So, we are officially closing on our second year in business as Dandelion Branding, and one of my favorite things to do each year is look back at what we’ve accomplished over the past year. Here’s last year’s look back!
We have worked together since we met in 2014, and one thing we have learned is that Courtney and I are both really skilled at keeping our heads down and working our tails off. Even on a good year we forget to look up from our keyboards, so it’s no surprise that after a year like 2020 we come up for air and go, “what the actual f*ck just happened?”
So we made a list. And we want to share it with you so that we can take a moment to acknowledge what we did in the past year.
What we did in 2020 (Year Two of Dandelion Branding)
1 – We ran a successful crowdfunding campaign!
It feels like forever ago, but in the beginning of last year, we ran a crowdfunding campaign. We set a massive goal (which we set to see if we could get full time help) and we didn’t reach that.
What we were able to raise helped us fund all the tech we needed to level up our agency and accomplish the other things on this massive list of accomplishments.
2 – Created 6 month online branding course
The past year’s labor of love is definitely the Bloom Your Brand Course. We essentially wrote down our entire content marketing and branding method and packaged it for marketers and ecopreneurs that want to learn how to build a successful brand.
And it turns out that our method is a 6 month course that consists of weekly lessons. And that each of those lessons has 2-4 parts in it.
When I think about the course, it’s actually kind of bittersweet. We’re still working on getting it just right to help as many people as we can build the sustainable brand of their dreams – but the course build definitely didn’t go as we had planned last year.
3 – We both moved to new homes!!!
Courtney and I both moved into new homes in 2020! It seems like such a simple thing, but for both of us “home” has been a rollercoaster.
When we started Dandelion, Courtney moved out of her apartment and went to stay with her mom so we could build our dream. After more than a year of feeling like she didn’t have a “home” or a place to be creative and work, we finally brought in a consistent enough revenue stream for Courtney to be able to find her home spot. She moved down south to Ventura County, California with her partner and now she’s navigating life in a new part of the California coast. Even though getting to know a new city mid Corona time is a bit strange. The sunshine is charming, so she thinks she’ll stay a while!
My partner and I bought a house and we’re renovating it while we live here. I’m an expatriate, living in the Netherlands. Not only did I move into my partner’s mancave two years ago, I moved out of my home in the United States. Say what you will about the USA right now, but I am most definitely an American struggling to find a place that is mine. Building our house is a huge, stressful undertaking but I have an opportunity to build my dream home.
This isn’t exactly a business-related accomplishment, but it feels incredibly good to include it, because we both have the sense that Dandelion plays a part in our ability to imagine the lives we want and just GO FOR IT – and defining “home” is a big part of that.
4 – We niched down
About halfway through the year, Court and I decided to go all in on sustainable brands.
We realized that we were being approached by brands that we didn’t really align with, and when we did accept those projects, they were pretty damn miserable to operate.
So we reevaluated who it is that we wanted to work with, and decided to jump in with both feet. And I’m so glad we did because we set ourselves up to be the best digital ecosystem for sustainable brands out there. *Stay tuned for next year’s post on this one!
5 – Celebrated our first “1 year Anniversary” with an ongoing client
1.5 years into running Dandelion, we celebrated a full sun rotation with our longest standing ongoing client, Berkeley Herbal Center.
They are an incredible bunch to work with, and we’re grateful for the opportunity they gave us in 2020. Even though it was a hard year and they had never created online classes before April of 2020, they stuck with it and rose to the challenge when a lot of brick and mortar shops just closed.
We were able to help them grow into an herb school with consistent online offerings and now they even offer an online certification program! Hello new revenue streams for them! We’re beyond proud.
6 – Hired Lauren
Holy Crow! We brought on Lauren, our assistant, and we are so glad we did. She started in September with a small project, just scheduling our social media posts, and by the end of 2020, we were training her on data collection, hashtag research, and post scheduling for us and our clients.
She’s consistently taking on more responsibility with us, and she rises to the challenge Every. Single. Time. She’s quick and easily learned our methods (which aren’t all together easy). We’re so grateful for her, she’s a major asset to our team, and I’m stoked to see how she grows in her role.
7 – Re-branded Off Brand (our podcast)
Did you know we’ve been running a podcast for more than a year?
Yeah. We have. In the beginning we started with Off Brand, which was basically a testing ground for us to play around with learning about how to run a podcast. We talked a lot of shit and used it as a way to deal with the imposter syndrome and dehumanization that can come with being an entrepreneur when your brand starts to take on its own life.
Remember how I said we niched down? Well, with that niching also came EnvironMental Podcast. We migrated to posting the podcast on Youtube and spending time each week investigating different aspects of sustainability. AND WE LOVE IT!
8 – Started the Living Brand Directory
Also with our shift towards sustainability, we decided to add a third leg to our business. (One being the Dandelion Client Base, the second being the Bloom Your Brand Course.)
This one is called the Living Brand Directory. We have such a cool connection with all the sustainable brands and brand owners that we follow, that we just decided to gather them all and host them in this dope community.
This one JUST launched, but it’s been months in the making. We are always taking applications for the brands to be listed and we have big plans for 2021!
9 – Invested in a designer
Because the spirit of the Living Brand Directory is collaborative, we wanted to share the visionary pieces of this project with someone that we resonate with. Our friend Jeanne is a beautiful soul with an eye for design that we wanted involved with this project. So we hired her (because friends pay too) to make our visual branding package. Oh my goodness. The beauty of her work floored us. I still get goosebumps when I go to the Living Brand Website.
In case you want to know more about her, and you should because she’s awesome, here’s her website: sparkandbloomstudio.com.
10 – Brought on FB ad specialist
We are content marketers, not Ads people.
I can literally talk your ear off about the emotional resilience of your audience and the best ways to support them and still make money right now, but set me down in front of Facebook Business, and I go blank.
Similarly, give Court a website issue and she will sort it out in no time. Logistics, beauty, and all. Give her Google Ads and she’s like… what is…this? Just show the ad to all the people?!?
So when we decided we wanted to run ads for our first course and garner some new life with our lead gens, we went on the hunt for an ads specialist that we liked. We found one in Shenna! She’s great, and she left us with dope KPIs and a better understanding of the Facebook audiences we should use. Huge game changer for us, and definitely set us up for success.
11 – Created so much content
We created so much content in the past year that we don’t even know where to begin. Of course this makes sense because we’re content marketers, but the volume of work is still an accomplishment!
Besides our weekly email and podcast, we had the Brands that Bloom Series, regular blog posts, and regular videos. We also post on Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter several times a week just for Dandelion.
This list doesn’t include the dozens of articles or hundreds of social media posts for our Full Bloom clients, the lead generations, or all the email automations. I think we’ve hit GOT length in volume of pages this year.
12 – We more than doubled in size
All the content creation isn’t for nothing. We followed our own methods and more than doubled in size on all of our channels this year – and we’re reaching more and more people with dreams of changing the world for the better, one sustainable product at a time. Our following is still small, but very mighty (we have a pretty specific niche)!
It’s so cool to see this grow and know that each person we talk to, everyone that we’re able to connect with or help to inspire has the potential to do something great for our planet.
LUCKY 13 – SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST: WE HAVE HAPPY CLIENTS!
This is our favorite thing. Not only did we earn the trust of more people this year, we earned the smiles of several really incredible clients.
We’re a small agency, and we prefer to spend time focused on a few clients instead of spreading too thin with a ton of them. And it’s paid off. All of our clients grew last year, and they’re all happy with the work we’re doing together.
This is what we set out to do and it feels great to have the opportunity to help grow the dreams of the people that put their trust in our methods and our expertise. It’s humbling and wonderful to wake up everyday knowing that it’s literally our job to help sustainable brand owners change the world. To help them educate their audiences towards better lifestyle options.
The Year Two Wrap Up
Just like last year’s post, we feel like it’s a little selfish and braggy to post about our accomplishments from the past year. We’re humbled everyday by the privilege we have to work towards building lives that we feel honored to live. And we are learning that recognizing our privilege and celebrating our growth aren’t mutually exclusive.
My advice from year two: Take time for joy and celebration. Year two feels like you turn up the gear and peddle just as fast (I’m Dutch now, I have to make bike references) because that’s exactly what you’ve done. Don’t forget to drink your water, and don’t forget to laugh. It will get you through the times when you aren’t sure which way is up.
Court’s Advice from this year: Know that there is no such thing as perfection” so trying to strive for that will undoubtedly keep you stuck. Move forward imperfectly and just keep doing the damn thing! You got this!
Here’s to two years in and already accomplishing big dreams!