2016 Recap & 2017 Plans

rachel ritlop the confused millennial

Welcome to 2017 friends!

If you've been reading for a little while, you might remember that I started doing monthly goal posts back in November… Everything start out fine and dandy the first month – but then something happened while I was writing December's goal post that I carried with me into most of the month of December… I became obsessed with the numbers.

Not proud to say it. I have really prided myself on not really having a game plan with TCM. I have prided myself on hustlin' hard and connecting with each and every one of you via the weekly newsletter, in the comments, or on social. I really looked at 2016 as the year to let my Type A self take a breather, and forget about planning… something you may already know if you caught this post on what I do instead of New Year's resolutions.

I have a daily to-do list and a big picture game plan for TCM and work, but I found myself looking at all the ways I was falling short in those monthly goal posts. I found the negative Nancy voice inside my head getting crazy loud and super betchy… I set goals that are just out of reach normally. I am okay with falling short, but something about looking at it in black and white for all of the interwebs to see just shook a few too many cobwebs off my ol' insecurities.

Plus, I also didn't really see a ton of value in the goal posts. I know some of you guys shared really liking seeing the numbers and stuff because it was inspiring, which is awesome! But I never really shared with you guys HOW I achieved those goals… and the truth is, as much as I share in terms of the blog and business tips on TCM, being a coach/consultant for bloggers and coaches is how I make a living! SO I can really only share so much fo' free, ya feel?

So as quickly as those monthly goal posts started, they are coming to an end even more quickly! Instead, I am listening to y'alls awesome feedback from the reader survey and getting more personal. I am also still keeping those of you in mind who like seeing the numbers. At the start of each month, I am going to do a recap/update on happenings in the blog/biz world; the post will still include some goals – but won't be fully dedicated to them.

Here is the first little 2016 recap for you guys:

TCM 2016 recap:

When I started TCM in March this year, I had a few goals in mind for where I wanted to see myself by the end of 2017…

– I wanted to break 500 on my mailing list… Check! I actually almost doubled this number!

– I wanted to break 15k on Instagram… Check! I actually wanted to share this with you guys on #progress. This in my best nine from 2015 and 2016. In 2015 I averaged 14 likes per photo; in 2016 I averaged 288 likes per photo!

– I wanted to create a media kit… Check!

– I wanted to host my first summit and launch my first course… Check! 

– I wanted to earn at least $500 from the blog… Check! I actually did more than quadruple this! 

– I wanted to build a community. 30% of you people stopping by TCM are sticking around. I have no idea what return visitor rates are “supposed” to be for blogs, but I have to say I am really proud of this. I know my content is diverse. I look at my blog as well rounded. I try to keep it that way because we're all diverse people. We have different areas of our soul that need to be fired up at different points in time. I knew when I started TCM I was going against every blog/business coaches advice about “niching down”. I've totally felt overwhelmed and like I wanted to bang my head against the wall at times… but I can honestly say that it's been 100000% worth sticking to my guns and keeping the diversity. TCM is about figuring out this whole #adult things, which means our careers and our relationships and just general living stuff every day.

Just look at the 10 posts on TCM for 2016:

  1. 12 Books Everyone Should Read In Their 20s
  2. Patience & Stalking: A Millennial Love Story
  3. 6 Months After Those Weird Period Underwear
  4. 10 Tips To Email Etiquette
  5. An Honest Stitch Fix Review
  6. 5 Fall Date Night Ideas For Any Budget
  7. How To Spend The Week Between Christmas & New Years
  8. Overspending? Avoid These Daily Pitfalls
  9. Life Lessons from Gilmore Girls: A Year In The Life
  10. Bumble BFF: What It’s Really Like

Throw in the fact that every single person (minus one actually) who responded to the reader survey said the blog/biz tips are their favorite posts! So even though none of those made it into top 10, I know you guys are even more diverse than the top 10 would lead me to believe!

Between the top posts and feedback I got in my reader survey… I decided to ditch the “Life Lessons” Fridays though. Instead, Fridays are going to be all about “Loving Lately” — this is going to be a personal post each week. I am going to be sharing the weekly .99 Itunes movie, favorite foods, shows, movies, clothes, whatever I am *you guessed it* loving lately! Basically, if you follow me on Snapchat, it's going to be a little weekly recap of all that you may have missed!

2016 Personal Recap:

If you guys caught this post last week, on what we do instead of New Year's resolutions, you saw that each year Eric and I write a letter to ourselves which basically recaps lessons learned from the previous year and predictions for the coming year. I got about half of my predictions right… but the ones I got right were scarily right (down to how it would rain on my wedding day)!

The blessings I didn't see coming, though…

That I would launch TCM…

That I would become a Forbes contributing writer (or really that I would write anything at all haha)!

That I would make any new friends (let alone the amazing ones that I did) as an adult at this point in my life.

I bought these cute poppers – but apparently, they don't pop?!? They just give you a bag of confetti and a crown…

My hopes for TCM in 2017…

I hope that TCM continues to grow. I hope that you guys keep coming back, keep commenting & e-mailing, and introducing yourselves. I hope that I get to meet more readers in person.I hope that my mailing list jumps up to 4k. I hope that I earn at least 5 figures from the blog alone so that by 2018 I can hire someone. I hope I find another awesome intern (RIP my two summer interns who literally helped me SO much in those early days and TCM wouldn't be where it's at without them!)

My word for 2017… organized.

Big things are happening in E and I's life in 2017 and while 2016 was the year of winging it…, 2017 needs to be the year of organization.

I am starting off strong by already planning out the first 3 months of content in my editorial calendar with about 70% of the rest of the year planned out.

I am also going back to planning my Instagram feed out about 30 days in advance *so many of you have asked about my growth on Instagram and pre-planning content was huge for me! The months I had pre-planned content were the months my account grew by at least 2500. Also would you guys be interested if I relaunched my Instagram course this year?*

I am also going to be getting organized around the house and in my office. I have some #adulting posts planned to help you guys get organized too that I hope you will loveeee!

Alright, what is your guiding word for 2017? What are you excited for in 2017? What lessons did you learn in 2016?

Grab TCM's Goal Setting Guide to stay on track this year!

90 thoughts on “2016 Recap & 2017 Plans”

  1. Rachel – congrats on surpassing so many goals! I’d love to check out your instagram course because I just created an account and am struggling 🙂

    1. Awe thank you! Awesome! I am planning on spending the month of January updating and revamping it and relaunching it in February. Let me know any specific questions/concerns you have and I will make sure to include them if they aren’t already!

  2. This post is so inspiring! You have done such big things with TCM throughout the years!
    Usually I write goals that seem kind of unreachable, but this year I’m focusing on really narrowing down my goals to something very specific!

    Cheers to the new year!

    xx, Jamie

  3. It sounds like you had an amazing year! That’s so incredible how much growth you’ve accomplished in a year! I am really hoping to start growing my social media feeds, focusing on twitter and instagram! I learned in 2016, reaching out to smaller brands is great versus aiming for the largest ones. I also realized my blog doesnt really have a niche

  4. You had such a big year, ma’ dear! So happy for you! Thankful to have connected with you through BPP and so excited for what 2017 has in store! Cheers!

  5. Jessica Bradshaw

    Y’all are so cute! You had an amazing 2016! I can’t wait to watch you crush your goals for this year! I need to work on my mailing list! You are great motivation.

  6. girl this growth is sosososo impressive! congrats on the mailing list and Instagram, would love to read about how ya did it x

  7. Courtney Patterson

    Congrats on such a wonderful year! I’m looking forward to getting to know you better and seeing what all you have to offer in 2017. Happy New Year!

  8. Yay for accomplishing your 2016! Your Instagram course sounds amazing too! Happy New Year!


  9. Girl, you’re killing the IG game. I am so beyond thankful that I found your blog! You’re content is amazing and I’ve found it to be extremely helpful! Here’s to a great 2017!

  10. I loved reading this post! I would love to learn more about pre-planning for Instagram in the new year. Also… if you’re hiring… I’m job searching 😉


    1. Thanks Tori!! I am hoping to be able to hire and pay someone in 2018! Right now I am just hoping to get some interns back over the summer! But I’ll keep you posted!

  11. I loved seeing the difference between your Instagram in 2015 and 2016! Mine looked similar, I was proud of the growth and how much better the pictures looked. So excited for your and excited to see how TCM changes and grows in 2017!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  12. I loved this post, Rachel! You’ve written so many amazing posts this year and I can’t wait to see what this year brings for you 🙂

  13. 1. I’m heading over to instagram to follow you now! Not because of the giveaway but because you seriously just inspired me so much with this post!
    2. I’m so proud and happy for your success! I’ve been following your blog via Bloglovin for some time and I absolutely love your work!

    1. I just realized that I’m totally already following you on Instagram- so I’m subscribing to your blog instead! Seriously, dude, you’re such a motivation for me!

    2. Awe thank you!! This is totally random – did bloglovin stop populating my RSS feed? Or is it still working? Haha I didn’t think anyone followed me on it so when I moved my blog from squarespace to wordpress I didn’t even think to check the RSS Feed!

  14. Kaitlyn Fickle Killebrew

    What an awesome post! I have many of the same goals for myself this year and you make it seem like it’s possible!

  15. Elizabeth Johnson

    Really enjoyed reading this post! You are obviously talented at what you do and that shows in the fruit of you labor. So excited to see what 2017 has in store for you!

  16. What a great post. You’ve truly enjoyed a lot of growth and success this past year. I love the diversity of your posts, and hope that you continue to stick to your guns and own your TCM brand if #adultthings (love that hashtag! haha). Your blog is truly fantastic and can’t wait to follow along with your successes in 2017.

  17. I absolutely love this post! I seriously get so caught up in the numbers sometimes that I lose all sight of what is important to me! So glad you were able to catch yourself! Your IG growth is crazy! It’s such a rewarding feeling to have any kind of growth on my social platforms!

    1. Thanks Tiffani!! I do set like, by the end of the year these are the numbers I want, goals, but they are usually what I consider realistic… If I try to track and monitor it month to month, I lose my mind! Plus by not looking at the numbers I end up never “coasting” because I have no idea where I am at (in terms of on track or off track)

  18. Love this post! You can just feel all the energy and enthusiasm. Great goal about getting organized. That is something I am trying to work on more this year. You achieved so much in 2016. Wishing you a great 2017 as well!

  19. Love this post! You are great at what you do and you’ve written some awesome posts in 2016! You’ll be great in 2017 also!

  20. Organized is a word that we can definitely all use at some point! 🙂 I really enjoyed this post! Congrats on all your success this year!

  21. Love this post and all your successes during the last year! You’re killing it! Can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for you and also, I love the photos in this post!

  22. Your goal posts sound a lot like everyone else’s resolutions.. we can’t stick to them it’s important to recognize what does and does not work for you as a blogger.

  23. Happy New Year!!! You have a great idea what you want your 2017 to look like–I know you can achieve any goal you put your mind to!

  24. Can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for your blog, Rachel! Loved being able to catch up on your posts from the year and see what your plans are for the new year!

  25. You have great goals and your 2017 sounds like it’s going to be amazing considering your track record! Congrats on all your accomplishments in 2016, girl!

  26. Girl, you are killing the blogging game! I love that you are so laser-focused…speaking of, I’m thinking that Focus is going to be my word of the year. Not just focusing on my goals, but focusing on the good (in myself and in other people) and focusing on releasing the anxiety that I let overtake my life & letting that turn into something positive!

    xoxo, SS

    Southern And Style

    1. I love it! I try really hard to live in the moment and take a cue from my anxiety levels. Usually when I do I am so much richer in love and joy! Excited for you to get focused on all the blessings this year 🙂 <3

  27. Kristine Circenis

    I can’t wait to see what 2017 has in store for you and, most importantly, I can’t wait to read about it! I’ve really enjoyed reading you blog throughout 2016 and have found it immensely reassuring at times. Keep doin’ you girlfriend, Happy New Year!

  28. First off, CONGRATS! You checked off some seriously awesome goals. I love the new goals you’re making, I’m actually writing up my 2017 goals/to-do’s right now for my blog, I think that it will drastically help with growth!

    xoxo, Lydia | wheretheprettythingsare.net

  29. nicole simonetti

    if you’ve made it this far without any plans, goals, etc. I cannot wait to see what you accomplish when you start “organizing” everything! it’s going to be killer, I’m sure. wishing you & your site all the luck in the world this new year! x, nicole // http://www.nicoleeigh.com

  30. I love that I can stop by your blog for an entire range of content. I like when there is a mix of business/blog/and fun lifestyle!

  31. Seeing as we’re already accountability partners…can I get organized with ya? HAHA! Really tho, you’re SO fabulous and have grown SO much and I’m just so honored and happy to know you + have our 4 hour Skype dates like we do. 🙂

    Coming Up Roses

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