Reflections: A Look back on 2016-2017

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If you're on the internet at all, you're probably seeing a lot of talk about resolutions for starting strong in the new year. In my corner of the web and in my inbox, I've received a whirlwind of goal-setting tips, webinars, blog posts, and challenges to reflect on the past year in business, and I'm always inspired by them!

I'll be honest though - I'm not really good at setting goals. I love the idea of being a Type-A person, super organized, having a spreadsheet and a process for everything, setting "big dream" goals and achieving them, but operating out of this type of mindset just takes a lot more work for me than your typical "go-getter" entrepreneur. 

I'm a simple gal. I'm not looking to build an empire or grow an epic power team. I just want to run a sustainable business that brings in the income we need, serves my clients' needs, and fulfills me creatively. But even on this small scale, I realize I could definitely grow in organization, goal-setting, marketing, and time management (to name a few) and that doing these things will help me run the sustainable business I desire. 

With that said, I figured before I set any goals, it might be a good exercise to first look back and reflect on this last 1.5 years of full-time business and review some highlights - both big wins and things that need to change - and celebrate how far this little business of mine has come.

A Look Back at 2016-2017

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  • Taken on a slew of freelance design projects like custom event and wedding stationery, hand painted signs, Etsy shop products, publication design, music album cover design, event branding - all which have all helped my business hit the ground running as soon as I quit my day job to run RDD full-time in June 2016. So very thankful for all of these opportunities.
     
  • Completed 9 big branding projects for some pretty stellar clients 

  • Realized my Etsy shop / wholesale / product-making days are over (for the most part), as my business has organically taken a focus on Brand Design, allowing me to start exploring a more specific clientele and not be all over the place with my offerings.
     
  • Participated in several styled wedding shoots with some amazing vendors in the D.C./Virginia wedding industry at places like Republic Restoratives Distillery, George Washington's River Farm, and the National Mall. 
     
  • Have also been exploring the idea of letting go of my wedding stationery design offerings in order to be more one-track focused with by branding services, which I've grown to absolutely love more and more with each branding client.
     
  • Implemented the One Logo Concept Solution with my branding clients in 2017. This changed my life and my business, and I'll never go back!
     
  • Designed an Egg Stamp that caught the attention of a lovely past client, which spurred on 3 additional branding projects that have propelled my business to the next level, and I'm forever grateful for her!
     
  • Tightened up my Client Process to include a defined Brand Strategy in the logo design process, which has helped tremendously in building trust with clients, setting expectations, and has made me a better designer.
     
  • Quit Social Media in September 2017 for a month, which has turned into 4 months and still going strong to this day. Have enjoyed less noise and distraction and more clarity and "present-ness" from this break.
     
  • Finally invested in Adobe Creative Cloud like a good designer should (I was formerly working in CS4 all these years, can you believe it?). LIFE CHANGER.
     
  • Continued designing and posting free printable resources and art, which has helped drive more traffic to my website and bless others. (Though I know I'm a bit behind on this, I owe you like 5 months worth of monthly wallpapers!)
     
  • Attended a few networking events (Rising Tide Tuesdays Together meet-ups and another D.C. Entrepreneur Group) which have been a fun source of education and networking with other business owners.
     
  • Found an abundance of free online education resources like Spruce Rd. Design, Elle and Company, With Grace and Gold, Shanna Skidmore, Creative Empire Podcast, Rowanmade, Melissa Yeager, Being Boss, and Paul Jarvis (to name just a few!) which I'm forever indebted to and grateful for in helping grow my business and inspire me.


I'll be honest, this exercise was really good for me! It's easy to get discouraged as I see all the things I need to be doing, all the goals I have yet to accomplish, and the progress I wish I had made. But reflecting back and remembering all the great things I've been able to do in my business was really encouraging, and I'm reminded I've had some pretty sweet opportunities I've been a part of. I've grown a TON, learned a lot, and worked with some amazing people around the USA.  As always, the Lord provides. So, thanks for your ongoing support and interest in this business of mine. I'm excited to see what 2018 holds.

I encourage you to make a similar list - What were some of your biggest wins from the last year? 

(Photo source here.)