My Dream Report Finale
My dear friends and MML readers, I’m sad to report that today is my last Dream Report. Jess and I decided to end with 2011 some time ago, though now that it’s here, I think it went by much too quickly! I’ve so cherished writing for you each week and reading your comments. It’s helped so much in the transition into my new life as a full-time entrepreneur and I can’t thank Jess enough for the opportunity. *tear*
And so we finish 2011 with a theme of “endings” but also looking forward to the great things to come in 2012. Let’s look back…
2011 was the most amazing year for me. Ryan moved up the ranks at his job, I left my day job (!), I redesigned my website (worth the blood, sweat, and tears I should say, because I still get compliments!), I had our apartment professionally photographed which led to features on Desire to Inspire, three separate features on Apartment Therapy, and from there interviews on blogs like Curbed Seattle. I started writing here. We moved to our new apartment (and I love it!), I spent time in Chicago visiting my sister and got to meet Jess in person, and met Maddie, an MML reader.
It was a scary year too. I took a huge leap of faith, and luckily we’ve been able to keep it going the last six months. But it hasn’t been without sacrifice and late nights worrying about how it’s going to all come together. Especially when we faced the real possibility that Ryan would be laid off. And don’t forget that I spent the first three months of the year wondering if I was EVER going to take my business full time. I couldn’t take one more second of that commute or of sitting in a cubicle wondering when my life was going to start.
I took chances. That’s one things I’m immensely proud of this year, because I’m not what you’d call “gutsy”. I’m careful, thoughtful, probably even timid. I’m a worrier. I’d known for several years that my job was not my future, but it took me a long time to feel confident enough to make a move. So the fact that I not only up and quit my job but that I also reached out to people to promote my work… that’s a huge thing for me. It gets easier each day, but I’m still proud of myself about that.
As for challenges and hurdles, well… I’ve had a share of that too. Most of them have been inner-struggles. Working on time management, staying focused, staying positive, continuing to put myself out there, getting clients. And getting used to not knowing where the money is coming from this month. Great lessons in faith and patience for this control freak.
And I know that 2012 is going to kick major ass.
I have lots of plans for 2012 and several goals, although I haven’t wrapped up my official written year plan (yes, there are charts). Here’s what you can expect from me…
More content - I have an e-book coming out in early January (practical decor tips!) and another one in the early stages. I’m working on a few different recurring blog series that showcase designers I love, artists, and products. I want to do more in terms of producing photo shoots and video to demonstrate design ideas and techniques.
More projects - Both continuing with my online, long distance clients and beginning to grow more locally. I’ve gotten my toe in with my local clients, but I can’t wait for a killer project to come my way (know anyone in the Seattle area who needs design help? Send ‘em to me!). This also means I want to open more trade accounts to diversify what I can bring to my clients. I want to cultivate great relationships with vendors, particularly craftsmen/women in my area for things like drapery, upholstery, custom cabinetry and millwork, and of course product vendors. I’m also looking at how my service offerings could be improved, particularly for local customers.
A shift in focus - I love blogging, but I think it’s important to define what my focus is, which is interior design. While I’m bringing new features to the blog, I also may step back from blogging time-wise to focus on building the tangible side of my business. I hope that this shift brings more quality articles to my blog that showcase my skills and talents and aesthetic without necessarily posting everyday. Quality over quantity. However, I’ll never lose the blog altogether because I love the community it brings and it’s a great marketing tool. But, I’d rather be a decorator that blogs… not a blogger that decorates. So my working hours need to reflect that.
Marketing - If you’re in the home-decor blogging world, then you’re going to see me everywhere. In 2012 I’m all about networking, connecting, meeting new people, collaborating and sharing. I want to be contributing as a guest poster, be interviewed, partner with companies, and have my design projects featured in all the best places. Being super social scares the pants off me (Miss Introvert) but it’s a boost that my business needs.
Trying new things - Video for the blog, traveling to High Point Market (dying to make this work in the spring), maybe being on TV? Ok, getting a little ahead of myself perhaps, but why not? Dream bigger. I do have a new marketing element that is going into place in January – teaching a group of women (potential customers) how to style their bookcases during a live event in a client’s home. I’m excited to share my knowledge and try something outside of the marketing norm of advertisements and social media.
Self-care - Starting January 1st I’ll once again have health and dental insurance (so you can stop holding your breath, Mom), thanks to the affordable rates at Ryan’s new job. I’ve also been looking back at some of the workbook-type exercises I did before quitting my job (where you write about your vision of your life and career) and see some major elements missing from what I’ve got going on now… mostly in health and appearance. I want to eat healthier, I want to be in shape and active. I want to do yoga. And I want to dress better… something that I feel my draining office job sucked right out of me. I used to have the cutest wardrobe and I’m in a serious jeans and tee rut. So with some Christmas gift cards, some thrifting skills and bargain hunting, I hope to fix that. First though is not over-doing the sugar over the next two weeks ; )Â Self-care is something that was missing when I had an employer and I want to have that as a focus in my new life as an entrepreneur.
So, dear readers, I leave you with this ridiculously long post and farewell message. So many of you have shared your common struggles and/or your dreams to take the entrepreneurial leap yourselves. You can do it. You can find a way and you can make a plan. Be working toward your dreams and not let them pass you by. Be prepared to struggle, but face your challenges with even more determination. If you work hard and do work that you love, eventually the pieces will start to fall into place as long as you keep learning and growing. Each and every one of you has the ability to make it happen. I can’t wait to see where you end up!
If you’d like to keep in touch with me (and I hope you do!), here’s where you can find me around the interwebs…
My site and blog
Subscribe to my blog
and/or email me at email@example.com
Farewell, happy holidays, and happy New Year!
Thank you Maggie
From the bottom of my heart, Maggie, I cannot thank you enough for your amazing contribution you have made to MML! I have sincerely enjoyed reading along on your journey and cheering you through the tough and awesome phases that have come.
Though you always hear how much I love your writing style, content, and perspective, I also want you to know how much I appreciated your integrity, reliability, and excellent partnership skills you possess. It was a joy to have you as a Dream Reporter and I cannot wait to see what things are in store for you!