2022 Recap: Wins, Challenges, & Goals

January 9, 2023

And just like that, we’re stepping into a new year fresh with possibility and new beginnings. As I’m writing this first day back in office, I’m reminiscing on the precious time we had with our family and friends over the holidays, and looking back at God’s faithfulness throughout every season of 2022.

This year, setting goals feels like cushioning them with LOTS of grace with our first baby on the way. So, here’s my honest review of how things are going and dreams for the future as I step into this next year of motherhood and business.

Business Wins

BOOKING CUSTOM BRAND, PACKAGING & SHOPIFY WEB DESIGN PROJECTS

I wanted to serve my clients at a higher, more comprehensive level, so I expanded my services to include packaging and Shopify website design. Instead of having shorter branding projects, I wanted to provide my clients with a seamless, high-end experience to have all of their design needs fulfilled by a designer they trust and have already worked with.

Coming alongside my clients as more of a creative partner rather than just a one-off designer aligns so much more with the type of service I know my clients need as well as the in-depth, invested level I know I work best at. Being able to develop my relationship with my clients and focus on quality over quantity has been a huge change for the best.

EFFECTIVE & PEACEFUL PROJECT PROCESSES

In my first few years of running my studio, I had a hard time knowing what projects to say yes and no to or how to establish healthy boundaries in my contract. This would result in what I like to call “Lessons Learned” stories where the client wasn’t a good fit, but I chose to take on anyway.

This year, I honed in my niche to established redemptive businesses, refined policies in my contract, and made sure my processes were clear and understood. As a result, I didn’t have any client nightmare projects and all projects launched on time. This was a HUGE win win for myself and my clients.

LAUNCHED ALIGNED DESIGNERS MENTORSHIP & COMMUNITY

This one has been a dream of mine for the past 8 years! I always knew that God had given me a passion to help others overcome what they thought they couldn’t. In the design education space, I realized there was a gap where faith, design, and business wasn’t being talked about. For more than a year, I was working behind the scenes to create a community and program I wish I had when I first started my design studio.

I’m so grateful for the incredible women that the Lord brought to this mentorship and feel like it’s the biggest honor to have the opportunity to see others grow personally, professionally, and spiritually. Launching my first mentorship, I learned so much about perseverance, trusting the Lord for the outcome, and believing in the transformation that I would get to see in others. One of the most rewarding parts was getting to give away a scholarship that has been one of the best highlights of my business journey so far. Stay posted for when we reopen enrollment for Summer 2023!

HIRED A BUSINESS COACH

With launching my course & mentorship, leveling up to attract higher level clients, and finishing my third year in business, I knew that 2022 was the perfect time to invest in coaching. In the past, I had invested and learned a lot through courses, but I was looking for more 1:1 support that also offered a faith-driven perspective.

Working with Kieran was the perfect fit. Overall, I felt like I made huge strides in my mindset and gained so much confidence in my identity as a faith-driven business owner. Kieran was incredibly helpful in guiding me through my launch, helping me navigate important business decisions, and encouraging me with God’s word and His calling on my life. Working 1:1 with Kieran has far surpassed the investment and continues to add value to my personal and business life for what we were able to accomplish together. I highly recommend working with Kieran and listening to his podcast, Renew Your Mind.

SPECIALIZED IN CUSTOM LOGOTYPES

With a background in handlettering and illustration, I’ve always loved creating type from the ground up. Most clients that I work with are looking to stand out from their competition, become more established as a premium brand, and infuse meaning detail into their brand experience. With merging my passion for custom type and aligning with my client’s goals, we’re able to create one-of-a-kind logotypes that stand the test of time and have unlimited boundaries for what’s possible to create.

ESTABLISHED SUSTAINABLE, LIFE-GIVING BOUNDARIES

Being your own boss isn’t always as dreamy as it sounds. Over the years, I’ve been able to establish healthy, life-giving boundaries to protect what matters most to me. This year, I was overall fairly consistent with a 9:30 – 5:30 work schedule, spending time with Jesus, exercising regularly, and having nights and weekends unplugged from work. Overall, I was really grateful of the extra space I had during my work hours to create a whole new business with Aligned Designers and not burn out.

Business Challenges

UNMET EXPECTATIONS

This year, I didn’t meet my revenue goal by about 22%. With elevating my brand and website, launching a course, investing in education and coaching, and booking larger, more comprehensive projects, I expected my yearly revenue to have a different outcome. However, there were so many other ways I experienced growth in my business this year. Regardless of my expectations, the Lord always provided more than we needed. Overall, I see this year as a win, slow and steady growth is more than okay, and trusting that God is always in control.

GROWING PAINS

I knew that launching Aligned Designers was going to be a huge project, and it was more than I anticipated. Diving into the online education space for designers was basically launching a whole new business. Although I knew that this was something the Lord put on my heart to do, there were definitely days when I questioned if all the hard work would really pay off and felt torn with not investing as much time with Thuro. Overall, I have faith that the Lord is going to continue to grow this new venture, and I’m so excited that this course and mentorship is helping other faith-driven designers pursue their God-given calling.

ALGORITHM ANNOYANCES

2022 – when IG changed the landscape for small business owners. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you probably know the struggle. Adapting marketing strategies for the ever moving target of the algorithm was a big bump in the road last year. But, I’ve learned to do what’s best for me in my capacity. Something that helped me was believing that there were at least 5 ideal clients that wanted to work with me in my audience and that continuing to show up as a thought leader in my industry was going to help others and lead to desired results.

RESULTS BEYOND MY CONTROL

With the combination of the shaky economy and business owners being more hesitant to invest, there were a few large project proposals that didn’t end up going through or were pushed back until a later time. Being the optimist that I am, I often got way too ahead of myself with some amazing opportunities before the contract was signed and the deposit was paid. Since then, I’ve learned to be more emotionally unattached to the outcome of Discovery Calls and to serve potential clients with their best interest in mind.

Life Milestones

WE’RE HAVING OUR FIRST BABY!

What an absolute miracle! I’ve always wanted to be a mom, and God gave us a precious gift of our first son. When I first started Thuro, I always dreamed of having a flexible schedule to be able to take care of a future family one day. And in just 2 months, that’s so close to being a reality.

Getting pregnant wasn’t an easy journey for us. Half of the year was battling a lot of fear and questioning whether we were capable of having children. However, through lots of prayer and trusting God before the outcome, there was so much joy for a long awaited breakthrough. Also, if you’re reading this and struggling on your pregnancy journey, please reach out. It can feel so lonely, and I’d love to listen and pray with you.

LOSS OF A LOVED ONE

Earlier last year, we lost a dear family friend, Michelle, due to a drug overdose. It was a challenging and shocking end to her life, and it was the first person that my husband and I really loved that we lost. Loving on others battling addiction isn’t easy, yet so worth it. We’re so grateful for the time we got to spend with Michelle, and we got the privilege to watch Jesus transform her life. We will continue to risk to love, because there’s no other way. You can read more about Michelle here and Reposa, a project that was inspired by her story.

BECAME A BOARD MEMBER OF A LOCAL NONPROFIT

This year, we got connected with some of the most amazing people providing employment for the homeless in our community. Hearts 4 Service is a local nonprofit that I got to partner with and creative direct their brand and website. We’re honored and grateful to support a long-term solution for discipleship and job opportunities for our unsheltered friends in South Fayetteville.

2023 Goals

This year seems so different with goals. And if you know me, you know I’m all about them. However, with baby boy coming and managing a 3 month maternity leave, so much of the future looks like uncontainable joy mixed with uncharted territory.

I feel like this season is one where the Lord is going to refine my desire to control everything and learn the rhythms of grace more than ever. So, here’s to having an aim for 2023, but also being open handed if some of these goals don’t end up happening this year. It’s all about trusting that God truly holds all things together even when I can’t.

30 HOUR WORK WEEKS

As of now, I work around 40 hour weeks. Typically 9:30 – 5:30 M-F. However, with baby coming in February, I would love to be able to work less hours. To do so, I plan on streamlining & automating my systems and processes, being highly selective with the work I take on, and overall simplifying my business. These first few months you’ll find me writing lists of my SOP’s and doing a full house studio cleanup to make space for momma time during the work week.

LEARNING RHYTHMS OF GRACE

As a very scheduled person, I think the Lord is going to teach me a LOT this year about letting go of control and allowing Him to lead me through the great unknown of business and motherhood. My expectations can often be unrealistic, and I’m sure that stepping into this season is going to flip my neat planner and time-blocked days upside-down. So, here’s to finding Jesus in the mundane moments, doing the best I can with what I have, and embracing my limitations in this beautiful new season of motherhood.

RELAUNCH ALIGNED DESIGNERS & EXPAND DESIGNER EDUCATION

This summer, I plan on re-opening enrollment for the Aligned Designers mentorship & community. Last year was a lot of seed planting for my first launch, and I’m so grateful for the four members that I’ve gotten to pour into the past several months. Getting to see designers step into their God-given potential and thrive in their careers has been such a privilege to get to do.

LAUNCH A NEW SHOP PRODUCT

In addition to the 2023 Array Seasonal Planner, I love being able to create resources that really help other designers stay organized, profitable, and knowledgable in their business. I have a few ideas including a mini course on custom logotypes and some spreadsheets for business organization.

For business owners that are in their startup phase, I plan on creating pre-made branding templates for those who aren’t just ready to hire a fully custom project.

PREPARE FOR MY FIRST HIRE

Along with streamlining my systems, I’d love to be able to outsource some of the admin work that I really don’t like to do and to save up more of my time. My goal is to continue to build consistency and stability and make this transition when the time is right.

PAY OFF ALL STUDENT DEBT + BECOME HOMEOWNERS 2024

This year, we decided to hold off on buying a house to focus on one major life transition at a time. After having our baby, paying off the last little part of student debt, and learning new rhythms with business and baby sounded like a much better place to transition into home ownership as the Lord leads us to where He wants us.

That’s a wrap! I hope this review was helpful to share more of a true behind the scenes of this year and next with Thuro. I’m so thankful for the kindness and support of business owners and designers like you that has been a huge part of my journey.

I wish you the best 2023, and feel free to share some of your wins, challenges, and goals in the comments!

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Loved reading your reflections from the year! Thank you for sharing the highs as well as the lows — Really excited for your family in this upcoming season of change and new joys. Looking forward to following along as Thuro continues to develop!
(btw some of the links in your post were not connected or clickable, just so you know!)

Hi there, Jocie! Of course, I’m so glad that was helpful to see more of an honest inside scoop of the realities of running a design studio. It’s so rewarding yet always challenging. Thank you so much! We are thrilled and can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for this next season of our family. 🙂 Thanks for letting me know! I went ahead and updated those links. 🙂

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