A Month In Review: January

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Happy 2018! As many of you already know, I started hand lettering full-time back in November, so January was the start of my first full year as a full-time hand lettering artist. I quit my day job just before the holiday craziness began, so I had a feeling January would be a little more “honest” to me in how my shop was doing and how much work I get on a regular basis. I was right and wrong about this, but I’ll share that in the “What I Learned” section. Let’s start with reasons to celebrate:

Reasons to celebrate

  • My Etsy shop reached over 200 sales! This was a huge accomplishment for me, because right now, creating designs and products for my shop is my favorite thing to do. That was more assurance that I’m on the right track!
  • I had a lot more time to create and dream up new products I’d like to add to the shop. November and December were crazy and I forgot what it was like to have extended amounts of time to create! I think some people think I just make pretty things all day, but I think on average that’s about 20% of my work. A lot goes into getting the word out about my services and products and just making sure I’m encouraging others in their faith and lettering journeys. However, January was a month of creating lots of new things and it was so refreshing! I can’t wait to share more of what I was working on with you over the next couple months!
  • I learned how to create custom brushes for Procreate and created some new ones I loved so much, I decided to create a pack of these brushes and sell them at my Etsy shop. I love helping other letterers improve their lettering, so this was a really exciting launch for me! If you want to see me use the brushes, click HERE to watch my tutorial and click HERE if you’d like to check out the listing on Etsy.
  • I finally designed my first enamel pin! I have no idea if it will be a financial success or not, but it was something I’ve been wanting to do for about a year. Sometimes you just gotta follow your passion and hope others will pick up on it! It will be released in the spring – just in time for jean jacket season. 😉

What I learned and how I’m gonna grow

  • January is a slow month for shop owners! Right after New Year’s Eve, it was like all shoppers fell off the face of the planet. No joke. I was talking to one of my friends who has been successfully running an Etsy shop for many years and she assured me that this was normal and that I should take January as an opportunity to dream up new products and create – and as I mentioned above, I took her advice! About midway through the month, things started to pick up at my shop a little more and now, I finally feel like I’m starting to see what my business will look like during the “off season” if you wanna call it that. 😉
  • For the first time, I had to cancel a class because not enough people signed up. It was pretty discouraging at first, but I’m assuming the lack of interest was due to the location. So far, all of my workshops have been in the suburbs southwest of Minneapolis and this workshop was right in Minneapolis. My Instagram analytics were telling me that’s where the majority of my following is, but I’m now questioning how accurate those analytics are. I’ll probably just continue to schedule in-person workshops in the southwest suburbs, because clearly, that’s been working way better for me! (If you’d like more info on my local workshops, click HERE.)

Anyway…

I feel like January was filled with a lot of small wins and “learns,” but in my opinion, those little wins meant a lot to me, because I got to do a lot more of what I wanted to do this month and my “learns” ended up being great lessons I’ll carry with me moving forward.

Thanks for reading and joining me on my hand lettering journey!

❤ Lauren

A Year In Review: 2017

The parties are done, the trees are curbside, waiting for garbage day, the presents are still scattered around the house, as we try to find more permanent homes for our new stuff (is that one just me?)… I’m still going through a little post-Christmas depression, but I’ll pull through! I’ve got a lot of fun things in the works, but before I start thinking too much about the future, I want to make sure I reflect on the past year and all the things I learned in 2017.

Reasons to celebrate

  • I found a local printer I absolutely love using for all my prints
  • I quit my day job and started doing this hand lettering thing full-time
  • I wrote and self-published my first book
  • I started teaching local lettering workshops
  • I exceeded my Etsy sales goals by a lot

What I learned and how I’m gonna grow

  • Mistakes will happen. I wasted a lot of time and money on things, because I didn’t know what I was doing. I’m thankful to have other creativepreneur friends who tell me time and time again that that’s normal, but it still hurts! In 2018, I’ll hopefully make fewer mistakes and waste less time and money, because I know what I’m doing a little better now.
  • Give yourself more than five months to self publish a book. I’m laughing to myself as I write this one. I’m thankful I got the book done in time for the Christmas season, but I will plan ahead for the next one. I didn’t have a life for about three of those five months and I barely slept. I don’t want to relive that!
  • It’s hard to keep the balance between your work and personal life. I knew this would be challenging, but I learned a lot through the weeks where I did well and the weeks I didn’t do so well with this.
  • Personal creative time is a must. I was on the verge of creative burnout a few months ago, but I’ve been learning to put work aside and spend time creating things just for me. It’s been refreshing and life-giving and those good vibes are showing through in the projects I do specifically for Etsy, clients and Instagram. I keep thinking of that saying, “remember why you started,” and creating art on the couch (or on the floor), in my PJs, with no pressure was how I got started. It was relaxing and – I know this sounds cheesy, but I’m gonna say it anyway – it fed my soul. That was why I started. Lettering with that mindset instead of a work mindset, is really helping me avoid creative burnout.

Anyway…

2017 has been a huge year for me. I stand back and I’m amazed by how fast things changed and how many big steps forward I took. I was gonna say, I don’t see how 2018 could top it, but I still have a lot of growing to do and a lot of goals that still haven’t been met. 2018 is gonna be a big year for me. It’s my first full year as a full-time lettering artist. I’ve got plans for more products, online courses, creating more opportunities to help people along in their lettering and faith journeys, saving for the bigger iPad Pro… 2018 could be just as big or BIGGER than 2017!

We’ll see where the Lord takes me. If there’s one thing He taught me last year, it’s that A LOT can change in a year. So, I’ve got my plans, I’ve got my goals, but I’m also keeping in mind that many of those goals and plans will change as God leads. I’m learning not to hold on too tightly and to just go with the flow!

Happy New Year and don’t forget to take some time to reflect on your past year too!

❤ Lauren