2020 in Review

The end of 2020 is nigh, and all will rejoice! That’s about how this year has felt. With a global pandemic that’s killed 1.7 million and rising, we’ve seen lockdowns, unemployment, and incredible change to basic life.

Remember the toilet paper shortage?

Despite everything, it’s a good year to focus on gratitude.

The Highs and the Lows

Usually these corporate recaps are all about the wins. That’s great, but it never feels very realistic. So let’s talk about both.

The Lows: Losing Clients

Here at Monkey Outta Nowhere, we came into 2020 more prepared for transition than we expected. Our work running Church Marketing Sucks—something we’ve done since 2004—came to an end in 2019. The site shutdown late in the year, and we spent the first couple months of 2020 wrapping up that project and then being done.

After 15 years, it’s a little jarring to be done.

But change is inevitable, and it kept coming with the lockdowns and uncertainty in March and April. Another steady client finished work in June, which left us scrambling.

We’re still coming to terms with what it means to be done with Church Marketing Sucks. Not only was that a daily project, but it was an easy identifier—people had either heard of the site or wished they had. We’ll have to wait and see what’s next.

The Highs: Successful New Projects

But things worked out. In May, longtime connections brought in three new projects. Two of them became recurring work, which restored a lot of equilibrium to the balance sheet. By the end of the year we’d pick up another recurring client, this time a local company—a nice change of pace since we can meet in-person (though we have to do it with masks for now).

We’re always looking for new work, but it’s encouraging to see it pop up when we most needed it. A lot of people haven’t been so lucky this year, so we’re incredibly grateful.

Another successful project came with the publication of Better Politics, Please: 35 Stories of Politicians Who Value Hope Over Hate. What a year to write that book! We paired up with local artist Carolyn Swiszcz, and with the help of 120 people on Kickstarter, we were able to make the book a reality, just in time for the presidential election.

West St. Paul Reader, our hyperlocal news site, also celebrated its one-year anniversary with a steadily growing audience. We crossed 50 supporters on Patreon and continued to set traffic records.

Recapping 2020

It’s been a tough year, but we’ve also learned a lot.

In a year of change, we finally gave up on the print version of the AP Stylebook and bought a digital subscription. While I’m loathe to commit to subscription services, this one is a move we should have made years ago.

As everyone embraced working from home, something we’ve done since 2003, we were reminded of the need to get out of the house more. We got on the bike more than we have in previous years and took a lot more walks (thanks in part to our new office dog, Kat).

And we should probably mention this blog. We restarted it earlier this fall, finally deciding we should take our own advice and create content.

As head monkey here at Monkey Outta Nowhere, I’ve never been a big fan of change. 2020 has been all about change, but we’ve managed to endure.

Here’s to a better 2021. Stay healthy and stay hopeful.