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I had every single intention of writing a 2019 business review blog post – you know the ones that come out at the end of December reflecting back on the year that has passed. But that didn’t happen. Instead, I traveled to Norway to visit my precious family, and I’d say it was the best decision I could have made.
Then Squarespace sent me an email reminding me that my domain renews on January 12th! And it made me realize that the business anniversary of Hygge Design Co is the perfect time to publish this post reflecting on the past year in business. These are some of my favorite posts to read, and I’ve been reading Paige Brunton’s posts like these for a while. Since I love Paige’s posts so much, I used some of her layout sprinkled with some additional sections to gather up my 2019 business reflections for you.
In this post, I’ll take a little trip down memory lane with y’all to see what all went down in 2019 for Hygge Design Co!
This always seems like the juiciest one, right? It’s almost frowned upon to share the money part of things, but I know we’re also so curious to know what other people made, and how they did.
I won’t be sharing exact numbers here, but I did want to show a little graph comparing my business revenue in 2018 and 2019. Hygge Design Co was founded early 2019, but before that, I was operating as a virtual assistant/dabbling into web design.
Let’s have a look:
While I’m excited about the growth, I’m probably even more excited about the fact that I was very protective of my “yeses” in 2019. I had a very clear idea of who I wanted to be working with and what I wanted to be known for, and if it didn’t align with that (or could possibly move me closer towards that) it would get a “gentle no” from me.
In 2019 I tested a couple of different marketing strategies – some because I was intrigued, others because I got burned out on what I was doing (more on this to come). Here’s a little overview of how I spent my time marketing Hygge Design Co in 2019:
I started the year off strong with Pinterest marketing. This is by no means an immediate results kind of thing, so it can take a little while to reap the rewards from this. I did have a post get repinned by Jenna Kutcher, which did incredible things for my then-new brand and website.
I also used to offer Pinterest marketing in my business (and I still do this service for a select number of clients) so Pinterest was something that came easy to me.
But, if I’m going to be honest, it is also a point where I got lazy towards the end of the year. I think part of that was due to the fact that I no longer felt in alignment with my brand – so I didn’t really want to keep sharing things, but also that I was trying to figure out this whole blogging thing and what I wanted to keep sharing.
I do have big hopes for Pinterest in 2020, and I plan to keep this part of my marketing strategy moving forward in a more strategic way + with my rebrand I have tons of new graphics to share which I’m super excited about!
I did really great for a long while blogging consistently. At one point I was publishing blog posts twice a week, and I had a really good rhythm going with my blog schedule. But then the inevitable happened – I got tired of writing. It almost felt like I’d run out of words, and nothing on my list of 30+ blog ideas seemed appealing to write about.
So you know what I did? I stopped. Yep. Simple as that.
My business is founded on the principles of hygge – to reduce stress and provide a life I love. If I dread blogging, then why on earth would I put myself through that?
I’m happy to say though, that the rebrand process has provided me with some new inspiration, and I’m looking forward to blogging again!
I also did have a couple of blog posts do really really well – like number one on Google well – which I’m super excited about and really makes me more motivated to dive back into blogging.
Starting a new Instagram feels like the slowest process ever. It takes forever to grow the account, and some days it’s extremely uninspiring to post to the platform when no one’s really looking at it.
I used to think I had to save my best posts for the day I got more followers. You know, I didn’t want my killer captions and well curated photos to go to waste. But luckily, I’ve moved past that and I’m now actually enjoying Instagram. Both for sharing my work but also for connecting with other creatives, both potential clients and fellow designers!
I’ve also been using Instagram stories a lot, and I’ve actually had comments from IG friends turned real life friends that they feel like they already know me because of my stories. This is huge for me, as I really strive to be authentic on the platform and really gives me motivation to keep going!
This was probably my biggest win of 2019 when it comes to marketing. In person networking and client referrals have been absolute gold for me this past year. I actually set up a referral program with my past clients because I really appreciate their kind words and sending new clients my way. So far it seems to be working great!
I also started attending Tuesday’s Together, which was not only great for the client side of things, but also to just to figure out what is needed out there and how I can be of help to others in my local area. Oh, I also met some INCREDIBLE people, and I don’t think my business (or my motivation) would be the same without them.
What’s a good recap without some reflections on the past year? In 2019 I realized a lot about who I am as a designer, the power of standing out rather than fitting in, and what kinds of projects fuel my creative passions.
Because of these realizations, I now only offer one official service on my website – the brand strategy and web design package. This allows me to dig deep into every single design project I take on, which helps me serve my clients 10x better. This also allows for way better results, which is such a key in this process as well.
I also realized the Hygge Design Co brand and website did not match up with the brand message I was creating, so at the end of 2019/early 2020 I completed my own brand strategy/web design process. I must say, I’m quite happy with the result and I feel a lot better going into this second year in business feeling more aligned than ever. And it also looks like y’all are loving the new look! I actually booked 2 clients within days of launching my new brand because they loved it so much, which I’
m ecstatic about!
I was going to call this section flops & failures, but that’s a little too negative. Basically, things I learned the hard way this year:
Introducing a wedding industry side to my business – I learned a whole lot (that really helps me serve my clients better) and also realized I do not have what it takes to run two different brands under the Hygge Design Co umbrella
I also tried launching some passive products to my business, but realized the demand and expertise was not there just yet. It’s something I would love to add down the road, but for now I really want to focus on my 1:1 clients and serve them well.
Square Secrets Business course – Paige Brunton
Instagram Education course – Rebekah Viola
My 1st and 2nd brand photo shoot with Madalyn Yates Photography
Creative at Heart Conference Round 9 (I even got to meet Paige Brunton at this conference, which was super cool!)
My contract from The Creative Law Shop (use code IDA10 for 10% off)
Listening to podcasts – The Breakthrough Brand podcast was a big discovery in 2019
Speaking at Tuesday’s Together! (I look forward to speaking to this group again in 2020)
Going full time in my business!
Networking and socializing with fellow creatives
Blogging because I wanted to, not because I had to
Flexibility and grace to figure it all out this year!
While I did take a little blogging break, I do have a couple of favorite blog posts that have served me, my clients, and my website visitors well in 2019. Here are my top 5:
There are so many things I’m looking forward to in 2020, the biggest one being a more personal one. My husband is finally graduating from law school, and I actually can’t wait! I’m probably more tired of law school than him at the moment, but the end is in sight.
On the business side of things, I’m hoping to attend a business retreat and possibly invest in another course (or two). I really loved attending Creative at Heart in 2019, but it is a fairly large conference, and my introverted self is feeling like a more intimate/smaller experience might be exactly what I need in 2020. I’m still trying to find the one that will be the perfect fit, but I do have a couple in mind already 😉
Working with more incredible clients is also one of the things I look forward to this year. Every single person I chat with is doing such incredible things, and I love that I have the opportunity to come alongside these women and not only help them with their brand strategy/website but also cheer them on and help boost their confidence!
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