I’m a firm believer in not setting unrealistic intentions. I like to celebrate the little wins over trying to hit only the major milestone. This mantra is what has helped me the most through 2021. Today, I wanted to reflect on what I have accomplished over this past year. While some of the numbers I mention on growth are big numbers, at least to me, know that this was a full year, 365 days worth of work, creating, but also having a lot of fun!
Let’s start with the things that are really near and dear to my heart, Instagram and Youtube.
Instagram is where MenWhoBullet was born. I started my account in April of 2017 as a way to chronicle my bullet journal journey. I’ve gone through a few style and background changes, tried my hand at creating a more “aesthetic looking feed” (that didn’t work), and finally really coming into my own in 2021.
It’s not an understatement for me to say that I love Instagram. I am on the app constantly. More that I should be probably, but I really do love it because it’s where I get to interact with my bujo community crew the most. I am incredibly humbled to know that as of the writing of this post 20,900 people follow me on Instagram. In 2021, I grew by about 6.2k new followers. That’s amazing to me. I posted 742 times this year. On average that about 2x a day through 2021. Some days there were more posts than others, but that’s kind of cool considering that in the past I would post 2-3 times a week.
Reflecting, a lot of the new followers came from Workshop week and Summer Creative Retreat, finding me through REELS (more on that in a second), and also just organically with people looking for Bullet Journal content on Instagram. I am humbled to know that these individuals come to me for inspiration and a laugh.
Speaking of laughs, Reels have been an incredible outlet for me when it comes to Instagram. I am a goofy guy, I like to have fun, and video is a favorite medium. I honestly have never done well on Tiktok. When Instagram created Reels as a way to counter Tiktok – I was all about it. I knew that I had a solid crew of followers and that the community that we have built in the stationery / bullet journal space enjoyed seeing and watching what others were doing with their journals. I also found it to be so much fun and a great way for me to show off my personality. I started posting reels in 2020 when they first launched the features. But then in 2021, I really picked up my reels game. It’s been a fantastic way to create a different kind of content, more fun and interactive than just a photo. I know that not everyone is keen on them, but I love them. It’s a really great way for me to express my creativity and mix music and visuals. I tried to get a number on my reels, but there were so many… so so many. I was able to get a number for the past 3 months – which was about 60 reels posted. So….. I post them pretty regularly. Speaking of posting regularly… let’s talk Youtube.
Alright, so Youtube has been another fun place to grow in 2021. I have learned so much from posting videos to Youtube this year, it’s kind of incredible. I got really serious about Youtube in 2021. Well technically, really serious the summer of 2020 when I decided that I was going to take it seriously and work towards monetization. Since August of 2020, I had posted one video a week on Youtube. I reached monitization on December, and I was diligent about that content creation.
In 2021 I posted 90 videos to my Youtube Channel. That’s A LOT of recording and video editing my friend! But much like Reels, I love it, and I love the creative process. In 2021, my subscriber base has also grown by 4,700 new subscribers. My highest viewed video of 2021 is my “A Beginners 2021 Bullet Journal Set Up | How To Use The Bullet Journal Method In Any Notebook”. It’s a video that I posted to Youtube in Nov of 2020. In January of 2021 that video had about 6,250 views. Today it has been watched 71,000 times. In comparison, my second most watched video of 2021, that was posted in 2021, is my 2022 Bullet Journal Set Up, sitting at 16,532 views.
I did have to cut back a little on my Youtube video schedules, especially over the summer and into the fall of 2021. Work was getting increasingly demanding and busy and I just could not keep up with the posting schedule I had created for myself. I decided that I was going to try to create more quality videos, not that mine were not quality, and just not post every week. I made the switch from Weekly Plan With Me videos to making them on Instagram LIVE instead. I tried to focus more on teachable content, unboxings, and stationery and notebook reviews on youtube, and i’m going to try to keep it that way going into this new year.
The MenWhoBullet Newsletter
Ah, the MenWhoBullet newsletter. A new thing that is very near and dear to my heart. I will admit that I did not think that email marketing and community building was still a thing before I started my own newsletter. From the start of the newsletter on June 6, 2021 until today, my email list has grown to 830 subscribers. That’s pretty incredible considering that before June of 2021, I had zero idea of the power of an email newsletter. I’ve sent 31 emails this year ( I hope you have liked them) and have included 6 Monthly Freebie Friday Printables. I have loved making these helpful printables and sending them out to my subscribers each month.
Reflecting on the newsletter, the creation of this was due to the amazing community of creators that I met during Workshop Week in June of 2021. Workshop Week was game changing on so many different levels for me. It was the first time that I was a part of anything like this. Becca did such an amazing job! Along with the courses themselves, I got to meet some of the coolest damn creators in the world. Some of them were new to me and some where creators that I have been following for a long time. Getting to know each person on a personal level and learn from each other is… I don’t have the right words. Something other worldly. I don’t feel like you get the opportunity like this very often.
MenWhoBullet Blog and Website
I spent a fair amount of time and money investing in myself this year. The blog and website are one area where I did that. While the blog has always been here as a place to post a few things. I really started to invest more time in my website as a whole… which also led to a few more blog posts. Being a part of the Archer & Olive design team gave me a different perspective on the power of blogs. So when I decided to take a break from the Design team, I decided to invest that extra time on myself. I can honestly say that I was not as diligent about posting as much as I wanted to towards the end of the year, but I did get a few good posts out. 22 blog posts in 2021. I want to increase that number in 2022 – create more teachable content and focus in this space a bit more.
I invested more time in SEO, site optimization, and also turned on ads for the blog. While I don’t love the ads, I still can appreciate that I was able to connect all the things and focus on working on that more. I also took my social links off of a 3rd party app and created my own links page for Instagram. It’s small time in the grand scheme, but I like being reliant on myself and less on other 3rd party apps.
This isn’t the highlight of the year… honestly I am a little embarrassed that I started something and didn’t fully follow through with it this year. The idea was pure, I wanted a space to talk about my hobbies and chat with fellow creators. In 2021, I posted 3 podcasts. And there was a 7-month gap between episode 2 and episode 3. I want to focus more on the podcast in 2022, but without overdoing it. I know my limits, but need to find a way to split my priority between Youtube, IG, and the Podcast a little more. I have a list of ideas and people to talk to, so it’s a goal of mine in 2022 to do a few more podcast episodes.
The year of 2021 was both incredible and challenging for us all. While the world suffered with COVID-19 and many families, including my own, were devastated by losing ones we loved, we were able to find ways to keep close, share our love, and support one another. A virtual hug is just as meaningful as a physical one. In 2022, I hope that we can continue to support one another, lift each other up, and try new things. Let’s focus on the little wins and celebrate ourselves and each other a little more than last year. Happy New Year Crew!
-Mark Fig, MenWhoBullet