Year in review - an honest look at 2020

Year In Review – An Honest Look At 2020

Date: Jan 5, 2021

Our year in review

First, allow me to state the obvious… What. A. Year. 

A year like no other, that’s for sure. I’m not going to dwell for too long on the personal implications of 2020 cause it has been a shit show for so many and sadly, we’re all still very much in the thick of it. 

Do I have cabin fever? Yes. Do I miss my family and friends? Yep. Am I also incredibly grateful to be healthy and in the position I’m in? Also, fuck yes.

I’m not going to say this year has been easy, but at the same time, it has been an incredible opportunity for growth, self-reflection and an extended chance to get our shit together without being completely run-ragged by a full schedule.

So, let’s get into it, here’s what we found after sitting down and putting pen to paper for our yearly review…

What worked for us in 2020

Consistently taking imperfect action.

As a recovering perfectionist, my main aim for the year was to take action consistently within the business, ‘quick & dirty’ style and it served us well. This obviously didn’t apply to client work, more just the inner workings of our business, though I did find that my decision-making muscle got stronger and stronger throughout the year which only had a positive impact on client projects!

Like a lot of (already) online businesses, I’ll be honest it was a brilliant year for us… We’re on track to more than double our revenue which is awesome but more importantly, thanks to the opportunity we had to take a beat or two, I now feel more aligned than ever with where we’re going as a business.

This culminated in a rebrand (we’re now Made By Rove) and will soon involve a (long-awaited) complete website overhaul, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

We launched our Showit website template shop

As crazy as this sounds, diversifying our offerings in 2021 actually streamlined our business and brought about 10x more ease and enjoyment into the day-to-day.

We launched the beginnings of our template shop in 2020, in some part thanks to COVID and it has totally changed the trajectory of our business. Creating passive income in this way isn’t right for every business but it was a part of my big vision from the get-go and I’m so glad that I jumped in early.

As with anything, it’s a work in progress and it definitely isn’t a quick fix in terms of generating revenue but I can tell you this, the sooner you start, the sooner it will bring results.

We will be focusing hard on our Showit website templates this year to make them the best they can be and I’m hella excited about it!!

Click here to visit the template shop.

We started offering Design Intensives

At the end of the day, when we work together, I want to make an impact and I want to make it fast so that you can start generating revenue in your business and live the life you want to live.

I also realised that a tonne of you were looking at either taking your business online or launching a business from scratch – love to see it. I knew that most of you in that position didn’t need a crazy elaborate brand identity or a fully custom website but given the landscape (y’all competition is FIERCE out there!!) you still needed to stand out as professionals with a strategic and visually cohesive digital presence. 

So, our Design Intensives were born! The brand intensives are a fast and cost-effective way to get a cohesive and effective visual identity. The website intensives are similarly, a fast and cost-effective way to get a semi-custom website experience that elevates you above a sea of samey Squarespace sites – without you having to spend thousands on a custom website. 

Ding, ding, ding! 

Another move that not only allowed us to serve more of you at a more accessible price point but that also allowed me to work in my zone of genius in a way that I love, to create impact, fast.

We held off on growing the team

I know what you’re thinking… ‘Hold up, NOT growing your team was a win?!’ 


At the end of 2019, feeling overwhelmed AF, I hired a lovely and super competent VA, but as the months rolled on, I had a niggling feeling that it wasn’t actually what the business needed. But that’s what you do, right? You start with a VA and then build from there? That’s the formula! *facepalm*

I’ve never, ever been one to follow rules or ‘shoulds’ and this was a great lesson and reminder to ignore what we’re ‘supposed’ to do and instead trust my own intuition and really look closely at what will have a direct impact on our bottom line. So, I focused instead on automating what could be automated, streamlining our offerings and processes and kept my eye out for experts in various different fields that felt super aligned. 

Cut to the end of 2020 and we now have a team in place to support us with Pinterest marketing and a couple of brilliant contractors that have added so much value to the brand whilst I figure out what I want the long-term shape of our team to look like.

On the flip side, what didn’t work for us in 2020?

I’ll be honest, 2020 really felt like me stepping into and learning to trust my intuition as a founder and the result of that was that we didn’t set anything in motion that wasn’t 100% aligned. I’m not going to sit here and tell you that everything we tried worked perfectly the first time, however, anything that ‘didn’t work’ per se, genuinely just felt like a welcome redirection towards the best possible outcome.

2020 was the year of trying new things and being flexible in our approach. 

Design intensives (1.0)

Whilst the Design Intensives themselves were a total win for 2020, in the early days, I was trying to do far too much. I love to over-deliver but the Design Intensives are, at the end of the day, a starter package designed for early-stage entrepreneurs to get businesses online fast but with a solid foundation from which to grow. 

There is only so much we can do in a day without A) compromising the quality of the work B) jumping on a fast track to burnout and C) devaluing our work and the design industry as a whole. Not cute.  

So, we took all of our lessons and learnings and went back to the drawing board to get crystal clear on what you actually need so that the Design Intensives are all substance and zero fluff. 

For example, what we learned after running 10+ Brand Intensives is that additional brand strategy is actually way more helpful and useful to you than multiple logos. The strategy provides the clarity and foundational knowledge that is integral to growing a successful business. So, that’s exactly what we’ll be doing in 2021 in order to perfect the service.

We’ll actually be focusing more on strategy across the board, after all, what’s a bunch of logos going to do if you have no idea about how to speak to your people, or position yourself in the market, or what your unique value prop is? Without the strategy, any visuals will fall flat on their face.

Impulsively investing in courses and training

I always invest heavily in myself and the business but this year it felt like with a few of the courses I took, I actually knew most of the content already. I stand by the fact that it was still a valuable learning experience, even if it just confirmed to me that I should trust what I know. That being said, I really want to focus on quality over quantity in terms of investing in 2021. I am more focused on growing our team intentionally and hiring for expertise rather than trying to learn everything myself.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter what I know, if I don’t have the time, energy or inclination to implement it.

Social media

Our social presence in 2020 wasn’t terrible, I’ll admit. I showed up and stayed pretty consistent but tbh it felt like I was always on the back foot with it and definitely wasn’t utilising it to its full potential. It’s important to me that we provide as much value as possible and to do that we need to prioritise it (duh). 

The fun stuff… Our goals for 2021

  1. Double down on what’s working, continue refining and here’s the kicker…not add anything new into the mix for the whole of 2021! This is gonna be tough for me, not gonna lie, BUT I believe it’s the key to scaling – without running yourself ragged! 2020 was all about stretching and trying new things, 2021 is about refining and simplifying for both us and for our clients. 
  2. Launch our new website that will reflect all of the above and make it even easier for our people to find us and work with us. 
  3. Make time to enjoy hobbies again… You can expect to find me on a horse at least once a fortnight, ideally weekly. Health will also be a personal priority for me this year. I’ve been so focused on building the business that I just didn’t have the mental space or motivation to make it the non-negotiable that it needs to be. At the end of the day, it’s up to me to make some room for it – I also know that I can’t operate at my highest potential if my body isn’t well taken care of so, I guess it’s both a personal and professional goal!
  4. Make our first official part-time hire. I’ll be honest, I still don’t know exactly what this will look like and will continue to outsource till I have it figured out, no plans to rush into anything.  
  5. Blog consistently, once a week ideally. Wish me luck?!

I’d love to know what 2020 taught you and what you’ll be focusing on in 2021? 

Also, if branding and web design are on your list of to-do’s then friend, you’re in the right place! Fill out this form here to book a discovery call – no strings attached! Alternatively, drop us a DM, we’re all about voice notes here at Made By Rove. We can’t wait to get to know you.

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