2017 is so close I can almost taste it. I’m so ready for this year to end that once or twice in the past few days I’ve actually been preemptively writing 2017 on the dates. Usually I struggle to get the right year when I’m writing it down, because I haven’t mentally made the transition into the new year, but this year it’s like I’m jumping right in!
For a lot of people I know, 2016 has not been a good year. For me personally, the last few months have been the hardest time of my life. But I don’t want to focus on the obvious issues I’ve had to face in my personal life because I’ve already talked about them a lot. I want to focus on what I’ve done this year, what I’ve accomplished this year, and what I want to focus on next year to make it a year to be proud of.
Jumping in the deep end
In January 2016 I made the decision to jump into the deep end, leave the security of employment and try my hand at working for myself. I was making money working self employed already, and I’d always struggled to hold down a Proper Job (something about regular employment makes me go crazy) so it seemed like the best thing to do. Twelve months later, looking back on the decision, I can see that I wasn’t 100% ready and I probably should’ve waited until I was a lot more financially secure… But I learned more in the first 6 months than I would’ve done through anything else. I made so many mistakes, but I can honestly say I’ve learned from them and when I relaunch my business in January I’m going to be putting it all to use.
Yes, 2016 for me was the year of the Book – I redid the illustrations for my first ever Children’s Book “Love You Lots Like Jelly Tots”, finished the illustrations for The Girl Who Could Fly* and self published my first colouring book. I learnt bucket loads through all of these things but unfortunately failed my ultimate goal of getting one of my children’s books physically published. What can I say, things kind of got hectic. Next year I will actually be able to get them printed, and there’ll be more information on that coming in February.
*(although I later discovered that most of the illustrations for this need redoing. Ah well, live and learn!)
Etsy, society6 and more
January is also the birthday of my Etsy store! It’s apparently quite uncommon for people to make more than 10-20 sales in their first year of Etsy, but I’m happy to say I’ve made over 50 sales. I’m gonna be having a huge discount to celebrate my relaunch next month, and it’s equally going to be celebrating my Etsy birthday. I also started a society6 store, where you can buy loads of my artwork on… well… stuff. Awesome stuff. These two outlets have been fantastic for me!
Llamas in Pajamas! and other comics
I can’t make a list of all the awesome things I’ve achieved this year and not mention Llamas in Pajamas. This comic has kind of been my Thing, it’s brought a lot of people to me and has given a lot of people a lot of smiles. Other comic achievements have been finishing the first chapter of Space Bunnies in Space and while that’s taken a back seat for the mean time, me and Patrick will be starting work on it again in the new year.
I turned 30
Not a big deal perhaps but for me it marked a change in my attitude towards my business. Back at the beginning of the year I decided that if, by my birthday, I wasn’t doing well, I would go back to working for someone else. While I wasn’t doing amazingly, I was turning enough of a profit to be able to keep doing this. I decided, rather than go back to full time employment, I would focus on building the business and helping it grow.
Cards for Cancer
I started the Cards for Cancer project this year and it blew up. I really threw myself into this project, the original goal was to raise money just to support my brother while he recovered from surgery. When he died the month after I started it, I put the money towards helping my parents instead. We raised almost £400. The project itself isn’t over either. I want to bring Cards for Cancer with me, every year putting the money towards different charities that helped my brother throughout his illness. I’m still ironing out the details on this but I’m hopefully going to be able to give you more information around February time.
Last, but certainly not least, I should talk about my Patreon. I absolutely love the platform of Patreon, and while I didn’t start it in 2016, it’s grown from strength to strength. I’m currently taking a short break from the platform but I’m relaunching it all in January with all new content. I’ve got some pretty exciting goals to work towards and 2017 is gonna be the year I reach them!
So what now?
As you can see, 2016 has been a very busy year. I’d actually forgotten half of these things had happened this year! I’ve been more productive this year than I think I’ve ever been and it’s fantastic to see the growth I’ve made. Stepping into 2017 is going to be challenging. I’ll be making a new post next week to discuss what my goals are for next year, but I can assure you if this year is anything to go by, 2017 is going to be extraordinary!
Lots of love