My Theme for 2023 – Level Up


For the past 9 years, I set aside time in late December to reflect on the past year and choose a theme for the year ahead. 

Last year, my word was Adventure.

For 2023, my theme is Level Up.

my theme for 2023- level up
  • In December, I realized I’ve now been working for myself longer than any individual job I’ve ever had. 🤯
  • I sent my newsletter consistently each month (Barely) 📝
  • I recorded 25 episodes for The Remote Work Tribe Podcast. (Related: it blows my mind that people in 93 countries that have listened to this podcast. 🎙)
  • I grew my business revenue by 10% YoY. This was less growth than in 2021, but considering I worked at a much more sustainable pace for the first three quarters of the year I’m thrilled by this outcome. 💵
  • I hired a freelance marketing assistant in Q3 to help with my own marketing, particular as it relates to The Remote Work Tribe. 💪
  • I traveled a lot more in 2022, including many new-to-me places like Steamboat Springs, Minneapolis, Milan, Rome, and Cabo. ✈️

Now for some of the cons:

  • At the beginning of 2022, I raised my prices for the first time in a long time for new clients  and had some growing pains that I had to iron out, particularly as it related to onboarding.   
  • I got COVID for the first time in August. 
  • My struggles hiring and retaining VAs resumed when my best and longest-running assistant, who was great, quit at the beginning of Q4. 
  • While super fun, I overdid it with business and personal travel in Q4. 

So why did I make my word for 2023—level up—and what exactly do I want to achieve this year?

Up until 2022, the only way that I’ve been able to increase my revenue was to work more. This leads to a tenuous relationship between making more money and overworking. This was the first year that I started to break away from this slowly and with some setbacks.

If I want to grow the business, it became clear that I need to invest more in building up and training my small but mighty team to:  

  • Cover the areas that I’m less skilled at or don’t particularly enjoy (like operations and design) 
  • Build more and better systems and processes so that projects and tasks get the same or better results while being able to delegate more parts.    
  • Free up a little time each work to focus “on” the business instead of “in” it. 
  • Be able to take vacations without having to work like a crazy person before and after.

So, here are some of my goals in 2023.

  • Speak at 2 business conferences / events in 2023. I did a fair amount of speaking at in-person conferences in 2018 and 2019, and then a bunch of virtual gigs in 2020 and 2021. I want to get back to doing more of these! Here’s my speaking page. Hint, hint. 😉
  • Hire and train an operations coordinator to buy back some of my time and take over many administrative, research, and internal ops tasks.   
  • Continue to refine my systems and processes so I can show up at best for my clients. 
  • Double my email list again. 
  • Publish The Remote Work Tribe podcast and newsletter twice per month. 
  • Travel to either South America or Africa for the first time. (I’m thinking Argentina, Morocco, or Tanzania, but open to any and all suggestions!) 

When I think about the goals that I want to achieve this year, the common thread is a need to level up my systems and processes (and to a certain extent my mindset) so that I can grow sustainably without compromising quality.

About the author

Jessica Malnik

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