My End-Of-Year Review 2021: The ups and downs of the roller coaster

What a year! If I hadn't written this review, I would probably have missed a lot that I achieved. So if you want to know for yourself what you've really achieved this year, I can only warmly recommend writing your own review!


I have been self-employed since February 2018, but at the turn of the year I switched to sole self-employment because I was no longer satisfied with my professional situation. So I quit my job spontaneously in July 2019 and worked towards my goals. Let's see what has happened this year!



MY FIRST YEAR OF SELF-EMPLOYMENT IN NUMBERS

It was my first year of sole self-employment. In terms of numbers I could triple my sales. And that with a total of 15 projects from clients in 3 countries - Austria, Switzerland and Israel. So far I have been able to work with people in 7 countries (Germany, USA, Brazil and Australia are added to the three previously mentioned countries), which are spread over 5 continents. Now all that's missing is Africa. Hm, maybe I should aim for that in 2022.


In addition, I added 44 new pattern designs to my portfolio and made them available to companies for licensing.


Here you can view an excerpt from my portfolio:


See the portfolio


CLIENT PROJECTS IN DETAIL

2 book projects

2 pattern design projects

3 wine labels

2x social media (support and workshop)

3x corporate design (logo, flyer and company illustrations)

2x video animation

1x photography assistant


I'm currently working on a children's book for first-time readers. I started this project in January and I will still work on it throughout next year as well. I can't say more about it yet, but I'm really looking forward to sharing it with you! By the way, it is written by Bernadette from Waldzauber.


I was allowed to create customized pattern designs for Lome and Pixberry. Both projects were exciting in their own way, because for Lome I had to closely coordinate the designs with the finished product. Because Meli sews cuddly toys from them, and the motifs have to fit perfectly and there must not be any disturbing elements on the face.

For Pixberry I was allowed to design a CI pattern that fits Lisa's personality and her company.

I'm really looking forward to show you both projects. As soon as they make them available to their customers and I can share them with you too!


It looks like I'll be able to show you a lot of my current projects in 2022. Because I was also allowed to work for my accountant Gerald from Steuerladen and illustrate a new homepage banner. The picture was even extended with the people and employees of the company and is therefore absolutely unique. You will also find out as soon as the banner goes online.



PERSONAL PROJECTS

I also brought my homepage up to date this year. I also did a photoshooting (with my boyfriend, who bravely assisted me). You can see the result in the various header images. My current profile picture also comes from this exciting day.


While re-working my homepage, my logo was also re-branded. The new design is hand lettered in pink and fits in well with the overall picture. In 2021 I finally dared to pick pink as MY color. Even if I have had it in my name since the beginning, I have never 100% dared to adopt it prominently into the branding. But not anymore. Because it’s me. I am pink and playful. If someone doesn't like it, that's not my problem 😉


And my first freebies went online too! This includes smartphone backgrounds, work planners and timetables with my illustrations. You can get this at any time from my homepage and use it as you wish.


See all Freebies

Thanks to Covid, I also had time this year to expand my product range, which I was able to present on markets for the first time this year.


This also includes my book “Witches‘ Encyclopedia ”, published in December, which after a few ups and downs was finished this year. It is a bilingual book on witches and witchcraft. It contains illustrations and information and is therefore a combination of artbook and encyclopedia. If you want to know more about this you can read here:


Witches' Encyclopedia


NETWORKING & COOPERATIONS

I was able to do three wine labels this year, with the labels from Sabine from Pickl Immobilien and Harald from Allianz Pickl being follow-up orders (which makes me all the more delighted, of course!). Both of them, as well as Wolfgang from Weitmann Raumgrünung, who is my 3rd wine label client, are in the Kompetenz Netzwerk Association with me. The network is a corporate association to get in touch with other entrepreneurs and to start cooperations and to expand your client base. Therefore I am pleased that I can already count some of the members among my customers.


I have now been a member for 2.5 years. I also owe it to the association for increasing my sales. But also to have made contacts with like-minded people, which resulted in friendships.

Like with Julia from Julie Mayrs Photography (soon: andUP). She has allowed me to expand my horizons regularly since the end of the year, because she has asked me to help her with photo shootings from time to time. Which comes in handy for me, as I rarely get out of my studio otherwise. It is also exciting to be able to look behind the scenes of other trades. On top of that, I was allowed to create the logo animation for her, which she will present at the beginning of next year, as she is repositioning her company and celebrating its growth.


Julia works with many cooperation partners. During a photo shoot I met Simon from Stark Productions and helped him with a video shoot and took the camera into my own hands for an evening.



TRAINING & COURSES

Since you never stop learning, I treated myself to three courses this year and expanded my knowledge. I bought another one in December, but it won't be completed until next year.


I started the year in January with “Starke Frau Starke Marke” by personal branding coach Steffi Zährl. Her content helped me a lot because I dealt with things in my business that I would never have thought of. Although the course has been over for months, I continue to benefit from what I have learned and use it every day in my company. The community of like-minded people that has emerged from it cannot be outweighed in money either.


Immediately afterwards, I took the “Pitch Your Portfolio” course by Shannon McNab from Sketch Design Repeat. And because I was one of those quick to make decisions, I got a 1: 1 portfolio review out of it! Getting to know Shannon was definitely one of my groupie moments this year as I've been following her for a long time and I think her work is amazing. So if you want to immerse yourself in the world of pattern design, I can only recommend her courses.

I also got to know Andrea from Doot with Dots through the community of the course. Since then, we've been making regular zoom calls and kicking each other's butts in order to stick to our goals and to implement them.



MARKETS & SHOWS

Due to Corona, I often had to reschedule at short notice. But I was still able to exhibit at four markets and shows and thus make new contacts. Two of the four markets were local, Austrian manga / anime conventions (YuniCon) and an arts and crafts market (Melodium Peuerbach).


One of my biggest milestones was that I signed up for surface design fairs. My very first show was Blueprint Online. Again, Covid was more of a blessing than an obstacle. Since the fair usually takes place in New York, I would probably have been rather hesitant if I had taken part for the first time. This year it could only take place online, so I could also take part. I registered at short notice about a week in advance. And yes, the preparations were stressful, but totally worth it!


In September I was even able to take part in my first live trade show in Amsterdam (Evolution Amsterdam). Here, too, I don't regret it a bit, because I got to know so many wonderful people and designers. I felt like part of the community right from the start and was able to make friends. Hopefully I can see everyone again soon at the next fair.



SOCIAL MEDIA

For social media, I mainly focused on Instagram this year and exceeded the 500 follower mark. I hope you are also satisfied with my postings and enjoy the behind the scenes posts. Overall I uploaded 145 postings. 30 of them are reels (which I started with for the first time on July 11th). I have even more content and insights planned for you here for next year. So it will remain exciting!


And thanks to the 500+ followers, there will also be a give-away in the new year to celebrate this success with you! So don't miss it, because without you this milestone would not have been possible. So thank you from the bottom of my heart!


Hop over to Instagram

I also started writing a blog and newsletter and recording a podcast (based on my blog articles). Next year I would like to expand my articles and contributions to provide you with even more added value and information.



MY PERSONAL YEAR

On a personal level, this year has been a good one for a long time. But in October it became one of the hardest I've ever experienced. Because there we are currently working through some family problems that made it difficult for me to work on my company for over two months. I lacked energy and motivation. But little by little I am coming out of my hole again and it's slowly going uphill.

I processed this difficult experience in a comic and put all my grief onto paper.


But I am also happy to review my private life, because there have been really wonderful moments:

  • I celebrated my 30th birthday

  • My boyfriend and I went to Legoland with a couple of friends (and even disguised as pirates) - without any children!

  • Since we live at the Attersee (lake in Austria), we spent many days there

  • We went to see the Lion King under the stars at a Silent Cinema event

  • We were at the christening of my boyfriend's nephew (and because Google Maps didn't quite play along, our car almost got stuck on a dirt road)

  • I extended my trip to Amsterdam (Evolution Amsterdam) by a holiday with my mother

  • Two girls from Moldova stayed with my family for about three weeks through the organization Allianz für Kinder in order to get access to medical care and operations. Together we went to the Pöstlingberg and took a ride in the Grottenbahn and went to an amusement park in Straßwalchen

  • I had an 11-year high school reunion and saw old school colleagues again (unfortunately the 10-year-one had to be postponed due to Corona)

  • I switched to a healthier lifestyle this year and lost 13 kilos (28,7 pounds) as a result

  • And I got registered as a stem cell donor




RESOLUTIONS FOR THE NEW YEAR


I would like to continue working at my company in 2022. I haven't set myself any specific goals yet. I'll do that at the beginning of the new year. But I already know that there will be many exciting projects in store for me again.

I will put a special focus on 1: 1 collaborations and the creation of pattern designs for companies. I would also like to add valuable tips for you to my social media platforms and blog.


Find out how to work with me

And of course I will spend a lot of time with my family to give each other the needed support. So take care of yourself and your loved ones too!



What were your highlights in 2021? Have you already set goals for the new year? Let me know in the comments!


Nina