Behind The Scenes of 2023 – Lessons Learned & What’s Next For Us

2023 – the year that hit us hard and transformed us in many ways. So much so, that change felt as the only option moving forward.

I believe it’s important to look back and reflect on mistakes and lessons learned. Mistakes can be a beautiful thing if we use them to propel us to the next chapter.

After feeling like we hit rock bottom in 2023, I thought I’d share some of the things we went through. Why? I’m not sure. Consider this as a personal journal. Maybe you’ll relate to some of the things we had to deal with and take some of our advice with you.

Since we started to prioritize ourselves over work for the past couple of months, we have seen such a positive outcome and we wanted to share what’s on our minds and some resources we’ve found useful.

So, without further ado, here’s what’s going on in our minds and the summary of the 5 things we learned in 2023:

Full-time travel (as we do it) might not be for us 

Yes, we said it. And it’s true!

This doesn’t mean we’re quitting, we’re just going to try to do things a little bit differently for a while.

What this means for now is that you might not see a new travel series from us next year. At least not the kind we’ve been filming over the past 2+ years.

Right now, I have about 20 videos to edit, plus the 6 videos we’re planning to film in Mexico between January and March. Which means we have enough content for the next 6 months! So, we have enough time to think about how we want to move forward with our channel and evaluate how to upgrade the style of our videos.

We’re still not very clear on this, but we will let you know as soon as we know more. For now, you won’t notice a thing because we will continue to share our weekly videos every Saturday, starting on January 13th until we’re all caught up.

Turns Out That Breaks are important 🙂

Not to complain, but we do the job of at least 4 people. Literally. If we could afford to hire someone, we would hire at least 2 full time employees!

We run 2 blogs, a YouTube channel and our newsletter. At the same time, we feel like we don’t do any of them properly. I’m not going to get into the technicalities of each, but they all require separate platforms and additional behind-the-scenes work that you can only grasp if you do something similar for a living. Here’s a superficial summary:

Blog: writing, photo editing, SEO, keyword research, Pinterest, Tailwind, affiliate links, research, updating old blog posts, Google Analytics, Google Search Console analysis, guest posting, promotion… and more! (x2 because we have 2 blogs)

YouTube: video editing, SEO, thumbnail design, tittles, data analysis, reply to comments, YouTube shorts, filming, strategizing ideas… and more!

Newsletter: think this is just a weekly email? Think again. It takes us about 4-6 hours a week to put our newsletter together. Plus, we create free products that we promote through our social channels that help us grow it.

We still have so much more to learn about newsletters, and frankly we haven’t spent much time trying to figure out how to build our newsletter community while also creating a new stream of income.

As you can imagine, we can’t afford to take many breaks. We work 7 days a week, 10-12 hours/day (whether we’re filming or not). Please don’t take this as complaining because we absolutely love what we do, but it has been so hard for us to find the right balance.

If you’ve ever started a business, you know exactly what we’re talking about. It feels like every moment you’re not doing something deemed as ‘productive,’ you’re losing money.

For the longest time, I thought I didn’t deserve a break unless we reached our goals. But turns out we’re human and neglecting every other aspect of our lives for work wasn’t exactly the wisest decision. I’ve always worked this way – I go all in until I break down and only then, take a one-day break. It’s not really the healthiest pattern and I’m trying to break free from that mindset.

I understand this might be hard to process if you watch our YouTube videos. We’re always smiling and having so much fun. But there is so much more going beneath the surface. We are consistently challenging our comfort zones. From speaking to a camera while people are staring, repeating a shot until we get it right (sometimes it takes 20 times!), never having enough time and dealing with what is perceived as ‘failures,’ we go through a lot on a daily basis.

We’ve had to face our deepest fears, insecurities and limiting beliefs almost every day over the past 2 years, and even though we would not change a thing, this has of course, taken a toll on both of our mental health.

Which leads me to…

Mental health is EVERYTHING!

Sometimes you just have to rock bottom to realize you’re all the way down there. The good thing is that if you choose not to stay at the bottom, the only option moving forward is up, and I feel that’s where we are right now. 

Sometimes, the only thing you can do is to change. That’s why I believe it’s important to live as far away as possible from your comfort zone, so you challenge yourself, see what you’re made of, fail quickly, get up and move on (hopefully wiser).

We have spent the last 2 months carving time to work on ourselves through journaling, books and podcasts. It has been a game changer and this is something it’s not negotiable moving forward. 

We’re slowly incorporating meditation (Hello Headspace!), exercise and time off to do fun things for ourselves without having to film anything. We are happier, more fulfilled and thinking about our identities and purpose more than we ever have. And it’s beautiful. 

Having a solid morning routine where we take care of our mind, body and spirit will prevail before we start any actual work in 2024.

*books and podcasts recs are listed at the end of this blog post*

Strengths > Weaknesses

We are so programed to be good at everything. Like in school, you can get 8 A’s and 2 D’s and the recommendation from your teacher will be to turn the D’s into A’s.

WTF is that all about?

Yes, you need a basic understanding of certain things, but what if you decided to become an expert in one specific thing you are already good at? The one thing that sets your soul on fire, that gives you energy just by thinking about it. (if you don’t know what that is yet, don’t waste another day of your life without trying to figure it out)

That’s our approach for many things right now. We both have very different strengths, so we’ve started to work on them more independently instead of both of us trying to understand every little aspect of our business. We’re leaning more into each other and trusting in the other person skills because you know what? We truly believe in each other. 

‘You’ll never go wrong by investing in yourself’ – Warren Buffet

Buy books, get that course or online class. Protect the gates of your mind and feed your brain with the right things. Be aware of your distractions too. There are so many tools available to us in this beautiful world we live in, but in the end is up to you to make the right decisions and take action. Focus on your strengths and expand on them! You will soon get in touch with your true self.

Goals are great, but having a plan and following through is key

We had all these goals at the beginning of the year. I have no idea where they are. I never took a look at them after they were written at the beginning of 2023. That’s a terrible way to keep track of the things you want to achieve.

Besides for being more in tune with our goals in 2024, another thing we are doing differently is setting goals that fully depend on us:

100k subs on YT – does not depend on us.

But publishing a weekly video as well as becoming a better editor, creating better thumbnails, and analyze the right data does.

50k monthly blog visits – does not depend on us.

Keyword research, posting at least 4 new blog posts a month, proper online marketing and working on a solid backlink strategy does.

25k newsletter subs – does not depend on us.

Sharing free PDF’s with every video we make, understanding what each person who signs up wants from us and promoting our newsletter on every platform does.

The list goes on. You get it by now. It’s all about what WE need to do everyday to achieve our goals, not about how many people react to the content we put out there. It is 100% up to us.

All of these goals have been broken down into daily tasks and of course we now have a check-in system in place to keep ourselves accountable on a weekly basis. We’ve identified that our main problems in the past have been time and excuses. That’s why we are traveling less and we’re not negotiating with ourselves. If something needs to be done, it will be done.

Takeaways For 2024 – General Goals:

Based on the things we shared above, we have some things we want to master next year:

  • Morning routineeeeeee! Not planning on going too crazy here, but our routines lately have included: one good thing for the body, one good thing for the brain and one good thing for the spirit.
  • We will focus on mastering productivity. We are great at keeping ourselves very busy without being productive. I recommend you read about the 80/20 Rule” and the Pomodoro Technique“. Hoping to work less but better. Goodbye multitasking! 
  • Our goals will be visible and we’ve been doing great at goal setting and weekly follow ups to keep track of how we’re doing. Accountability is key and having a partner in crime is even better!
  • We will do more of what we love, and it will not be for videos (insert being in nature, scuba diving, challenges, and trying new things consistently!)
  • Reading will become a part of our daily routine. We both enjoy learning and reading, but have neglected that part of us for way too long. It feels good to be back to our book worm roots 📚
  • Our word for the year is ‘milking’ lol – we know what it means to us, don’t worry 😂

What’s next?

We shared a few weeks ago that we don’t really have a plan for next year besides for spending the first 3 months in 3 different places in Mexico. We booked 3 Airbnbs, for 1 month each and are really looking forward to slow down, think, and have a better daily routine while working smarter not harder.

Thanks for reading all the way down here! I think I just needed to write this for myself more than anything. But I truly hope this post inspires you to sit down and journal about your 2023, and think about the lessons you learned, so you don’t make the same mistakes in 2024.

We’re excited for what’s ahead of us, and to embrace all the different ways we can grow and learn. The last thing we want a year from now, is to be the same people we are today.

Guys, we are ALL IN with this. We will not give up on this crazy dream we have. Our biggest desire is to be a success story and to inspire you to pursue your own dreams. That’s the reason why we share our lows as well, because success is not built overnight, and we want you to have a full look on what is like for us behind the scenes.

We feel so grateful to have you in the foundational stages of Ways of the World. We have BIG dreams to make the world a better place.

We appreciate you so much and wish you a great Holiday season with your loved ones! 

See you in January from beautiful Mexico 🇲🇽


Aimara & Gordon

These are the books I’ve read in the past 2 months, which I highly recommend:

Level Up – A really easy-to-read book that will help you understand yourself better, challenge your limiting beliefs and take action towards what YOU truly want in YOUR life (but you have to put in the hard work!).

The 4-hour Work Week – An incredible tool for productivity and time management. Even though we are not interested in working 4 hours a week any time soon, this book has opened our minds to automation and thinking about our business in a way that doesn’t require us to be present all the time.

How The World Thinks – An interesting read about world philosophies & culture that will help you comprehend each other better. (great resource for travelers if you’re looking to truly widen your horizons, challenge your beliefs and understand that gaining knowledge on how other people think is the first step to better understand yourself).

On queue: Atomic Habits & Surrounded By Idiots.

Podcasts we love:

The Mindset Mentor – From the author of Level Up – this is a 20 min/episode podcast that will help you be more self-aware, grow into the person you want to become, and most importantly, TAKE ACTION. All you need to do for now is to take the first step.

Huberman Lab – An insanely smart neurologist and Stanford professor dedicated to provide free resources to help us understand our minds, how our brains are wired and how to hack them with science proof methods. This is particularly great for goal setting!

Follow on Instagram @doc_amen – A great psychiatrist who we got to listen to in person once in Chicago, who is amazing at explaining simple steps on how to keep your brain healthy in a natural way.

PS: if you have any recs for both podcasts and books, please leave it in the comments below 🙂

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