It's 2018

Hi, it's me again, back for another yearly recap!

It's crazy to me that my blog is now in it's 4th year (I started in December of 2014).  I ended up writing more blog posts than ever before this year.  It's still not exactly the number I'd like to be at, but it's getting close and I'll take any improvement I can get!

Now to recap my year...just be warned, it's a doozy.

On one hand, I feel like I accomplished a ton.  I did a lot of things in 2017 that I would never have imagined myself doing when I wrote my "It's 2017" post last January.  So let's revisit some of these goals I had for the upcoming year.

If you need a reminder (I did...), these were my goals for 2017:

Plan more, Worry Less
It's Okay to Say No
Outsource When Necessary
Read a lot
Recap My Successes

In no particular order, here's my recap of the last year!

In terms of business, I did rebrand like I said I wanted to.  My blog went from its original Blogger template to something that actually looks like a website.  I didn't outsource that task like I thought I might.  I ended up figuring out a way to do it myself.  And I am really happy with how it looks right now.  Sort of took the amateur route if we're going to get technical, but it's good enough for right now!

Plan More/Worry Less
At certain points of the year, I got really good at planning out content and my daily life.  Editorial calendars and everything, it was beautiful!  But then I got really really stressed in November/December and stopped writing things down.  Not my best moment.  When I get stressed out, I start planning LESS and then everything snowballs and I become a very crazed person.  It happened.  I'm going to try to not let that happen again.  It just felt like I had way too much going on personally, in my business, and in my regular job.  I'm not very good at forcing myself to take a break, and it sort of led to my negative attitude towards...everything at that time.  I was not a nice or happy or optimistic lady for a little while there.  And I'm still sort of recovering from it, this first week of January. 
But I have since calmed down a bit and am armed with a new plan for success!

Kind of funny how it happened, but the reason for this craziness was partially because my Etsy shop, Midwest Mermaid Art, BLEW UP in terms of business around mid-November through Christmas.  A good thing, right?  While I was extremely happy to be having that type of success, it opened up doors for a lot of unforeseen problems that I didn't even know existed.  It gave me a lesson in having a problem, dealing with it, and then LETTING IT GO.  The third part is what I have a hard time with!   I tend to take things very personally, even when they are out of my control.  So overall, I did a pretty good job at planning more (for the most part) but a very bad job at worrying less.

The reason I was able to have so much success on Etsy was because of the art sale that my friend Courtney allowed me to participate in.  I was hesitant at first because I had almost no inventory.  I was doing mostly custom graduation caps and other made-to-order projects, so I'd have nothing to sell at the sale. Well, I took the first half of November to work like a madwoman to build my inventory.  In fact, I had SO much inventory that my booth ended up looking really amazing!  I did well, granted it was probably not my ideal client shopping that particular sale.  Anything I had left over I listed on my Etsy shop.  And that's when the magic happened.

...Actual Harry Potter themed magic!

At the art sale, I sold a few of my Gryffindor Girls BFF prints.  I had some left over, so I listed them on Etsy...  They immediately started selling like crazy, and I had an equal amount of requests hitting my inbox for custom Hogwarts House scarf colors and hair colors.  So I created 5 combinations of BFFs, and threw those up on Etsy too.  Chaos ensued.  I don't even know how many I sold (I really should count that!).  I restocked again in December.  It was awesome.  Ran into a few post office issues here and there which sent my stress level through the roof, but everything eventually ended up where it needed to be.  Also realized exactly how you need to spell things out for people, because they really don't like to read things.  

Yea, I said it.

Also thanks to Courtney, I had the opportunity to teach two workshops at The ArtGarage in 2017!  I also taught one at kate spade Mayfair, thanks to my fab managers.  Teaching a workshop was one of my bucket list type goals, so I count this as a huge success of 2017.  I realized I love teaching people how to do things that I'm a so-called "expert" at.  I would like to teach more workshops in 2018.  Because what's that quote...
"Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime."

Travel wise, I did indeed see NYC.  I saw New York City, Chicago, Salt Lake City, and my beloved Pensacola/Navarre area of Florida.  

Read A Lot
I read, but not as much as I had hoped.  Some of my favorite books were listed here and here on my blog. Here's to more books in 2018!

Recap My Successes
I definitely did that more than I did in 2016, but not as often as I would have liked to.  I did take time now and again to appreciate my successes though.

It's Okay to Say No
Well, I'm getting better at it.  I've started to say no more often, which consequently means that I got to say yes to more.  I'll expand on this in my 2018 goals below. 

I also got an LLC for my business, Midwest Mermaid LLC to be exact.  I created a mailing list.  I proceeded to do nothing with either of these things.  That's this year's task I guess!

Now onto my goals for 2018!  Actually, they are my quarterly goals for January-March.

Big Picture:  I want to focus on setting quarterly goals instead of yearly ones.  I got this advice from Jenna Kutcher's Goal Digger Podcast (a must-listen!).  Planning out my next 3 months seems way less daunting than planning out my next 12.

Editorial Calendar/Daily Planner
I want to start strong by getting back on the editorial calendar train!  That means that I'll plan out my whole month in terms of content.  Pre-prepare (is that a word?) a lot of content, which I have been doing, so that I'm not writing a post in the same day as I am publishing it.  Which is usually how I post anyways.  My editorial calendars that I did make in 2017 were life-changing.  I'm also a huge fan of writing down my daily to-dos in an agenda.  I'm pretty good at doing that, although it did also fall off in that stressful time towards the end of the year.

Weekly Blog Post
The editorial calendar will help with this.  But this goal is pretty cut and dry.  

The Mermaid Monthly + Freebie
You better get on my mailing list now (the "Stay Updated" section on the right hand side of my blog if you're on your computer and all the way to the bottom if you're on your phone)!  I'm going to commit to sending out a monthly newsletter at the end of each month.  I'd like to do more, but I know if I set that as my goal it wouldn't happen.  As an incentive, I'm going to be sending out a freebie in each newsletter!  It's going to be a downloadable iPhone background hand painted by me, themed for the upcoming month!  Woo hoo!  The first background will be posted on my blog next week, but from then on, it will be in my newsletter sent to your inbox, The Mermaid Monthly.

Refine My Pricing
I'm getting waaaay better at pricing the things I sell, but it's nowhere near perfect.  I know that most people who sell things they make have a hard time with this (we tend to under-sell ourselves).  I've spent a long time pricing emotionally, and that needs to stop.  For example, "oh, that person is so sweet though, I'll give a discount even though they didn't even ask for one."  That is dangerous behavior (hello burnout).  I need to actually pay attention to the time and money it takes for me to create something rather than throwing out an arbitrary price and hoping it isn't too high.  Not everyone is my ideal client, and that's okay!  I'm going to take time in January to really think about this.

I want to meet all the amazing people in this area. And even the country!  I met so many lovely ladies at the Female Foodie retreat in SLC this summer.  I want to continue to put myself in situations like that, because there's so much to learn from other people in my same areas of expertise.  I got to host one Instagram giveaway last year, and I'm part of another this month.  And it's a BIG one.  I want to do more of that type of thing in 2018!

Say No.
This is to build on my goal from last year.  Really cracking down on this one.  I need to say no so that I can say yes more.  I don't have a lot of free time.  I need to use it wisely.  I can't give in and say yes to something that I don't have time for/don't want to do today, because it WILL screw me over tomorrow.  Saying yes to something that I don't want to do means I have to say no to something else.  I think I actually have the "saying no" part down actually, it's the "feeling bad and stewing about it" part that I need to work on.  The guilt.  I hate letting people down, but I need to realize that I am not responsible for helping everyone, all the time.  And to learn to say no and then move on.

And it's okay to say no so that I have time to rest.  (I have a super hard time with this concept.)  I feel the need to constantly be doing something.  I'm trying to train myself to relax at certain points of the week.  I'm trying to schedule in downtime, because GOD KNOWS I need to.

Passion Project
I need to say "no" more because I need my time to follow my passions!  I have a new passion project in the works, and it has to do with foodie adventures.  I felt like I made my foodie endeavors a bit more of a job than a fun hobby in 2017, which makes me so sad because I truly do love it.  I'm going to pursue this project so that I can get back to enjoying food photography and eating the best things ever!  Not to mention sending out vibrant and rich content for you all to enjoy.

Legitimize My Business
LLC? Done.  Mailing list? Done.  Accountant, lawyer, separate business bank account, business coach, web designer, media kit, personal chef (jk)?  Want.  Anyone know anybody?

Well that's pretty much the long and the short of it! (But mostly just the long of it, hahaha.)

Let's kill it in 2018!

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