Thursday, January 17, 2013

2013 Future Letter

It’s the middle of January and I’m reading about everybody’s resolutions and goals, and I can’t help but feel a little intimidated. I thought that I would really be in the mood to write my 2013 future letter, but the end of 2012 was such a struggle that I feel like I started the new year beat down and defeated. While I would love to say that I hit the ground running, the truth is that I totally didn’t. I wanted to sit and write my 2013 future letter sooner, but I knew that I was in no mood to be able to sit and write the optimistic and upbeat letter that I knew I deserved. I put a lot of thought into writing my goals, so instead of trying to force myself to write something I didn't feel connected to, I decided to give myself some time to relax, recharge and reconnect. There are also some really big personal goals that have been tossing around in my head that I’m not completely ready to share in such an open forum. However, I decided to let go of those issues, and share them when the time is right, and instead dive into the things I know for sure.

So here I am, and I’m excited to say that I’ve got my mojo back. I am so ready for 2013 to be the biggest year of my life.

2012 was a fabulous year, despite the rough ending. I grew leaps and bounds and I really view the year as one where I began laying the groundwork for future big things. From finally creating a website, to getting my Tax ID, I feel like I'm entering 2013 with a legit business on my hands. I’m anticipating 2013 to be my biggest year thus far – kind of my make-it or break-it year. I’ll be more strategic and business minded, with a genuine focus on my goals and my brand. I feel like I have little tiny egg in my hand, and I can either take that egg and nurture it into a beautifully majestic bird, or I can drop it and never see what it might have become. Fingers crossed that I don’t end up with scrambled eggs.

Without any further explanation, I give you my 2013 Future Letter. (and if you don't know what a future letter is, find out about them here)

Dear Jackie,

     This year was one that stuck out in your mind as absolutely life changing. You're business grew, your life grew, you grew (but not around the waist, please God, no), and you worked hard to lay the foundation for many years to come. I'm proud of you and the way you approached everything this past year!
     You really figured out your personal direction and made sure that your business aligned with where you knew you needed to (or wanted to) go. Instead of trying to cut corners, you spent what you needed to spend – in time and money – to invest in the future of your business. You still get giddy every time an editor or something pops into your inbox with a wonderful “opportunity”, but instead of taking all the bait, you made sure to only take the lines that were best for you. It was hard to say no, but you always had your business in mind. This was the year that you finally turned your hobby into a business.
     You were able to grow your wedding line substantially, all while continuing to find your voice as a designer. You’re finally comfortable in your own skin and have confidence in your talent and abilities. While it’s so easy to see other designs styles that you love, you’ve realized that you don’t have to be like everybody else, you just have to be like you. One thing that you’ve continued to do is stand by your product and ensure great quality. It’s hard to swallow your pride and admit that something failed, but by showing that you’re human, you were better able to connect with your customers. On that note, you resolved the issues you had with your iPad case line, and continue to use that experience to guide the way you launch and test new products. You've finally figured out which vendors are the ones that match your business values, and you are comfortable counting on them to help you move forward.
     Some of your most comfortable habits were challenged on purpose, and you even got yourself an email address. You also worked up the nerve to migrate your blog off of blogspot. It was sad, since you really hate change, and felt so loyal to the service you'd been using for years, but your business is more professional because of it. You've also worked on some of the other professional, but not-so-fun things like contracts, invoices, accounting, bookkeeping and yadda, yadda, yadda. It's still a struggle, but with the help of a good accountant and adviser, you're able to keep everything in order and you are no longer worried about the IRS knocking on your door. In fact, if they were to knock on the door, you might even have a loaf of banana bread ready to greet them with.
     Instead of guarding your business, you’re opening doors and continuing to network with the larger community. You’ve collaborated with some amazing professionals and you have a network of people that you rely on and trust. It’s refreshing to have done away with the “me against the world” attitude and to have embraced the “us against the world” partnership. It’s still uncomfortable to be in networking situations, and you may never be a master mingler, but as you gained confidence in your business, you also gained confidence in yourself during social situations.
     Moving away from Believe Notes - you've also had a new venture to take care of, Designers Care. It's been so rewarding to have a project which such a worthy cause, because that's something you believe in from the bottom of your heart. Instead of letting Designers Care be a one-and-done project, you've grown it into a business. You spent a lot of time working on making sure it's a legitimate and sustainable company, which was both challenging and rewarding. You've got a process in place for new designers, donating to a variety of organizations, and a way to maximize donations while still earning enough to keep the business growing. It still makes your heart warm to know that amazing group of people that have rallied with you to make this project successful - and who knows, maybe someday you really will be on Ellen!
     Even though you carefully planned out each of your goals for 2013, there were a lot of unexpected turns in the road. You may have felt stressed, but you never lost your composure and you were able to learn from each new experience. At the end of the day, it was all of those little unplanned things that really made you proud of how far you've come. Each challenge you faced also presented you with the opportunity to make something right – and you continued to follow a business model that is warm and trustworthy for your customers.
     It's amazing, isn't it, how much can happen in just one year? Every year seems to have been full of learning, growth, and challenge, but this past year was the one that was groundbreaking for you. You may be ending the year with a lot on your plate (and mind), but you are so ready for everything that's coming your way. I know you’re scared, because you’re pretty much always scared, but you’ve worked your ass off to get where you are, and I am so proud of you!

Future Jackie

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