Happy New Year…

Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s already 2017 here in Australia…for some of you on the other side of the world, you might not yet have started the countdown.

For many of us, 2016 was tough.

Aside from being the year the music died (OMG George Michael – I still can’t comprehend that), it was also the year that things that shouldn’t have ever happened somehow did – both on a global and a local scale. I’m thinking Brexit, Trump, and the fiasco that was the census (here in Australia). At least. (At the time of writing, there are still a few days left in the old year.)

It’s almost as if what was playing out in the global scene – including the number of celebrity deaths – was mirroring what was happening for so many at a personal level.

Like it or loathe it, 2016 happened for a reason. I’m more than a little bit different – and not just older and wiser – because of this year. It’s changed me – it’s probably also changed you.

Who knows whether it was the Year of the Monkey playing tricks, or the fact that it was a number 9 year – and therefore a year of endings and culmination or completion – or something else at work, but quite frankly, it’s done and dusted, last drinks have been called, and it’s time to move on already.

But to what? For me the first half of the year promises to be as busy (if not more so) as 2016 has been. Our house will be listed for sale towards the end of January, and hubby and daughter will be moving to Queensland for the start of the University semester mid- late February. At this point I don’t know when I’ll be moving – it will depend on when the house sells, when we find a new one, the logistics of my job, and when hubby finds work. I apologise in advance for any long silences if and when things get particularly chaotic. You’ll be able to keep up with the progress of the move etc over on and anyways.

2017 marks 10 years since I started doing astrology. The first proper class I took was with Kelly Surtees back in February 2007 – and I haven’t stopped learning since that day. June 2017 marks 8 years of this blog in this format. It’s when I took the leap and invested in a hosted site – as opposed to the free blogger site I’d been using before that.

For the last 8 years my day job and freelance commissions (when I didn’t have a day job) have been completely subsidising the cost of running this site – and, of course, my fiction writing. Given that our income has been substantially impacted by the fall-out from 2016, that will need to change. That’s why my main goal for 2017 will be to create product and find a way to sell it. I’ll do that via ebooks – ensuring that the main content on here continues to be free – something that’s important to me. Uranus is still transiting my 2nd house and one of the messages of that transit happens to finding different ways of generating income. Plus, Saturn is forcing me to get real about an awful lot of things at the moment.

Thanks to those of you who responded to my survey re what you want to see more of. I ended up giving away 12 copies of the Wellbeing Astrology magazine – sending them to readers from 5 different countries.

As for the results? They were both predictable and surprising.

What wasn’t surprising was how many of you don’t see the posts on Facebook- just 17% of respondents use Facebook to check in on what’s new on the blog, while 65% of you duck in directly to the website. Why wasn’t it surprising? My reach on Facebook – despite the number of followers – is quite limited. According to my Facebook numbers, most posts reach less than 25% of my followers – something that is making me question the amount of energy I invest there… not that I actually spend much time on Facebook… The other thing it showed me is that readers coming over from Facebook tend not to click on the links embedded within the posts. Given that most of my posts have a DIY theme they tend to have links that tend not to be clicked.

As for what you want to see more of? Over 33% of you wanted to see more Tuesday Toolbox, 30% want monthly horoscopes, and 12% would like to see reader Q&As.

What did surprise me was how all but a handful of responses came from those who had already signed up to receive the newsletter. Speaking of the newsletter, I found that when it was sent weekly, fewer of you opened it than when sent monthly. I’m assuming that means that, like me, you don’t want too many mails clogging your inbox.

Mercury is currently retrograde, so I’m hesitant about committing to too many actions, but at this point, I’m thinking of doing monthly horoscopes, but will make them available (for free) to newsletter subscribers only. Also for subscribers will be pre-sales access at discounted rates to the ebooks – as and when I get them onto Amazon.

What else? I happen to think there’s room for more of us in this industry – the message in many ways might be the same, but it’s the way in which it’s delivered, the voice, that can sometimes be what you need to hear in the way that you need to hear it at that point in time. For this reason another thing I’m contemplating is opening the newsletter up to let readers know of new releases, talks or events from other astrologers – not just in Australia, but in other parts of the world. I’m not yet sure about how that would work (as I said, Mercury is retrograde) but it could be a way of increasing accessibility and cross-promoting what others are doing. I’ll keep you posted on that too.

Other goals? My aim is to double the number of newsletter subscribers over the next 12 months; and exceed 500,000 annual views on this site. In previous years the annual views of this site have increased around 25-30% year on year. (2013 numbers are due to change in the way the stats were gathered during the year). Last year’s increase was just 17% – due largely, I suspect, to the reduction in posting frequency.

So, that’s how 2017 looks from my desk. All that remains is to get this year started. Again, thanks for your support during 2016, and all the very best of life, health, happiness, and opportunity in 2017.