2017 Reflection

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girl wearing sparkly shoes Hey friends!

Admittedly I do these posts more for my own accountability than anything else, but I also weirdly like seeing what other people's goals are, so I like posting these here for accountability and transparency. Thanks for taking the time to stop by!

My 2017 goals were:

  • Focusing on sustainability over growth. I'm at a point where I am about as busy as I can be, and it's important to me to tend the foundations of my business before I build it anymore. I think this year will be one that seems static on the outside, but that will allow me the time to shore up those foundations and implement things that are much needed but won't directly impact my business in an outward way.

I did this in many ways - my version of sustainability looked a bit different than I thought it would at the beginning of the year. And I was really surprised at how directionless I would feel because of it. That was my biggest hurdle in 2017. I spent 10 months of the year feeling like I had to figure out what comes "next" rather than enjoying what I already had. It was good and bad - it left me feeling very lost much of the year, but it also lead to a few new goals, and it led to me adding a branding and website design element to my business, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. 

  • Shoot eight family documentary sessions - I already have two booked, so I'd like to book six more this year.

I ended up with only four DITL sessions this year, and they were all in the first half of the year. Some personal time demands and desires ended up keeping me closer to home than I thought I'd be. Overall I think it's for the best, though. Traveling regularly for work is hard - at least it's hard on me. I miss my family terribly. My husband has an untraditional schedule which meant we traded all his time off for me to work, which made me resent the lack of family time off together. And it's expensive. I charge clients for travel, but it still adds up. I did, however, land my first commercial project, for a local hotel which pretty much made my year, and is likely the direction I'll try and take the photography aspect of my business from here out. 

  • hire a business manager - or rather, become an official client of the business management firm I already have a relationship with. I think this will help me focus on the parts of my business that I am better at, and let the professionals take over that parts I am not so good at. Plus I'm looking forward to having a knowledgeable source to bounce ideas off, get feedback from, and help me work on my business in such a way that insures I will still be doing this ten years from now.

I have to admit that I chickened out on this one. A business manager (at least, a good one) isn't cheap. And while I very much believed in that investment, I didn't have a goal. I spent so much of 2017 feeling a little lost, that I wasn't really sure what a business manager could do for me. I'm feeling much more focused now, though, so I do think I will continue to pursue this. 

  • Start exploring speaking engagements.

I've reached out to a few places, but nothing yet. Similar to my traveling DITL work, it requires travel that isn't always easy for me to accommodate while also balancing my family responsibilities. 

  • Blog regularly - ideally twice a week - and send out a content-based, useful newsletter once a month.

HA. Again. For the second year in a row, I failed miserably at this. But the last quarter of 2017 I was able to start getting it together more, and I have a plan going into 2018. This is the year that you definitely see a change here from me. I'm all about service this year, and this space is a huge way I plan on serving you better in the coming year. 

  • Shoot a personal family film and a personal Day In The Life once a month.

I didn't shoot a single personal DITL which makes me super sad - but I did create about 12 family films. Not one a month, but about 12 over the course of the year, and I am really thankful to have them. This is a goal I will continue through 2018. 

YES. And it was even more amazing than I could have imagined! 

  • Take December 2017 completely off

My scheduled changed a bit this year and I ended up taking most of October 2017 off, which worked out better for me due to some personal travel I was doing. 

 

So what are my goals for 2018? This is my 9th year of business, and it's the tipping point between 4 very unsuccessful years, and 4 successful ones. Which is kind of silly, but it's one of those things I kind like looking for. This year will mark (I hope!) more successful time than unsuccessful time - which means a lot to me. I love being in business. Much more than I ever thought I would. I always wanted to be a professional photographer - and I still do, but if I'm totally honest with myself, I want to be a professional creative who owns their own business. I love working for myself, and I truly don't know what I would do without that aspect of challenge in my world. I am incredibly grateful for not just what it's given me, but also what it's taught me. I've gained so much confidence, knowledge, independence, and relationships because of it.

So this year I want to focus on service, in my business and personal life, and to myself. My primary love language is "acts of service" and without a doubt it's how I best serve my clients and my family. I've lost some of that these past two years. As more demands have been placed on me, I've reacted selfishly and been more guarded with my time and self. Which is also super important - without those boundaries you'll get stepped on left and right. But I haven't felt better with most of those boundaries. Some yes - and I will continue to guard those steadfastly. But most of those boundaries have just left me feeling alone and lost. I need to serve. It's a fundamental part of who I am. So this year, each goal I create has an element of service to it.

  • I am going to finally curate this space into the resource I always thought it should be. I'm going to use it to more transparently share my knowledge and to help those who come here. You can expect at least 1-2 blog posts a week from me this year, AND a free downloadable resource most weeks. I've also created a free resource library to curate all that content in a way that I hope will be accessible and helpful to you. You can access it here. There are just a few items in it so far, but I will continue adding to it most weeks.
  • I want to make my health a priority, and serve my family by serving myself. Getting stronger, healthier, and yes, losing some weight, is something I have to make a huge part of my life this year.
  • I'm going to be more careful with my finances - both business and personal - and stop wasting so much money. I've always had a lose business budget, but this year I am going to really stick to it and be a bit ruthless about paying myself first.
  • I'd like to book 4+ commercial storytelling projects in my local(ish) area
  • I'd like to book 4 documentary family photography "day in the life" travel sessions.
  • I'd like to book 2 branding and/or website design clients per month.
  • I'd like to launch a new workshop or two, geared at developing multiple income streams. Having multiple income streams is super important to my particular business. It's the only reason I was able to move and still post the highest yearly income I've made to date. And it's how I'm able to juggle time off, and move past slow seasons. I want to help others build the same thing in their own business.
  • I'd like to sell out my Elements of Self-Critique workshop each semester this year. It's still new and I know it takes time for word to spread, but man, I believe in it so much. It's powerful, powerful stuff, and I deeply want to share it with more people who need that kind of powerful, deep stuff in their photographic journey. I'm just 4 seats shy of selling out the February run, so I'm hoping that it's an attainable goal.
  • I want to finish paying off my student loans this year.
  • I want to travel somewhere out of the country with my family again this year.

Big goals - and just like the past two years, some I will crush, some I won't even come close to, and others will change as the year progresses. I LOVE the start of a new year. I love the freshness and promise and possibility, and 2018 feels no different.

I wish you so much joy, prosperity, and health in 2018! And if you are looking for a bit of accountability, I would love it if you were to share your 2018 goals with me below in the comments. And before you go, don't forget to sign up for the free resource library. There are already a handful of awesome resources in there, including a 2018 marketing calendar and a client guide template.