Year(s) in review

What’s that? Everyone else published their year-in-review posts a month ago?

Too bad – I’m publishing mine now.

It’s been a while since my last one, so I’ve got two years to cover.

At the end of 2012, I wrote that “2012 was the year I started something big.”

I was right… but I had no idea just how big it would become:

Nowadays, over 300,000 people per month visit my English-learning website

Nowadays, over 300,000 people per month visit my English-learning website

So, in a nutshell, here’s how I got here:

2013 was the year of figuring things out.

Most of it did not stick.

Most of it did not stick.

I tried a lot of different things in my business – throwing tons of spaghetti against the wall to see what would stick. It was a real struggle to nail down my business model, pricing, branding, strategy…

…but throughout the messy process, I never stopped producing. 

I wrote one new book and four new courses, in addition to a couple hundred posts and videos – and day by day, post by post, my audience grew.

This was also the year Christian and I took our first extended trip together – five weeks in Europe. We were proud of the fact that we managed to pull it off despite being on a shoestring budget… we couchsurfed, stayed with friends, and ate a lot of doner kebab.


Towards the end of 2013, I took a trip to the States, alone. It was an absolutely wonderful trip, full of refreshment and reconnecting with family and friends. Yet bittersweet because I just wish I could have shared the experience with Christian.


2014 was the year of HUSTLE.

An intense year for both of us.

It was Christian’s last year of school, and it was a really tough one for him. There were ridiculously difficult classes, the pressure of putting together his senior thesis, and an internship requirement that would only count for credit if done in the final semester.

In fact, it was down to the wire whether or not he would finish everything and graduate – BUT HE DID!!! I’m so proud of him  🙂  Especially for sticking with it, since not all of his classmates did. He was only one of two students (out of 30) who graduated on time.

This was the year that the combining pressures of my “day job” and my own business became too much to handle. I realized this in February, almost quit in March but chickened out, and finally gave notice in July and left by the end of September, after training my replacement.

I’m now completely self-employed, and it is AMAZING!

Good-Things-Come-to-Those-Who-HUSTLE-Gray-Tee-300x300In 2014 I wrote two more books and four more courses, and bit by bit I’m getting better at running an online business – producing content, marketing it ethically, interacting with thousands of subscribers, providing customer support, knowing where to reinvest profits, etc.

Perhaps the biggest victory this year was going from insecurity and uncertainty about my business to clarity and confidence – I finally know exactly how to move forward, and I’m super excited to do it!

We didn’t take any major trips this year, but we managed a couple small getaways to Porto Seguro and Imbassai.


2015 will be the year of freedom.

We are now completely location independent. My business can be run from anywhere with an internet connection. Watch out, world!

And, um, hopefully I will get back to blogging.

How was your year?

  • Fuck yeaaaaaaaah this is awesome Shayna! You def deserve it, and look at how far you came from those initial emails we had 2 years ago!? Like night and day.

    • DUDE, I just went back and searched for emails among our group, so I could go back and read the old ones… and there are over 700. Can we publish a book from them? :-p

  • Thanks for sharing this Shayna! It’s inspiring to see how your hard work has paid off. Also, your sharing this inspires me to do more reflection & sharing too. Thanks a ton! You’re awesome!

    • Thanks! 😀 I’d definitely encourage you to share your reflections; I think we really need to hear more from entrepreneurs who are in the early year(s) of the process. Sometimes I feel like there’s TONS of content for and from “just starting out” beginners, and content from already-at-six-figures-and-beyond superstars, but very little in between those two stages.

      Looking forward to talking with you this week 🙂

  • Ryan O’Loughlin

    This is great, kudos to keep producing even though you felt insecure and uncertain at times. But successful people push through, and now you get to bear the fruits of your labor!

    • Thanks Ryan! Definitely, I’ve never had a magic success bullet; the only “secret” was just keeping on going day after week after month.

      Looking forward to following your (continuing) journey… I’m sure we’ll have a lot of ideas to exchange re: ESL and entrepreneurship.

  • That’s awesome, Shayna! Way to hustle. It’s paying off now!

    • Shayna

      Thanks Lisa! Really appreciate your support and advice in our group 🙂

  • Nate

    Very cool, I love how you have built a following of almost no one to an outrageously large one. Congrats and thank you as I have learned a lot from you especially in the SPI Podcast.