2021 Year-in-Review: The Lessons I Learned on Business, Balance, & Everything in Between

ocean washing away 2021 with 2022 written in the sand

We all thought 2020 was a year. Until 2021 stepped in and did the whole "hold my beer" thing. It was supposed to be all, "back to life, back to reality."



You're welcome for the earworm.

Instead, 2021 seemed to just add fuel to the dumpster fire that was 2020. Still, there were signs of recovery and even optimism to be found, along with plenty of opportunities to learn some valuable lessons.

I know I did. Lessons that I'll take with me as First Page marches bravely and boldly into 2022. Here's what I've learned, and I hope you'll learn a little (or at least grab a few amusing memes), too.


Lessons in Leadership

Leading a fully remote team isn't easy, but I honestly wouldn't have it any other way. If you're looking for some inspo in the New Year, I can tell you, I live and breathe by Radical Candor by Kim Scott. Books, podcasts, and a little motivation to kick some major ass. Our leadership team read the first best-selling book collectively this year and has already started putting these lessons into practice.


the best bosses kim scott


Looking for more on leadership? The number one book I hear agency owners recommend is Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business by Gino Wickman (which goes hand-in-hand with his Entrepreneur Operating System).


Lessons in Marketing

There's always plenty to learn in the marketing world, but as we shift our focus to growth marketing and place even more emphasis on being data-driven, I'm gaining new insights almost every day. Here are a few from 2021 I'll be carrying into the New Year:

  • It's harder and harder to track what we're doing in marketing, thanks to the iOS 14 update that put privacy and anti-tracking options in place. Now, more than ever, you need to work on capturing first-party data from your website visitors and leads. And expect it to have an impact on the latest iteration of Google Analytics, GA4.
  • Remember that websites are a living, breathing thing, and even when you think you just finished a redesign or migration...you'll likely need to do it again. Find yourself a good MarTech partner to support you. We love Remotish and highly recommend their expertise. Make sure you're building a complex customer journey (from step 0 to step 672+) and reflect that journey on your website, so people easily find what they want, when they want it.
  • You've been around the block a time or two, and so you've probably been made aware (like, loudly and aggressively) that podcasting is all the rage. And while it gets obnoxious after a while, it's not wrong. Every brand is doing one (not literally, but almost literally) – why not you? Find a niche topic not being covered in your space or by your competitors, then connect with a good podcast partner like HumblePod to get it off the ground.
advertising is a marketing plan


Lessons in Remote Life

Big companies (even the "smartest and coolest" to work for) are still discussing sending employees back to the office post-2021.


pros and cons remote work

So, what's the lesson here? It's time for job seekers to go small. Look for intimate, hip companies in your remote job search. And now, time for a little product placement: check out First Page! Remote life is the best life, and it offers a load of perks. We're hiring NINE full-time roles and many extended roles in the next year. Check out our Remote Jobs page to learn about our pretty cool culture and browse open roles.

Also, consider moving to Portugal (they made it illegal there for your boss to message you after work). We love that rule. If that's not your jam, Latin America might offer something more your speed or (my very biased fave), Belize.


ultimate flex is freedom


Lessons in Personal Growth

Near year, new you? Maybe. Or, maybe you are already just who you're supposed to be. Still, there's always room to learn and grow into the best possible version of the already kick-ass person you are. I've got a couple book recs and some personal advice for your journey to being calmer, happier, and generally awesomer:


if its not a f*** yes its a no


What a year! In 2021, First Page was named 43rd in Inc Magazine's list of 5,000 fastest growing private companies in California. We also hired our first full time employee — our VP of Growth Strategy, Alan Bedingfield! (Yes, that deserved an exclamation mark, not even sorry.) Read more about Alan and the rest of the First Page team, and see how we're growing.


I've got big plans for the year ahead, and I'm sure you do, too. As you're making preparations, be sure your marketing budget includes:

  • A dedicated resource and budget to create branded YouTube content videos on a monthly basis (we've been saying for years now that YouTube is the "second largest search engine," so this needs to be a search focus for SEO). 
  • A line item in your budget for paid social ads to support the top and middle of the funnel and promote all of the content you're creating (*not* just a bottom of the funnel, "sign up today" ad strategy).
  • A lead gen chatbot strategy that captures your website visitors while they're on your site and maps them to the content they need if they're not ready to purchase.

Oh, and lest we forget, ditch the Office (in every way possible).


google doc


There you have it: what I've learned in 2021, and what I'm carrying forward into 2022. Pop the champagne and let's count down to one hell of a great year!


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