My 2016 in review

Last day of the year – time to review the last 12 months. Well, the last 9, because this blog started in March. This is what it felt like to me:

MY BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT FOR 2016

I began blogging despite my English and zero blogging experiences. It was (and still is) lots of fun and a big challenge. I learned so much without even noticing it: I went on Twitter and recently added Instagram and started sharing my work; I read blogs and other bloggers’ posts and started absorbing all their tips and ideas. A few weeks ago I went to a workshop: branding for architects. I was amazed how much I already knew. All my reading on Twitter and Linkedin turned into valuable knowledge, and I was able to use it not only for my blog but also for my business idea. I’d like to say thank you to Twitter and WordPress and a very special thank to Sarah Morgan, Nesha Woolery, Lauren Lizzie, Alexis Chateau, Gretchen Rubin whose book encouraged me to start blogging and Penelope Trunk.

The reason to start blogging was to find out what kind of freelance business I wanted to have. There were lots of ideas but no real plan. That’s why the first step was to set up a program. The first to do’s on the list were:

SPORT AND MEDITATION

I did a lot of sports and spent a lot of time working on meditation, but not as much as I hoped I would do. Sometimes I enjoyed it, and sometimes I didn’t, but I always felt better afterwards. After each run, I felt relaxed and a little bit happier than before, and every time after ten minutes quiet sitting on the pillow I felt recovered and more focused than before. But this is not enough to motivate me. I need my list, on actual paper, pinned on the kitchen cupboard where I can draw my ticks after every yoga lesson, run or workout at the gym. It might sound silly but it works for me, and I enjoy printing a new list every month to stay on track.
The list’s layout is the same each month. I just choose and put down a different theme for each month. I called these monthly themes:

THE MONTHLY RESOLUTIONS

The main resolutions were a business plan, branding for my freelance label, networking, and web design. There was a month for relaxing and enjoyment, and another for creativity, sharing and connecting. Those small steps were supposed to help me to find my way towards working as a freelancer. I read tonnes about drawing up business plans and branding, and I started writing a business plan just to realise that my idea is not quite there. So back to the drawing board.
Somewhere I found my first freelance client and the real work started – they asked me to rebrand all of their marketing materials. I was pleased, excited and a few weeks later pretty stressed!  It took me a while to set up a schedule and calendar to enable me to get my freelance job done in my evenings and weekends and still have some free time to recover.
I was just about to finish this first freelance project when a few unpleasant events happened starting with our catastrophic holiday in Spain, followed by the inconveniences of Brexit and some stressful doctors visits. All of this made me slow down and stop doing freelance work. For a while, I didn’t even write anything here.

WHAT DID I LEARN?

I found out that I need a better system to steer a client through the process to help me not to get lost and stay relaxed. I also realised that I don’t want to give up architecture for graphic design. I’d like to bring both together and to have both as part of my work.

And I understood that freelancing is part of my life, but it is not my life. My partnership and friendships don’t need to be as involved in it as I am, and it is better for both sides if I don’t overload my partner and my friends with all of the details of my freelance process.

THE BEST OF 2016

I set up Carta Nova – a studio for a concept and graphic design. It aims to bridge the gap between architecture and graphic design to help individuals and companies develop their living and working spaces and improve their presentation in the market.

I made some new valuable connections online and IRL, and I learned that even as an introvert networking is not as terrible as I imagined.

During our holiday in Spain and even more so afterwards, I became aware how powerful and supportive a romantic relationship can be. One doesn’t need a lot to be happy. Cars, houses, shoes and clothes are not the main pillars of happiness for sure. Everyone knows this somewhere deep inside, I think,  but to feel this and become aware of it is more challenging and for me, it works through the difficult experiences I had in the second half of the year.

A real highlight of 2016 was our visit to Rome – an exciting city, old European culture, delicious food and the best espresso ever.

And regarding blogging – I got used to WordPress and felt more comfortable knowing how to organise my blog, categories and menus. I will never start coding, but I was a bit proud of myself when I got my blog lay-out as I had envisioned.

WHAT TO EXPECT FOR 2017?

The most important resolution is to develop and grow Carta Nova into a profitable business.
The second one is to keep an eye on a healthy work-life balance with Zumba classes, friends, Meet Ups and free time for hobbies.
My third resolution is to put down roots in London. The city is amazing but also difficult to navigate, stressful at times and it’s not easy to make friends. I will probably need a plan for this, but plans are something I am pretty good at.

That’s it the last post for 2016, my friends!

What are your resolutions for the new year?  And what is your plan to stay on track?

I am curious to hear about it and wish you the best start into 2017 you could ever have!

Yours, Eva

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