What I learned from a bad year


After four months of silence, I stare at a blank page, finally trying to write a blog post again. Four months! It’s hard to believe I spent one-third of 2016 not writing on the blog, and it’s already almost 2017! To make matters worse, guest posts and the interview series did not follow their normal flow either. Totally my bad!

What happened?

2016 happened. Not one of my best years.

Brazilian political, economical and financial crisis. My complete inability to control my personal and business finance. A huge downtime period. My believing I can embrace the world and take on other responsibilities. And other consequences arising from these.

This is life: full of ups and downs. It’s up to us to always try to learn something, even (or especially) from the downs. And this is what I learned from my bad year:

Financial control
I always knew better, but never put it into practice. The more I earn, the more I spend. It has always been like that. However, if I don’t learn now, I never will.

As freelancers, business owners, entrepreneurs, you name it, we only earn money if we work. Therefore, vacation, sick leave, days off, dry spells mean no income. It is essential that we prepare in advance for all those situations.

Clients are never too much
We should never stop prospecting. If not to have a wide and diverse client portfolio (agencies, direct clients, overseas clients, local clients), to try to gradually increase our rates. We should never settle.

Service diversification
We must adapt in moments of crisis. There is nothing to do? Adapt to the market. See what it needs that you can offer. Learn a new language or something new, or develop yourself at something you already know so you can offer it as a service.

Side projects
As much as they can be nice, rewarding and fulfilling, we need to know when it’s too much and when it’s not worth it, for any reason. Is it stressing you too much? Is it really adding value to you as a professional? We should not be afraid of being selfish once in a while; after all, if we don’t think about and take care of ourselves, who will?

Visibility is not always good
Some people will love you, but a couple of people will hate you, misinterpret you, think they know you, when, in fact, they don’t have a clue as to who you are. But that’s life, right? Some people say even Jesus did not please everyone. And I’m well aware that I’m far, far away from getting this close to being compared to him or anyone for that matter. The problem is this handful of people affect us in such a way that can crush us, make us feel terrible, miserable human beings. However, just like with everything else in life, we learn, we adapt, and we move on.

So, yeah… Not a good year, if I consider I had more downs than ups. But since I only really learn with downs, it was, in fact, a good year for life learnings. Now it’s that time of the year again, Thanksgiving is next week, Christmas in a bit more than a month, followed by New Year and, finally, my birthday. And I take the time to reflect upon my rights and wrongs, acknowledge and be grateful for the people in my life and for what I have learned, and move on to 2017 with a new, mature mindset.

Now I’m ready to resume my normal blogging routine, which feels great. Check out the blog’s editorial calendar here and stay tuned for the next posts.

And feel free to share what you have learned in 2016.

21 thoughts on “What I learned from a bad year

  1. In times like these, specially in Brazil, financial control is key. And it turns out we can actually live with less, if only we open our eyes to the things we already have. And remember what matters most – relationships, love, the people in our lives. It doesn’t cost much to hang around with those we love.

    And I believe we must always take care of ourselves, not only with side projects but also in an overall wellbeing attitude towards ourselves, specially when things get rough.

    Also, this was a year of conclusions, a number 9 year, so I see it as a way to finish things up and start afresh next year.

    Until then… carry on!

    Best wishes 🙂


    • Hi, Thais!

      You are right. I am learning a lot from saving here and there, something I’ll be able to take for life.

      It’s good to know about the number. I knew the influence of the moon, and it helped me make better decisions.

      Thanks for visiting and leaving a comment!

      All the best to you too,



  2. High spirits, Carol!

    We all have our ups and downs but the best thing you can do is to learn from them, as you said.

    I wouldn’t worry too much about the blog itself, you have opened a new communication line with your podcasts. You shouldn’t forget it.

    A hug, dear Carol.


  3. Ups and downs, and people who love us and others who hate us… You’re so right – that’s life!

    Good to have you back at blogging and sharing your experience. Here’s to a great 2017!

    Beijo grande.


  4. I feel you, Carol. We ought to keep looking for new clients and see if we can diversify. However, if we are unsuccessful in doing so, we must never give up until we are absolutely sure we did our very best. I never liked online visibility but had to accept it…. The good thing about it is that it has given me the opportunity to meet fantastic people such as yourself.


  5. Hey Carol,
    Life is life. It has its ups and it has its downs, the key is constant learning and pushing forward no matter what. If I had nickel for every time someone told me I shouldn’t be doing what I’m doing, I’d be a millionaire 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing this with everyone. It’s incredibly important to share both our victories and failures because it’s the only way we can learn from each other and achieve more.

    As far as 2016 goes, John Oliver recorded a pretty good message for this year: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_M2NKE0fyI

    And for all the haters, here’s my all time favorite GIF: https://translatorsonair.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/ainters-gonna-aint.gif

    You’re doing some great things for the profession. Keep at it!

    Hugs from Toronto!


    • Hi, Dmitry!

      As you said, it’s life. So we should share our downs with the community as well, not only our ups. That’s the reality, nobody lives in a fairy tale, right?

      I think it’s easier to point out what others are supposedly doing wrong than looking at our own belly button (as we say in Portuguese). I don’t like doing that, so I prefer to look at my own mistakes and learn from them. Hopefully, people can learn from them as well.

      I loved the GIF and the video! Thank you so much for sharing them with me! I really appreciate it. 🙂

      Thanks for visiting and sharing your words with us! It means a lot.

      Hugs from down South America,



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