I love to plan. Dreaming, scheming, vision boards, strategies, goals, you name it. I'm slightly addicted. Which is why I love this time of year. I get a sense of my ideal year ahead, knowing full well there is plenty that can knock it all off course.
Having an idea of how I hope the year will look and feel certainly helps keep me centered and focused.
There's one thing I am not always good at though and that's reflecting back. As a kid I was always ready to move on to the next thing. I couldn't wait to see what projects or exciting opportunities were ahead or when the next big thing was happening. My mom used to say to me "Stop wishing your life away!" Like, a lot.
Just like many other business owners, I try to keep looking forward. But we should also stop and give ourselves credit for the work we've accomplished all year. You did great things - I'm sure of it.
Before jumping into 2018 ready to make it "your best year yet" take a moment to remind yourself of all the moments that stick out and mean something to you from this year.
That's what I did with my Top 10 Business Highlights of 2017:
1. Creative Soul Weekend
I co-host a women's creative retreat with a dear from of mine, Leah Noble. This was our fourth year planning a beach side weekend gathering in Port Hood. Not only do we provide a space for other women to hit pause on their busy lives and connect with their creative side - it allows us to do the same. By bringing women together year after year we are growing our own tribes and deepening and making new relationships. I highly encourage you to find a retreat or host your own in 2018 because taking the time to recharge and reconnect is necessary for avoiding burn out.
2. BlogJam Atlantic 2017
I wrote about my experience at my first BlogJam conference here. This is hands down one of the best weekends of my entire year. It's another example of how taking the time to connect with and learn from others is really important - especially when you're a freelancer. I left there with so much momentum and excitement for what I could do for my own business and how I could help my clients with theirs.
3. I Started a Blog and Using My Voice
I finally did it. With the burst of inspiration I got at BlogJam I finally hit publish on my own blog. You can read my first entry on getting started here. Speaking up and sharing your opinion is scary. But like Kathleen Shannon of Being Boss says "in order to find your voice you need to use it". I am doing that with my blog, in every day conversations and in my own personal writing. I have things to say when it comes to design, branding, marketing, small business and supporting local and it's time to share them.
4. Port Hood Façade Program Came to Life
In April of 2016 I started a project with M3D DesignWorks, another designer Emily Benjamin and the community of Port Hood for their façade and streetscape project. Many businesses have completed their renovations and others are still a work in progress. In the new year I'm going share some before and after shots but seeing these designs go from concepts on a computer to coming to life is incredibly exciting.
5. More Time to Devote to Take Note
I also work at my parents business Chafe's Flooring and Furniture. I've been working there since we moved home to Cape Breton six and a half years ago. Working with family is a wonderful experience with its own ups and downs but being able to share my energy in supporting what my parents have built is pretty special. As Take Note grows I am in constant conversation with them and this year we were able to find a balance that gives me more time to devote to my Take Note clients. I am so grateful for the set up which allows me to continue to help more small businesses in the area.
6. Exploring Photography
I love graphic design and I also love photography. Lucky me that my husband is a professional photographer. Together over the past five years we've shot weddings, family sessions and covered many events. It's also a real asset to many of my clients to have a photographer on call for brand photography. Steve has had many of his own personal highlights this year as well - check him out here. We reached financial goals, shot more weddings than any other year and we met some truly amazing people. It's hard to think of business highlights without including the things we are doing at Steve Rankin Photography.
7. Designed a Colouring Book
I have always wanted to create a book of some kind. I haven't gotten to some of the ideas I have floating around in my head yet but I was asked to work on a special book for a community group in Port Hawkesbury. The J. Franklin Wright Gallery wanted to put together a colouring book full of images of Port Hawkesbury's past and present to commemorate Canada 150 and asked me to design it. So cool!
8. Worked With More Small Businesses Than Ever Before.
The Port Hood Façade program has given me the chance to meet and collaborate with many business owners in a way I may not have been able to without it. Not only that - there is an energy in Cape Breton around business that seems to be vibrating at a higher frequency. More businesses are opening up, current ones are expanding, rebranding and growing and I've had the pleasure of working with many of them over the past 12 months.
9. New Website and Logo
I gave my own website and logo a bit of a refresh. Sometimes it's hard to make working ON the business a priority when you are consumed with working IN the business. But somewhere in this jammed packed year I did that. The site is more organized, has more personality and is updated with more client work from 2017. It's always a work in progress and I would love to hear your feedback.
10. I Put My Health First
Putting yourself first as a freelancer/entrepreneur/business owner is the most important thing you can do for your business. You know that old saying "you can't pour from an empty cup?" Well, you can't show up as your best self for your business if you're drained, sick, tired and unwell. Expect a full blog post on this in the future but for now remember, you are your greatest asset.
What a year! I'm grateful for every client, every conversation and every experience. I get to put down roots and live here in Cape Breton and collaborate with passionate business owners for a living. I feel pretty damned lucky.
Now that I've fondly looked back on everything that happened in 2017 I feel ready to head off and get cozy to do my year ahead tarot spread, Desire Mapping, goal setting and content strategy for the year.
Happy New Year and here's to a wonderful 2018. You've got this!
Do you have any year end traditions or rituals? I would love to hear how you welcome in a new year. Feel free to share in the comments below.