My Year In Review 2021: Business And Family In The Time Of Covid

business strategy

I haven’t done a year in review for a couple of years now!

It just felt like another thing on my to-do list but also, I’ll be honest, I felt like I couldn’t share too much of my success because I felt guilty and sad that the world was going through so much. 

But I also love transparency so I decided to go for it. After all, I made the money even though I didn’t share about it publicly and I know how much things like this inspire me. So, I hope you enjoy it!

Of course, there have been challenges navigating work, relationships, and kids during the uncertainty but honestly - money makes things so much easier. 

It's also what drives me. I want to help other entrepreneurs make money by releasing any fears and stresses holding them back. 

My year in review this year is inspired by this Sara Blakely quote: 

"Money is fun to make, fun to spend, and fun to give away" 

It’s been my touchstone throughout the last two years where… well, you know all the things. 

Fun to make 

If you like what you do, tell more people about it! Money can be fun to make! 

This year we made almost $4.4m (Australian dollars), compared to last year’s $3.4m. We passed $22m in total since I started 10 years ago. 

Profit was $2.7m compared to last year’s $1.9m. (approx. figures as December accounts haven’t been finalised). My tax bill for the year will probably be around $650-700k.

Affiliate income was down as we decided to focus more on our own sales. Book sales were up but obviously the bulk of our income comes from one program - my Money Bootcamp

A few years ago, I decided to go all in on one program. But who knows, I’m considering experimenting soon with a lower cost offer. 

This year we welcomed 1,475 new people into our Money Bootcamp, taking the overall membership over 10 years to almost 8,000.  

In some ways, I still can’t believe I’ve been doing one program for that long! 

I definitely had no idea when I started that I’d be able to help that many people. 

The big intakes were during our launches in January and October, but most months we had between 30-100 new people join Bootcamp. 

Bootcamp has been evergreen for over 5 years now, meaning that people can join anytime. 

There’s always someone who wants it NOW (I’m an instant gratification person myself) and there are people who need the motivation and nudge from a planned launch. 

This was a record year for us profit-wise, despite expanding our team significantly at 61% profit before tax. Having a leveraged and profitable business has been so valuable during the last two years of turbulence. 

My books sales have been really good this year and I made almost $90k in book royalties. Plus the cool news - Hay House asked me to do a new edition of my book Chillpreneur with more case studies and post-pandemic advice. 

I was thrilled! Also, I've honestly never loved the cover and HH never loved the name so we decided to give it a total makeover! 

You can pre-order here and hang onto your receipt as I have some book bonuses ahead of its relaunch in July. 

The last half of 2021 has been a big writing season for me. I wrote two new books releasing soon - Money Mindset for Writers and Money Mindset for Natural Health Practitioners. They were supposed to be "mini ebooks" but turned into full-fledged books! I'm hoping to do more professions too. 

Some key business achievements this year:

  • Launching my Chill & Prosper podcast in May - I’ve loved learning to batch produce this and the episodes have been really well received. We’re closing in on 250,000 downloads already. 
  • Expanding our team from 4 to 10. This has been huge and allowed us to run a 5 Day Challenge in October and add additional projects and ideas into our business.
  • Two 7-figure launches with over 25,000 people engaging in our videos and training content.
  • More revenue from our own business by reducing the number of affiliate promotions we ran. For the couple of affiliate promotions we did do, we earned some great commission and prizes.

Like many people, the biggest challenges for us were around Covid, burnout, and balancing work and family. The lockdown and working from home periods were tough and the last 3 months have been way busier and more stressful than I like. 

Fun to spend

You might be curious about what I spend my money on? 

I don't have designer tastes at all so fashion, shoes, jewelry etc doesn't float my boat. (No shame, it's just not my thing and I don't go anywhere to need fancy clothes) 

Obviously, we haven't been able to travel this year (I had a few speaking gigs and conferences canceled again like everyone). 

As a Virgo, I'm always spending money on health upgrades - I'm always up to date on my dental and optical, spend a lot of facials, laser, hair, and beauty treatments. 

I also got diagnosed with ADHD this year, and perimenopause! Interesting times and it makes me even more curious and empathetic about how both these things impact people’s income. 

We're now two years into living in our dream beach house and renovating our rose farm. And a lot of money goes into both houses. It's true that big houses have big maintenance costs - it's something that people tell me they're scared about. But it’s okay - it’s just part of it. 

Most of my profit this year went straight into our rose farm. We've renovated many parts of the farm including the old horse stables and a complete house renovation. 

With the pandemic, we haven't been able to host my retreats at the farm and we're still negotiating with our local council to be able to offer public events. 

Turns out I'm a terrible rose farmer too - it cost us a lot to sell just $20k of roses in the last year. We may as well make them out of $5 origami notes! 

So we've found ways to do local partnerships and it's one of those things where it's a privilege to be able to support it. 

A big lesson for me is to be really mindful of where my money comes from. 

Not every part of my life has to be monetized - it would take a lot of energy to fully monetize the farm and honestly the red tape around public events is kinda exhausting. 

My motto is "there are easier ways to make money" and so while there are bureaucratic and travel delays, we have to accept it and pivot. I always look for YES signals and there have been too many NO ones to force it. 

Find out about my private rose farm retreats here

But the reality is that we're spending a lot of money there! Honestly, I could have retired right now! 

During a meeting with our accountant earlier this year, our accountant made noises like "schmoney schpit" so we did a surprise launch in October to pay for the renovation. 

He also stressed that it was time to start acquiring more assets or we’d have to keep working forever, so a big deal this year was investing more and buying a few investment properties.

Our top business expenses were:

  •  Advertising: mainly Facebook/Insta
  • Staff and contractors: wages, pensions, and training
  • Admin costs: bank fees, accounting, website stuff, subscriptions etc.
  • Donations (see below) 

Fun purchases 

I love classic cars and we bought a baby blue MG this year and an old rusty truck called Bonnie. We also got our 1955 Chevy, Rosie, renovated and living at the farm. 

I also bought myself a gold coin necklace - a real antique coin from the 1600s. 

We also took the kids and my mom to Fiji for Christmas, for our first real overseas holiday in years. Our kids are still at an exhausting age, but there were some really nice fun moments. 

Fun to give away 

Philanthropy is very important to me and it's something that I sometimes agonize over. How much to give - how much is enough? Who to support? 

I actually hired a coach around this a few years ago to make sure I'm doing it smartly and in line with my values. 

He asked me about what's important to me - do you want to help people who have just fallen off a cliff or do you want to prevent them from falling off a cliff in the first place? 

The answer is both. I know sometimes you just need to give immediate support - when someone is hungry or their house burnt down, they have no bandwidth to "learn to fish" 

But I'm also passionate about long-term social change - a change that takes lobbying and advocacy. 

A few years ago we started our own mini foundation, a DT family fund, under the Fremantle Foundation. The idea is to one day become self-funding so we can donate from the interest. We put money into it every month and give annual grants to charities in the areas of education, women, democracy, and equal rights.

A dilemma I have sometimes is where to donate to. The majority of my clients are in America, followed by Australia, UK, Canada, NZ, and then .. the rest of the world! 

Obviously, my donations are only tax-deductible with Australian charities so we look for ones that have a global focus. We still donate to overseas charities because tax deductibility isn't my only criteria obviously but I want to be smarter about this in the future.

We donated about $142,000 over these charities: 

And numerous smaller donations, GoFundMes, and support for causes we care about. 

What's ahead of 2022? 

I'm feeling 22 but I'm also extremely cautious to make too many plans like overseas travel or hosting too many events. 

We're really focused on helping as many people as possible this year, and luckily we can do that from home. 

I know my work is important and I don't need to reinvent the wheel. I always think everyone has seen my work and every day I'm reminded that it's powerful work when someone hits a money block and our course can really help people.

Our big goal is to welcome 2,000 new Bootcampers this year while finding ways for our business to be more simple, chilled, and abundant. 

Personally, my big goal is to finish the renovations at our rose farm. 

Firstly so our family can enjoy this special place, but also so hopefully we can soon welcome the local community and our Lucky B community to events and conferences. 

How was 2021 for you?

The last two years have really been a lot. Too much for most people and I know it has pushed a lot of entrepreneurs close to breaking point.

There’s no doubt that things are … let’s call it…  weird right now. We’re all trying to run businesses while dealing with ALL THE THINGS. 

Maybe you’re juggling kids, parents, and business right now. Maybe you’re just trying to figure out if you should even make plans this year. 

I get it. 

This is going to be another year of really simplifying. 

Getting clear on what works - and leaving what doesn’t. It’s so unknown but within all the uncertainty, we can’t just ditch our business plans. 

Your dreams are still so important. And your business can really help people. 

And let’s face it - more money makes getting through uncertainty MUCH easier. 

I hope we can return to “normal” at some point this year - but to be honest who knows. 

In the meantime, I want you to know.

You can still achieve your money goals this year.  

This might be a stretch goal year for you - maybe it's the year you break through a symbolic income plateau, like your first 6 figure or even 7 figure year. 

That’s still possible. 

Maybe you're doing great in your business, but you want more ease, less stress or to try something new this year. 

That’s still possible too. 

This could be your year to achieve a big personal goal, like buying your first house or getting out of debt.

You might be thinking, “well, I’m just going to manifest it”

Here’s a truth that will change your life.

Money is the best manifesting tool there is.

Manifest just means to “make real”.

And money can solve a lot of problems in your life, and contribute to so much joy.

No matter what’s going on. 

Virtually everything you most desire is a buyable experience.

Making more actual, spendable money this year will change your life and have a ripple effect on all the ways you want to contribute to the world.

Even if you don’t have it all figured out right now… 

You deserve to get paid for your talents. 

You deserve to make money in return for the work you do. 

You deserve to thrive. 

I just created a new worksheet on how to set and actually achieve your money goals in 2022. You can download a free copy here -

However last year was and especially if it didn’t quite go to plan, I’m sending you so much love and luck. This year can be different and I know there are big things just around the corner for you.

xx Denise

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