2018 Year in Review

starting a stationery business, creative business, creative biz review

I can not believe how fast 2018 has gone by… a lot of growth & new exciting things have happened in my business! I love writing a “Year in Review” for each year because it’s almost more for me than it is for all of you. It’s something I can look back on through the years to see what happened in my business, what I accomplished, what I didn’t like, and what I changed. I am hoping that you’ll read along as well, even if I’m doing it more for myself ;)

JANUARY

As I look through my calendar for the first month of 2018, there are a few things that become apparent to me. First, I spent a lot of time networking and making connections in the industry with different professionals and vendors. I made a great connection at a networking mixer with a girl that actually booked me for her wedding invitations later in the year, so it proved to be time well spent (love you Madison).

Second, I spent a lot of time creating content for YouTube and my blog (something that began to falter a few months into the new year as client work picked up). I had been posting 2 YouTube Videos a month and 2 Blog Posts a month for the first 3-4 months of the year. Once wedding season hit, that schedule went out the window, though I do think it would be nice to try to get consistent blogging back for 2019! I feel as if YouTube really fell to the wayside for me during the second half of the year, and that’s probably because I started to take steps to creating content with a price on it.

In 2019 I’ll be co-hosting The Biz Bash Podcast with my friend Cami Monet, so I feel like that will be my YouTube “replacement” in many ways. I haven’t felt a big desire to continue creating content for YouTube at the current time, though it’ll be interesting to evaluate that in the long run. I have nearly 10,000 subscribers on my channel so I don’t want to leave them completely in the dust!

FEBRUARY

In February I was invited to attend a meeting of Power Core, a collection of individuals from different industries that refer one another and gather for weekly networking meetings. This was really interesting for me to attend, though I decided it wasn’t for me in the long run! I wasn’t sure if I was up for the commitment level required, not to mention the membership fee as well (though I’m sure it would have paid off in many ways).

February was also the month that Will (my husband) and I really got into brewing our own Kombucha from home! That proved to be a fun, and money-saving, hobby that we enjoyed the rest of the year up until it started to get really cold in November, ha!

MARCH

March is always the month of prepping for taxes, so I was definitely working on that, while also beginning to balance a heavier load of client work. I had a few custom invitation designs that I was balancing at the same time.

On March 9th I was fortunate enough to witness my friend Kat of Lush Cakery have the ribbon cutting for her bakery storefront right off Marietta Square. I absolutely love celebrating my small business friends, so this was one of my favorite March memories!

This month I posted one of my all-time favorite blogs about Styled Shoots (something I decided to completely say “no” to in 2018 and beyond). You can read it here.

My March calendar is actually tediously time blocked, which is how I know I was busy, ha! March was also the month when I launched my Wax Seal Stamp Collection, a collection of 10 original wax seal stamp designs in collaboration with Get Marked Co. I have continued to be amazed throughout 2018 how well this collection has done, and I even added 2 new holiday wax seals later in the year, so I now have a total of 12. This collaboration has been beneficial in so many different ways and I love that I get to sell these adorable wax seal stamps on my site.

PHOTO BY HOPE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

PHOTO BY HOPE TAYLOR PHOTOGRAPHY

APRIL

In my mind I think of April as “Pinners Month” because that’s just how much time I spent preparing to teach at Pinner’s on April 28th. Though I loved teaching (a whirlwind of an hour experience) I don’t think I will ever be participating in Pinners again, and I think I might write a blog on it at some point. It wasn’t the right fit for my business… especially because I ended up with a surplus of extra wood sign kits that have been sitting in my apartment closet for months. Long story short, fun experience but my time & money would have been better spent elsewhere!

April was also the month I got to witness my good friend Kristen Fulchi get married in Asheville, NC! She was so kind to invite me and that was actually the first time we had met in person! Kristen is one of the lovely ladies in my Mastermind Group and we have been meeting virtually bi-weekly with our group since January 2017. It was such a beautiful wedding and I absolutely loved attending!

Oh, I also went to Nashville for about 24 hours with Will the very last weekend of April right after Pinners. That was a crazy weekend, but so fun to see one of our great college friends.

MAY

In May I did my largest, and most formal, envelope addressing job to date! The job had about 200 out envelopes and 200 inner envelopes and the invoice totaled more than $1,000. I spent a lot of time working on those! Interested in envelope addressing? Take a look at my styles here.

On May 12th my cousin, and one of my best friends, married the love of his life and Will & I drove up to Ohio to be with my mom’s side of the family for a weekend of celebration! Probably one of my favorite events, if not my favorite, of the entire year. I was able to do some lettering on old glass doors for the seating charts and they turned out amazing! You can see more about the wedding and the seating chart by reading this blog post.

The last weekend of May I went home to Colorado, where I grew up, to see my youngest brother graduate high school. I’m the oldest of 5 kids and my college schedule never allowed time for me to see any of my other siblings’ graduations, so this weekend was super special for me and I loved every minute of being with my family.

JUNE

This month included another big accomplishment for my business! I hosted a double-header calligraphy workshop at Crazy Love Coffee House in Roswell, GA. The morning workshop was for beginners and the afternoon workshop was for intermediate learners. This proved to be one of my favorite events of the year. Not only was the food/drink at Crazy Love Coffee House so good, and their customer service was amazing, but it was also the most perfect & intimate spot for hosting a workshop yet. I would happily go back!

In a way, workshops have been my Achilles heel of 2018. For those of you that don’t know, workshops are a ton of work to prep for and market for. It’s rare to sell out a workshop, and telling this to people often surprises them. The timing of everything has to be absolutely perfect and I actually cancelled two different calligraphy workshops this year; one that was supposed to happen in March that I had no signups for, so I nixed it. And one this month, December, that I decided to replace with a wood signs workshop instead. Ironically, I have received at least a dozen emails asking when my next calligraphy workshop will be, and I didn’t even sell out my October workshop. Timing, timing, timing.

I am currently not planning any 2019 workshops until my husband finishes his job search and we know where we are moving to next. It’s too hard for me to plan big-ticket items like workshops until other personal details in my life have been solidified.

Other June events included Cami & I launching our first version of the Biz Birthday Bash website (which has since been updated, see it here) and me participating in an Audrey Hepburn styled shoot for fun! I got to be Audrey, which was basically the best thing ever. And I can’t forget to add that Will & I got to go back to Seattle, where he grew up, for a week to see family and our college friends. Also another big 2018 highlight for sure. His parents have since moved and relocated to Dallas, TX and we can’t wait to see them for Christmas!

JULY

In July I attended a watercolor workshop in Gatlinburg, TN, that my friend Cami Monet taught! Y’all, Cami and I got to see each other 4 times this year, which is absolutely amazing and quite the feat for not living in the same city. Getting to see Gatlinburg, TN, where she grew up, was another 2018 highlight. Not to mention I got to see her dad’s amazing art gallery, which is a big reason why Cami ended up becoming an artist as well! If you don’t know who Cami is, she’s my business partner for Biz Birthday Bash. See her amazing work here.

The month of July was also spent designing & creating one of my all-time favorite invitation suites for a Cincinnati couple that got married at The Transept. This suite was like magic for me because I felt like it was truly my style and that I finally stepped into creating something that was uniquely me while also encompassing what my couple wanted! (Love you Christine & Blaise)!

AUGUST

August started off with another trip to Colorado, this time for the purpose of cleaning out my childhood home. No, my parent’s did not move but we collectively decided that it was time to clean out the house since they would become empty nesters once Matthew, the youngest, left for college. This week was intense (and also so so fun) and resulted in a two-day garage sale where we made more than $1,000. WOW. Anything not sold at the garage sale went to Goodwill, and we only had 8 medium-sized boxes to donate at the end. Compared to the sheer amount of stuff that we started with, this was a huge deal!

To impress upon you the scale of this house cleanup, I literally made a list of every single nook & cranny that needed to be cleaned out.  This included the downstairs storage room that could barely be walked through. Now, there is a completely clean pathway through the storage room and everything fits neatly on the shelves. My parents say they have a “new house” that is, quite literally, a couple tons lighter. Huge accomplishment!

The rest of August was, once again, dedicated to more client work & a little bit of an office re-haul for me! I got rid of some large wooden shelves (they went to a great home) and replaced them with IKEA shelves much more conducive to the space.

SEPTEMBER

At the beginning of September I mailed out my most intense wedding invitation suite to date! It included inner/outer envelopes, letterpress printed cards with hand-painted watercolor details, transparency paper with white printing, silk ribbon, and wax seals. If you want to see more of this suite, click here. I also wrote and released my “USPS Mailing Agreement for Calligraphers & Stationers” for any other paper-artists in the industry that are mailing invitations on behalf of their clients (gotta protect yourself).

September, as many of you might know, is the month that Biz Birthday Bash occurs. The last week of August was registration, so September was the month that Cami & I kicked everything in high-gear and got ready for our webinars. Y’all this year kicked some major butt and everyone that attended really enjoyed it (as far as we could tell from the feedback form). Due to Hurricane Florence, Cami & I met at her home in Orlando instead of Savannah, GA as originally planned, but everything was still great!

Are you looking to increase your business knowledge and take your creative biz to the next level? Check out our replay bundle that’s available for purchase. We can’t wait for 2019 and we are hoping to make it just as good as this year.

small business advice, biz birthday bash, stationery business, stationery a stationery business

OCTOBER

In October I filmed some online classes for an education platform called Miroom. Miroom has a mainly Asia-based audience and I thought it would be really interesting to have my content shown to another demographic! Those video won’t launch until midway through 2019, but it was definitely a fun step for my business.

Mid-October I took a 24-hour trip to Savannah, GA with Cami so that we could get our new branding photos for Biz Birthday Bash taken! Needless to say, Megan the Photographer blew us away and we would highly recommend her.

October was also the month I didn’t have much of a social life at all because I was spending lots of time on day-of items for clients, though my paren’s did get to visit the last weekend of October and that was wonderful and a much needed mental break!

I also think it’s worth mentioning that at the end of October I switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit, a much needed change for my business for many reasons and I’m extremely happy with ConvertKit. I also want to post a blog about this in the future as well.

ConvertKit

NOVEMBER

I had been looking forward to November all year because I knew it meant I would be returning to QuickBooks Connect, the QuickBooks conference hosted in San Jose, CA. My connections with QuickBooks, through QuickBooks Self-Employed, have been priceless because they have been so wonderful and amazing. This time I got to speak on a panel for self-employed small business owners… many people complimented our panel saying it was the one they enjoyed the most out of all the panels during the conference. So cool! If you’ve been wanting a bookkeeping system, you can get 50% off your first year of QuickBooks Self-Employed with this link.

On November 15th I launched my FREE 14-day email series called the “Stationery Biz Crash Course” and I have now had more than 750 people sign up for it! It’s “evergreen” (always available) so feel free to sign up here or click the image below.

November is also Thanksgiving, of course, as well as Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, Giving Tuesday… you name it! Thanksgiving this year was just Will & I and it was so special. We made a huge feast for just the two of us and then enjoyed heading out Friday afternoon to see if we could get any awesome shopping deals.  We came home with a sound bar for our TV that we love!

DECEMBER

Here we are, it’s December of 2018 and almost the end of the year (I can’t believe it). During the month of December I’ve been spending a lot of time being very introspective about my business in terms of what I do want to offer in 2019 and what services I don’t want to offer.

So here’s some big news… as of the first week of December I have decided to no longer offer day-of goods & signage. I will absolutely make an exception for couples that have booked wedding invitations with me, but at the end of the day these were the projects I was beginning to enjoy less and less and was ready to move away from. I spent the first two years of my business making so many wood signs (hundreds of them) and I think I’m ready to “retire” from that aspect of the business. I don’t make this decision lightly, but I do make it in confidence knowing that I am clearing some needed space for big things in 2019.

I have also spent a considerable amount of time on the back-end of Dubsado working on my workflows and making necessary changes to my forms, questionnaires, contracts, etc. to be ready for my 2019 couples. This platform continues to be a life-save for me. If you want to get 20% off your first month or first year, click here.

PHOTO BY JANA BISHOP IN COLLABORATION W/ DUBSADO

PHOTO BY JANA BISHOP IN COLLABORATION W/ DUBSADO

Looking toward 2019.

I am so excited for the New Year! You guys, I’ve hired a business coach (eeeep) and I can’t wait to get started with her. I’m also co-hosting The Biz Bash Podcast that will launch, quite literally, in the New Year on January 1st. And I have a huge family vacation to look forward to in June! Cheers to 2018 and welcome 2019!

Here’s what I’ve decided my word of 2019 will be:

evergreen, ipad calligraphy, procreate calligraphy, ipad pro lettering

More to come on that later!

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