This year honestly went by in a blur. Between my personal and professional life, I can hardly believe 2019 is almost here.
January - August
I started 2018 with selecting my word of the year: intentional. I wanted to set out with being intentional with my time, my relationships, my mental health, my physical health, and my goals. I would never say that I'm perfect, so I didn't always live up to this word consistently. The first half of 2018 threw a lot of curve balls with my health, so I wasn't intentional with my healthy days and didn't put the most time into improving my calligraphy and growing my business.
I launched two sets of products in the first half of 2018, and they both honestly flopped. I didn't see any excitement or that many sales from my new products.
Then in July, I had a minor surgery done, and something just clicked. I'd been in the calligraphy game for three years, and I hadn't really seen the growth I wanted. And it's because I wasn't working for that growth. I wasn't mentally and physically invested in putting the effort needed to make a the growth. I was expecting it to just happen on its own. (PS - that rarely ever works!)
August is when I finally started to invest in bettering myself and in growing my knowledge behind a creative business.
Two artists that I've been following on Instagram, @camimonet and @elisaannecalligraphy, launched their second annual video course, Biz Birthday Bash. It was an extremely affordable 3-day live video course, all about the do's and don'ts behind creative business. I walked away from experience FIRED UP with new ideas and new goals and ready to tackle the world with my art. Click here to purchase their bundle of replays from the 2018 course.
One of the many takeaways from Biz Birthday Bash is that I needed an email list, cause social media is great for mindless scrolling, but with the algorithms constantly changing, I needed a new way to consistently reach my followers.
I wasn't sure where to really start with an email list, and I was struggling about what I would even send to people. Did people even care what I had to say besides updates on my products and the shop? Enter: Jenna Kutcher.
I had started listening to several business podcasts by this point in the year, one of the main ones being Jenna Kutcher. I think I binged most of her episodes in the span of a month, because I just could not stop. She has such valuable insight on not only running a creative business, but also life experiences. Plus, there's no "salesy" BS, which I love.
Another aspect of business Jenna is known for is her many different business courses. Her targeted social media ad for her List to Launch class showed up in my feed, and after hearing her talk about the importance of having an email list and more importantly, the importance of doing it right, I signed up for her course. After a few months of completing the assignments (at my own pace), I had built up my email subscriber list to 50 people. 50 people who cared what I had to say! It was truly astounding to reap the rewards of putting the work in.
Starting A Blog
One of the first challenges of setting up an email list was to figure out exactly what I would send to my subscribers. I remember procrastinating on that step for so long, because I didn't think people would care what I had to say. (My self talk is very encouraging... except not really). Then, I posted on social my DIY set up for a laser level when writing calligraphy on envelopes. I got an amazing response, because people wanted to know more. And it gave me the push I needed to start planning out blog content and actually create my website, www.bellascriptdesigns.com.
Things really started rolling from there, and I received my first large wedding client.
Christina's wedding, held at the zoo, was a spectacular event. Astounding florals, elegant and stunning decor, and the most lovely bride and groom to work with. Together, we designed a collection of large-scale wedding signage to help tie all of their decor together.
I learned so much from this first client, in terms of contracts, time frames, and pricing. But the lessons are invaluable and gave me the confidence to gear my business toward a more wedding-based approach. (Stay tuned for photos of Christina and Barney's wedding, as well as more wedding content in 2019!)
Spending most of September and October on wedding signage, it left me limited time to prepare the launch of my Christmas Collection. Even so, I put more work into that launch than ever before. And it paid off. From Black Friday through the rest of the Christmas season, the surge in sales helped me achieve my largest year of sales yet!
Looking back at the year 2018 as a whole, I'd describe it best as a "wake up call." That you are not going to be handed anything in business, you really have to work for it. And you bet I'll be bringing that attitude into 2019!
What's one thing you did this year that you’re proud of? What lessons have you learned? What are you ready to let go of before 2019? Let's chat, and hold each other accountable for our new goals for the new year!