2017 - Another ride on the freelance rollercoaster

Posted on: Dec 19, 2017

As someone with both a shockingly poor memory and propensity towards pessimism, it does me good to look back at this time of year and remind myself of all the positive stuff that’s happened.

Like a lot of freelancers/small business owners, I’m quite hard on myself and get frustrated when I don’t hit my goals.

And I can’t be the only person out there who finds it hard not to dwell on the things that haven’t gone my way! But just spending a few minutes scrolling back through my business Facebook page has reminded me that it’s actually been a bloody good year.

Karla's Little German Joke BookFor instance, I’d completely forgotten that I raised over £200 for The Shakespeare Hospice by selling a little book of illustrated puns in memory of my late mother.

Hair modelling at BlazeI’d also forgotten how much fun it was to try things for the first time – an afternoon of screen-printing made me realise I love being more hands-on with the creative process, and my first stint as a hair model made me realise I definitely don’t suit purple hair!

Michelle Abrahall MerchandiseFor most of 2017 I was preoccupied with launching and promoting my illustrated gifts. I’m so glad I did it, and I’ll be bringing out more ranges in 2018, but it was hard. I set myself ridiculously difficult targets to sell ALL my stock in just 8 months then got annoyed when I didn’t. I set up an Etsy shop and got frustrated by the lack of orders, despite being literally one in a billion sellers globally. I did the grand total of 4 craft fairs and got grumpy when they weren’t busy enough.

Stagey Fox supplierIn short, my impatience got the better of me and I considered the whole merch thing a damp squib instead of remembering that my ‘pretty face’ pocket mirrors and Christmas cards totally sold out, and that my stuff is stocked by two fantastic local shops: The Stagey Fox in Leamington and Smithery in Warwick. Told you I was pessimistic! I really do need to work on that...

Monkey Pirate IllustrationAs well as looking back at my Facebook posts, I’ve just re-read my ‘end of 2016’ blog to see what plans I had for the new year. It reminded me that I wanted to put more focus on the illustration side of my business in 2017, which I do feel I’ve achieved. As well as the merch stuff I created a monkey pirate crest, a Warwickshire skyline and a whole set of comic strips for Warwick University. Well done me!

Socially Shared Women in Business ConferenceHowever, me being me, I can’t help but berate myself that I planned to do much more than just two public speaking events – but perhaps this was because I didn’t set myself an actual target! I also only managed to visit two galleries this year, which is a very poor effort. Must try harder!

Our Spectral VisionAfter looking back at the last year, I’m going into 2018 with the following aspirations – set some SMART goals for the merch business, undertake some form of retail/sales training, do more public speaking (and actually set a target for these too) and continue to focus on illustration.

And the best thing to look forward to in 2018? My new office!

I’ve felt for a long time that working from home isn’t doing me any good, and I have high hopes that leaving the house every day to work in my own space will help me become the awesome professional creative I was always meant to be!

So whether you have personal or professional goals for the new year, I can thoroughly recommend taking some time to really look back and remind yourself of all the successes and frustrations of the last 12 months.

What lessons and opportunities will you take with you into 2018?

2017 freelance rollercoaster

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