1st quarter goals check-in

I love the New Year. It's a time of beginnings, fresh starts and the opportunity to make new goals and resolutions. The first few weeks of the year are exciting as I make changes in my life and tackle my list of things I want to accomplish. Then like everything else in life, the novelty wears off, I get busy, or things happen and I don't stay committed. This year I decided was going to be different. And to help me really stick to my guns, I bought Design Aglow's The Big Picture Planner. What I love about this planner over all the other ones out there on the market is that they have pages devoted to yearly, quarterly, monthly, weekly and daily goals. And aside from a couple of weeks in February where I had so many emotional things happening in my life, I've really made it a point to do the work and write it down. Sometimes my list is too ambitious, but for the most part, I found myself tackling many items on it. What I also like about this planner is that I can break tasks and set a time period for when I want to make them happen.

Like all the other years in my life, time flies and I can hardly believe we've just turned the calendar over to April. The start of the second quarter. Recently, I sat down with my planner and evaluated what I did and didn't accomplish in the first quarter and set goals for the next three months. It's so easy in the mundaneness of the day to day life to forget all the little things we've done. In my mind I really thought I hadn't made much progress, but sitting down with my notes, I realized that wasn't true. No, I didn't accomplish everything I had hoped to. But the year is not over, and there is still plenty of time to make those things happen. 

So here's a look back...and forward so far in 2018. Last year while I was in Florida, I signed up for a Certified Professional Photography prep class with Al Audelman. Sadly, Al passed away unexpectedly late last year. I didn't take the test in 2017, but it is high on my list for 2018. So I got out the study guide and have been studying almost on a daily basis. I've declared my candidacy and plan to take the written test in the next month or so. I also spent a lot of time, I mean hours, culling, organizing and editing photos I took in 2017. Since the winter months are a slow time for me with work, this was the perfect time to do this. I have a hard time keeping up during the year and I'm pleased to share that I have finished this task! And I finished organizing the rest of the files I hadn't gotten to from 2016! Man, what a good feeling it is to have this done!

I fell off the wagon last year when I only sent out one newsletter. My intention was to change that in 2018 and I'm pleased to share that I did send out the first edition in Feb. I plan to keep up, sending out a new edition every quarter. I also re-evaluated my product and pricing list. And I'm excited to announce that I have added a new product that I think my clients will love! While I love blogging, sometimes I find myself stressing out because I have nothing ready to share. In those moments, I end up writing something hours before I post. So I vowed I would get ahead and have posts ready to go as fas as a month in advance. I got ahead back in Jan, then fell behind, but once again, I have written several posts and hopefully won't find myself panicked on Tuesday and Thursday mornings anymore.

I've also made some changes to my website, updating some of the pages and photos. I have more work I want to do, but since it's a never ending process, I'm happy with what I've accomplished thus far. Last year I created a business Pinterest page and pretty much didn't touch it after that. It's been on my mind to learn how to set up my blog so I can share it on Pinterest effectively. I'm hearing from a lot of small business owners who are using Pinterest as a marketing tool and are having a lot of success. If you follow my blog, you may have noticed some new graphics I created specifically with Pinterest in mind. 

I didn't accomplish everything I wanted to. I had planned on writing a pdf download that all new subscribers to my newsletter would get when they sign up. I started writing the text, then just dropped the ball. I also intended to enter District Print Competition back in February. The deadline was just at the wrong time and apparently many other photographers felt the same way since entry numbers were down this year. I am, however, still planning on entering International Print Competition which takes place later this summer. I also wanted to set up a Limited Edition session that would take place in April. I've had this idea for a couple of years and told myself to just make it happen. And again, I did not. I'm not giving up on my idea. I just have to pick a new date and get to work on the details and marketing. 

Looking ahead to the next quarter, I have some goals to carry over as well as new ones to start working on. April gets started with a bang when I attend a workshop on studio lighting for pets. I also finish up a class I've been taking on preparing for print competition learning new editing and photoshop skills. I've learned a ton that I can't wait to start using in my workflow! I've already got a couple of sessions booked and I can't tell you how excited I am to get outdoors and behind the camera again. Winters are hard when the landscape is so blah and colorless. 

So, all in all, I'm pretty pleased with how 2018 has started. Looking forward to what the next three months brings!