It’s the time of the year approaching Christmas when we start to reflect on the previous 11 months or so and wonder how we fared it...draft new resolutions, panic and realise we’re again one year older than we’d ever imagined possible :) etc. etc. So I’m going to briefly outline my year and draw some conclusions about what’s been good and what can be improved in 2018.
First off, it’s fair to say that 2017 has been a pivotal year for me...it’s the year when I decided to get “serious” about working as a designer in surface pattern and devote a full time effort in doing so. I had contemplated different career options through the years and made steps to get started on them but in hindsight I now see that I never really felt too motivated to succeed?
Getting this website and blog going was the first commitment towards the cause and long overdue when I started it in January 2017. The website looked totally different and I didn’t have a logo either. I decided to approach this by full-time “incubating” myself in a flat in Spain for the winter and tackling a very long to do list on my way to becoming ready to design and find freelance work in this new field.
First I came up with a name for my design practice and bought a domain for it as I couldn’t (or wanted to for that matter) go by my own name plus “design” which is what people do. The next big step for me was getting familiar with a Wacom tablet, getting into Instagram, setting up a Facebook page, completing all the courses I wanted to at the Textile Design Lab plus I signed up for two more at MIID which in hindsight was a bit of a waste of money for me but have actually proven to be a good network opportunity to interact with some very lovely people who are on a similar journey to mine.
So let’s just jump into the highlights and the “failures” for 2017 from a design career point of view:
The Yay Moments:
1- Getting the attention of 6 different studios and signing to four of them to design for women’s apparel...never worked for more than 2 at a time so I’ve got 2 on the go as I write this...2 didn’t work out as expected which is fine and 2 didn’t feel right from the start so I never signed the contracts.
2- Entering the PAOM endowment competition and being one of the winners giving me $2k worth of clothing printed with my designs! Will write about this in the future as need to do some follow up promo work for it too.
3 - Starting a Bullet Journal - this has really helped me focus my scattered brain on a daily basis as I’ve tracked everything under the sun on it relating to what I do etc.
4 - Getting into Instagram - though I haven’t achieved the number of followers I set out, I have to say it’s been an incredible tool and platform to see the work of studios (and find work), other designers and find like minded people...some of which I got to meet in person too.
Other biggies for me this year are registering self-employed (long ambition of mine!) and starting driving lessons…
The Nay Moments:
1- Not getting fit as I wanted to
2 - Not paying enough time to some friendships and putting work always first
3 - Not reading all the books I set out to read
4- Not getting into Patternbank despite 3 attempts so far!!
As I look at 2018, I have some important life decisions to make...some personal and difficult but feel more optimistic than ever that things will work out and I’ll keep making progress. So what tangible goals for next year? These are just some:
1- Explore new passive income streams e.g. teaching on Skillshare, selling digital products on Creative Market etc.
2- Networking plus investing more time and energy into worthwhile relationships
3 - Develop my social media presence more on LinkedIN and Facebook which have been largely ignored this year and possibly migrating my website to Squarespace.
4 - Explore new exciting ventures such as developing an art licensing portfolio, setting up a Christmas stall to sell some products and possibly approach clients directly to sell my designs.
There is so much to learn and do that I know I’m just scratching the surface here but feels good being on a journey and look forward to the next 5-10 years of further development!