17 lessons I learned in 2014


You can do a lot in a year. You can come a long way and work really hard to do so. You can meet a lot of amazing people and work towards amazing things. You can fail a lot and you can have some small successes. You can be pleased with yourself and you can be very, very disappointed. You can fall in love and you can fight over stupid things. You can move on and you can spin your wheels and get stuck. Most of all you can move forward in a year.

I hate New Years posts because while I was preparing to write one all I was doing was looking backward. I looked back to remind myself what had happened this year and I every time I tried to come up with something to say about 2014, I was incredibly disappointed in myself because of where I started. I am going to save you from having to read the post about the disappointments because there is no point in looking back when I am not headed that way. I am moving forward, making progress and learning. If I had to come up with something for this year, a recurring theme if you will, it was learning. I was constantly learning new skills, new things about myself and new ways to go about things to make myself better. Here is what I learned in 2014:

1. Being able to give someone my whole heart is the best thing ever.

2. Free lancing is HARD (I signed up for a marathon and I’m a sprinter…we are getting into a good pace though)

3. Doing what you love for a living is the second best thing ever (see #1)

4. You can’t do it all. If you try, you will burn out. You also can’t be all things to all people.

5. If you compare yourself, you will hate yourself so just don’t…especially on social media (it ain’t real life, trust me, my life is MESSY)

6. There is very little balance in life when you have your own business. Prioritize.

7. You have a lot of good ideas. Write them down.

8. Research, research, research and then research some more. It pays off.

9. People will try to take advantage of you. Find some business mentors and put them on speed dial. Don’t make any large moves before you talk to someone who has been there.

10. STOP SCROLLING. It doesn’t make you better. START WORKING.

11. Goals are the key to getting closer to my dream. Telling people about them keeps me accountable.

12. WORK AT NIGHT. Get your paperwork, emails, meetings, etc. during the day

13. Don’t wait ’til the last second. Something will go wrong if you do.

14. A social media following doesn’t matter at the end of the day.

15. The creative process will make you feel like shit most days and rarely a genius…it’s worth it.

16. Only make what sells but never make something you don’t want to make. (best advice I have received in this biz thus far)


I feel a lot better about my year now. Life is such an amazing ride.






I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book.


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  1. Colleen Dillon says:

    Very wise words from a gal whose journey I admire. You indeed have excelled and should be extremely proud. Shiny things only come after all the rough edges have time to be rubbed up against life, in all its abrasive forms. Some days it’s fine polishing grit and some days the really tough stuff. I think you will enjoy your 2015 immensely. Thanks for sharing all this with us!

    • ryanmkatie says:

      Thanks so much Colleen. I just love that wisdom. Thanks so much for taking the time to tell me that. You are very right, it’s all about the journey.
      Best wished to you in 2015!


  2. YvonneMullen says:

    You are amazing . Happy 2015

  3. trumpeteer4 says:

    This makes me happy 🙂 Here’s to wishing you another fantastic with a ton more growth and amazing opportunities! *clink* 😉
    ~Trevor B

    • ryanmkatie says:

      Thanks so much Trevor, I’m so glad we are able to work together and both grow from doing so. You’re a part of why I can do what I do. Let’s get together soon and shoot something awesome…possibly shoot a bunch of new products?! Happy New Year!!

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Meet Your Brand Artist

I’m Katie, the brand strategist, designer, dreamer, and entrepreneur behind Artful Brands. Dreamy typefaces, clean layouts, and soft color palettes are my love language— but more importantly designing strategic brands that book. I believe in creating a life and a business you love, creativity over competition, and designing with equal parts passion and purpose.




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photos by laura rae photography & grace k beck