Look Back on 2018

It’s almost the end of the year! I hope you are all having a wonderful festive period, maybe some of you are back at work or maybe you’re off until after New Year. Either way, I hope you’ve all had some chance to sit back and relax with loved ones and indulge in a few Bailey’s! Now is the time of year where we naturally start to feel reflective and want to look back at the year and see our highs and lows. So that’s exactly what I’m going to do today.

I always like to sit and reflect on what’s been good and not so good in the year before the new year arrives so that I feel prepared and ready to go into 2019 with a clean slate and clear mind. It provides a great opportunity to assess why things happened, what you can do more of and what you can change in order to make the new year better for yourself. Not necessarily making resolutions or any drastic life overhauls (unless that’s your thing, in which case, go for it) but more so little changes that hindsight allows you to make.

So, in no particular order, here is my look back at 2018!

I launched two batches of space cards

This seems like such a long time ago that I didn’t even think it happened this year! I launched a range of Valentine’s cards and then they were so successful that I decided to launch another selection covering various Mother’s, Father’s day, birthdays and thank yous. The cards were a real turning point for me in regards to my business. They made more sales than my prints put together at the time and it helped to confirm to me that there was potential for a future with this business and I needed to make life/career choices to maximise that potential.

I completed two pet portrait commissions

This was a pretty big one too!  I took on my first ever paid commission, which then lead to the happy customer deciding to recommission straight away. I love drawing animals/pets and I’ve drawn a couple in the past just as gifts, but actually having someone pay me to draw their pets is such a nice feeling. I love getting intricate in the details and trying to make the dots look like fur. Like most creatives and freelancers, I always struggle with pricing. I think it’s such a hard thing for us all, not wanting to overcharge or undercharge but still wanting to put value on your work and not scare customers off. Having two paid commissions this year was a great opportunity for me to work out my pricing and reaffirm that people would be willing to spend money for my art and that this isn’t just a pipe dream.

My 1st Vegan Anniversary on April 1st

This year was my 1 year Vegan anniversary and it’ll be 2 years in April, which was a big milestone for me personally. Up until this point, I hadn’t really thought about how much Veganism had impacted my life and it hadn’t even crossed my mind to take it to my business. However, writing this now, it was this anniversary that kickstarted hours and hours of planning about how to take my business in a more Vegan and environmentally sustainable direction. I have plans of new products and designs I would love to create in 2019 in order to spread the Vegan message and further establish myself as a vegan brand. Watch out for that next year!

I celebrated my first year of small business

Again, it seems hard to believe really but I’ve not been in the small business game for very long. I celebrated my 1 year business anniversary in August this year, which is crazy. It’s hard to remember a time when Dots and Ink Pots wasn’t in my life. The first year is always the hardest and most daunting but also equally exciting. Daunting because everything is new and my gosh is it a steep learning curve! But exciting because everything is new and you absorb so much information, everything is a new opportunity and experience and it’s great to just soak it all in. As a business owner, especially a relatively new one, I am looking forward to my second year of business to reflect on how the first year went and learn from my experiences.

I left my full time day job in August

This was one of the “career/life choices” I made this year. I made the decision to leave my full time job in order to pursue a career centralising around my business. This was such a defining moment of 2018, as making such a massive career change was something I only ever dreamed about. Plus leaving a job that was so secure in order to start from the “bottom” again so to speak is quite daunting. But I am so glad that I finally, after debating a creative career for so long, took the leap to quit my job.

I started uni in September

Stemming on from leaving my job the month before, in September I started my first uni degree! In order to help further my business and be able to forge a career in the marketing side of business, I decided to start studying Digital Marketing. It was a big leap to go back to education after working full time for so long but I think it was the right decision. It’s taking a bit of getting used to and next year will require a bit more pre-planning in order to keep the business and content going all year round but I’m excited to see where it takes me. I’m already learning key things that I want to implement into my business plan and strategy, so I think I made the right decision.

I completed 17 days out of 31 for Inktober

I managed to complete 17 out of 31 days of Inktober this year and even though I didn’t completely finish it, this year was the most I’ve ever done. I think deciding to do Inktober a month into starting university was probably a bad decision as I wasn’t prepare for how much work there would be, but I’m glad I gave it a go. Preparing was a key factor in how I was able to complete so many in advance so next year I’m definitely going to use my summer break to get a head start on them, so that all I have to do is post them to socials!

I launched my first range of Christmas cards

Perhaps one of the most exciting things that has happened this year was the release of my first range of Christmas cards! Not only Christmas cards but they had festive doggos on them too. I’d wanted to design some pointillism dogs for a long time but hadn’t got round to finding the perfect product, until these bad boys came along! They’ve been received so much better than I could have hoped for and that’s without that much promo. I’ll give you a heads up, the doggos will be expanding next year, onto more festive things and they want to bring their feline pals too. You heard it here first!

Overall, I think this year has been fantastic for my business and I am grateful for the opportunities that have come my way this year, allowing me to grow in confidence and make more strides towards the creative career I want. University is full on though, so 2019 is going to be about planning and preparing as much as I can so that I have things and content ready to go. So this Christmas break, I’m writing as many blog posts as I can for next year. Got to be prepared!

I hope you’ve enjoyed this look back at 2018 with me and I hope you are able to find time to reflect on your year so that 2019 will be the best yours can be.

Have a great New Years, eat, drink and be merry! See you in 2019!

Elle x