2018 in Review and Looking ahead to 2019 | A Note from Kristin
Hi, friends. My heart is so full to be writing this post to you today. The last few weeks of 2018, along with the first week of 2019 have been filled with all sorts of ideas, thoughts, and reminiscent moments from a full year that 2018 was. I've waited to write this post past the month of December, until we were tip-toeing our way into a new year, for one main reason. I wanted to be able to savor and soak in all of the goodness that 2018 was for us here at the Society for Creative Founders. Those of you who know me well know that I tend to be a little bit sentimental, and every year I think of as a book. Although we were talking about reviewing your year in December here on this blog, I didn't want to close the 365 pages of the book that 2018 was for us until December 31st.
So today, here we are in January ... a few fresh days into an entirely new year, and it has me entirely grateful for all that the last year encompassed. I want to spend a little bit of time walking down our 2018 memory lane with you, before sharing a bit about our 2019 plans, ideas, dreams, and goals.
Take a little walk back with me through the year that 2018 was, won't you?
The first quarter of the year set the tone for the year, and we have to admit, we went all in with what we decided to implement.
January was a big month for us. It may be a bit odd to say that the first year was the one that was one of our biggest, but it wasn't big in loud, grand gestures ... rather it was big for us because it was the first month that we made big changes in the direction that we wanted the Society for Creative Founders to go. We held our first-ever Annual Creative Founders Alumni Mastermind Retreat, just a few steps away from where our Fall Conference took place on the beach. Eight alums gathered together here and shared their dreams for the future and more than anything else, made a conscious effort on the kind of business they wanted to create. Deep conversations took place, mindsets shifted, and we all left three days later with concrete plans for the year ahead.
We brought our Community to life with a completely redesigned structure that we love, and a loved class that started the year was led by Lisa Funk of Handlettered Design, entirely focused on Creating Products from a Heartfelt Place. I also recorded an episode with one of our Spring Conference speakers, Suzi Istvan, on her How to Create Podcast, centered in on Listening to your Creative Calling (listen to that episode here!).
In February and March, we taught two classes in our Community. The first was in February, with a class all about Learning Stop-Motion Video with Sarah Baumann of Signet Sealed, followed by a class in March led by Amy Braswell of Paperfinch Design, all about Weatherproofing your Business. We also shared a HUGE announcement in the end of March, announcing that we had been working behind the scenes with Susannah Carpenter of Hello Ginger, on a refreshed brand to better pair with the direction we were going, along with creating a new website, which you are reading this on now!
That announcement came only a few days prior to our first Conference of the year, which took place from April 15-18 at The Lee House in Pensacola, Florida. To say that our first quarter was a full one would be an understatement!
After our Spring Conference, Kelsey Baldwin of Paper + Oats led a class on Marketing Seasonally for your Business in April, followed by a class in May by Janet LeBlanc of Paper and Spark, on Organizing your Finances as a Creative Entrepreneur.
Between those two classes in our Community, our first Conference took place at The Lee House in Pensacola, Florida. This experience was one that we absolutely loved, and where so many of our attendees learned content that was actionable, memories were made, and we felt such joy from being able to gather these women together in the room. If you're interested in reliving it fully, see the posts here for Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3 recaps of this experience!
In May, I flew up to New York for the National Stationery Show. Not only did I walk those famous pink carpets and get to spend time with so many incredible creative entrepreneurs (including our very own alums Valerie McKeehan and Amy Braswell!), we arranged an evening with previous Creative Founders Alumni - a few of these women who had attended the Conference at the very first session, way back in 2011!
May was also heavily concentrated on getting so many of you set for the GDPR, and not surprisingly because of that, this post was one of our most popular of the year. Who remembers what that was like to experience? With that said, I have to ask, do you have your privacy policies + terms and conditions set up on your website by now, my friend?? If not, go and read the post and get this taken care of, sister!
May also included recording two podcast episodes with Kelly and Caroline (also two of our Alums!) on the Creative Biz Rebellion Podcast, all about planning a product launch. These episodes were so much fun and we packed it full of helpful content for all of you who will be doing that this year. You can listen to those episodes here and here!
In June, after much deliberation, I decided that for the long-term, moving our Conference to the Fall would be a better choice for us moving forward, so we launched our Fall Conference and announced that we would be moving it to a different location, on our beautiful Pensacola, Florida beach! This was probably the biggest leap of faith I took for us all year, but I can also tell you that this decision was not one that was taken lightly. That same month, I led a class in our Community sharing how to plan out business goals and use Trello to implement them, which was our most popular class of the year. Trello is a system that we use pretty in-depth here at Creative Founders, and this popular blog post contains a few of our favorite plug-ins, many of which we still use today!
For the month of July, I intentionally stepped back for the month in order to make sure we were still on track with our January goals for the year, and spent time rejuvenating my soul while preparing for what I knew would be a packed fall season.
The Fall of 2018 was entirely about supporting all of you and centering everything around the holiday season that was so good for so many of you, from helping you to learn how to add value to your shop or sharing tips for a successful season. In August, we paired up together with Amy Kinslow of Southern Fried Design Barn to lead a class on Marketing your Business at Tradeshows, followed by a class in September all about Creating Cohesive Collections. In October, we held our Fall Conference, and goodness gracious, was our heart filled with joy at this decision to move our Conference to the fall.
The 4 day recap of this experience will be coming your way in early February of this year (hint hint hint, to those of you who have been wondering when registration for this year's Fall Conference will open!). It was by far one of the most incredible conferences we have had yet, and the amount of transformations that took place during these four days on the beach still leave me without being able to put it all into words .... on a personal perspective, it left my heart filled with joy for what we do here, and made me so, so thrilled to be able to have taken that leap to have two Conferences in one year.
To close out the year, we "hosted" our first ever Gift Guide and in doing so, were also able to raise over $1,100 in a donation to Fit for Hope, to help to rebuild housing to those who had been devastated by Hurricane Michael just a couple hours east of us here. We opened our first ever pop-up Creative Founders Shop filled with products specifically for artists, makers, and designers, and we also held our final class for our Community on Content Planning, along with having a lot of talk about when reviewing what 2018 had held for so many of the women who are in our Community with us.
So now, here we are, in January of 2019, and the cusp of a new year is upon us. A new year filled with new possibilities, new ideas, new potential as to what the year may and will hold, but more than anything else, I didn't want to step fully into another year without simply saying thank you to each and every one of you who we had the joy of meeting or working with this year. When I look back, there are so many memories that are solid gold from the year. From growing relationships with the women we chat with every day in our Community to those who had those aha moments both publicly and behind the scenes at one of our Conferences or in one of our Classes, it was simply a year that makes me so happy to get to do this each and every day.
On a personal note, when I look back at 2018 and summarize it briefly business-wise, I traveled to more than 10 cities across the US and attended 4 different conferences. For the Society for Creative Founders, we hosted 14 classes, published more than 60 blog posts, hosted two sold-out conferences and hosted an Alumni Retreat. Reading that, once put all together, simply makes me say, whoa. 2018 was simply packed.
And so to close out this post today, 2018 was such a good year, but it was also one that we learned a lot about what we want the Society for Creative Founders to be moving forward. This year, I am making a few changes so that I am investing well into our Community, with the Classes we teach, at our Conference, and our additional offerings, both free content for you along with educational business investments that will become available throughout the year.
I fully believe that sometimes, rather than looking to learn something new, sometimes we need to look intrinsically to the resources you already know you have to set your business apart, apply the things you already have read about or learned to gain the confidence you need, and I know that sometimes you simply need a nudge or a caring word from someone who gets it and understands, who wants to see you become successful in your business in the way that you deem it to be successful. This has a different meaning for every one of us as business owners, but another vital, vital piece to all of this, is developing a life you love, and taking care of yourself as well. You will hear me talking more about this in the months ahead here on this blog and on Instagram, but rather than pushing through the year at a pace that leaves you exhausted, overwhelmed, and simply burnt out, as so many of you shared with me that you were in the last few weeks of the year last year, I hope that what we teach over the course of the next twelve months that 2019 will encompass will leave you working through the year slowly and steadily, at a pace that leaves your cup filled and with confidence growing each and every day, even when December arrives for the year once again.
We have some good things happening in the weeks ahead, starting off with our class on Marketing your Business at Bridal Expos taking place just a few days from now on January 10th (if you're participating in a Bridal Show, register for this class here!), and our Membership Community is re-opening to new members to in the days ahead as well. But, more than anything else, every piece of content that we produce for you this year will be a tool, a tip, or have an educational purpose to help you to grow a business you absolutely love, whether you’re just getting started in your business or have been established for a while, and are looking to advance your business in different ways.
I can't wait to see not only all that this new year will hold for the Society for Creative Founders, but also, what it will hold for each of you. Cheers to the good year that 2018 was, and investing well in all that 2019 will be.