Digital Strategy Insights Marie Poulin

2013 Annual Review: Looking back

It has been an incredible year. It felt like it was the year of kicking it up a notch on every level: personal development (as always!), relationships, business, finances, systems, etc. Here’s a look back at the things that went well in 2013, and the things that could be improved in the new year, organized by category:

Business  + Career


What went well:

What could have gone better:

  • I definitely over-committed and found myself with way too much work and too little time and sleep. It’s something that seems to catch up with me every December!
  • I briefly hired a good friend of mine, but she was going through some major life changes, and I hadn’t really solidified my processes enough to know what and how to manage another person. No hard feelings; it was brief, and just wasn’t right for either of us at the time!
  • Should have raised my rates ages ago!

Goals for next year:

  • Create my first digital product and build recurring and passive revenue streams.
  • Reducing my time working on client projects
  • Incorporate a new company with my partner
  • Participate in a mastermind, and at least one guest speaking or mentoring opportunity


2013-moneyWhat went well:

What could have gone better:

  • I really wanted to be debt-free this year, but it just wasn’t feasible. Moving into a new place with no furnishings, upgrading my computer, and traveling all ate into the budget. (Though I regret nothing!)
  • I definitely under-charged on a few projects and felt the burn!

Goals for next year:

  • Increase my revenue by at least 25%
  • Stick to the budget I created with my financial planner




What went well:

  • I am generally pretty mindful of how I treat my body: I follow a vegetarian diet, exercise regularly (gaelic football, rock climbing, biking etc), drink alcohol occasionally, and try to minimize my sugar consumption. While some years I have been much more food/diet focused, this year I focused more on my mental health and wellbeing than my physical health.

What could have gone better:

  • Too much work, too little time and sleep. Often getting a good night’s sleep took the back seat to deadlines, which is not good!
  • I could have eaten a few less tubs of ice cream…

Goals for next year:

  • Continue to eat a health balanced diet, and reduce the amount of times I eat out
  • Reduce my sugar intake
  • Work toward a more consistent sleeping schedule

Family + Relationships


What went well:

  • My partner Ben just received final confirmation/approval on his permanent residency application to come to Canada as a self-employed individual! The self-employment category is a pretty rare one, and they don’t accept many people each year, so it was a bit of a shot in the dark, but finally, after 1.5yrs of cross-border (Seattle-Vancouver, thank you!!) romance we can settle in to a place of our own (March 2014). Ben has been a tremendously positive force in my life, so our relationship was definitely a huge part of my happiness and wellbeing this year. I’m so relieved to be able to plant some roots after feeling so transient for the last 2 years.
  • I got to meet Ben’s dad in Ventura, CA, his brother/mother in Cleveland, and got to see his mom again (too briefly) in November.
  • I discovered Your Brain on Love, by Stan Tatkin, and it opened my eyes in a huge way. It’s a fascinating audio book that has not only positively influenced my own relationship, but it has influenced how I see others as well (I generally feel a lot more compassion toward others in general, as I feel I have a better understanding of human behaviour within relationships). I highly recommend it to everyone, single or otherwise!
  • I continued to nurture my awesome relationship with my sister, who is certainly my closest family member. I love her dearly, and this year I helped inspire and encourage her to start her own business.
  • I got to reconnect with old friends in Toronto and Ottawa.
  • I made incredible new friendships, both in life and business. Meeting twitter friend Gloria Roheim McRae in person was awesome, and she has been a wonderful positive force in my life this year (and hopefully again next year!).

What could have gone better:

  • My dad had a heart attack, which was pretty scary. It was also complicated further by the fact that I haven’t spoken to my mother in over 3 years. I made a decision that while I was in town I would see her with an open heart. I did, and it was clear that she was not ready to do the same, and that’s ok. It was progress, and I can be at peace with that. I have since been making more of an effort to call my dad and my grandmother.
  • A few friendships suffered because I was so busy that I wasn’t making proper time for them. I dropped the ball here! I also did some favour work for a friend—approaching it as a friendship and not as a business arrangement— which was a poor decision on my part, and I feel like the whole experience put unnecessary strain on the friendship.
  • I wish I’d made more time to see my nieces and nephews, through Skype and otherwise!

Goals for next year:

  • Spend more quality time with friends, family and loved ones (that means no work while on vacation!)
  • Start a home that I love with my partner



What went well:

  • I got a place of my own in Vancouver early this year (a place that I knew would serve as my temporary Canadian home base while waiting and wondering about my partner’s immigration status). It was my first experience living on my own and I quite enjoyed it! I also switched to a standing desk which has been really great.
  • My gaelic football team won the North American Gaelic Football championships in Cleveland this year
  • I continued to push my climbing — bouldering on average 3 days each week, and am now finally starting to climb v4 routes, which was a goal of mine this year. I also did my lead climbing certification and did my first outdoor climb, which was really exciting!
  • I got to do a bit of travel this year: Seattle (obviously), Portland OR, Ventura CA, Toronto, Ottawa, Cleveland.
  • I did get a chance to unwind at Le Nordik in Quebec (an incredible Nordik spa) with Ben, my sister and her husband.

What could have gone better:

  • Working too much meant a lot of late nights and sporadic schedules, and I sometimes felt that I was missing out on “life”. I wish I’d left more time for relaxing and unwinding, and spending time with friends.

Goals for next year:

  • Win the Gaelic Football Championships
  • Take at least 6 weeks off work for vacation.

Personal Growth

2013-growthWhat went well:

What could have gone better:

  • I wish I’d written more, and documented my ideas better throughout the year.

Goals for next year:

  • Write every day, at least 750 words on average
  • Finish writing my guide to Bali
  • Read at least 1 fiction book
  • Get better at speaking my mind—in the moment—when something is bothering me

All in all, I have to say this year was pretty spectacular. I really took my business to new heights, met amazing people, had some amazing life experiences, and grew even closer to my partner Ben, who has been hugely influential in both my personal and professional successes this year. I believe if there was a theme to the year, it was systems, support + collaboration.  I spent a good part of the year “fixing the leaky holes in the bucket,” so to speak, and feel like I’ve finally put some major pieces together.

In creating a Limitless 2014, my theme for the year will be: Abundance + Opportunity.

I want to let go of and stop doing: rush work, favour work, working on weekends + evenings, and scope creep.

I want to feel: bold, limitless, abundant, joyful, free, energized.

I want to achieve: more balance with my work and free time. I want to produce my first digital product, and start phasing out client work for personal projects in an attempt to scale up my impact and offerings.

That’s my long-winded multi-faceted overview of 2013.

So excited for 2014! Just a few of the things on the horizon: a trip to Hawaii in January, World Domination Summit in Portland in July, and my best friend’s wedding in Tuscany in September.

What’s the biggest thing you’re looking forward to in the New Year?

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  1. Hello Marie,
    I found this very inspirational and gave me an idea on how to begin the new year with a more positive and productive outlook. So many of the things you listed i need to tackle with. A list of good books i need to read. Very helpful articles indeed. Thank you for sharing this.

    Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

    Warm Regards & Stay Creative
    Avi Bisram

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  2. Love this Marie! I’m so grateful to have met you this year, and I look forward to working together for years to come. Have an amazing 2014! xoxo

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  3. Great to meet you. I hope you reach all your goals for 2014 and thensome. Come back to So Cal anytime…and bring my #1.

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  4. Marie!

    This is brilliant! I like the format you used for this incredible post!
    I know much success is in your future – super thankful our paths have crossed (thanks to Uncaged Lifers).
    I’m looking forward to having you guest speak to the mastermind group I facilitate!!

    Good health + fun is wished for you!
    Cheers xo

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  5. thanks for sharing all the info, found few nuggets in this post, thinking about moving to Vancouver actually 🙂

    truly admire what you’ve done, good luck with your businesss !

    Post a Reply
  6. thanks for sharing all the info, found few nuggets in this post, thinking about moving to Vancouver actually 🙂

    truly admire what you’ve done, good luck with your business !

    Post a Reply


  1. Learning to live with intention in 2014 - […] excellent way to do this is to write a review of the year.  I got the idea to do…

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