By the Numbers
Number of proposals sent: 19
Clients Worked With: 13
Websites Designed: 7
Brands Designed: 8
Main Referral Source: Industry/Client Referral
•This is a big one and I barely snuck by but I beat my revenue from 2020 and had my best year yet in business while working significantly less than I did last year. Even though it wasn’t massive growth, I’m still really proud of hitting that milestone.
•Had our most successful launch ever for a client and that client was sweet enough to report the actual numbers of her launch to me so I knew exactly what the value of the launch was. This is such valuable information for a designer to have.
Here are a handful of the brands we launched this year! A few of these I have yet to completely reveal but they are some of my favorites ever.
What Went Well
•Booked out for the year in October and closed my books early
•Continued to refine my branding process and made strategy a focus in branding projects to get our clients better results
•Worked with the most amazing clients that more importantly were incredible humans that trusted me to bring their vision to life. I felt like all year I had dream clients that were very aligned with my mission in business. I literally had clients tell me on sales calls they appreciated what I stood for and weren’t about hustle culture and that’s why they wanted to work with me (along with the branding work they’ve seen).
•I moved away from hourly work this year especially in the back half of the year and it allowed me to live more life away from my desk and make my health a priority
•This is a personal win but worth mentioning. I lost 27 pounds this year and started scheduling in workouts as one of my most important “meetings” of the day. This allowed me to power through another challenging year and my mental health improved drastically. I started changing the internal dialogue I was having with myself and found an outlet where I could get my competitive energy out instead of using that energy at work.
What Didn’t Go As Planned
Lots of things- consider this the short list. Year two of running a small business through a pandemic was no easy feat.
•Instagram was a huge pain point of mine this year and I know I’m not alone here. There were so many times I thought about leaving the platform altogether and ultimately decided to stay out of fear of not booking clients. I was really craving privacy and just didn’t feel like I wanted to share that much of my life on that platform anymore. I also really struggled to know how much of client projects to share- I love sharing my design process but it’s tough to not reveal too much but still promote my work.
•Managing a team member was a struggle for me this year. I had a hard time staying on top of my client deadlines and approving things internally/prioritizing deadlines I set for my own business.
•Semi Custom Brands- this one hurts my heart to write but semi-customs ended up being full blown custom brands at a lower price point and that just didn’t work.
•This is a personal one but I had some health struggles with my PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) this year that were scary. We ended up finding out we will need fertility assistance and that was really hard for me emotionally.
All in all there was a ton of growth that happened this year. I always have to remind myself the downs is where growth and learning happens and to wish them away would make for an uninteresting life.
This year I made two large investments in my business and one large personal investment.
•My biggest one being in my VA and it was such an incredible way to grow my business by outsourcing. Brooke my Virtual Assistant built systems and processes for me and took a ton off of my plate and I’m forever grateful to her.
•Outsourcing strategy for my own business was also an investment I made this year that I saw a complete ROI on. It may be surprising that I did this as a brand strategist myself but I know the value in working with an outside source when it comes to brand strategy and I knew I needed a fresh set of eyes on everything to determine the best direction for long-term growth.
•Usually I invest in some sort of paid education or mastermind but this year I took a break and used those resources elsewhere and this was a really good decision for me to use this year to implement what I know.
•And personally we hired a contractor to remodel our 1960s kitchen. After saving up for years we finally were able to make it happen and we now have our dream kitchen.
Looking Ahead: Plans, Goals, big dreams for 2022
•Rebrand for qk website- I have a vision for a new online home for my own business. This will be a massive undertaking for me. I’m planning on switching my site over from Squarespace to Showit and building out a site that reflects the work I’m capable of and allows for more growth. I feel like I’ve really outgrown this site (which has served me so well) but I did launch it back in 2019 so it’s time.
•Launching templates have been a goal of mine for a while. My 1-on-1 services will always be my bread and butter but I really want to create a way to make my design work more accessible to more businesses. I’m still flushing out what this will look like but I’m excited about the possibilities!
•Finally a big personal goal we have for our home is to have all new flooring put in on our main level. This will be a huge undertaking but SO worth the result and value added to our home.
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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.