I’m so elated to report that despite it being a challenging one, 2022 was a damn good year.
I experienced so much growth—as a mom, as a business owner, as an educator, as a friend, as a human—and I can’t wait to tell you about all I’ve learned.
(And, of course, all I’ve accomplished, because I’m not too shy to admit that I’m not above a not-so-humble brag.)
Before writing this post, I read through the 2021 BTL Epilogue to see what I told you last year, and ngl, it has me feeling a little bit emo.
2021 was good, but hard.
2022 was still good, and still hard, but better.
And now I’m hoping 2023 will be an amazing year for me, for you, and for the world as a whole.
When I was writing this year-in-review post last December, I remember feeling SO proud and SO grateful of all that I’d accomplished—and this year, I’ve eclipsed those goals beyond my wildest expectations.
I still pinch myself on the regular when I think about how lucky I am to work for myself (and to work with such awesome clients, mentees, and students), because I genuinely am living my absolute dream.
Not a day goes by that I don’t think about how privileged I am to be able to work from home, whenever I want, with whoever I want, however I want. A flexible schedule is the greatest gift in the world—and that’s not even scratching the surface of my Best Parts list.
I love being a freelance copywriter so damn much.
When I was younger, I used to tell everyone—even myself—that my ‘dream job’ was to become an attorney. I’m great at researching, working long hours, losing myself in a project, and arguing (lol), so I thought it was a perfect match.
Plus, attorneys make good money.
(What I didn’t know then, though, was that the money comes at a price. And that freelance copywriters earn more.)
Deep down, though, what I’d always really wanted was to do exactly what I’m doing right now.
Did I know what a freelance copywriter was in middle school? No.
Did I have a vision of an older, cooler version of myself having a sick home office, spending her days typing away on her computer, feeling important and smart and savvy? Yes.
Being a writer was my passion—but it was SO scary to me. Writers don’t make good livings; attorneys do. Writers don’t have stability; attorneys do. Writers don’t get benefits; attorneys do.
So, I nixed the Writer idea altogether, too scared to try and too scared to let myself even say I wanted it.
Obviously, my mind changed when a baby and an unexpected international move and a need for a remote job came into the mix all those years ago, and now, here I am, proving my younger self wrong. And it feels so good.
Not gonna lie, 2021 is pretty hard to beat: I bought my dream car, I worked with really impressive clients, I met business friends in person for the first time… it was a great year for BTL.
But this year—and, sorry, I have to do it; I’m gonna borrow this term from the girl bosses—we leveled it the fuck up.
Client experience, improved.
And rounding up my most favorite accomplishments feels like an impossible task, because no matter how big or small, everything I accomplished this year feels like an integral part of my success story.
It does feel appropriate, though, to begin with the *coolest* thing that happened to me this year…
Getting asked to speak at Squarespace’s first-ever community conference, Circle Day, at their headquarters in New York City is definitely the most exciting opportunity I received this year.
Never in a million years did I expect to be on stage in front of hundreds of other creators in person (and thousands online!), educating them about how to make their website copy sound more human.
And getting PAID to do it.
Like… are you kidding me? This was for sure one of the *pinch me* moments I was mentioning earlier—your girl got PAID. MONEY. to FLY. to NEW YORK CITY. to SPEAK at a CONFERENCE for SQUARESPACE.
(I know I’m yelling, but… come on! This shit is COOL!)
And since I know you’re wondering how this happened to me, I’ll tell you: I have the audacity.
This sentiment is something that definitely deserves—and absolutely will receive—its own post one day, and its something my mentees know very well: one of the only things you need to be successful in life is the audacity.
Believe you can, then do.
Believe you deserve it, then ask for it.
Believe that you’re qualified, then make it happen.
(And make sure you’ll be okay with the outcome, no matter what happens.)
With Circle Day specifically, I saw the opportunity, and I seized it. Like all of my greatest decisions, I chose to apply for this gig on a whim—you can read the full story right here—and it worked out. And I’m still feeling famous.
Also on the list of things I didn’t expect to happen this year: being interviewed in-studio for a radio station’s segment about small business owners. It was random, it was cool, it makes the list.
Working with Paige & Elizabeth has been the highlight of my year. I didn’t go into 2022 thinking I’d need either of them, but I’m ending 2022 knowing that I couldn’t have survived this year without them.
As I’m typing this, I’m 105 weeks strong, and I never plan on missing a week, because the Tuesday Table of Contents subscribers are depending on me.
(I also absolutely refuse to break a streak, especially when thousands of people would notice.)
Sending a weekly newsletter is my favorite business task; I look forward to it every single week, because my readers feel more like friends than subscribers. They know everything that goes on in my life—from how much I’ve paid my periodontist, to who I’m dating, to who’s giving me the ick—and they’re always so freaking nice to me, saying things like…
💌 “TOC is freaking amazing, and I honestly couldn’t imagine not being subscribed to this newsletter. I am always one who overlooks newsletters in my inbox, but not TOC. Sara’s content has showed me both the importance of good copy, and how much you can incorporate your personality into your business, in turn leading like-minded clients to you! To any new (or seasoned) business owner, especially those in marketing roles, you HAVE to subscribe!” — Delia
💌 “The TOC newsletter is anything but boring. It’s full of great resources and simply a great, entertaining read each and every week. It’s that rare email list that you’ll never be tempted to unsubscribe from.” — Whitney
💌 “TOC is the highlight of my Tuesday mornings. It’s full of exciting and complete resources about email marketing, copywriting, SEO, blogging and so much more. Plus, you get to know her better from her personal stories which are seriously funny. You’ll feel like she’s talking to you personally.” — Gina
💌 “If you can only sign up to one newsletter, make it TOC! And I say this after reading more than 10 newsletters almost every day! I am a TOC stan, reading it since #1, and I guarantee you’ll definitely find something that you love in every single newsletter. Plus the offers, funny stories, suggestions, make it all the more interesting and awesome!” — Medhanshi
💌 “I absolutely love receiving your table of contents every single week. I very rarely read almost every single word or click on every single link in something I receive but with yours I do. I always save this when I actually have time to read it because it’s not just something I skim through. I really look up to you as a copywriter myself; I’m just learning so much from you and I just want to say thank you for taking the time to make your content so awesome and so extremely valuable and not fluffy.” — Natalie
Side note: if you want to learn how to grow your email list, engage your readers with a weekly newsletter, and become an email marketing pro in 2023, consider joining my live email marketing course coming out in January!
No introduction needed. You know who Tonic Site Shop is. And you know why it’s cool that they’re my client. But that’s not why I’m listing this relationship under Favorite Accomplishments.
Tonic’s fearless leader, Jen, found me through a blog post I wrote about their templates, and that’s why working with Tonic deserves a Favorite Accomplishments spot.
I wrote a good, educational story about a great brand, accidentally got their attention, and they liked what I wrote enough to enlist me to write their blogs (and emails, and other content).
Consider this your proof that blogging is 100% still relevant to your content marketing in 2023, and your proof that good copy opens great doors.
When I asked Jen for feedback about our first project together, I just about died when she said this:
“I LOVE how you approach content creation from a foundational place of SEO + strategy + readability. It’s shockingly rare, and something I appreciate so much, so each piece of content gets the maximum bang for its buck. Also, I love that you’re personable and warm without giving me those faux “HEY GIRLLL” girl boss vibes.
Your copy sparkles. Not like, in a cheesy, bejeweled way, but in like a “Hey, there’s something different happening here, and that ‘different’ is that you actually want to keep reading.” kind of way. But even more than that, while there are quite of few people who can write a great story, hook, or witty line, you know exactly how to fuse that into an effortless sell, and do it in a way where people WELCOME being sold. It’s rare, and I love it.
I’ve worked with a lot of copywriters. That’s why I can say, with 100% confidence, that Sara’s a freaking unicorn. Her ability to merge that signature, breezy, witty tone of voice with a fundamental understanding of conversion strategy, user journey, psychology, AND searchability? No one else does it like she does. *fans self*
I feel like I’ve been looking for Sara all my life, and now that I’ve found her, i’m never letting her go. There’s a reason I’ve introduced her to half a dozen other friends who need great copy in their lives — because she GETS IT. She’s got a tone of voice, she get the audience research, she knows how to write short AND long form copy, when to hook and when to sell. She freaking gets it, and she’s worth every penny because she’s going to make you so much more than you invest.”
Yes, putting the entire feedback form in this post was necessary, because it’s one of the nicest testimonials I’ve received all year and it deserves a frame.
(Remember a couple scrolls ago in the ‘2022 by the numbers’ section, where I mentioned I’d written 48ish love letters to Tonic? This is one of those.)
Feeling valued and appreciated in my work is so, so fulfilling. Thank you, Jen.
One of my goals for 2022 was to attend more in-person events, and the Showit Spark conference was the perfect way to cross that line item off the bucket list.
I was able to meet SO many people I’d previously only been able to connect with online (clients, Site Series students, mentees, and Instagram friends) & connect with new people I didn’t even know I needed but whose presence made a lasting impact on me and my business (looking at you, Mike Pacchione, Showit’s Jeff + James, LaJune King, Jasmine Star, Natalie Franke, Clay Hebert, and Madison Dearly).
I’m already so pumped to go again in 2024.
Custom Broadway Event Production studio, Olympic medalist, award-winning choreographer and critically-acclaimed producer, luxury wedding planner, dating and image consultant for men in mid-life, social media strategist for food and wellness brands, interior designer, organic marketing powerhouses, SEO experts, film photographers, renowned website template shop, cycling studio, clean beauty pioneer, PR specialist, brand designers, travel blogger, financial literacy expert… and that’s just to name a few.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge Chamber of Commerce girlie—which is hilarious, considering I literally only joined for the backlink.
My friend Abbey & I had been talking about the best ways to get backlinks (she’ll be featured on my Expert Interview series to talk about backlinks very soon!), and she mentioned online directories, and how chambers usually have them.
She told me that she and her business partner, Courtney, are members of their local chamber, so I figured, what the hell, a $300/year membership is a small price to pay for a solid backlink, and it’s a business expense, and maybe I’ll get a client out of it.
Less than one week after joining, a local interior designer, Maureen, booked me for website copy after seeing my name in the chamber’s weekly newsletter. Score.
But that isn’t the only reason joining the chamber has been a total success.
At the first-ever chamber event I went to this past February, I unexpectedly actually met people my age—shocking, I know; I thought the chamber would be solely made up of old white dudes, too—and some of them have become such an important part of my life.
Especially my friend Alli, who has been one of the biggest champions of my business this year, telling everyone she knows to subscribe to my newsletter—I can’t tell you how many people have responded to the TOC saying “Alli Moore told me to subscribe and you did not disappoint!”—and I’m so, so thankful for her friendship.
I also have that same event to thank for introducing me to my financial advisor and friend, Matt Ward, who has helped me so much this year in feeling more confident about how I’m setting myself (and Woo!) up for the future.
(Stay tuned for an Expert Interview with him coming soon to the blog, too; we’re talking all things savings, personal finance, investing, and retirement.)
Now, no shade to Maureen or Alli or Matt—or Gretchen, or Ben, or any of my other chamber friends—but meeting BTL’s summer intern, Paige, was the absolute best thing that came from my chamber membership this year.
Just like I never expected to be so involved in the Wachusett Chamber of Commerce, I never expected to hire an intern, either; but I’m SO beyond glad I did. Working with Paige was the highlight of my summer, and she is one of my most favorite people in the world & I never wanted her to go back to college so she could work with me forever.
So, let this be your sign: if you’ve been thinking about joining your local chamber of commerce, do it! I can’t promise you’ll make friends, but I can definitely promise you’ll at least get a solid backlink.
(And maybe even some newsletter content material.)
Last but absolutely NOT least: my most favorite accomplishment of the year was launching my first-ever copywriting course, Site Series®.
Launching an online course is not for the faint of heart. It is the most labor-intensive, stressful, overwhelming task I worked on all year, but DAMN did it pay off!
I’d been wanting to teach a course about website copywriting for a while, and about 10 months ago, I decided that 2022 was the year to do it.
After writing sales pages and course launch email sequences and launch strategy plans for clients for a long time, I felt like I knew what I was doing, but nothing truly prepares you for a serious course launch like trial and error, so that’s what I did.
And I’m pretty freaking proud of how it went.
Of course, there were lessons learned along the way—there are things I for sure wouldn’t do during a launch again, which I’ll tell you about in a whole separate post very soon—and I’m so grateful for all the new knowledge I gained throughout the live launching process.
100 students enrolled this year, and in 2023, I’d love 100 more.
Or 200 more. Or 300 more. Or 400 more. A girl can dream, right?
While my accomplishments are cool and all, my clients’ accomplishments are MUCH more important. I’m so proud of all they’ve been able to do this year—with the help of copy, strategy, and marketing assistance by ur gurl.
Here’s a brief overview of just some of my awesome 2022 clients’ accomplishments:
Celeste Moore, dating and image consultant for men in midlife, launched her gorgeous new website (with the help of Mariko Studio!) and her new podcast, Down and Dirty, and she is now able to effortlessly resonate with her ideal audience, help them understand why she’s the best woman for the job, & communicate why working with her is such a must.
Abbey and Courtney of Duo Collective launched their Marketing Mastermind, a group program for established business owners who are ready to take their brands from six to seven figures with the help of two CMOs-on-demand.
(AND they surpassed their email subscriber goal!)
Lindsey of Wildflower Events + Design launched her new website for her wedding planning business, and had a wildly (no pun intended) successful year, managing a team and countless dream client projects.
Cahlia Southon launched two new business endeavors, after collaborating with me on brand messaging, website copywriting x2, sales page copywriting, email marketing, and blogging. (And I want her to launch 100 more things, so we can keep working together forever.)
As soon as her new site (developed by my lovely friend Amber Ladd!) goes live, I will be talking about it for weeks because I’m so obsessed.
Stepfanie of The SM Collective & I revamped her entire brand: messaging, website, online shop, everything. And then, we worked together to launch her first-ever online course, The SEO Blueprint, so she can help business owners completely master the art of search engine optimization.
While Nikki Rachelson was having her first baby, I was workin’ hard on writing her website and course launch copy to help her launch her freelance public relations business. Now, as soon as she’s ready to get back to work, she can confidently launch her site that speaks perfectly to her future clients’ and students’ needs.
Ansley Beutler of Peach Perfect Financials used the dream-team collaboration of a Tonic template, design customization by Sarah Kleist, and website & sales copy by yours truly to launch her new-and-improved website.
She’s the CPA of every content creator’s dreams, because she actually understands what it’s like to make money as a creative—and, in January, two exciting things will be happening: her new site will officially render her the accountant with the BEST site on the Internet, and her course, Blogger MBA School, will be live & ready to teach content creators how to seamlessly manage their back-end.
Bragging about the accomplishments of my mentees is my absolute most favorite pastime. Please read the following information from a few 2022 BTL mentees while picturing me as the mom from Mean Girls crumping down the aisle to Jingle Bell Rock with her camcorder.
Jessica is finally able to live out her dream of working as a writer full-time, and is getting a consistent stream of clients now.
“When I left my 9-5 earlier this year, I was determined to not go back to another soul-crushing office job. I was willing to do whatever it took to make that happen. Before I started working with you, I felt like I was flailing and was reeeaaally struggling to find clients. Then, a few weeks into mentorship with you, I had a moment of weakness where I second-guessed whether I could actually do this.
I panicked and applied to 3 office jobs, hoping I would get one of them (to relieve some pressure because I was about to run out of money!). But right after that, you started referring clients to me and bringing me on opportunities to work with you, and next thing I knew I was booking one project after another!
Since then, I’ve had a full workload and have even felt like I overbooked myself a few times, which is a great problem to have and not one that I would be experiencing if it weren’t for you. In the last month, I received one rejection after another from all 3 jobs I applied to, and with each rejection came a sigh of relief.
I felt like the universe was clearing the way for me, telling me that I was on the right path and that I couldn’t throw away all the time, energy, and resources I had put into trying to do what I’m doing now. So, in short, you’ve helped me to make a living as a writer, which has been my lifelong dream! I know it’s only been a few months, but there are days when I’m typing away on my computer and can’t believe this is my life. You’ve shown me what’s possible for me.
You’ve supported me, reassured me, and cheered me on every single step of the way. And you’ve been so, so generous in sharing resources, advice, and opportunities with me, and I will forever be grateful to you for that.”
Shannon’s email list grew by 500%, her new website is live (and so freaking good), and she spent the year working on client projects that completely fulfilled her.
“The biggest impact was you kicking my ass into gear to finally launch my website. You having my back and giving me endless counseling sessions (aka voice memos) helped me publish it knowing what was absolutely crucial to include and what could wait.
You gave me the confidence to raise my prices and get my offerings dialed in. And as a result of you helping me get the news out of my new website and my newsletter, my newsletter subscribers increased by over 500% over the year!
You also shared inside info to help me set up my backend systems and procedures so that I was staying efficient *and* giving my clients the best possible experience. As the year went on, I leaned on the advice you gave me and was picky about the client work I took on, making this year’s work super fulfilling and some of my proudest.”
Shannon also has a great resource for business owners who want to learn more about how to write more conversationally; download it for free right here!
Alethea tripled her prices, is consistently booking out months in advance, and started a blog and weekly newsletter, all resulting in ending 2022 with her highest income month thus far.
“The first website I ever did in March or April – I charged $700 for and then the next one was $1,000 and then, when we started working together, I charged $2,000 (now I charge 2,500 which will go up to 3K soon).
The largest amount I had ever had someone pay in full was maybe $600 before we started working together. One of my proposals I just sent out last week was 6K and she paid in full.
AND, my first ever sales page (which I did when we started together), I charged maybe $500 and now I’m charging 2k…
LIKE WOW. Obviously, money isn’t everything when it comes to measuring progress, but those numbers are WILD. I tripled and quadrupled my prices.
And that’s not to mention the fact that Copy with Spice has absolutely become a BRAND and not just a business name.”
The Site Series® students have been launching new sites left and right this year, and I am GIDDY every single time I see a brand new one.
(Right before I sat down to write this, I reviewed two student sites and literally almost shed a tear because of how impressed I was. Like, I TAUGHT THEM THAT. AND THEY DID IT PERFECTLY. I’m emo.)
Because I know this blog post is already seven million words—and because this year was completely dominated by talking about Site Series®—I’m only going to share one success story with you here.
(I’m saving the rest for future launch emails, like a good copywriter does. Even though I’m dying to scream all of their successes from the rooftops now now now. Working on impulse control is a goal of mine for 2023.)
Fran of The Passions Collective has some amazing results, and I freaked. out. when she told me—so I’ll let her be the one to tell you, too:
“Before taking Site Series®, I didn’t feel confident about my website / content marketing and I felt like I was constantly falling into the trap of writing what I wanted to say and not what my audience needed to hear.
I knew that, although I enjoyed writing, copywriting was not my strongest skill, and I wanted to feel like my website copy content marketing was intentional and strategic, which it wasn’t at the time. I honestly was embarrassed to send people to my website because I knew it wasn’t doing a good job of conveying the value of my services.
After taking the course, I feel SO much more confident in my website and its ability to help users get to know me, see the value in my work, and actually convert into clients.
I saw a 58% increase on inquiries in the 3 weeks following my website launch compared to the average of my past 3 months, I had my highest income month in the history of my business, and I hired 2 new team members.
I’ve had dream clients who have been interacting with me on Instagram for 10+ months who inquired with me this month after my website launch and I don’t think it’s a coincidence!”
To learn how YOU can get results like Fran’s, join the waitlist to be among the next group of Site Series® students! It’ll be a few months ’til the course comes back—but waitlisters always get special treatment.
So0o0oo… if you were to go back and read the lessons I ~supposedly~ learned in 2021, via the 2021 BTL Epilogue, you’d see some of these are familiar. I apparently lied about learning them last year.
Oh, well. Maybe 2023 will be the year they finally sink in.
To Wesley, for being the reason I wake up every morning.
To Kim, for being the friend that makes me laugh every night.
To Ashley and her Nantucket WiFi failure, for causing the kickoff call to turn to shit, and in turn causing Kim to accidentally turn into a best friend.
To Paige, for being the best summer intern, babysitter, and friend I never expected.
To Elizabeth, for 28 years of putting up with me, 2 months of working for me, and (hopefully) 28 million more hours of shenanigans.
To Alethea, for being the cutest little spicy nugget confidant.
To Sarah, for being the best friend the Internet ever gave me.
To Jen, for being my biggest cheerleader.
To Dad, for being my go-to babysitter any time I have to stay up late for a client call in Australia.
To Mom, for telling Dad to shut up when he asks me how much money I’m making this year.
To Rachel, for being the reason I got to brag to Dad about earning more in July than I did in an entire year at my corporate job. (I love her so much; independent of the invoices involved.)
To Steph, for interviewing me on the podcast that Rachel heard me on, inspiring her to hire me for every single service I offer. (I also love her so much; independent of the referral she inspired.)
To Tom and Helaine, for teaching me how to play tennis, and, as a result, helping me feel like I did something with my life other than working or mom-ing.
To Jayme, for understanding me better than anyone on Earth.
And to all the clients that trusted me to write their copy this year: thank you, thank you, thank you. You’re the reason I’m able to provide the best possible life for my son and myself. I love you.
You’ll have to read The Prologue to find out. 😏
Thank you SO much for reading today’s post—I always love writing these *year in review* epilogues to share with you all that I’ve accomplished, all that I worked on, all that I learned, and all the ways I helped my clients, students, and mentees grow their businesses. I appreciate you for caring. ❤️
& if you’ve read this far, subscribing to my newsletter is mandatory.
(Okay, not really, but I feel like if you’ve read this entire thing and you’re NOT subscribed… you probably like me enough that you’d like the newsletter, too. And I don’t want you to miss out! No FOMO allowed.)
I hope all of your dreams + manifestations come true in 2023, and I can’t wait to see what the new year has in store for all of us. Peace n blessins.
If you're an entrepreneur, business owner, or course creator with big dreams of success and growth—and a big, scary blank document standing in your way every time you sit down to write your own copy—nice to meet you, I'm your new solution.
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