Reflection + Aim. Transition from 2017 to 2018.
And just like that, I'm back!
To kick things off this year, I was inspired by internet friends Jason Zook and Paul Jarvis to start writing a yearly "State of the Union". I love how they share on their own newsletters the ups and downs of the past year. They walk through their own lessons and how that will impact their approach moving forward. It feels grounded and real, two ideas I can get behind.
They have their official term "State of the Union" and that didn't sit quite right with me, so I've altered it to be "Reflection & Aim". Reflecting on the whole picture for the last year in order to have clear aim for the one to come.
What went well in 2017
Moving in! 🏡
I moved in with the love of my life. I know I don't talk about my personal relationship much out of respect for my partner's desire for privacy. This is a big move and I can feel our relationship deepening and taking on whole new big, beautiful level. Going into business for myself has been a very unique ride, but love is the wildest, most fruitful adventure I've ever known.
Getting Interviewed 🎙
For the first time in my life, I was asked to be interviewed on a podcast! Amy Kuretsky from Health Fuels Hustle had me on her podcast talking about my imperfect self care process. It's a short interview, but we still went deep. I was so honored to be a part of her lineup, she's got great actionable advice and a pretty rad lineup on her podcast. You can listen to my interview on Health Fuels Hustle here.
Growing with Clients 💗
In the first couple of years of having my business, I would take on freelance graphic design work with corporations in addition to having my own clients. Normally, I'd be down to keep this up, but when freelancing for bigger companies I would have to follow the traditional 9 to 5, show up at a building and work at a cubicle. I am not about that life. It's all right for a short time, but ultimately I realized I need freedom and flexibility in my life.
2017 was all homegrown clients, folks wanting to work with me again for new projects as their businesses have grown, and that trust is something that feels soooo gooood. One of my favorite projects of the year was designing this workbook for Monica Shah, business coach (I also designed her branding and website, but that's so 2016 news... ha!).
Gifts > Skills ✨
I teamed up with Ana Victoria and Margarita Calderon, sisters who both have built their own successful creative businesses - as a watercolor artist and swimwear line Margarita Mermaid, respectively. Together, they invited me to join their vision for a creative retreat in Tulum called The Magic Jungle. We had our first group of women artists, writers and makers show up and work on their brands, learn about licensing, pricing, branding and so much more... all set deep in the Mayan jungle. We created altars, had a full moon ceremony and chatted about our desires across a gorgeous fire pit.
For me, this retreat was revolutionary because for the first time, I was hired simply for my gifts. There was no design needed, no files delivered. I was there to be a guide, share my wisdom, help organize the programming, and love up on these ladies. And it felt amazing. Ana and Maggie opened up a world of possibility and I'm already seeing more opportunities to share and teach rolling in in 2018.
Finding Communities 👫👬👭
Connecting with other people is such an important part of my life. I call myself an Extrovert Light, which to me just means that get inspired by interacting with others, but also need a bit of time in my own cave. This year, I joined two communities online and they were amazing. The 108 was a conscious business collective created by Jonathan Fields. I got to learn so much from him, from his team and the community. I felt so surrounded by people who were lightyears ahead of me in business and who were open and willing to share their experiences and learnings. It doesn't exist in its original form anymore, but I know the relationships I've built with folks will last many years to come. I also joined an innovative online community called Buy Our Future, by Jason and Caroline Zook. They are so helpful and willing to share their knowledge with us and joining this group was integral to launching my first course! Which brings me to...
Visionary Branding Course 👁
This was a whirlwind experience. On the surface, the course is a success. For an first launch with a smallish list (there are about 650 of you wonderful souls on this newsletter), I was able to reach my goal of 25 people enrolled in the course. This created about $5,300 in revenue which is cool, but the even better part of the story is... $534 of that was donated to Nyah Project, a Miami-based non-profit organization that provides fellowships for diverse youth from underserved communities to experience worlds beyond them and discover their true purpose. I love this organization and serve on its advisory committee and I'm so so proud to see the organization grow, meet the fellows and learn about all their changes as they experience overseas travel for the first time.
2017 brought on a ton of travel and I didn't hate it! I love traveling and have been on planes just a few months after joining this life of mine! I was thrilled to experience so much travelingin 2017. I got to visit a dear friend in Portugal with my partner, and then we drove across France with my parents. We went everywhere from Paris to a tiny town in the countryside where my extra set of grandparents live (you know the kind... they're not blood, but they're totally family). I visited friends and colleagues all around the US. A tip, do travel to see friends. Do travel to make new friends. Here’s everywhere I went in 2017:
New York, NY (repeatedly for The 108)
Los Angeles, California
Santa Marta, Colombia
What didn't go well in 2017
Letting Go of Everything 🌪
From about May of 2017 all the way up to last week, I have gone through so much Letting Go. I capitalize it because that's how it felt - like a chapter of my life was shedding from me much faster than I felt I was ready for it to go. I moved out of my beloved space in Little Havana months faster than I intended because Hurricane Irma was threatening to demolish South Florida. Also... there's nothing like the most massive Category 5 hurricane heading your way to make you feel like nothing matters other than surviving. We got lucky it moved a bit west, and it served as a legitimate reminder. My business simplified as my designer got a full time job at an ad agency, and I found myself once again as a one-woman show. My partners in Brand New Mornings shifted their focus on other projects leaving me to decide if I wanted to pursue it or not (hint: I decided to pursue it, more on that in my 2018 aim). I don't know about you, but making these BIG decisions takes a lot of energy out of me! And finally, all my tech was stolen on one of my trips... laptop, two lenses and a camera. They even took my backpack. Consider this last one a PSA to save EVERYTHING in the cloud (I use Dropbox).
Patterns of Depression 🤔
I noticed last year that around August / September, I have a tendency to get depressed. In 2017, these few weeks of depression slowed down my work and delivery, which left me feeling worse about the entire scenario. As I work with my own cyclical nature and variances, and not against them, I try to take note when I see something repeat. Since starting my own business, I've noticed that the end of summer also marks a time for me to feel like I don't want anything to do with the world. Instead of seeing this as a problem, I'm interested in seeing if I can plan around it. Honor it. Carve out extra time to work on my inner world without harming my outer one. This year, I'll plan to take on fewer one-to-one client projects around then and up my income through other revenue streams.
Visionary Branding Course 👁
Yep, this one makes on this list twice. I loved launching this course, but I'll be honest with you... I will never launch a course in the same way again. For now, I'll just leave at that, but know I will be writing up a deeper dive about what I did, what went right and what went wrong, so you can learn from my mistakes!
Self Care 🛀
With all the traveling and letting go and changes and depression and fun creative work... I had very little leeway to recover. I felt depleted energy levels throughout most of the year. And, I barely moved (which is my term for working out) and the stress of all these experiences led to some more unwanted pounds on my 5'2 frame. I'm trying not to sweat it and I'm also aware that my body is literally holding onto pounds as a way of expressing, "Take care of me!"... So you know... I'd like to take care of me.
Core Themes for 2018
I'm a big fan of Danielle Laporte's Desire Map concept. The idea is simple: your feelings are your key. Once you get clear on how you want to feel, the rest can follow. My core themes for 2018 are:
Year of Me 🌱
As I mentioned in what wasn't working for me in 2017... not taking care of myself was definitely on the list. This year, I'd like to incorporate more movement in my life through yoga and group workout classes. I'm also interested in scheduling in "recovery" days from travel and big projects. Building some time for me to get my brain, heart and body back on track after a big push.
This year of me also means creating time for things that interest me that have nothing to do with branding / design. I'll be spending more time drawing and playing music. I'd also like to continue cooking as much as I do, because cooking brings me joy. Finally, I'm enrolling in a program called Sacred Elemental Wisdom, which will deepen me into my gifts. I have no clear idea of what will come out of it, but I love intentional personal work so I'm looking forward to this program.
Focused Growth 📈
This year, I'll be practicing saying "No" a lot more than in the past. I'm three years in and no, I still don't have a six figure business. For the first time, I don't care. For the last three years, I felt like I was trying to grow something that didn't quite suit me and this year, I'm honoring that feeling. I'm interested in new ways of making money. Collaborating more deeply with my current clients and being very selective about who I take on as new clients. I'm also desiring to share myself more - more teaching and sharing what I know I can share. Get ready to hear about some new offerings and cool collaborations that are already in the works!
Systems + Processes 📊
Another theme for me that I've been actively avoiding for the past three years is systems. I complain that I feel overwhelmed and like my To Do list is a mile long and never ending, but guess what? That's the reality of Life! The list won't get any shorter and the only thing I can do is manage my own part in it all. So, I'm gathering help and getting serious about systems. Have any of you done this before?
New Good Axe Website 💻
I believe websites are never finished. And ideally, you'll probably want to be making tweaks and adjustments to your website yearly. Well... this year, I'm practicing what I preach. My first two quarters will be focused on redesigning the Good Axe site to show updated work and how things will be flowing for me. Since websites take a while to work through, I'm aiming to launch the new site around July of this year.
Visionary Branding Course 👁
I know, I know, this little project has made it on every single list. This year, I'd like to spend some time cleaning it up, making it better. I plan on relaunching it in March and again in September. And this time... I'm aiming to donate over $1,000 to Nyah Project this year.
Brand New Mornings 🌞
Now Brand New Mornings has me all kinds of excited. Brand New Mornings is evolving into an inclusive gathering of collective creative wisdom. What does this mean, exactly? I'm interested sharing education, conversation, connection, and spiritual inclinations with all the different types of creatives in the world. At this moment, BNM will be morphing into three events in Miami along with a podcast that will launch in May. If you're in Miami and want to know about the events, follow Brand New Mornings on Instagram. More to come there starting January 15th!
If you'd like to get involved in the Brand New Mornings event on February 24th, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are currently looking for photography, video and event volunteers!
Magic Jungle 🔮
The Magic Jungle is growing in 2018 as well. Maggie, Ana and I had such an incredible time with the first retreat that we developed a second program for a different group and are offering two retreats this year. You can read about the two programs on the site, or join us for a webinar we're having on January 16th. We'll be chatting about our 2017 Magic Jungle Experience retreat and answering questions about Magic Jungle Inspiration and Magic Jungle Experience in 2018. If you're a creative spirit that has been craving in person connection with other creatives, perhaps one of these programs will get you there. You can sign up for the webinar here.
Your Reflection + Aim
This exercise was so profound and I highly encourage you to carve out some time in the next month for Reflection and Aim. It's up to you if you want to share with the world at large, or just journal it out. Maybe it makes sense for you to share it with your best friend, or your dad, or your partner... it's up to you.
If you'd like to share your Reflection and Aim with me, know that I would love to read your review. Just email it my way!
Just walk yourself through the following:
What went well in 2017?
What didn’t go well in 2017?
What surprised you about 2017?
What are your core themes / core desired feelings for 2018?
What are you aiming for in 2018?
Remember that your reflection and your aim includes your business AND your life. Because your business cannot exist without you.
Thank you for reading and being a part of my story!