My 2011 Annual Review: Looking Back

My 2011 Annual Review: Looking Back

Written by Emilie

Topics: Goals, Updates

This is a response to Chris’ call for annual reviews. In this post, I’ll be answering two questions:

What went well in 2011?

What did not go well in 2011?

And then next week I’ll publish my goals for the new year, which I’ve been thinking about a lot lately.


I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I set my intentions for 2011. I remember the flurry of excitement in the blogosphere, everyone on Twitter sharing their goals and pumping each other up. I remember feeling intensely grateful to be a part of such an amazing community. I felt more optimistic than ever about the future. Meditating on my vision for the upcoming year made my heart race.

Puttylike had only been around for three months, I’d just graduated from law school and was a “non-student” for the first time in my life. I’d also moved back home to Montreal after studying abroad in Denmark for five months.

To say that a lot has changed in the past year would be an understatement. I live in Portland, Oregon for gods sakes! A place I consciously chose, not because of life circumstances (school, employment, etc.), but because I thought the city would suit my personal philosophy and lifestyle. It was also a hub of bloggers.

The whole year was an exercise in turning big visions into reality. It wasn’t always easy, but overall, things worked out fairly nicely.

What went well in 2011

Puttylike’s growth was great. As I’ve said before, I’m less interested in having a large community as I am with the quality of those connections. The Puttytribe is still relatively small compared to other blogs, but I get such wonderful comments and replies to my emails, that I’m very happy. I’ve also made some of the most wonderful friends through the blogosphere, many of whom I now hang out with in person.


At the beginning of 2011 I launched my coaching packages. Things started off slowly, but once I found my “specialty,” (helping multipotentialites find an overarching theme to bring together their interests and build a business around them) things started picking up.

My coaching work grew from there, and I actually had to take down my offerings in the fall because I was booked solid through November. I was feeling bad about having to tell people “sure, we can work together, but it’ll have to wait a couple months…” (It’s back up now though, with a new booking system that removes this problem).

Renaissance Business

The biggest business success was by far was the launch of my first book, Renaissance Business. I worked really hard during the months leading up to the launch, tried to keep my fears at bay, and kept my expectations nice and low (as long as I sell 1 book, I will be happy, I told myself. Just keep your head down and do the work. Whatever happens, happens).

Well it turns out I had nothing to worry about. And for that, I must thank you guys from the bottom of my heart! I’ve heard from many of you and I’m overjoyed that you’ve found it so useful.


On the personal side of things, I am now fully financially independent, entirely through my business. I don’t have to take on web design work or other freelance gigs to support myself.

As I mentioned earlier, I moved to Portland in June and found myself a wonderful community of friends. I created the Portland Clue League, started taking Bollywood dance classes, and began playing the violin again after eleven years off ( here’s a video, if you’d like to check that out). I also took a six week trip down the West Coast by myself, which was a big deal for me.

What Did Not Go Well in 2011

I experimented a lot in the last year and some projects either completely flopped or didn’t happen at all.

The Podcast

First, the podcast didn’t really work out the way I’d hoped it would. Well, that’s not entirely true. On a personal level, it did wonderful things for my confidence. If you listen through the first five episodes or so, you’ll see a dramatic reduction in the “ums,” and some of those later episodes were pretty damn impressive. (This one‘s my favourite. I think it’s practically radio quality.) Podcasting made me better at giving interviews and speaking publicly. It was also wonderful to collaborate and become friends with Abe. We’ve worked together on other projects since, and hopefully there will be more in store for us in the future.

However, the podcast did not bring in a new stream of traffic from iTunes, which was what I was hoping for. The posts for podcast episodes received the fewest amount of comments and it was difficult to get blog readers, who were accustomed to consuming the content in one form, to switch over to listening to podcasts.

We probably didn’t give it enough of a chance, but it was a lot of work, and our interest was waning after five months. Plus I was about to move to Portland and wanted to focus more on writing my book. Abe also got really busy with freelance work, so it just had to get put on the backburner. Now we’re both sort of over podcasting, and ready to move onto new projects. Call it a scanner thing.

I still keep the podcast episodes online though, because there is the occasional new puttypeep or student who finds Puttylike through iTunes or just prefers getting to know me through that format.

Group Coaching Workshops

In November I tried launching some group coaching workshops to help puttypeep refine their overarching themes. I only filled half the spots and ended up canceling the whole thing. Instead, I worked with those who had signed up individually. It actually worked out for the best, since I was traveling and later realized how hard it would have been to organize weekly Google hangouts while on the road.

I am still very interested in some form of group work or facilitating community engagement between puttypeep though. I have some ideas percolating in my mind right now…

Public Speaking

Last year I mentioned that I wanted to start speaking publicly. I pursued this goal a little– at the WDS multipotentialite meetup, where I was flung into the spotlight (but was still quite unprepared), and through the podcast, interviews, and videos. Still, I have yet to really get out there and deliver in-person presentations or workshops.

This is a great place to leave off, since my major goal for 2012 (to be discussed next week), is related to public speaking.

The idea of devoting my year to public speaking (among other things) terrifies me a lot. However, I know that that’s a good sign. The fear just means that it’s important to me.

Your Turn

What went well in 2011? What did not go well in 2011?

Leave a comment here, or publish your own blog post and link back.


  1. Love that you’re participating in this! I answered on Chris’ blog, but I’ll list one for each here. What went well was that I participated in a mastermind program and found huge clarity around my passions and have since made the moves to make 2012 totally focused around that. :) What did not go well was that despite this clarity, I did NOT listen to my intuition at times and that resulted in a lot of unnecessary stress and setbacks. Lesson learned. 2012 is going to be an amazing year, I can just feel it. :) xo

    • Emilie says:

      Hi Stephenie,

      Awesome. Your mastermind group sounded incredible! And I can totally relate to the whole intuition thing (we’ve talked about this before). It was a big lesson for me in 2011 too.

      Thanks for sharing on this one. I’m guessing a lot of people might be afraid… (Don’t be afraid, puttypeep! Even small wins are worth sharing. :)

  2. Alexander says:

    Emilie, sounds like a pretty damn productive year to me!

    That’s awesome that you’re totally financially independent now. Is it just from 1 product or from the product and your consulting work? Bloody impressive! I’m totally jealous hahah.

    Is the 2012 aspirations post coming up next?

    Excited to hear what’s on your agenda, as i just finished my annual review myself :)

    Staying tuned!


    • Emilie says:

      Thanks Alex! It’s from both the product and coaching. I also took on two web design gigs this year, back in the Spring. It wasn’t the most inspiring work and I’m pretty much done with that sort of thing now, but I did it so that I could save up some cash before moving to Portland.

      Basically, when I moved, I knew I’d be able to survive for 4-5 months (living very cheaply, mind you) and so I landed in PDX and just hit the ground running with the biz. I was super motivated since I knew I only had a few months before cash flow would dry up. So I pounded out that ebook and worked like a maniac. It was good motivation.

      Over this time, more coaching work started rolling in as well. But it wasn’t till after the book launch in Sept, that I started feeling much more financially secure.

      The way I see it, most start ups take 1-3 years to become profitable. You’ve got to view your business as a business first and a blog second. Treat it like you’re fully in “start up mode.” Hustle like crazy, work your butt off, and lower your expenses as much as possible.

      Heh sorry about the business lesson. This stuff fires me up. :)

  3. Holli says:

    Love this – seeing Puttylike succeed have been inspirational.

    What went well: For 2011, a lot of personal stuff has brought drastic changes and challenges. I’d say the things that have gone well in 2011 are taking those challenges on and turning them into opportunities. For example, my daughter’s food sensitivities and my son’s food allergies were motivation to get creative in the kitchen.

    What did not go well: The things that didn’t go well were good lessons on a personal level: not meeting my own expectations, not seeing friends very often, losing touch with a balance that fits my own life (I think balance is a very personal thing to find, because it is different for each of us). I am happy to report that I’m starting to find it again.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing!
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year:)

    • Emilie says:

      Hey Holli,

      It’s been wonderful to see your progress over the last twelve months as well. I can really relate to what you said about balance. It’s been a big theme for me too. Radically important, and yet so difficult to apply at times. But that’s awesome that you’ve identified the challenge and have begun applying it more consciously.

      We have to talk some more about your photography exhibit coming up. I’d still love to make it up to Seattle for that. Oh and don’t sell yourself short on that goal either. I mean, you approached the cafe and set the show up A YEAR AGO! And then you stuck with it. Phenomenal.

      Merry Christmas!!

      • Holli says:

        Yep! It’s funny to see how much my confidence has grown up.

        Today I get to pick up the last framed pieces for the show. Shoot me an email, and I’d love to see you here in Seattle at the show:)

        • Emilie says:

          That’s awesome, I’ll get in touch soon. Also, I noticed the other day that you started selling your crafts through Scratch Treehouse. Nice stuff! If I’d seen it sooner I would have ordered some Scrabble ornaments for my dad. :)

  4. Patty Tanji says:

    Well… I told myself I would spend 1 hour on the cross trainer this morning….before full out holiday chaos kicks in….but wanted to say a few words here first. Cross trainer can wait. Thanks for the opportunity.
    Went well stuff..Started a new online business, website, blog, group coaching. Finding my tribe journey: Discovered a group of peeps who care about the environment, sustainability, humanity. They are extreme change agents.I admire them a great deal.
    Not so well stuff….no one came to my group coaching, website, blog etc. It was a lot of work and I gave up after one round. Yikes.

    So 2012 is about 1. reconnecting with myself and people who share my passions and create a community of extreme change agents (whatever that means) and help them be the change. 2. My website has to incorporate my many interests and I plan to work with Emilie on this. 3. Create a product that will sell. 4. Finding my voice – become a better writer and speaker (writing and acting classes). 5. Like others have noted — trust my intuition and spend less time listening to the voice of judgment, cynicism, and fear.
    Whew! Good thing there are 365 days!

  5. Manal says:

    What went well in 2011?

    I discovered and embraced new ways of expressing myself that just opened up a world of possibility to me (mainly visual journaling). I recently had a major breakthrough in my marriage, that I’d been searching for an answer to after YEARS of confusion and a feeling of hopelessness.
    I found a coach who combines my two loves (coaching and eft)who’s helped me get out of a very dark place a couple months back.
    I started socializing again after starting a mommy breakfast club, which my extroverted side is really loving. And my kids are super enjoying and loving their teachers after an agonizing decision to put them in private school for the year so that I could get a break-we are so so blessed.
    BEST thing right now, that I’m excited about, is working with Emily.

    What did not go well in 2011?

    I did not do as much self-care as I should. I let my healthy eating habits go, as I got more and more fatigued and could barely get out of bed most days. I started several projects, was dissatisfied, and burnt out. Felt like giving up way too many times. Struggling with my theme/business/spending lots of $$ on things that didn’t work.
    Dished out a LOT of self-judgement about myself and my feelings this year, and THAT is going to change.

    Here’s to new beginnings!!! <3

    • Emilie says:

      Awesome! I’d say you accomplished a hell of a lot in 2011. And I’m super excited about working with you too.

      2012’s going to rock! Have a merry merry happy day!

  6. Josh says:

    2011, what can I say. Conquered some issues and had some defeat, but I’m okay and have learned! It’s been mostly good. Made great new relationships, took up aikido, salsa, saw Buddy Guy, travelled, shaved my head (had a ponytail before), read some great books and best of all learned more about my purpose and was drawn to this lifestyle design calling. And finally put some music out.

    Looking forward to our session and am scrambling to get my homework done. It’s uncomfortable, but a good uncomfortable.

    btw a note about your podcast. It’s what drew me in to your website aside from the others. There’s only so much I can read blogs these days, but I have lots of time at work to listen. As for the ums and joking it actually makes it more listenable, more human, like we know you. What sounds “professional” isn’t always what draws the listener.

    Anyway, have a merry Christmas. Looking forward to 2012.

    • Emilie says:

      Hey Josh,

      It sounds like 2011 was a pretty significant year for you in terms of finding direction. That’s great.

      And thanks for the feedback on the podcast. I agree, I think we got to be quite good, it just didn’t yield the results that I had been hoping for. Still, like I said, there’s a small group of puttypeep like you, who found the site through the show. Or even people who just enjoy listening to podcasts (I love them myself), and that’s why I keep ’em up. To give people the option.

      Who knows, maybe we’ll get back into it and do a season 2 at some point. After all, these interests do cycle back around.

      Looking forward to our coaching session too! Merry Christmas!

  7. Becca says:

    Well 2011 was the year I gave everything I had to a non-profit employer, working 50-60 hours at the office in hopes of receiving a promotion, missing family birthday parties, forgetting to eat, and living with insomnia in the meantime. Less than a week ago I was let ago, told that I required more training than they could provide. And honestly, I am so grateful…

    My options are completely wide open, and when I ran across this idea of ‘mulitpotentialite’ just a few days ago (thanks to an Etsy post), my confidence and dreams are exponentially increasing, with a healthy dose of fear and excitement. I love and am trained in music, art, philosophy, religion, baking, running and more. I’ve been desperately hoping to find a way to justify spending the next year focusing on public art projects that could transform my community, and I’m quickly realizing that pulling together all of my talents might be the way to go. I’ve always known that the material I make art with has not been as significant as the community impact of the making. Lots of people have asked me to specialize, for the sake of my own success, and I’ve never quite agreed.

    I’m learning very quickly that it is a process though. When I look at your goals for 2011 and read the successes of others who’ve commented, I think I have so far to go… but like a friend told me years ago, “don’t compare, but identify.”

    Thanks so much for sharing.


    I liked the non-profit position because I was able to combine my interests in art, education, community relations, graphic design and so on. However, I was never fully acknowledged or compensated and found myself continually living under the ‘not good enough’ title.

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