Overall, 2022 was a good year. I was so happy to return live get together and events, and to travel to see family and have adventures. I also continued to learn new recipes and methods for making pizza in my Ooni pizza oven, and enjoyed making pizza every Friday! I achieved my goal of doing at least one hike per month, and even managed to hike in new places, like Austin, TX, where I went for a short getaway with my husband in October.
2022 Business Goals
Continue to position Design TLC as a WordPress agency for small schools and nonprofits.
Admittedly, I did not take very much action to support this goal. I intended to create more content for web and social media. I outsourced this so it happened, but I participated minimally. I conducted Lunch & Learn Workshops from January-May, and opted not to restart them after the summer as our project workload was full. My strategy revolved around continuing to build relationships within the school consultant community, which did help to grow my reputation and gain some new clients. I developed a more formal referral policy and started reaching out to colleagues to ask them to consider my agency if they were in a position to recommend a website solution for one of their school clients. I had three projects (out of 9) which came from these referrals.
Outsource for support: Find and hire an experienced website designer/contractor to kick off new projects.
I conducted a formal search for a designer early in 2022 and found a few great candidates. I brought one designer on as a team member and have worked with her on a number of projects. We seem to work well together. Having a designer on the team has saved me time and, importantly, has allowed me to collaborate, which I think results in better designs. This also led to substantially higher expenses, and although I built in the outsourced costs into most of my proposals, I did not budget enough for this.
I hired Michelle Mercurio to help me develop messaging for a new website, and worked with my colleague and former business partner, Evelyn Powers of Design Powers, to refresh my website design. I found it helpful to get an “outsider’s” view on my business. I wanted a fresh perspective, which is hard to do for your own company. With Michelle’s suggestions and new content, and Evelyn’s updated design concepts, I should be ready to relaunch my website in the first quarter of 2023! This was a significant investment in my business. It also provided the motivation to think more about my business values and mission. I am really excited to share my new website and messaging!
I started to increase prices in 2022, for new clients and then toward the end of the year, started letting existing clients know their monthly or annual cost was going up. Right after I did this, Stripe increased their fees, so I don’t know if my increase will make much difference in the end!
2022 Personal Goals
Be a more positive and kind person.
After losing two loved ones to cancer within a few months at the end of 2021, I made a goal to reach out to someone who has had an impact on my life every week to let them know what they mean to me. Of all the goals I set and achieved in 2022, this is my favorite. It has been an amazing gift to let people know they are important, they are loved and that they made a difference. I am going to continue this goal in 2023 and beyond (of course I am keeping track of everyone I contact and who I want to contact in a spreadsheet – if you know me, you know I use spreadsheets for everything!)
My word of the year in 2022 was “creativity.” I was feeling that my former creative self was lost in the shuffle of being creative for my clients. I wanted to find creative outlets that were not related to website design, or even to technology. I continued to participate in the Bewilderness Writing Group for part of the year, and then tried to commit to writing once a week on my own (I did not hold myself accountable to this and did not do it consistently).
I embraced the ability to return to in-person cultural experiences, such as concerts, plays and museums. While I admit I enjoyed the downtime of COVID and not having external things on the schedule, I forgot how much I enjoy live events.
Maintain existing exercise and nutrition habits. Pay more attention to water and sugar intake.
I tore my meniscus in June, and stopped running. I planned, and then canceled knee surgery and ultimately started physical therapy instead. I didn’t run for 6 months, fearing I would make it worse, but then learned that as long as I am careful, and if the physical therapy seems to help, running could be ok. Over the last 6 months, I continued to ride the stationary bike and do strength exercises; however, I did not push myself and lost some level of cardio fitness and strength. I was not always attentive to drinking enough water, and had only short spurts of measuring and limiting sugar intake, although I think in general I was pretty aware of minimizing processed sugars. I feel good, and my physical a few months ago showed some improvements in some benchmarks, so these habits may have had a positive impact on my health.
I am really disappointed that I did not follow through on the goal to downsize and get rid of things I don’t need in my house. I started off well, going through boxes of photos and digitizing them, but I didn’t really continue into other areas as planned. I know I have a lot of things I can get rid of, but I find it hard to motivate to do this when I am not forced to!
Family & Friends
While not a stated goal, I appreciated time with family and cherished family connections over the last year. As part of my desire to let people know what they mean to me, I took to heart the value of spending time with family and friends. I also received my Irish Citizenship! My grandmother, Kathleen Devine, immigrated to the US in 1929 when she was 21. I applied for citizenship in 2020, and due to COVID, it took over 2 years to receive my citizenship papers. I am excited to visit Ireland in 2024!
I continue to use the 12 Week Year process to plan out goals and tactics. This method works well for me, and I also started using the Habit Tracker App in the fall to make sure I check off some daily and weekly tasks in order to turn them into habits. This has been working well for me (I turned if off over the holidays but found some things were ingrained in my routine anway!)
Goal 1: Be A known source for WordPress websites for schools and nonprofits
I am hoping to speak at some school association/school marketing conferences in 2023, and to apply for more conferences that are taking applications for 2024. I have reached out to some colleagues, and will reach out to more, to learn more about these opportunities.
I am using my Habit Tracker app to try to build in a habit of checking LinkedIn every day for 5-10 minutes. I think this will help expose me to more information and connections in the school and nonprofit industries.
Goal 2: Produce more targeted content (WordPress for small schools & nonprofits)
I am relaunching my website soon! In conjunction with this, I will be adjusting some of my social media messaging and branding, and also will be thinking more about ways to use the new messaging developed by Michelle Mercurio.
I may restart workshops later in year if I have the bandwidth, and am also going to tap into video recordings from presentations to share snippets on social media.
My word of the year is “accountability.” I joined a professional Mastermind/Coaching group this year. I have done informal Mastermind groups many times, and participated in one paid Mastermind many years ago. It helps to have some accountability and fresh ideas, so I am looking forward to seeing how this impacts my business in 2023.
Goal 3: Manage Budget and Track Time
I have come a long way in developing a good estimating process and a Profit First approach to my income and budget. I spent more than I had budgeted in 2022, and didn’t realize it until my year-end review. This increase due to the marketing expenses for my new website, joining the Mastermind and more outsourced work. As a result, I am going to pay closer attention to my expenses and am reviewing some subscriptions and tools that I may not need going forward.
Lead with kindness
I want people to know that I care about them. In 2023, I will continue my weekly outreach of kindness to someone in my life. It is so important to me to be kind – and when I fall short, or unintentionally hurt someone, I obsess about it. I know I also need to be kind to myself, which is not easy, even though the tattoo on my wrist reminds me all the time that I should treat myself like I treat my friends!
Healthy Habits: Drink Water & Get Out In Nature (Habit Tracker App)
I continued this goal, as it is an ongoing process. I have developed some healthy habits, and even though by now they come naturally, I find it helpful to connect these habits to the overall goal, to give them more meaning and importance. The Habit Tracker app is helpful in supporting my commitment to some healthy daily habits.
I am going to do at least one hike per month again in 2023!
Rediscover My Creativity & Arts Appreciation
I have not signed up for a writing group again. I really liked it, but got busy with work and found myself too distracted to fully participate in the online meeting. I am going to be more accountable to writing on my own once a week, and journaling at least 3 days a week. I have been taking the opportunity to record some memories from my childhood, which has been fun to think back to and try to recall small details, like the color and texture of the bedspread in my childhood bedroom, or the taste and feel of Poprocks on the tongue. I have a goal to share one piece of my writing per month on my tlcbytara.com website, which is a good way to document it and be more accountable for it.
I plan to attend one cultural event per month, whether it is a concert, play or visit to a museum.
I am not fully committed to this goal, so don’t even know why I am listing it here! If it’s not planned out, I am less likely to do it, but I don’t have the bandwidth for it in my first 12 week year, so will keep it as an option for the next one.
I don’t expect people to read these year in review posts, but I continue to do them for my own reference and accountability. If you’ve read this, I hope there are some things here that resonate with you, and I’d love to hear from you!