Oh, 2020. How finest to summarize this yr? The perfect I can muster is that this: 2020, the yr when a lot of life stood nonetheless whereas concurrently a lot of life modified. What a paradoxical journey it has been.
I write this lead in reflection of all we’ve gained and misplaced as an entrepreneurial group. Some entrepreneurs witnessed their enterprise fashions erode or implode, whereas others skilled demand for abruptly pressing services or products. Entrepreneurism itself can be extra divided: Changing into an entrepreneur has by no means been extra common, however this pattern suggests entrepreneurism is being pursued much less out of purposeful ambition than fundamental necessity.
Conscious of this messy actuality, we at SPI are extremely grateful for our circumstances, and for all of you—our followers, mates, college students, members, companions, confidants, and allies. Whereas small companies have bared the burden of the pandemic’s financial carnage, our small enterprise is doing okay. Our gratitude, nonetheless, is offset by our grief for these small companies that haven’t fared as nicely.
To mark this second, we captured our ideas on what this yr has meant to us and what we’re wanting ahead to subsequent yr. Our particular person views are diverse but in addition mirror a shared humanity and hope for us all, as people and small enterprise individuals. I hope you may be a part of us in reflecting on 2020’s highs and lows as we put together for a resurgence of life, togetherness, and prosperity within the yr forward.
On behalf of everybody—Andrea, David, Jessica, Jillian, Jonathan, Karen, Mindy, Non, Pat, Sara Jane, and Ray—my nice because of each certainly one of you for being right here with us this yr. We’ll see you on the opposite aspect.
—Matt Gartland, SPI Co-CEO
Here is who you may be listening to from:
What was your work spotlight of 2020?
I am extremely grateful to work for an organization that’s beneficiant and caring. When COVID first occurred, we supplied certainly one of our paid programs, Sensible from Scratch, at no cost for over 9 months. Understanding that we have been serving to individuals who have been struggling as a result of job loss was very fulfilling. —Karen
My spotlight is becoming a member of the SPI staff and shortly confirming that the work atmosphere is equally as sort and optimistic as it’s fast-paced and impressive. I am so grateful to be part of this group of individuals. —Jillian
The launch of SPI Professional—our personal, invite-only group for dedicated entrepreneurs—couldn’t have come at a greater time. Effectively within the making earlier than COVID-19, SPI Professional launched in July and instantly exceeded all expectations. To witness such compassion and generosity spring to life inside our group of a whole lot was a a lot wanted upswell for our members and an equally wanted supply of satisfaction and pleasure for us. —Matt
My work spotlight of 2020 can’t be pinned to a singular occasion. Fairly, it is a end result of small occasions, finally resulting in the closeness all of us now share. The moments that stand above the remainder are the conversations and discussions that occurred in between these “large” occasions—planning conferences, workshops, and brainstorming periods—as our staff moved towards an epic end-of-the-year mission. —Jonathan
It has been a wild yr! For me, the spotlight has been shifting into podcasting full-time and getting to essentially put money into that space of our enterprise. We introduced on a brand new podcast producer and collectively he and I’ve begun to construct out large plans for the approaching years (sure, years!). —Sara Jane
I began out this yr on maternity depart. I’m so grateful to work for an organization that understands the wants of recent mother and father. It is not straightforward for a small firm to supply maternity depart, and it requires much more management to actually defend that point off for the worker. It meant the world to me to know that everybody on the firm supported me in taking that point, regardless that it added additional work to their plates. —Mindy
My work spotlight for 2020 has been being a part of an extremely supportive staff throughout such a permanent yr. We’ve come collectively to ask tough questions round matters just like the pandemic, racism, politics—and talked about what we will do to assist our communities throughout these occasions. I really feel so grateful to be part of a staff that’s desperate to deal with challenges head-on and work for a greater future. —Andrea
Launching SPI Professional was unbelievable. The membership group wasn’t even on the radar for 2020, however issues modified after the pandemic hit and we observed how a lot individuals have been ravenous for connection and alternatives to community (particularly with in-person occasions gone). And as everyone knows, we would have liked extra assist from others this yr than ever. To see the whole staff come collectively to push SPI Professional forward, and to launch it with now a whole lot of members, and raving testimonials, makes me so joyful! —Pat
I am grateful to be on a staff of caring individuals who acknowledge and care deeply in regards to the present state of the world and wish to make it higher. 2020 was a heck of a yr, and to be a part of a tradition that really values the well being and wellbeing of its staff is every little thing proper now. —David
Rejoining Workforce SPI full time after being half time and freelance with the staff for a few years. I am excited for what we now have in retailer as we around the bend on this unbelievably difficult yr. —Ray
What was your work lowlight of 2020?
Within the midst of every little thing occurring on this planet proper now, I am actually grateful for my job and the well being of my household. That being stated, certainly one of my greatest work-related disappointments this yr was that we needed to cancel all of our staff summits as a result of COVID. —Karen
The lowlight that stands out probably the most was the lack of all human collaboration. Pat and I could not meet in individual to speak large image. I could not meet with the staff to advance on plans and tasks, or with companions to discover alternatives. Digital collaboration works nicely, however typically not nicely sufficient even for a web based, remote-based firm. Our targets for this yr have been compromised because of this, which restricted our potential to positively educate, practice, and assist as many entrepreneurs as we would have. —Matt
My work lowlight can be pinned to a singular second: once we stopped going to the model new workplace. Sure, nobody likes commutes, and parking might be a ache. Nevertheless, there’s something particular about working shoulder-to-shoulder with these in your staff that’s misplaced on-line. Whereas my productiveness benefited from working completely distant, I additionally misplaced one thing I seemed ahead to. —Jonathan
Since our staff is totally distant, we often get collectively in individual a minimum of annually, however as a result of COVID, we’ve not been ready to do this in 2020. I work with an unbelievable bunch of people, so it is an excellent disappointment to not get that point with them. I am hoping we’ll get to make up for it in 2021! —Sara Jane
I missed all our alternatives to satisfy with #TeamFlynn in individual, each at ConvertKit’s Craft + Commerce and at FlynnCon. I used to be planning to carry my household to each, in order that they might expertise what an enthusiastic, inventive group we belong to! My favourite half about FlynnCon01 was the conversations at our staff sales space, particularly the on-the-spot troubleshooting I might do to assist group members with issues, and I remorse not getting to do this once more. —Mindy
The shortage of in-person interplay. It may be tough to kind genuine connections with friends just about, particularly in the event you’re new to a staff. You miss out on the high-fives, the hugs, the laughs, the challenges that carry you nearer—the experiences generally. The moments you’ve connecting along with your staff in individual final a lifetime, and it has been powerful to not have the alternatives to create these reminiscences this yr. —Andrea
A giant lowlight this yr was the cancellation of FlynnCon. With how superb it was in 2019, it was one thing I used to be completely wanting ahead to and already in the midst of planning earlier than we determined to delay the convention till 2021—and with the place issues are, who is aware of whether or not it may occur in 2021 as nicely. An actual bummer, particularly as a result of I proceed to listen to how life altering 2019’s occasion was for lots of the attendees. —Pat
Having solely been again with the staff for 2 months now, I cannot say that I’ve had an actual lowlight this yr 😉 —David
We had numerous occasions deliberate each on the highway (accompanying Pat’s talking engagements) and right here at dwelling in San Diego. It has been very exhausting because the months tick alongside to acknowledge the milestones we missed. —Jess
The lack of in-person… something, whether or not becoming a member of the staff at FlynnCon or our annual retreat, or tenting out at an area espresso store for a midweek work session. I am form of an extroverted introvert, so I like to be round different individuals a minimum of a number of the time. I can not think about how the actual extroverts are coping with all of this! —Ray
What entrepreneur tales from the SPI universe impressed you probably the most this yr?
We have featured many entrepreneurs on the SPI weblog this yr, together with Josh Corridor, a designer who has turned his internet design abilities right into a $250Okay/yr enterprise by creating on-line programs and a podcast to show different designers. It is inspiring to listen to tales of people that have began from scratch, and who now have a thriving enterprise. —Karen
I am biased, so I feel the SPI Professional October Problem of the Month, the place we challenged our SPI Professional group to create sixty-second pitch movies, was probably the most inspiring! Seeing entrepreneurs step out of their consolation zone and be susceptible for the sake of development is so superb, particularly as soon as it is throughout they usually understand how a lot they realized within the course of! I really like watching our Professional group proceed to up-level their companies. —Jillian
It is tough to call only one story that stood out. As a bunch, the tales of upstart entrepreneurs displaying resolve and hope within the face of adversity this yr are probably the most memorable and motivating for me. We have witnessed lots of these tales inside our SPI Professional group, and sometimes on Pat’s AskPat present. It is at all times straightforward to level to large success tales as probably the most inspiring. Whereas such tales are deserving, I harness far better power and willpower from the entrepreneurs who show actual grit. Bravo to all those that have not given up or given in. —Matt
Our “Black Entrepreneurs Converse Out” collection. In listening to their tales, I might hear the resiliency and willpower of their voices. Throughout completely different nations, backgrounds, and religions, this collection was shifting and inspirational. —Jonathan
I’ve cherished studying the success tales on the weblog. Attending to examine viewers members’ private tales and put faces to names has been a pleasure. —Sara Jane
My favourite entrepreneurial story comes from one Deborah Niemann at ThriftyHomesteader.com. She is an extremely concerned SPI Professional member, and an knowledgeable on elevating goats! I really like once I see Deborah in certainly one of our calls, as a result of the examples she shares from her enterprise are concurrently so completely different from my day-to-day expertise of on-line enterprise, but in addition a lot the identical. —Mindy
It is a powerful one to slender down! Basically, probably the most inspiring tales this yr for me have come from the SPI Professional group. So many entrepreneurs joined our group and opened themselves as much as vulnerability in order that they might develop and enhance their companies. I’ve had the chance to observe entrepreneurs in SPI Professional step out of their consolation zones to realize milestones they didn’t suppose they have been able to. I’ve additionally had a entrance seat to watching these entrepreneurs assist each other genuinely—the entire expertise simply reminds you that collectively, something is feasible. —Andrea
I actually loved Casanova Brooks’ story on the SPI Podcast (Session #451). That he was capable of overcome all he has and really use the low factors of his journey as gas is outstanding and tremendous inspiring. —David
Despite the fact that I am a proud auntie (not a guardian), I actually loved everybody’s tales from SPI 419 in April about how issues have modified since having youngsters. I at all times get pleasure from AskPat “The place are they now?” episodes the place we get to listen to progress from our previous teaching name friends and the way issues have developed since Pat final spoke with them. —Jess
I had the pleasure of interviewing and writing a couple of handful of inspiring entrepreneurs this summer time for the SPI weblog. From Rebecca Dekker’s schooling and advocacy for higher delivery experiences, to Kolarele Sonaike’s communication-skills aspect hustle and mentor-leadership within the Black group in London, and Nalin Chuapetcharasopon’s crowdfunding consultancy, it was so cool to learn the way entrepreneurs are making it work and serving their audiences on this mess of a 2020. —Ray
What are you most wanting ahead to on this planet of labor and entrepreneurship in 2021?
I am wanting ahead to seeing the continued innovation that entrepreneurs dream as much as enhance the human expertise through the pandemic and past. —Jillian
2020 has been a yr to endure. To not break. To not stop. To not let extrinsic forces and circumstances overrun our values and ambitions. 2021 is the yr we flip the script and take it again. To reclaim extra of ourselves and extra totally stay out our work, which is to say, our objective. I don’t really feel it is doable to understand in actual time the depth of all that has been suppressed this yr—or to overstate what may be achieved subsequent yr with a reinvigorated human spirit. —Matt
Watching companies that started due to COVID-19 work to develop past a enterprise of necessity, e.g., what is going to profitable masks corporations do when masks are now not used every day? —Jonathan
I am actually wanting ahead to and have nice hope that we are going to return to some type of normalcy by the top of the yr that can permit us to work together in individual once more—both as a staff or gathering at conferences once more. I am additionally wanting ahead to forging forward on the podcast entrance! —Sara Jane
I’m wanting ahead to creating extra video content material, in addition to studying from different staff members the most effective methods for creating that content material. I am an enormous shopper of video tutorials, and I am desperate to contribute to the style. —Mindy
I’m wanting ahead to seeing entrepreneurs and enterprise start to problem the norm (by way of operations) because the financial system works towards stability. All through the pandemic, a number of companies shortly realized that distant groups may be profitable, which I feel will open up alternatives and alter the best way we work. In the identical vein, companies have began to uncover and acknowledge the significance of psychological well being within the office. Many companies have adopted summer time hours or built-in wellness into their advantages to assist staff preserve a wholesome work/life steadiness. I’m excited to see this momentum proceed in 2021! —Andrea
I am wanting ahead to seeing what the podcast staff cooks up in 2021 (and that is all I am going to say about that for now). —David
I can’t wait to host extra occasions right here in San Diego. The entrepreneurial group right here in SoCal is unbelievable, and we now have missed connecting in individual a lot. —Jess
As senior author, I am contractually obligated to say “the SPI weblog“—and we have some nice stuff brewing there—however I am additionally psyched about what’s coming down the pike with our steady of podcasts. Keep tuned! —Ray