instagram,
I was all about travel, but in 2019 I became more about
online business for entrepreneurs. So I know I lost a lot of followers, but I’m hoping that I gained
some good quality followers too. In terms of Pinterest followers, we are up to 5,800 which is
higher than the year before, which was 4,600. With my Facebook page, we are up to 4,254 fans compared
to 3,400 the year before. With Twitter we have 2,546 followers
where we had 2,514 the year before, so a little bit of growth. Then
we have our YouTube subscribers. I’m so excited about this one because
we have 6,611 YouTube subscribers. Whereas last year I had 343. And now for my final stat
in terms of my team members, I currently have three contractors for
my agency called Canupy and I have three team members for my personal brand Elise
Darma. And comparing that to last year, that’s exactly the same. So that again proves to me that I made
the business more efficient in 2019. With the same amount of people I was
able to increase the revenue and maintain profit margin and pay myself more. So
that’s pretty sweet and there you have it, my 2019 business year in review. If you found this video
helpful or insightful at all, feel free to drop a comment right below
this video and let me know what you found the most useful because I never
want to just share numbers for the sake of it. I also want to share my lessons
learned so that you can apply it to your business too. And of course if you ever want to know
the nitty gritties of my business, including all the funnels, the automation, the hows to my content creation, then I invite you to check
out my group coaching program. That’s where I take you behind the
scenes, my business, day in and day out. There’s literally nothing
that’s hidden from you. I’m totally unfiltered because I want
you to have the success that you desire for yourself. So if you’re interested in working with
me as your coach to hit your 2020 goals and make that perfect vision
that you have for yourself, then check out the link right below this
video to sign up for my group coaching program. To ease and revenue.
I’ll see you in the next video. In the dead of Toronto
winner… Winner. Winter, let’s talk about what I’m
working towards this year. Last year in my 20 Oh yeah,
this year. Who’s honking God traffic.

Stephen Childs


  1. I love how you structured this video! And your transparency is SO helpful and insightful. You’re totally going to hit that $1 million this year!

  2. Frankenfunnel! What a great lesson – I appreciate your advice not to get lost in the black hole of fine tuning funnels. Thank you for sharing, Elise!

  3. Cool video! I've been doing well from IG too but have pretty much been a one man band till now, good to see such a transparent breakdown

  4. Fantastic transparent reporting and very helpful insight into a successful and growing business +1 Love the bloopers at the end as well

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