Oh, 2020. What's the best way to sum up this year? The best I can muster is this: 2020, the year when much of life stood still and much of life changed at the same time. What a paradoxical journey it was.

I am writing this note as a reflection of everything we have gained and lost as a business community. Some entrepreneurs saw their business models erode or implode, while others saw the demand for suddenly urgent products or services. Entrepreneurship itself is also more divided: becoming an entrepreneur has never been more popular, but this trend suggests that entrepreneurship is pursued less out of purposeful ambitions than out of basic needs.

In light of this chaotic reality, we at SPI are incredibly grateful for our circumstances and for all of you – our fans, friends, students, members, partners, confidants and allies. While small businesses have carried the burden of the economic carnage of the pandemic, our small business is doing fine. However, our gratitude is offset by our grief for the small businesses that have not done so well.

To mark this moment, we have recorded our thoughts about what this year has meant for us and what we look forward to next year. Our individual perspectives are diverse, but also reflect a common humanity and hope for all of us as people and small business owners. I hope that you will join us in reflecting on the ups and downs of 2020 as we prepare for a resurgence of life, togetherness and prosperity in the year ahead.

On behalf of everyone – Andrea, David, Jessica, Jillian, Jonathan, Karen, Mindy, Non, Pat, Sara Jane and Ray – I thank each and every one of you for being with us this year. See you on the other side.

– Matt Gartland, SPI Co-CEO

Here's who you'll hear from:

What was your work highlight in 2020?

I am incredibly grateful to work for a company that is generous and caring. When COVID first hit, we offered one of our paid courses, Smart from Scratch, for free for over nine months. Knowing that we are helping people who are struggling with job losses has been very fulfilling. – Karen

My highlight is Joining the SPI team and quickly confirm that the work environment is as friendly and positive as it is fast and ambitious. I am so grateful to be part of this group of people. – Jillian

The start of SPI Pro– Our private community only by invitation for committed entrepreneurs – could not have come at a better time. SPI Pro was developed even before COVID-19 and launched in July and immediately exceeded all expectations. Bringing this compassion and generosity to life in our fellowship of hundreds has been a much-needed boost for our members and an equally necessary source of satisfaction and joy for us. – Matt

My work highlight 2020 cannot be tied to a single event. Rather, it is a culmination of small events that ultimately lead to it the closeness that we all share now. The moments above each other are the conversations and discussions that took place between those “big” events – planning meetings, workshops, and brainstorming sessions – as our team approached an epic year-end project. – Jonathan

It was a wild year! For me, the highlight was that I devoted myself all day to podcasting and was able to really invest in this area of ​​our business. We hired a new podcast producer, and together, he and I started making big plans for the years to come (yes, years!). – Sara Jane

I started on maternity leave this year. I am so grateful to work for a company that understands the needs of new parents. Offering maternity leave isn't easy for a small business, and it takes even more leadership to truly protect that time off for employees. It meant the world to me to know that everyone in the company was helping me take this time, even though it added extra work to their plates. – Mindy

My work highlight for 2020 was To be part of an incredibly supportive team in such a enduring year. We've come together to ask tough questions on topics like pandemic, racism, and politics – and talked about what we can do to support our communities during these times. I am so grateful to be part of a team that strives to tackle challenges head on and work for a better future. – Andrea

Start SPI Pro Was incredible. The membership community wasn't even on the radar for 2020, but after the pandemic, things changed and we noticed how many people were starving for connections and networking opportunities (especially when personal events were gone). And as we all know, we needed more support from others this year than ever before. It makes me so happy to see the entire team come together to advance SPI Pro and start it now with hundreds of members and enthusiastic testimonials! -Beat

I am grateful to be on a team of caring people who recognize the current state of the world and who care intensely about it and want to improve it. 2020 was a hell of a good year and to be a part of it A culture that truly values ​​the health and wellbeing of their team is everything now. -David

Pat and I held a retreat for our coaching students in late February, and in March we saw lots of people from all over the world at Social Media Marketing World. We definitely drove the high of it personal interactions for several months as new bans and restrictions were introduced worldwide. – Jess

Joining the SPI team Full-time after working part-time and freelance in a team for a few years. I'm excited to see what we have in store as we turn the corner in this incredibly challenging year. -Beam

What was your job in 2020?

In the midst of everything that is going on in the world, I am very grateful for my job and the health of my family. That being said, one of my biggest work-related disappointments this year was having to cancel all of our team summits because of COVID. – Karen

My low is easy the impact of the pandemic on the opportunities for personal events. I can't wait to meet the SPI team and SPI professionals in person in a safe and healthy environment. – Jillian

The lowlight that stood out the most was the loss of all human collaboration. Pat and I couldn't meet in person to talk about a big picture. I couldn't meet with the team to advance plans and projects or with partners to explore opportunities. Virtual collaboration works well, but is often not good enough even for a remote online business. Our goals for this year have been affected by what limited our ability to positively educate, train and support as many entrepreneurs as possible as we could have. – Matt

My work Lowlight can be fixed on a single moment: when we stopped going to the brand new office. Yes, nobody likes to commute, and parking can be painful. However, there is something special about working shoulder to shoulder with the people on your team that is getting lost online. While my productivity benefited from working completely remotely, I also lost something I was looking forward to. – Jonathan

As our team is completely remote, we usually meet in person at least once a year, but due to COVID we couldn't do that in 2020. I work with an incredible group of people so not having this time with them is a huge disappointment. I hope we will make it up to you in 2021! – Sara Jane

I missed All of our ways to meet #TeamFlynn in person, both at ConvertKit & # 39; s Craft + Commerce and FlynnCon. I planned to bring my family to both of them so they could experience the enthusiastic, creative community we belong to! My favorite part about FlynnCon01 was the conversations at our team booth, especially the on-site troubleshooting that I was able to do to help community members with problems, and I regret not having to do that again. – Mindy

The lack of personal interaction. It can be difficult to create virtually authentic connections with coworkers, especially if you're new to a team. You miss the high fives, the hugs, the laughs, the challenges that bring you closer – the experiences in general. The moments when you personally bond with your team last a lifetime and it was difficult not to have the opportunity to create those memories this year. – Andrea

A big low this year was the cancellation of the FlynnCon. With how amazing it was in 2019, it was something I was absolutely looking forward to and was already in the middle of planning before we decided to postpone the conference until 2021 – and where things are, who knows if it can happen in 2021 too. A real bummer, especially because I keep hearing how life changing the 2019 event was for many participants. -Beat

I've only been back on the team for two months I can't say I had a real lowlight this year 😉 —David

We had planned many events, both on the road (accompanied by Pat's lecture commitments) and here at home in San Diego. It was very difficult to acknowledge over the months the milestones we missed. – Jess

The Lack of personal … anythingWhether you join the FlynnCon team, join our annual retreat, or camp at a local cafe for a weekday work session. I'm kind of an extroverted introvert, so I love being with other people, at least temporarily. I can't imagine how the real extroverts deal with all of this! -Beam

Which business stories from the SPI universe have inspired you the most this year?

We have This year, many entrepreneurs were featured on the SPI blog, including Josh Hall, a designer who turned his web design skills into a $ 250,000 / year business by creating online courses and a podcast for other designers. It's inspiring to hear stories from people who started from scratch and now have a thriving business. – Karen

I am biased so I think so SPI Pro October Challenge of the monthMost inspiring was challenging our SPI Pro community to create videos that were 60 seconds long. It's amazing to see entrepreneurs step out of their comfort zone and vulnerable to growth, especially when it's all over and they realize how much they have learned in the process! I love to watch our pro community as they keep doing their business better. – Jillian

It's difficult to name just one story that stood out. As a group, the stories of aspiring entrepreneurs showing determination and hope in the face of adversity this year are the most memorable and motivating to me. We have seen many of these stories in our SPI Pro community and from time to time on Pat's AskPat show. It's always easy to call great success stories the most inspiring. While stories like this deserve it, I draw a lot more energy and determination from entrepreneurs who show real strength. Bravo to everyone who has not given up or given in. – Matt

Our series "Black Entrepreneurs Speak Out". As I heard their stories, I could hear the resilience and determination in their voices. Across different countries, backgrounds and religions, this series was moving and inspiring. – Jonathan

I loved reading the success stories on the blog. It was a pleasure to read about the personal stories of the viewers and put faces on names. – Sara Jane

My favorite entrepreneurial story comes from one of them Deborah Niemann at ThriftyHomesteader.com. She is an incredibly dedicated SPI Pro member and an expert in rearing goats! I love it when I see Deborah on one of our calls because the examples she shares from her business are at the same time so different from my daily experiences with online business, but also so similar. – Mindy

This is a tough question! In general, the most inspiring stories of this year come from me the SPI Pro Community. So many entrepreneurs have joined our community and opened themselves to the vulnerability so they can grow and improve their business. I had the opportunity to watch entrepreneurs step out of their comfort zones in SPI Pro to reach milestones they were unable to reach. I also had the chance to watch these entrepreneurs really support each other – the whole experience just reminds you that anything is possible together. – Andrea

Darryl Stinson from one of our podcast episodes with black entrepreneurs. His story and what he could create to help others was amazing. He is a suicide survivor who has played sports for comfort and connection and is now offering the same to children who may also struggle with second chance athletes. Amazing. -Beat

I really enjoyed it Casanova Brooks' story on the SPI Podcast (Session No. 451). It is remarkable and very inspiring that he was able to overcome everything he has and actually used the lows of his journey as fuel. -David

Despite being a proud aunt (not a parent), in April I enjoyed all of the SPI 419 stories about how things have changed since children were born. I always like AskPat "Where are you now?" Episodes where we hear progress from our previous coaching call guests and how things have changed since Pat last spoke to them. – Jess

I had the pleasure of interviewing and writing about a handful of inspiring entrepreneurs for the SPI blog this summer. From Rebecca Dekker's training and advocacy for better birthing experiences, to Kolarele Sonaike's communication skills and mentoring in the London Black Community and Nalin Chuapetcharasopon's crowdfunding counseling, it was so cool to see how entrepreneurs make it work and serve her Audience in this 2020 mess. —Ray

What are you most looking forward to in the world of work and entrepreneurship in 2021?

See our team in person and create content on the blog that will help entrepreneurs. We have lots of great blog posts planned! – Karen

I look forward to seeing that continuous innovation that entrepreneurs dream of enhancing the human experience during the pandemic and beyond. – Jillian

2020 was a year to endure. Not break. Do not stop. Not allowing external forces and circumstances to exceed our values ​​and ambitions. 2021 is The year we turn the script over and take it back. To win back more of ourselves and to live out our work, ie our purpose, more fully. I don't think it is possible to grasp in real time the depth of all that has been suppressed this year – or to exaggerate what can be achieved next year with a revived human spirit. – Matt

Watching companies born to work due to COVID-19 grow beyond a business of necessityFor example, what will successful mask companies do when masks are no longer used on a daily basis? – Jonathan

I'm really looking forward to it and very much hope we do return to some form of normality by the end of the year This allows us to interact again personally – either as a team or again at conferences. I look forward to moving forward on the podcast too! – Sara Jane

I look forward to it Create more video contentand learn the best strategies for creating this content from other team members. I'm a big consumer of video tutorials and I really want to add to the genre. – Mindy

I'm looking forward to Entrepreneurs and corporations are starting to question the norm (in terms of operations) as the economy works towards stability. During the pandemic, several companies quickly learned that remote teams can be successful, which I believe creates opportunities and changes the way we work. With this in mind, companies have begun to uncover and recognize the importance of mental health in the workplace. Many companies have introduced summer hours or integrated wellness into their services to enable employees to combine work and private life in a healthy way. I am pleased that this dynamic will continue in 2021! – Andrea

I look forward to seeing what the podcast team is cooking by 2021 (and that's all I'll say about that for now). -David

I can't wait for it More events can be found here in San Diego. The entrepreneurial community here at SoCal is amazing and we have missed connecting in person so much. – Jess

As a senior writer, I am contractually obliged to say: "the SPI blog“- and we brewed some great things there – but I'm also curious to see what will come of us to the pike Stall of podcasts. Stay tuned! -Beam

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