2016 Was Supposed To Be About Simplicity - How I Royally Messed That Up

Waaaay back in January 2016 (which was just yesterday, right?) I wrote a blog post on making 2016 the year of simplicity for me and my business.

I outlined how that would take shape for business, lifestyle, family + friends. I was clear about clients, health + wellness, priorities, etc.

Then, somewhere along the line things got fuzzy. I had this idea that while I wanted to maintain my existing amazing clients, I wanted to focus further efforts solely on "passive" income like courses.

(I put passive in quotes because who are we kidding? Building any product worth charging for is a very active endeavor.)

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Then I started throwing spaghetti at the wall. Webinars, courses, sales pages, website redo, you-name-it.

I did a fuck-ton of work to lead up to each of these ideas, only to have them fall flat in the income department.

What was I doing wrong? Why was this not working?

Insecurity started creeping in and I started looking for the magic formula. There must be some course, some program, some coach that can tell me what to do to fix it.

Enter the "Follow my exact funnel!" six-figure-launch maze of bullshit.


It took moving into our new house and having to physically break down my desk and office area to realize how off-track I was.

But you know what I decided to do in the middle of moving? Another webinar to course project.

Like an IDIOT.

Just a few weeks ago Instagram came out with some major changes: Business profiles and Instagram Stories. I could see immediately how this would apply to business, how to take advantage of the changes, and was chock full of marketing ideas.

I had a few people tell me they really wanted an Instagram webinar, so off I went scheduling and slide-showing and sort-of marketing (in between packing).

I put my all into the webinar and I can say it was the best one I’ve done yet - super packed with info and gold nuggets of social media marketing badassery.

...and one person bought the course.
(if you are that one person, and you know who you are - THANK YOU - I do appreciate you!)


I put it on the shelf and decided to focus on moving and getting settled in our new home. I refunded my customer their money.

I packed up my office, left out my laptop, a few pens and a notebook, and only did my client work.

Then things started to get unfuzzy…

What happened when I started to spend less time in the thick of things within my business, is I actually started to think critically and whole-heartedly about my business.

Keeping my nose to the grind and not looking up didn’t work and I got lost.

All of a sudden one day, I remembered I was supposed to be making my business SIMPLER. The willy-nilly bullshit I was doing, the advice I was taking, and the direction I was barreling towards were doing way more harm than good.

Physically, actually moving from a rental house to finally buying our family home was a metaphorical and real opportunity to break it all down, reassess, and start again.

I have mapped out the list of changes, tools, and clarifications I needed to help me get back on track. My hope is that you can use a few of these to make your business simpler too.

Productivity Helpers:


Brain.fm is a wonder. It’s a (paid) website that does background music and white noise based on what activity you are trying to do. Whether it’s intense focus or 7 hours of sleep.

While I knew firsthand how much listening to Brain.fm had helped me earlier in the year, I somehow fell out of the habit of using it. Since moving I have reestablished listening to it throughout the day and won’t go to bed without the sleep option playing on my phone on my nightstand.

It’s uncanny, but it works. If you can find their lifetime deal on AppSumo, get it now.

Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator

Facebook Newsfeed Eradicator is a Chrome plugin that won’t show my Newsfeed on my desktop. I can still navigate to groups, messenger, etc - but I don’t get distracted or sucked into scrolling and seeing tempting ads.

I don’t have it installed on my phone, so when I’m relaxing at night, I can still scroll through and catch up on the day if I wish.

For more of my favorite tools and resources, visit my Resources page.

Get Rid of Your Browser Bookmarks

Decluttering my browser bookmarks has freed up so much mental clutter it’s unreal. I was pointed to a great little eBook called Highly Sensitive and Seriously Stuck.* It was one of those advice books that spoke to me at the right time. Nathalie offers some amazing insight and tools for those of us introverts who have a hard time dealing with overwhelm. 

She offers her email list signups access to a bunch of free resources, the most important of which is a Google Sheet that serves as a home to document and keep relevant links for anything evergreen or current. 

The act of clearing out my bookmarks and really going through and deciding what’s still applicable and useful feels like the best spring cleaning ever.

Unsubscribe Without Mercy

Inbox Zero is attainable, believe me. I have committed to unsubscribing from any email that is inbox clutter immediately upon getting it. I have unsubscribed from all email lists but a handful of people who consistently provide me with real value and insight (and feel goods) for my business.

And when I say a handful, I mean there are actually only 5 people I still get emails from. Try it by actually making a list of whose emails you open, read, and apply - and unsubscribe from everything else.

I even wrote a blog on how amazing this one action has been for myself and my business.

Disable Notifications

Notifications are the bane of modern existence. Heads down, sore necks, thumbs scrolling.

My friend Cat likens this societal-tick we’ve established by checking our phones constantly to getting up and opening your front door every 5 mins, just in case someone is there. Pretty accurate picture huh?

Disable every damn notification you can possibly get away with on your phone. What you’ll realize when you go in (much less) periodically to check for notifications is nothing was really that urgent anyway.

So, Now What?

Ok, so now that I have the process of getting through my day simplified, how have I reigned in the tendency to keep throwing spaghetti at the wall? I’m just not doing anything new and fleshing out a more complete marketing strategy for what I have.

I am clear that I’m not looking for more retainer one-on-one clients - but what about all the courses/coaching stuff?

I have already built 2 (and did a joint venture on another) courses that are awesome. But my overall marketing plan for each needs work...so instead of just repeating the mistake by trying another course, I’m working on speaking to and understand my clients that are perfect for what I’ve already built. My Instagram webinar is something that I’m going to repackage into a lower-priced course instead of building a more expensive advanced version.

I am clear that I offer 2 services - Pinterest Management + Marketing and Squarespace Websites. Besides the courses and 2 services - nothing else needs to get through the simplicity filter. 

It’s not that I need help creating and implementing a social media strategy (duh, that’s what I do, and do well) - it’s that there’s SO MUCH MORE to an overall marketing plan (i.e. blogs, emails, ads, etc) - and I just haven’t focused on upping that game as it relates to my own business.

I hope telling my story of getting off track and reigning it back in hits home for you and I’ve given you a few ideas for how to simplify your own business.

I would love to hear about your story - and in particular what you struggle with in your journey with entrepreneurship. Join us in the Free Rockstar Membership inside Pinterest PowerUp.

While I’m no longer focused on general social media (you can read more about why here), I AM offering tons of resources - like content planning and blog marketing, plus other tools to make entrepreneurship easier - in my free membership for Pinterest PowerUp. PPU is a membership community for online entrepreneurs and the only Pinterest marketing resource you will ever need for your business!

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Hey hey, I'm Cara - Pinterest marketing evangelist and lover of all things Squarespace website design. I team up with online entrepreneurs to get tons of website traffic into sales funnels (marketing speak for getting eyeballs on your website and turning them into customers).

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