I’m So Excited! 3 Big Things I’m Absolutely Giddy Over Right Now

I’m a huge fan of transparency here on the blog — sharing the good, the bad and everything in between. 

So today, I’m on-the-edge-of-my-seat excited to share a few pieces of news I’ve had to keep under wraps for the past couple of weeks.

I hate keeping a secret, so I’m giddy to finally spill! (Apologies for the vague tweets, as of late.)

Here are two big pieces of news + one happening I’m eagerly anticipating over here at JL&Co HQ. 

1. I’m returning to Temple University as an adjunct instructor in the fall

Remember last fall when I taught Advanced PR at my alma mater, Temple University? It was one of the most rewarding (and insanely challenging!) professional experiences I’ve ever had.

I’m beyond excited to share I’m returning to Temple this fall semester to teach PR Writing. 

Temple recently changed their PR curriculum, so the course I’m teaching combines two former classes — Fundamentals of PR and Advanced PR — into one big course on public relations writing. Luckily, since I taught Advanced PR before, I already have about half the course material prepared and ready to go. 

Tthis time around I’m teaching a night class. I’m looking forward to teaching at night (despite my disdain for night classes as a student). Even though I have a flexible schedule and technically can teach during the day, I had no idea how much being on campus two days a week, smack dab in the middle of my work day, would impact my business. So this time I’m saving myself a lot of struggle, and keeping my “teaching side hustle” to evenings only.

I’m a nerd, and I love school, so I’m pumped to dive into the textbook, craft new assignments, work on my presentations and line up some awesome guest speakers for class. I know night classes can be challenging, so I want to keep the students engaged in any way that I can.

Plus, this time around I have more than six months to prepare for the semester, as opposed to snagging a last-minute gig THREE days before the semester began, so I already feel much more set up for success than I did last time. 

Most of all, I can’t wait to be around students again. I loved watching my students grow and improve throughout the semester, and am so grateful to still be in touch with many of them who have since graduated with killer jobs in the field. 

Back to school, I go!

2. I’m speaking at The Blog Connect Conference 

If you’re in the Philly area and you’re not already part of the PHLBloggers group, what are you doing?! Join ASAP. 

Each year, PHLBloggers puts on an absolutely fantastic (and Insta-perfect) conference called The Blog Connect. I’ve attended every year since its inception in 2016, and for the second time, I’m participating as a speaker!

I’m part of a panel, “Blogging for Passion, Profit, and Impact” alongside fellow bloggers/biz owners Julie Hancher from the  Green Philly Blog, Melissa Alam from Femme and Fortune, Sarah DeGeorge from Socially Dedicated and moderated by Lori Rochino

Here’s what we’ll be discussing:

How do you go from hobby blog to business blog? What mindset traits and skill sets do you need to take on this next level challenge? Is there ever a right time to get started? Learn top takeaways from successful bloggers in the Philly area. What worked, what didn’t work and what are the major lessons learned that you can apply to your own blog and business.

I’m already counting down until April! Want to come to the conference? Register here for The Blog Connect.

3. I turn 30 next month

This time last year I was 29 and feeling fine at my 29th Birthday “Margarita March” celebration. But, yup…My 30th birthday is quickly approaching on March 11.

I know they say age is just a number, and life only gets better as you grow older, but I won’t lie and tell you I haven’t had some anxiety around beginning a new decade. 

I may or may not have had a little breakdown last weekend about it…Luckily, I was quickly reminded by my Twitter friends that truly, it doesn’t matter. And believe me, I know it’s a silly thing to worry about, but hey, I never said I was rational all the time.

In any case, I am working to amp myself up about my 30th. We’re still in the planning process of what exactly we’re doing to celebrate, but as long as I’m with family and friends, I’ll be a happy gal. 

I also have a post or two planned around my birthday and lessons learned, so stay tuned!

Tell me! Any big pieces of news in your life to share? What are you excited about right now? Let me know in the comments below.

*Photo via Pexels

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The State of Jessica Lawlor & Company: A Look Back at Year Two in Business

Earlier this month, Jessica Lawlor & Company (JL&Co) celebrated its second year in business!

Each year on my business anniversary, I like to take a bit of time to reflect on the day in 2015 that I quit my PR job, and the terrifying, yet exhilarating weeks and months that followed as I introduced JL&Co to the world.

Last month, my team member Rachel and I met for a retreat and planning day where we discussed how JL&Co is doing, some of the highs and lows from the previous year and the big goals we have for 2018. Oh, and there was pizza and massages too, because what’s a retreat day without pizza and massages?

It was the first-ever (and soon-to-be annual!) State of JL&Co. 

Since you, along with Rachel, have been a part of this journey since 2015, I wanted to let you in on some of the juicy details too. 

Read on for the State of JL&Co — how we made money this year, major client accomplishments, all the things that made us giddy, our dream clients and what’s to come in year three.

Jessica Lawlor & Company (JL&Co) just celebrated its second year in business! It's time for the first-ever State of JL&Co. Find out how we made money, major client accomplishments, all the things that made us giddy and what's to come in year three.

How did JL&Co make money?

Here’s an income breakdown of how exactly JL&Co earned an income in the second year in business. 

A couple of key thoughts and reflections:

  • Once again, content management reigns supreme here at JL&Co! In year one, content management made up about 50% of my business, so this core service has grown even more in year two. 
  • While content management grew as a service, public relations definitely took a bit of a backseat. In 2017, I let go of a PR client (more on that below), so my PR income dipped a bit as a result.
  • I continued writing in 2017, bringing on new writing clients and continuing steady work with familiar brands. 
  • Blog/brand is a new income category for year two! I’m pumped that in 2017, I forayed into working with brands on this very blog. I kicked it off with one project in 2017, but already completed my first of 2018, with a few more on the horizon.
  • Noticeably, I’m doing a lot less one-on-one consulting. When I started my business, I thought this area would be one I’d want to grow, but I’ve simply realized, I can earn more money and save a ton of energy by focusing on attracting larger and fewer higher-paying clients rather than chasing lots of small fish. That’s not to say I won’t do individual consulting anymore — I definitely will, but it’s not something I’m actively chasing right now.
  • I’m teaching less yoga– and that’s okay! Where I used to teach five classes/week, I’m now down to just one class (plus subbing and teaching private groups, here and there). While I love teaching yoga, five classes/week simply took up too much time — think prepping, travel to the studio, getting there early, teaching, staying late, etc. it simply didn’t make sense to continue teaching at the volume I was teaching, when I could use that time to grow JL&Co. 

Clients we worked with in 2017

Curious about the types of clients JL&Co worked with in 2017?

Here’s just a small sampling of our clients, along with some of our favorite projects we completed with them.

  • Muck Rack (Content management, PR)
    • Increased services from solely content management to add on PR, case studies and ebooks. After adding PR, we landed Muck Rack a feature on Forbes!
    • Launched the first Muck Rack ebook.
  • The Write Life (Content management)
  • Cancer Treatment Centers of America (Writing)
  • Valparaiso University (Writing)
    • Published a handful of articles, including this one about inspiring grad Stefon David.
  • Temple Dental (Writing)
  • Pennsbury Manor (PR)
    • Planned and executed a huge campaign around the arrival of baby sheep at Pennsbury Manor — the first time the historic site has welcomed babies in years! CBS came out to help reveal the names of the sheep.
  • Crossing Vineyards and Winery (PR)
  • Digital Ink (Writing)

Big moments for JL&Co in year two

There were some major business and life-changing moments in year two of running JL&Co. Here are some of the moments that had me giddy with excitement or taught me a big lesson.  

  • I made doing PR for myself and for JL&Co a major priority. The Penny Hoarder, one of the largest personal finance websites in the world with more than 16 million readers, published a profile on me and shared the story of how I quit my full-time job to start my business. Plus, I was quoted in this BusinessNewsDaily piece about side hustling, this Entrepreneur piece about productivity and profiled by my alma mater, the Klein College at Temple University.
  • I grew the blog and my social media presence like crazy. Attending The Blog Connect Conference in the spring gave me a very necessary boost of inspiration to focus on my blog. Reprioritizing blogging has brought about some amazing opportunities — in the summer, I partnered with PepsiCo and Hersheypark on a sponsored social media campaign and did an Instagram takeover for my neighborhood, Chestnut Hill. Oh! And JessicaLawlor.com was named one of the 100 Best Sites for Solopreneurs by One Woman Shop for the third year in a row.
  • I did a bit of speaking. In March, I spoke to the Women In Hospitality Philadelphia group about stepping outside your comfort zone — on a moving boat nonetheless! What an experience. Then in the summer, I spoke to the PennSuburban Chamber of Greater Montgomery County about hustling hard and promoting yourself.
  • I’m picking up new skills. Over the summer, I purchased a Canon Rebel t6i to start to improve my photography for both social media and my blog. 
  • I took two vacations. I know that may sound silly, but taking time off as a business owner is easier said than done — luckily, my awesome team member Rachel held down Team JL&Co in my absence both times. Plus, I got to decompress in Mexico and explore Ireland, so it doesn’t get much better than that!
  • I let go of a client that was no longer a good fit. Running a business isn’t always sexy, and part of the challenge is knowing when it’s time to say goodbye to a client. I did that this year, and while it wasn’t an easy decision, at the end of the day, I felt in charge and empowered.

All the things we want to do in year three

When Rachel and I chatted during our planning day about our big goals for year three, the list was pretty endless, but here are some of our major goals for the coming year.

  • Land our dream clients — see below! You could be one of ’em. 
  • Redesign JessicaLawlor.com 
  • Blog once a week (at least).
  • Earn six figures.
  • Develop a stronger pipeline for new business development.
  • Speak more. (Check out my speaking page!)

Are you our dream client?

Excellent news! JL&Co has some space in its client roster for a couple of amazing businesses and brands.

You may be our dream client if…

  • You’re a major blog or website a la current clients Muck Rack and The Write Life looking for someone to swoop in and manage your editorial strategy. When it comes to our content management clients, we help you figure out the type of content you need to reach your goals, manage your editorial calendar, write content or hire experienced and talented writers to assist, craft super smart and witty SEO-friendly headlines, format and publish posts and then promote your content for your target audience to consume.
  • You’re a destination — or a tourism/hospitality related business like an attraction, winery or brewery looking for PR, content or social media help. With my background in travel/tourism PR (and Rachel’s! That’s how we met — she was my intern wayyyyy back in the day), we both absolutely adore working in this space. And we know how to get results for it. See above for our work with Pennsbury Manor and Crossing Vineyards. 
  • You’re an organization like a hospital, university or other type of business looking to spread the word through awesome writing. A personal goal is to amp up my writing this year, and my work with Cancer Treatment Centers of America, Temple Dental, Digital Ink and more is proof in the pudding that Team JL&Co’s got this. 

Think you’re one of our dream clients? Let’s chat!

Onto year three!

I have high hopes for my third year of running JL&Co.

And as always, I want to end this post by saying thank you. Thank you for your support. For your love, your tweets, your Instagram comments, your emails.

Your support drives me. 

It really does mean the world.

I’ll leave you with my absolute favorite quote — the one I come back to time and time again.

“Every morning you have two choices: continue to sleep with your dreams, or wake up and chase them.” 

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