A recap of my journey in 2016
This past year has been one for the books! From moving across country 3 times, having our first baby, and growing Spruce Rd., it’s been a journey to say the least! As I look back, I can’t help but be so grateful for such a fulfilling year. It was difficult at times, as is every year, but there’s something so magical about looking back at the highlights.
Last year I recapped my first year of freelancing, and focused more on the business side of attracting clients, blogging and the ins and outs of growth from zero online presence. This year, I thought I’d recap each quarter and hit the highlights — both personal and business-wise.
So if you’re curious how my year went, here ya go!
1st Quarter (January–March):
- Mastermind IRL: Met with my virtual mastermind in person! Oh man, this was a blast. We met in Portland, OR and had a weekend of brainstorming + supporting one another’s businesses. Not to mention, an adorable airbnb, wine and ice cream. I’m continuously so encouraged and thankful for this group of ladies!
- Lunch + Learn: Early in the year I wrapped up the second season of Lunch + Learn free workshops! After moving across country twice, and living in a barn with limited wifi for a few months, I pressed pause on this series. I’m hoping to bring it back next year once we settle in somewhere new (still don’t know where yet!), and restructuring it a bit. Possibly taking a more laid-back approach, behind the scenes, and some guest appearances from the hubs since he’s a huge part of this venture (not to mention very business savvy and hilarious).
- Went on a 3-week road trip: On our way to North Carolina for the move, my husband Elliot and I took some time off and explored a part of the U.S. we haven’t seen much of before. We hit up Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Washington D.C., and finally North Carolina. We often get asked what our favorite stop was, and oddly enough it was Blacksburg, Virginia! The rolling hills, small town and scenery was just beautiful. We also stayed with a fun couple through airbnb, who later joined the Spruce Rd. team as an assistant! Love those unexpected turns when adventuring.
- Moved to North Carolina: My husband started traveling for work in the U.S. (he’s a traveling Occupational Therapist), and our first stop was in rural North Carolina. So thankful my work allows me to travel since I just need a macbook and some wifi. We lived in a refurbished barn, woke up to pine trees, rolling hills, and the friendliest southern folk around. Life seemed so simple on the farm, and at times I miss it! Other times, I remember waking up to non-stop bird chirping and I’m thankful to be back in the city.
- Started working with an assistant: I started working with an assistant, to free up some time on the admin tasks and emails. So thankful for Cameron’s support this year!
2nd Quarter (April–June):
- Moved to Idaho: Can you say random? If you’re in the U.S., and not from Idaho, I bet you never really had this state on your radar to visit. Or maybe that was just me? It tended to blend in with other states, so often so it’s an ongoing joke for Idahoans to confuse Idaho for Iowa or Ohio. Whelp, we lived in Boise for 6 months this year and I have to say it really won me over! It is full of mountains, beautiful lakes, desert and forest. It’s a strange hybrid of small town and city life. We didn’t get a chance to hit up the northern part of the state, so I’ll definitely be back!
- Designing ConvertKit mini-class: I switched from Mailchimp to ConvertKit last year for my newsletter software (seriously, do it!). And with the switch I inevitably missed the beautiful design that Mailchimp offers. I didn’t let that hold me back, and created my own template that was easy on the eyes and simple to update. Instead of hoarding it to myself, I created a Designing ConvertKit mini-class that gives my template away, and also teaches you how to customize ConvertKit design for yourself or your clients.
- Share-worthy Design for Infopreneurs: I expanded my signature e-course into two tracks: The first one being Share-worthy Design for Infopreneurs. Loved coming alongside these online businesses as they branded + designed their products/course promotions.
3rd Quarter (July–September):
- Read a much needed book: I’m not typically a reader, but I can’t recap this year without giving a shout-out to a book that impacted me in a huge way — Present over Perfect. Maybe it was the season I was in, preparing for our first born, but this book helped me put things in perspective. Give it a read if you’re a chronic to-do list maker, looking to slow it down.
- Re-designed my site + updated the portfolio: Phew! If you own a business, I’m sure you’ve felt that overwhelming burden to redo #allthethings on your site. This year I finally updated the site, and along with that my portfolio case studies. I now can breath easy, and know that my site accurately reflects Spruce Rd.!
- Share-worthy Design for Freelancers: I launched Share-worthy Design for Freelancers, which has been a goal of mine for quite some time. The first 15 who enrolled received a printed book of the course content (who doesn’t love print design!?) and also access to a private community of 15. The private group was so fulfilling to be a part of, and support fellow freelance designers.
4th Quarter (October–December):
- Gave birth to our first born!: Definitely the biggest highlight of the year! We welcomed our precious boy, Hank Elliot, into the world early October! He’s fulfilled my mama heart more than I could have ever imagined. Most days are spent trying to get him to crack a smile, and catching up on work during his (very seldom) naps!
- Automating Calendars mini-class: As the end of the year approached, I was in planning mode. As always, I created my own printable calendar with the exact functionality I needed. I used a simple trick I hacked myself, and automated the entire 2017 year with one click using Adobe InDesign. If you’ve created a planner before, you know how daunting it is to manually type in each date for the year. Once again, instead of hoarding up this secret myself, I turned it into a mini-class on Automating Calendars.
- Brand mockups: As I refined and improved upon my client process for presentations, I recruited my go-to photographer to shoot some photos that I could easily customize for my client brand presentations. I turned these stunning photos into mockups, and have these brand mockups now available for you to use for your client presentations or promotions!
- Worked with two new designers + two new illustrators: I can’t get enough of collaboration! This past year I added two brand designers and two illustrators to the Spruce Rd. team on a per project basis. Adding these talented ladies provides the best client experience we can give. Also, selfishly I love getting excited each time I open a proof from them. I literally squeal each time as if I were the client receiving the design! I’ve loved collaborating on client projects, and will definitely continue to do so for next year!
- Moved back to Texas (for the holidays): We’re driving cross country (3rd time this year!) to spend Christmas with family. After the new year, we’re unclear what state we’ll hit up next!
So what’s next for Spruce Rd.?
Are you in planning + goal setting mode like I am? I can’t get enough of dreaming for next year, and I have some fun things on the horizon that I can’t wait to share more about! Here’s a bit of what’s getting me excited:
- Opening enrollment for the Share-worthy Design for Freelancers course twice (early February and July)
- Mo’ mini-classes! I love these super specific classes, that are affordable for your pocket book
- A new service offering (still ironing out the details on this one!)
- A physical product for freelancers who love to plan (can I get an amen?!)
While I’m busy cluttering my planner with chicken scratch, I thought I’d check in to see what you’d like to see from Spruce Rd. this next year.
Simply subscribe to the newsletter, and you’ll receive a very quick poll so I can learn more about you. As a bonus, I’ll send you a few of my favorite resources specific to your situation.
If you’ve got your eye on something you’d love for Spruce Rd. to offer — whether a blog post, class or product — I’m all ears. Reply to the newsletter poll and let’s start the conversation!
Here’s to a wonderful 2017!