2020: Don’t Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out

As we happily boot the exhaustive 2020 out the door and tell it to never return, I wanted to give an overview of how it played out for me. I also want to talk about what my plans are for the upcoming year.

Covid hit St. Louis in March and my last two “in person” classes sputtered in terms of attendance. After that I shifted my classes to be entirely online. I had already been teaching online for a year and a half, so it was an easy transition as everything was in place.

I took a big hit financially in March/April as there were very little class registrations due to parents being on the fence since no one knew how Covid would play out. Then God stepped in.

Like a faucet turned on high, suddenly in May I was overwhelmed with class sign ups. There was a period of two months where I didn’t have a single day off. I was blessed till it hurt, literally. Shortly after classes ramped up, my wife stopped receiving checks from her work for a couple of months. Everything I earned made up for it and we were financially stable during that time. God provided in a big way and we are thankful.

Being overwhelmed with classes taught me to adjust my business practices. I implemented a maximum number of teaching hours per week, and that helped prevent burnout. I also made sure to sprinkle forced days off here and there. After two months straight without a break, the cracks formed and I was fried.

In June I worked with a plugin developer to add custom coding to a booking plugin they created. Up till then, when someone signed up for a class, I had to email them back and forth to find the best days/times for each session. This meant each signup could take up to ten email exchanges (and many days) to find a match. Because of this, I always had to keep an eye on 50 spinning plates. Now the plugin lets the parents pick the dates/times that work for them, saving me MANY hours a week on the back end.

Another thing that made the leap to online this year was my four GIRLSCOUT BADGE CLASSES. Up till March I was only teaching them around the St. Louis area, but now I’m capable of teaching them across the country online! I’ve been incredibly blessed with those registrations as well, with December alone having seventeen classes and another twenty-three coming up in January so far.

And lastly, I had a huge number of people who requested GIFT CERTIFICATES this year, so I created a new page for it.

Here’s some statistics for those into that sort of thing. Online classes made up 73% of my total income for the year. Collectively across all types of classes I earned 28% more this year compared to 2019. (And that’s even after my March/April taking a hit!) This year alone I taught 769 sessions broken down into 489 classes. That is 544 hours of actual teaching, not including administration or prepping for class time.

A HUGE thank you to everyone for signing up to my classes over this year! My family and I are really appreciative!! Of course if I haven’t made it clear enough, God gets a TRIPLE HUGE thank you because none of this would have happened without Him.

SO WHAT IS NEXT IN 2021…

IN PERSON CLASSES
Due to what is going on with Covid positive cases continuing to spike around St. Louis, I’m going to wait till at least April before I start considering the idea. It’s just too iffy right now, especially since we haven’t seen what the holidays may have in store for the numbers spiking. Thank God for technology and me being able to teach the same content online.

OTHER CLASS PLANS
I need to work out details for online pre-scheduled group classes. I’ve been able to hold group classes for a while now, but those have been with groups of friends or family, not drop in strangers. This as been on my to do list for a while, but I’ve been dealing with a series of booking plugin bugs that have prevented me from moving forward on it. Stay tuned!

ON THE ART FRONT
Artistically nothing is going on right now. I’m still more or less in time out as I continue to be in the desert with God. (It’s a long story for those who haven’t been following this.) No idea when/if this will ever change so I really have no updates. Clearly God wants me to focus on the class side of things for now, so I’m following orders.

Thanks for reading, happy new year!
Todd

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