Oh, hey there 2019. I’ve been looking forward to seeing you. What do you think about changing things up a bit this year?
I’ve been blogging for 9 years now. Each year I have made a goals list, whether I published it or not. Making goals helped grow my little blog, which helped our finances. By 2017, my goals had changed a bit. While my blog was growing, my heart wasn’t as invested so I starting slowly backing away in certain areas. Blogging, from nearly the beginning was a great way for me to make money from home, but it was never my heart. Now I am not so spoiled that I think everyone has to do what they love to make a living, I felt very fortunate to have a good, flexible job with a lot of fun perks. It isn’t exactly easy, it takes a lot of work, but it isn’t hard and anyone who talks / writes a lot can do it. And for quite some time, blogging met a lot of needs for our family. Writing is not what a went to school for or what I enjoyed, but it was a blessing to have a job and stay home with my kids. 2019 is a bit of a turning point, my goals are almost completely unrelated to blogging.
When I started blogging, I had a small local deal blog. It was mainly a place to organize free things to do with my then 3 year old kids. Social media was barely a thing, we didn’t use pictures, our kids were not featured. By the time our kids were bigger and I was thinking of going back to work, my blog was doing really well. I was able to consider partially homeschooling and blogging from home. We used regular blogging income to pay bills, and when I had an exceptional month, that money was used to pay for extras. We paid for everything from plane tickets and adoption paperwork to home remodels with blogging money. I don’t want anyone to think I don’t understand what a blessing it was and still is; but growing our blog networks is simply not a goal anymore. I will probably still blog from time to time, but I won’t be going to blogging conferences, I unsubscribed to a couple blogging networks I regularly partnered with on sponsored content, and I have stopped responding to nearly ever pitch letter (Disney and American Girl, I am still here for you).
Friend, can I be honest with you?
While I can be outgoing if necessary or if I am very comfortable, on my insides I have zero interest with sharing myself or family with the world. I’m not really against the idea, and my kids like the attention, but it just isn’t my jam. This surprises some people because we seem to share a lot more than we ever anticipated. While I understand I have some digital influence, especially in the SoCal area and in terms of family friendly entertainment, I have never really felt comfortable posting a public picture saying “look at me doing this thing”. Even when that thing was REALLY cool, I felt a little weird displaying that moment. From the beginning I have always had rules and boundaries that aren’t exactly compatible with blog growth. Promoting my ‘personal brand’ always felt uncomfortable, there are so many bloggers that do this so well, I am just not one of them. As my kids get older, there is less I want them involved in; even though they seem to love it. In addition to that, the expectations for growth and engagement require a lot more commitment and putting yourself out there than this somewhat introverted mom wanted to do. I have a nice following, but I just wasn’t willing to put myself out there more to keep up with the growth.
2018 was an incredible transition year. Personally and professionally we intentionally laid a lot of track in 2018. I finally went back to school, and I really wanted to focus on that. We saved a ton of money not ‘fixing up’ our house. We paid off the one car we owed on and found some breathing room so I could cut back on sponsored content. I hired a virtual assistant who helped me create some really awesome evergreen content. Hiring a really talented assistant let me be more strategic with my time. I am kinda proud of how I was able to balance everything – this site, clients, school, and our kid’s home school. It was a busy year, but we got a lot accomplished! I made and achieved some goals artistically all while maintaining the blog. Yay me. So now what? Keep going forward with artsy fartsy stuff, keep blogging, or a little of both.
We’ve thought about it and talked about it as a family. Blogging is fun, but it makes me anxious and uncomfortable at the level I was doing it. So what do I feel comfortable doing? Drawing and painting. That is basically it. If I can do those two things while story telling, especially a meaningful story that promotes love or bravery or something like that – icing on the cake. Now I understand if I want to monetize art, I am eventually going to need to put my work out there, essentially the same way I do as a blogger. There are two important differences though. First, the public projection would be less often which I think is huge. Two, and this is the biggest for me; what I would be projecting is my skills as an artist rather than a social influencer. And I guess I just found myself in a place where I actually had that choice so that is what I am working towards.
All that to say, most of my professional goals and hopes for 2019 are artistic in nature. I feel like putting it on paper and out into the public makes me more likely to fulfill at least some of them. Last year I announced I was going to school and why, and I am not sure I would have continued had I not put that out there. These are my goals for 2019….
First, I have a bright and shiny new website. Please check out KateHamArt.com – if you are a children’s book author, we should definitely chat. Email me here or there.
Update my LinkdIn to reflect my goals to work as an illustrator rather than a blogger / social influencer. Done! See me on LinkedIn – connect with me there if you are looking for an artist!
- Further my knowledge of Photoshop and animation enough to be able to offer freelance animation services in addition to Illustration.
- Make as much in 2019 as a Freelance illustrator as I did as a blogger in 2018. This is probably insane, but whatever – I’m gonna try.
Finish the book I was hired to illustrate!DONE! I will be sure to update once there is a publish date!
- Double my online / social presence as an Illustrator (please follow me on Instagram and Tumblr – I just started, so this should be easy! If I hit 2oo on Instagram, I will have surpassed my goal! If I hit 2 on Tumblr I will hit my goal – LOL!). Instagram is steadily growing, but not there yet – please follow along!
- Set up an Etsy shop for commissions.
Attend at least one art centered conference or convention. I sat in the back row of the Women in Animation conference last year because we were going to be in Los Angeles anyway and I just wanted to check it out. Even if I don’t ever do more than a little freelance here and there, I found the conference inspiring and encouraging.TICKETS PURCHASED! I am going to Lightbox Expo – a 3 day conference in Pasadena that is specifically for Illustrators, Animators, and Gaming Artists. I am already working as an Illustrator (pinch me!), but I would love to see these adjacent fields as well.
- Keep up classes in Photoshop, Life Drawing, and Digital Painting. I already have a degree and I am not looking to get another one, but my hope is to actually do something with that degree. Brushing up has been essential, but also fun!
As far as blogging goes, I have only a few goals this year.
1. Allow for more guest bloggers. Round ups, recipes, travel, Disney, crafts – we still have such a great audience on site and social, I would love to offer this space for other bloggers to introduce themselves to our readers. Want to share? I hope so – message me!
2. San Diego Deals and Steals will become a part of Highlights Along the Way. Our Facebook pages will remain separate, but we will absorb San Diego Deals and Steals into Highlights Along the Way. We are open to San Diego bloggers who might want to contribute to this page as well!
3. I will continue to republish evergreen content to keep it fresh. We will add travel stories and family stories as they come up.
4. Sponsored content, with very rare exception on the blog will stop. Famous last words, but this is my hope. I am simply burnt out from content creation and we have monetized in other ways. While I could continue to monetize through ads and affiliate links as well as sponsored content, I’ve done this for a couple years and I am just done. Again, Disney and American Girl – I am still here for you!
5. We have 2 family trips planned for 2019 and we of course will take you along!
So there we have it…. all on paper. Thank you for giving me a space to write it down and keep myself accountable. Do you have goals for this year? Did you reach your goals that you set last year? Please don’t leave us – we aren’t going away forever and entirely, just becoming a little more us!