a year in review

thank-you-2012It was a good year 'professionally' speaking (although I would appear more professional if I stopped using quotes around that word. Baby steps...) I had no game plan going into the start of 2012 which worked out pretty well but I'd like to start 2013 building on this momentum and include a few more guidelines to keep moving in the right direction. I know so much more about myself and what interests me and also the opposite - what I don't want to worry about or waste my time on. (I apologize in advance for the length and the number of links). In January, I set my new site free after working all winter on my Girls' Guide to Web Design course and I set up my shop. They're both still works in progress but it felt really good to flip the switch. I was still trying to find my voice and crammed in as many BlogShop tricks I'd learned so I'm not overly proud of those early posts - I've come a long way since then.

  • 2013: figure out BigCartel as a plugin to sit on my site rather than send you elsewhere and also customize it so it reflects my brand. Oh, and make my landing page as awesome as I see it in my head.

February was all about photography. I can't remember how I learned about the Souvenir Foto School with Besotted Blog and Creatocrat  but I'm so glad I did. I signed up in hopes of getting a little more creative since I usually fall into a lull over the winter. This was the perfect kick in the craftyass I needed. Bonus? I met my new dear friend Claire in this virtual class.

  • 2013: get my snazzy DSLR fixed and use it more. I love my iPhone but I'm so much more than just an iphonographer.

March was for writing - I found my voice. I got personal and wrote a post about how I decided to start raising myself. I had no idea so many people felt the same way and I'm touched that it resonated with so many readers. I also wrote about my "no mom left behind" initiative and wondered what class I'd take next. Finding likeminded people was such a big part of 2012 for me.

  • 2013: keep writing and make new friends. It's up to me to curate the environment I'd like to be in and to contribute. Also, start and finish the online Illustrator class I signed up for in November.

April was a big month for me. Claire and I decided to meet in real life one day after work and it was as though we were long lost friends. I was thrilled when she invited me to her studio to see her space and teach me the ins and outs of jewelry making. I left that afternoon wearing the first ever disc bib necklace.

  • 2013: keep painting and designing - I need to dedicate more studio time.

May was spent perfecting my new design and was stunned when Doug & Gene Meyers re-pinned my necklace. There were great conversations with Claire about pricing/business/branding and while we didn't solve any problems it was great having someone to talk with about what might be holding us back.

  • 2013: put me and my work out there - I need to screw up the courage to walk into a store and sell myself. I'd like to be in at least one brick and mortar store this year.

June was another month where I got help in the inspiration department when I happened upon the Photo a Day challenge with Chantelle of Fat Mum Slim. Knowing I wouldn't be in my studio much all summer this was a great way to stay creative. Bonus? My two girls joined me and I met some very cool virtual friends around the globe. I also attended my first Boston Blogger event where I learned that I needed to work on some answers to questions I hadn't really asked myself. Why do I have a blog? What do I blog about?

  • 2013: I need to keep working on the answers to these questions. It will help me tell my story and it'll keep me focused.

July was for trying new things. After meeting Alison of Long Distance Loving at the Boston Blogger meetup in June, I signed up for a Polish Your Blog session with her and  joined in on #FridaysFancies. It was so helpful having a fresh set of eyes take a look and help me see what I could do better. It doesn't count when your mom says she likes your website - she's supposed to say that.

  • 2013: I'm still working on some of the Polish Your Blog feedback and I'd really like to work on more fashion related posts. The key is to make sure it relates to me and to the story I'd like tell about my work.

August challenged me to think bigger. I went to Alt Summit NYC and met some great people, screwed up the courage to say hi to Sarah Tolzmann of Note to Self (I'm a super fan) and really felt like I was part of a live community instead of something virtual. Tina Roth Eisenberg's talk has stayed with me and I loved getting a look behind the Martha Stewart Living curtain but if I'm being honest, the blogging words of wisdom for the day were 'be original' and 'grow your site/blog organically'. This is not new information.

  • 2013: I'd love to go to another conference but I need to really assess why and determine what I'll gain from the time, money and energy spent. I scrapped Alt Summit SLC from my calendar this year and I'm sorry to miss out but truthfully, that's a boatload of money and time to spend and I just couldn't make it happen this year.  Maybe I can do more to create that community locally. I am sorry not to be able to talk with some of the Alt sponsors - getting on their radar would be huge so I've got Alt Summit 2014 on my list. Oh, and I was supposed to room with some really great women including Jess Lively. Bummer right?

September was a baby business step when I took out my first ad space with Jess Lively in one of her business newsletters. I've enjoyed her "Wish I Knew Wednesday" weekly letters and hoped to reach a larger audience. I'm not sure there was any measurable success but nothing ventured, nothing gained right?

  • 2013: I need to really find my target customer and sadly, I'm pretty sure she's not on twitter or instagram.... yet. I'm not leaving social media anytime soon but 95% of my sales so far have come from word of mouth, repeat customers or from one particular annual art show. I need to figure out how to communicate with those women as well entice the online customer.

October was busy with real life, kids, sports schedules and work. I had trouble balancing it all but in the end I think I got better at prioritizing and deciding the value of my time and how it's spent.

  • 2013: I've decided to be 'intentional' this year. Do/say/make things of value and with purpose. I've been swimming in all kinds of waters these past 12 months and while they're all nice, it's a time suck.

November was the introduction of Fortune Cookie Wisdom (for lack of a better name) and while I'm not doing anything new there - I've always enjoyed HipHipGinGin and Note to Self for their collection of posts - I chose words that were important to me or helped to mark (personal or public) current events. I like to think of this blog as a journal of sorts.

  • 2013: I want to contribute value not space garbage and will stay true to my voice and my point of view - I will be authentic.

December was a whirlwind month but I loved putting together my holiday how-to posts and most especially my latest necklace - the Whitney. I was beyond touched that I was able to sell it within 12 hours of listing. (and via facebook so I must be doing something right)

  • 2013: I plan to tell more stories behind each design - the inspiration, the colors and the process - and I'd really like to continue to be philanthropic. I love that the Whitney necklace is forever tied to the American Cancer Society.

Those are just a few ways I hope to continue to grow and build momentum in 2013. This is as close as I've ever come to resolutions but it feels better/easier/less intimidating because I'm not making any drastic changes, just thinking bigger. What about you? Are you psyched to see 2012 end or was it a banner year for you? I'd love to hear how you're marking the new year. If you have a blog post share it in the comments!