WOW. 2017 was a big one for me, both personally and for my business. It was a year of rapid growth, learning curves, and crazy amounts of joy. What a better way to start off the New Year than by taking a look back at everything that has happened in the last 365 days.
Year at a Glance: Here are some of the BIG moments from my year.
January: I started selling painted bibles and got reallllllly busy all of a sudden. This went from a hobby to a business.
May: Taught my first lettering workshop... and went on to teach more than 100 students in the rest of the year.
August: Took the leap and changed the name of my shop from Kingdom Heart Shop to Emma Fretz Designs.
September: Quit my part time jobs because my painting business was bringing in enough income to pay for my school tuition. I'm officially an artist!
Here's what I learned:
I LOVE teaching. Running workshops was my favourite part of 2017 and I am so excited to continue sharing the art of lettering with everyone. I was amazed that my workshops kept on selling out... apparently there are a ton of people who want to learn how calligraphy and lettering!
It's okay to say "no". This year I took on several projects that were either way out of my style or completely interrupted my work flow. Those times were the worst! I learned a whole new Copperplate calligraphy style for a single project (seriously Emma, why would you put yourself through that?), and lost money on several occasions because I wayyyyy undercharged for materials or labour on projects I wasn't used to doing.
It's hard turning people away, especially when it's family or friends, but it is SO important to protect your time and focus on your business goals rather than taking on every project that comes your way.
Business sustainability is more valuable than long term success. In January 2017 there were maybe (mayyyyybe) ten artists painting bibles. Now just about everyone does it. I put all of my eggs in the bible basket in 2017, and now I'm having to play catch up because the niche is so over saturated.
This year will be about building a solid brand and establishing myself as an artist so that I will have a business that stretches and grows rather than breaks when trends change.
God FIRST. God before business, before money, before work. Without God's working hand I am nothing, and it is of the utmost importance that I acknowledge this every single day.
There are three words that sum up 2017 for me... Obedience, faithfulness, and transformation.
This year involved saying "yes" to a lot of scary things. I learned that the greatest rewards often require great risk, and that risks for the Kingdom are ALWAYS worth it. I learned that when when God calls you, you go.
God is faithful. I cannot even begin to explain how present the Lord was in my life this year. Through every hill and every valley, I never walked alone. God stretched me and called me to unknown places over and over again, and then used every single one of those situations for his glory. God showed up in BIG ways this year, man oh man.
My obedience + God's faithfulness = radical, life changing transformation. I am so far today from the person I was on January 1st, 2017 and that is only because of the Lord's work in my heart and my life.
Here's to a great first year of business, and to all of you who have made it possible.