Today I’m sitting down to reflect and review my achievements and setbacks for the last year. I’ll be honest, reviewing 2022 was a bit of a struggle this year. I felt overwhelmed. Although I always look forward to this time of the year, it was hard getting through the process.
With that said, there’s always a lesson that can be learned. This is no exception. For me, it implies that my process may be too hefty. Or that I put too much pressure on myself to remember every little detail that’s happened in the last year. Moving forward, I’ll want to improve my process to help ease the feeling of overwhelm and bring back the fun!
With that out of the way, let’s begin this review! I’d say 2022 was full of successes with a few setbacks sprinkled in. So let’s dive in!
For the past couple of years, I’ve purposefully chosen a word to describe my intentions for the upcoming year. I found it difficult to find a word that represented my goals for 2022. I knew I wanted to be more intentional with my time and with what I worked on. But finding a perfect word ended up being fruitless. So in the end I didn’t settle on any words at all.
Looking back today, I would say that 2022 was definitely a year of intention, commitment and patience. I tried to maintain my focus and my eye on the goal. Doing what I could to get my art in front of as many eyes as I could. I also practiced patience with myself as well as with the process because I know it’s the key to long-term success. Or so many other more experienced designers have told me!
All-in-all I was able to complete many of the goals I had set for myself with a few new endeavours to boot! As you can see from the pie chart below, out of everything I set out to achieve I managed to complete most of them.
- Adding 30+ new designs to my licensing portfolio
- Reaching out to 40+ companies whose products fit with my art style
- Starting 2 newsletters for different audiences
- Earning the trust of subscribers joining my newsletters - this is a highlight of my day every single time
- Added new cards to my Thortful shop
- Proudly partnered with Felt
- Created a LinkedIn account and consistently posted
- Separated my personal banking accounts from my business
- Nearly reaching my income goal (I’m calling this a win because I never thought it was actually possible - and I proved to myself that it is)
Unplanned Successes (Additions):
- Connected with a like-minded designer, and we became accountability partners
- I was featured on Print & Pattern’s blog
- Joined JIGGY Studio
I’ll be diving a little deeper into those points in this review later but I thought it would be interesting to share the goals I didn’t quite achieve.
- Nearly made my social media follower goal
- Close calls for a handful of licensing opportunities that didn’t pan out (yet!)
I’m keeping it simple with these fun little graphics. They help me better visualize if my efforts are paying off and where I should focus for next year.
In general, my greeting cards and the platforms I’ve been selling them on have been doing very well for me. So it’s no surprise that my biggest source of income was through Thortful. Specifically during the holiday season for both 2021 and 2022. So it’s safe to say that’s one of the major places I need to keep in focus for next year.
Felt was a new addition late in the year (November). Although 3% of my income came from here, I suspect it’ll increase next year becoming my second biggest source of income. So I definitely want to continue building this avenue.
I’d love to spend more time creating for RedBubble, I have a small local niche that I can play into more. But should I invest my time here? This has been my internal debate for over a year.
Soceity6 is not working for me at all, I made the least amount of sales this year compared to previous years. Should I spend time trying to figure out why and try to improve my sales on this platform?
These questions I’m still not 100% certain about what I should be doing. The one thing I do know is that I definitely should continue creating fun greeting cards!
I’m sad to say I didn’t sign any licensing contracts in 2022. Really bummed about this one, but I know that I need to be patient and persistent. I’m in it for the long haul and I realize it takes a few years to get the ball rolling. Let's review the positives!
I created 40+ new designs this year, doubling last year's total. Out of the 70+ designs in my portfolio, I ended up retiring 16 of them. It’s a healthy and important exercise to regularly review your portfolio. To analyze the merit of each design and whether it should be in your portfolio or not. I've done this a handful of times throughout the year. You should too!
Pitching my Portfolio
This year I also made a point to pitch my work every single month (or just about). My goal was to pitch to 5 new companies each month and follow up with new artwork with previous contacts. I’ve had several awesome conversations and a handful of interest in my work. So I see the positive even within the negative.
While it may feel a little disheartening to know that all my efforts didn’t result in any signed contracts. I know that this is just a matter of contacting the right person at the right time. So it's only a matter of time.
I continue to think this is still my best option for getting my work licensed in the future and I plan to continue with the same momentum for next year.
This year was no exception for continued learning. I invested in a bunch of courses to help steer me in the right direction.
To name a few:
- Explore Florals with Victoria Johnson
- Create Christmas with Victoria Johnson
- Portfolio Masterclass with Shannon McNab
- Artful Pricing & Negotiation with Shannon McNab
- And a handful of Skillshare courses* on illustration, hand-lettering, drawing florals and learning new ways of doing things
Some I’ve completed and implemented, others not as much as I would have liked. It’s actually quite difficult to balance learning, working, creating, and life all in one go. So yeah I struggled a little here. But the good news is, I have continued access to most of those courses forever. No need to feel guilty about completing them as soon as I get them. More learning for 2023!
*Disclaimer: I’m an affiliate for Skillshare, If you signup using my link above, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services I’ve personally used and think you might also enjoy.
New in 2022
This last section is for the things I didn’t plan for or added to my to-do list that were new to me.
The biggest addition was my newsletter. I debated for several months beforehand, because I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to commit to it and I was fearful that no one would be interested.
In the end, I opted to give it a go anyway. I built 2 separate newsletters for 2 different audiences. A monthly newsletter to share free monthly wallpapers, news and updates surrounding my work. My second newsletter is a quarterly newsletter geared towards art buyers and directors where I can share new artwork with.
During the course of building my newsletter, I switched from using MailChimp to ConvertKit. That was a huge learning curve and time sync that in hindsight I could have done without.
At the end of the day, I have no regrets. I’m delighted to see everyone whose allowed me in their inboxes every month or quarter. It’s been a pleasure creating new wallpaper designs and reaching out to my email list. I hope to continue growing this side of Tawnart in the future and to see where it may lead me.
This was my very first year in contact with an accountability partner and it’s been wonderful! I met Nina in 2021 when we both invested in the same course. By the end of that year, we had decided to join forces. To keep each other accountable while giving each other the opportunity to use our strengths to brainstorm new ideas and problems within our own businesses.
I’ll admit our process could use a lot more structure but in the end, it was an awesome experience! I look forward to continuing our chats into 2023 and finally meeting in person!
2022 was my second full year setting goals and following through on them. I kept my focus as much as possible and accomplished much of what I set out to do. With some exceptions of course. Overall, 2022 was a good year, with lots of learning, persistence and patience involved. And I expect more of this for next year.
How was your year? Are yearly reviews part of your process? I'd love to know!