This week, in this dead zone between Christmas & New Years, I’ve verrryyy much been enjoying reflecting back on 2022 and thinking forward to 2023. While I didn’t take this week completely off (I took a vacation at the beginning of December, so I did need to use this week to stay up-to-date on client work and timelines), things inevitably slow down a bit and I find myself back in my hometown, spending extra time with my family, using their printer (what a luxury) to print off vision board images, and the like.
That said, I figured what better way to organize my thoughts on the past year than to write them up into a blog post? For me, I love getting a glimpse into other entrepreneurs’ experiences, because I never know what I can learn from someone else. So if you’re like that too, I hope some of my experiences & lessons will resonate with you, too!
Looking back on this past year, I can’t help but feel an infinite amount of gratitude for all of the amazing clients I’ve gotten to work with—clients I would’ve only dreamed of just a couple of short years ago.
In 2022 alone…
I will say—it’s hard to not be constantly looking at what other designers (or small business owners in general) are doing and comparing yourself to that. One example of this for me is thinking that many designers are “above” hourly or retainer work. I don’t even know if that’s true or not—it’s just the story I was telling myself based on the limited content I was seeing on Instagram.
What I do know is that, for me, while I love the creativity that comes with project-based work, such as designing a branding or website for a client, I also love the stability and relationship-building that comes from ongoing retainer work. For me, a mix of the two types of work is what I’m striving for.
Going into 2023, one of my goals is to continue striking a balance between the two types of clients & work, which means building up my retainer roster while having a steady stream of inquiries and bookings for branding and web design projects.
[ Are you someone who is looking for ongoing design help in your business so that you can stop spinning your wheels in Canva and focus on your zone of genius instead? Reach out to me to talk about my retainer options! ]
In the small business world, we are taught to always pour our time & energy into the thing that is most profitable. For me, this would be focusing on 1-on-1 client work (branding, web design, and retainers) rather than lower priced offers such as digital courses. And obviously there’s a ton of logic behind that—we are building businesses after all, and there are bills to pay (and fun to be had!).
However 2022 also taught me that it’s important to carve out time for new, fun challenges that may not be the most profitable—at least not yet. For me, these things were:
I have to say—this is one area where I stray away from my business coach’s advice a bit (even though I truly adore her!). For me, dreaming up & executing new offers may not be the most profitable, but they’re FUN and help me to create new solutions for new people.
In 2023, I have some more ideas up my sleeve, and I plan to take it a step further by learning new creative skills on and off the screen, including going deeper into my knowledge of product design and UX/UI, and taking a pottery class at my local YMCA.
There are 2 big reasons I started my business. One is to work with a variety of incredible clients. The second is freedom that my 9-5 didn’t allow me. For me this is financial freedom and time freedom—making the same (or actually more) than I did in my 9-5 while working way less time. And because of this freedom, I was able to do something else I truly love: travel the world.
In 2022 alone…
…And I really only took a handful of real vacation days to do all of this, because I have control over my schedule.
I don’t think this is a lesson I learned for the first time in 2022, but I do think it’s a lesson that we all have to learn over & over again throughout our lives: that it’s our health (physical, mental, spiritual, emotional…), NOT hustling, that will ultimately make us feel our best and therefore be the best version of ourselves for our partners, families, friends, and businesses.
2022 was a transformative year in many ways for me because of this:
And like I said—these things directly impact how I run my business, and how I feel while running it.
Overall, 2022 was a great year. Between business growth, travel, quality time with loved ones, and deep healing, I feel set up for a great 2023!