When I asked my girlfriends if we were getting together for our traditional laugh/cry year in review over wine, they thought I was joking.
Are we really going to analyze our goals from last year, and see how they panned out? Are we actually going to plan new ones for this year?
I say – YES.
This year trampled over us like a toddler over their sibling’s intricate lego creation. All those tiny pieces laboriously assembled were broken apart in an instant.
But for me, this year has also been as monumential as it was disastrous.
And since Baby in Tune wouldn’t exist without you, I’d love to share it with you.
Here’s where I was this time last year. It’s comical:
I had just finished a 4 hour meeting with my business managers in which we’d strategized the hell out of 2020.
Ha. So many plans.
In addition, I had spent two months training no less than FIVE new instructors who would be leading groups in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens.
I was working with a new web developer, a copyeditor, and vendors who were printing new flyers and swag.
I’d just launched a brand new online course that I had worked on for most of the year.
Baby in Tune was about to become the Bugaboo of music classes! (At least, in my mind.) My entrepreneur self was leading the way with conviction.
And then – BOOM.
Two days before the city closed down we went remote. Since we were one of the first to do it we actually received complaints. But soon everyone was on board and we all became so very acquainted with the concepts of quarantine and Zoom meetings.
Baby in Tune is one of MANY small businesses that suffered this year and I’ve had my share of tearful nights. But despite the challenges I’ve been pretty lucky.
So I don’t want to count my woes here. Instead, in the entrepreneurial spirit of my peppy female business mentors, let’s look at the many ways Baby in Tune, and I, have kept GROWING despite it all.
My 2020 in review – lessons learned, new roads taken.
I realized Baby in Tune classes work remotely.
It’s something I’d been wondering about for years. The business had been born and raised in NYC and it felt as if it was the only place it could live. Which meant it was the only place I could live! COVID helped me realize that Baby in Tune can thrive without physical boundaries, and that’s been liberating for this mama.
I trained 5 instructors from around the world remotely.
Last year I trained 5 instructors in my kitchen and I was sure face to face over chocolate and popcorn was the only way. This year I did it remotely and it worked just as well. Not only that, the locations of the trainees ranged from Singapore, to LA, to Nashville. How exciting is that? I can now offer it worldwide and spread the Baby in Tune love (can we brand a bar of chocolate with that?).
Side note: Two of my trainees were moms who had taken BIT classes with their baby. It’s been so gratifying to see their transformation from exhausted and overwhelmed parent of a baby (as we’ve all been,) to empowered instructors who will surely touch other parents deeply.
I improved the online course
Not running around doing 15 classes a week gave me time to think more deeply about the mission of Baby in Tune. As you know, our classes go far beyond Twinkle Twinkle, and even beyond pure music. This year I tweaked the course to revolve more clearly around the main theme of Baby in Tune – helping parents learn their baby’s language.
With your help, we’ve created villages
More than ever, it was important that you find your village this year. I mean, you were stuck at home, isolated, lonely, and bored. And that’s on TOP of the normal isolation and blues that we feel as new parents. Despite the awkward muting and unmuting we found ways to feel natural laughing about not showering all week, crying about how the baby rolled off the bed right next to us, and letting each other know that we’ve been there. You showed up to class ready to support others and feel supported and it worked.
I found a balance between work and play
A year ago I was a different kind of entrepreneur. I worked until the computer slid off my thighs and my eyeslids fell shut. I always had a never ending to-do list, I listened to business podcasts in my free time, and I got A LOT done. These days I let things go. You’ve probably noticed that you don’t always get a weekly Tuesday Tune In. Sometimes you even get it on a Wednesday (like today!). Who cares? Not me anymore. COVID knocked the overachiever out of me and showed me I have no control anyway. Pass the Haagen Dazs. Let’s watch Schitt’s Creek.
I went on a trip I’ve wanted to go on for a long time.
Remember the blog in which I wrote about COVID being an accelerator? Well, for me it turned my “someday we’re going to travel as a family” into “should I take the guitar AND the ukulele?” I’ve wanted to travel forever but haven’t been able to put the puzzle pieces together. How will we make a living? What about school? What about my business? COVID answered all of those questions for me. It said – now is the time. And I listened. These days my favorite moments are the 4 hour drives to our new destination – the kids safe in the back, all of our belongings with us, and the unknown ahead. I feel utterly grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given to follow our nose to the next destination.
I started a travel blog
Did I just say I’m not an overachiever anymore? Well, now I have two blogs I am keeping up with. They’re both very different. One is for you all. My guiding principle with this one is that if it isn’t of value to you then there is no point. The travel blog is different. In large part it’s to keep anyone interested up to date on our whereabouts, especially my mom (do you want to stay up to date on my family’s road trip? Come join the list!). But it’s also for me. I know I’ll want a record of this time and a blog is my way of keeping a journal that holds me accountable. Who knows? Maybe one day It’ll turn into something else…
I’ve written new songs.
With everything going on I’ve actually been creative this year. I think it had to do with me relaxing on the flow charts a bit. With my inner entrepreneur on break my musican self had some space to breathe. I’ve learned a bunch of covers and have written songs from the road. It’s refreshing to write with no pressure. I don’t expect the songs to turn into albums (do those still exist anymore?), I am not gearing the songs toward a specific market, I’m just noodling. The best place to hear those are on my travel Instagram account.
So there you have it dear Tunie. Without a doubt I’ve been one of the more fortunate during COVID. I’m very lucky that my husband’s job stayed a constant. I meant that even during my sleepless nights regarding my business, I knew our family would be ok. So many did not have that luxury; they lost jobs, were sick, or lost loved ones.
So before I write off this year as a bust, I wanted to acknowledge that with your help, it actually paved the way toward directions I had only dreamed about prior.
Thank you all for joining me on this journey. Thank you for continuing to sing, learn, share, laugh and cry with me.
So what about you dear Tunie? Has this year pointed you in new directions? Has it trampled over all of your plans and you’re still picking up the pieces? Comment and let me know.
Wishing you a very warm new year full of plans that get broken only to point you in a better direction.