A Lady Goes West 2019 blog and business year in review

Hi, friends! How are you? I’ve been having a great holiday week, because my momma arrived on Christmas night as a surprise, so we’ve been hanging out (and I’ve been a little bit more off the grid). YAY!

But let’s get to the topic of the day: Last week, we took a look at the highlights from my personal life in 2019, and today, we’re going to look at business side of A Lady Goes West in 2019. This was by far the best year for me ever business wise. And while I still only have the capacity to work on the blog on a part-time basis (maybe 3/4-time would be more appropriate), I was able to make a full-time income, and I’m quite proud of that, because it took me many years to get here, and I do it while taking care of a toddler and teaching several group fitness classes a week.

By the way, I detailed all about the nitty gritty details of working for myself in a full post a few weeks ago, so head on over to check it out if you haven’t yet here.

A Lady Goes West 2019 blog and business year in review

A Lady Goes West 2019 blog and business year in review

Top blog posts in 2019

These were the most popular blog posts this year, ranked in order of clicks …

  1. Review of Les Mills On Demand streaming workout service (written in 2018, but still going strong as the most popular post based on Google search results)
  2. Everything you need to know about the Orangetheory Fitness workout (from 2015, but clearly still helpful)
  3. Review of Kelsey Wells PWR workout program and the Sweat app (written in 2018 and such a fun one to research and write, so perhaps I need to do another on other programs on the Sweat app)
  4. My experience with the NASM CPT Guided Study program and passing the exam (written in 2018, and I get a lot of questions about this still)
  5. 73 questions (written earlier this year in 2019 and the most random post ever to crack the top 10 of most popular)
  6. What is CXWORX: CXWORX 101 overview and first-timer tips (written in 2014, and I haven’t taught this program in years, but I still take it every single week)
  7. What is BODYPUMP: BODYPUMP 101 overview and first-timer tips (written in 2014 and always my group fitness first love)
  8. How to get more out of your Orangetheory Fitness workout (another one from 2015 when I was working as a coach at Orangetheory)
  9. How to modify a BODYPUMP class when you’re pregnant (written in 2017 when I was pregnant, because you can totally still do this workout, you just have to make some changes as you get further along)
  10. What is BODYATTACK: BODYATTACK 101 overview and first-timer tips (written in 2014, and it’s probably best to know what to expect before you take this class)
  11. Signs you’re taking a class from a bad group fitness instructor (written in 2015 and a fun one to create, so perhaps I need to write another one)
  12. The creamiest warm almond butter oatmeal breakfast bowl (written in 2018 and sponsored and the only food post to crack the most popular list, but then again I hardly ever write about food any more)
  13. Class review: Corepower Yoga is hot, hot, hot (written in 2015, still totally accurate)
  14. The difference between FlyWheel and SoulCycle cycle classes (written in 2018, based on a question I was often answering)
  15. A super-fun Key West bachelorette party (written in 2015 and this is another really random one to make it onto the popular list)
  16. Life after recovering from hypothalamic amenorrhea (written in 2018 and a very important topic to me)
  17. Top 10 ways to grow your group fitness classes (written in 2014, but still relevant)
  18. A 20-minute BODYPUMP-inspired full-body barbell workout (written in 2015 and a good one to do when you’re in a rush and want to get in some strength endurance work)
  19. My top seven Beautycounter products and how I take care of my skin (written earlier this year in 2019, and I’m so happy to see clean beauty and skincare breaking the top 20)
  20. Five things no one tells you about postpartum exercise (written in 2019, and if you’re pregnant or a new mom, you should definitely read this one)

My personal favorite blog posts in 2019

These were my favorite posts of the year to write, all published in 2019 …

As you can see, writing longer in-depth pieces about my experiences and thoughts has always been my favorite thing to write, so you can expect to see more of that in the future.

Business highlights

Working with Les Mills to spread the love for the brand.

This year, I expanded on my partnership with Les Mills, which is amazing, because as you guys know, I’ve been a fan of the brand for a very long time, becoming a Les Mills BODYPUMP instructor more than 10 years ago. I love working with the folks at Les Mills, because not only do I truly believe in the company’s fitness programs, but I also believe in the mission of the company to end global obesity. I love to spread the word about Les Mills, and the Les Mills team is so generous with me as an affiliate partner for the Les Mills On Demand platform. I have no intentions of ever NOT talking about Les Mills, so this really couldn’t be more of a win-win.

Growing my Beautycounter team and community.

When I started out last year as a Beautycounter consultant, it was solely because I loved the products and wanted to tell more people about the importance of choosing safer beauty and skincare products for their health. What I didn’t know is that not only would I have fun helping people pick out what to order to address their skin issues and concerns, but I would also completely LOVE the opportunity to connect with other consultants, help each other along this journey and bring new consultants on board on my own team to work with me.

In fact, becoming a Beautycounter consultant has been one of the best things I’ve done for my blog in a while, because I get to have regular calls and check-ins with some amazingly smart and fun women. It’s not competitive, it’s fun. Some of us are bloggers, some of us are not, and we help each other, share knowledge and tools and support each other. It’s not often you find an environment like that with a bunch of women, so it’s a breath of fresh air. I absolutely see myself expanding this part of my business more, as it’s been such a fun addition for me. Right now, I have a team of five women and want to double that this year at a minimum so I can have even more connections and more chances to work with others. This part of my business doesn’t take a ton of time, but I get a lot out of it.

My review of the Beautycounter Countertime skincare line by A Lady Goes West -- October 2019

Connecting with YOU and hearing your stories.

I still get messages from women who have read my ebook on fertility and been able to make changes and get pregnant based off my story and tips. This is THE BEST part about sharing my life and experiences as a blogger and writer. I love to hear from you, via DMs or emails or comments or however you choose to reach out. It really means a lot to me, and I do my best to respond to everyone, so never be afraid to say hi. 🙂 

Some sponsored work with good brands …

This year, I did way less sponsored work than I have done in the past, because I was very selective. I also did more Instagram sponsored work than blog work. Here are a few highlights …

  • This was the final blog post for a sponsored multi-channel campaign with Brandless all about how to read labels, and I was really happy with how it turned out. 
  • I enjoyed switching it up to work with Shark Cleaning on an Instagram campaign for the new Shark IQ Robot self-emptying vacuum. We are seriously in love with this thing.
  • I went to an event for Health Warrior earlier this year, then worked with the brand on an Instagram post and blog post giveaway that I was happy with.
  • I worked with CALIA by Carrie Underwood on a photography/social media for the majority of this year, in which I took photos wearing the gear for their marketing purposes, and I really like the clothing and brand, so I’m going to hopefully continue this partnership next year too.

A Lady Goes West 2019 blog and business year in review - Calia pic

Blog schedule and revenue

This year, I decided on a schedule of two blog posts a week, with one lifestyle/fitness/mom topic on Monday and a compilation favorites round-up post on Friday. I also posted on social media and in the A Lady Goes West Friends Facebook group throughout the week. I’m expecting to keep a similar schedule moving forward, but we shall see.

Here’s where my revenue comes from in order of most to least …

  1. Affiliate links and partnerships (when I link to services or products on the blog through Rewardstyle, Shopstyle, Amazon, Les Mills, and my newest partner I’m excited about, Organifi)
  2. Freelance writing (I had one big fitness freelance writing client this year that I wrote several pieces for, more on that below)
  3. Ads on the blog (when you visit my site and see ads, I make money off that, and my ad provider is Mediavine)
  4. Sponsored content (sponsored blog posts and Instagram posts, paid for by a brand and always marked as such)
  5. Beautycounter consultant sales (this is a growing piece of business for sure)
  6. Ebook sales (people are still buying the ebook, and I love that)

Overall, it all adds up to be a full-time income for me, and this year was the first time that I truly reached a full-time Bay Area salary based off working for myself. Yay! (Side note: Yes, I make money off teaching group fitness classes too, but I keep that separate from my business account, so haven’t noted it here.)

A Lady Goes West 2019 blog and business year in review - VP picture

Business struggles

The great content overwhelm and writer’s block.

I’ve got to be honest, but being a content creator is not as easy as it sounds, and I wrote much more about that in the post about working for myself. There were times this year when I would sit down at the computer and think, “I LITERALLY cannot come up with another idea for another piece of content ever.” Between writing blog posts for A Lady Goes West, posting on social media, and writing fitness freelance pieces, I often found myself burnt out on content.

I absolutely LOVE to write, but sometimes I just want to pour out stream of consciousness without a real purpose. Well those types of posts don’t always come together all that well, so I have to focus and organize ideas in a better, more valuable way. It’s hard to always come up with new things that haven’t been said over and over before by someone else. (By the way, hopefully getting my nutrition certification in a few months will help with some new content too, as I’m learning a ton through that program.)

Spreading myself too thin.

In addition to struggling with creating so much content for various platforms, oftentimes I sit down and have to decide “what to work on today.” It’s not easy doing a lot of tasks and only having small working windows each day, between Brady duties and group fitness classes and life. I have been saying for quite a while that I need to figure out how to get rid of something on my plate, even though I like everything I’m doing.

Well, I have some news — I’m going to pull back from freelance writing for the early part of 2019 and see how it feels. That will leave me with just the blog, Beautycounter and group fitness (and momming, of course). I think it should be a nice change of pace and perhaps help me to focus more on those three buckets of work and also free up a little mental capacity to help with the content creator overwhelm mentioned above. Here’s hoping!

Closing thoughts on this year of business and blogging

Blogging is a strange job, and I still have to over-explain to people what I do, and people are often still skeptical whether this is a job at all. But it is. And I love it, in spite of its difficulties. There are so many things I want to do in the future with the blog, and I hope to keep moving forward and improving with baby steps, just as I’ve been doing the past few years. Because my blog is definitely small in the world of blogs, and I have plenty of room to grow, grow, grow.

I can’t end this without saying that the whole reason I write this blog is because you guys come by to read, and so I want to truly thank you for that. And if you haven’t yet read this post with a giveaway, head on over to do that today, because I’ll choose a winner tomorrow. 

Have a WONDERFUL day and an even more wonderful start to your new year too, my friends! Thank you!

Questions of the day

What’s been the highlight of your year work-wise?

What’s been a big challenge you’ve faced this year?

Do you have any plans for New Year’s Eve?

What do you most like to see on this blog?

12 Comments

  1. Congrats on everything you’ve achieved in 2019, Ashley! Wishing you the best on and off the blog in 2020 and beyond! P.S. Love these reflective posts!
    xx

  2. Congrats on such a great year! I have an 18 month old and have been following you since I was pregnant. I’m pretty sure you were pregnant at the same time! Thanks for creating such great content!

  3. Three things:

    1. Thanks for continuing your blogging! I look forward to reading what you share because I always learn something new and/or am inspired by your thoughts.
    2. Tell your mom, “Hi!” What a wonderful surprise her visit must be for your family! (How did she ever pull it off though?!!?)
    3. Give Brady a hug for me! He is so precious!

  4. Yay for surprise visits from mom! So special, I bet you both cried a little :). No NYE plans here, just hanging out with the husband and pup.

    I love reading your longer posts, you’re a great writer!

    1. Ohhhh we definitely cried when she came off the plane and we hugged! Hope you have a wonderful NYE at home — that’s always a great place to ring in the new year, my friend! 🙂

  5. I’ve been so impressed by your instagram captions! They are always so well thought out (and long). I probably post on my person account less than once a week and most of the time I can’t even think of anything to say so I just use an emoji, haha!

  6. Congrats on a great year and good luck in 2020!! I love reading your blog-it’s really one of the only blogs I continue to come back to and read the content 🙂

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