In with the new.

newyear

I’m not really one for New Year’s resolutions.  But my business fiscal year ends in December, so it is a great time to evaluate the past 12 months and see where I can make improvements in the new year.  There is also a dead zone for work in the December 15-January 1 timeframe, so I spent time updating my portfolio and website, and thinking about what “in with the new” means for me and my business.

But let’s start with “out with the old…”

My 2014 Accomplishments and Struggles:

  • It was my first year of running the business full time, without any income from other jobs.  I was 100% Hitchcock Creative and it was GREAT!
  • I said NO.  NO to clients who needed everything yesterday.  NO to projects that weren’t financially viable.  NO to self doubts.
  • I said YES.  YES to projects out of my comfort zone.  YES to professional development.  YES to spending money on equipment upgrades.  YES to focusing on specific work hours so I could spend more time with the family.
  • I struggled with the decision to end a relationship with a pro-bono client.  I loved working with them, but with a toddler at home, my other workload increasing, and some other personal matters, I felt I couldn’t give them the attention they deserved.  It was a tough decision, but a necessary one.
  • I increased my business income by about 40%.  This was a huge leap, but also not an unexpected one since I did go from part-time to full-time (and spent 3 months of 2013 on maternity leave).

My Goals for 2015:

  • To say NO to wasting time on the internet during work hours.  NO to constant breaks during the day to see my daughter downstairs.  NO to distractions.
  • To say YES to being more productive, more creative, and more attentive.  YES to setting a specific work schedule (and sticking to it).  YES to getting my taxes done early.
  • To increase my overall business income by 5-10% by cutting expenses, using my hours more wisely, and pricing my services more consistently (and raising prices a small amount for the first time in 5 years).
  • To answer my emails more quickly.  I can’t explain why this is such a weakness for me, but it is.  I read a message, process it, and promptly forget to reply.  I think my phone is partly to blame – I like reading email on it, but hate responding with my thumbs.

So, we’ll see how I do.  Notice that I didn’t put “Blog more” or “Increase my social media presence” on the 2015 list.  I’ll talk more about this conscience choice in a future post.

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2015 Desk Calendars are now available!

It’s likely that you’re now on the last page of your 2014 calendar (unless it’s been a really busy week and you’ve completely forgotten that it’s now December).  Anyway, it’s time for a new calendar!

Check out our 2015 Desktop Calendar!

They’re also great for co-workers, friends, parents, neighbors, or anyone who enjoys knowing what date it is.  AND, because you put up with my sporadic blogging and social media attempts, you can get 20% off any purchase in the shop over $15.  Just use coupon code PEPPERMINT at check out.

2015 Desktop Calendar by Hitchcock Creative

The Brand Market DC

This weekend I was privileged to experience The Brand Market’s workshop in Washington, DC.  On my goodness.  I met some amazing women entrepreneurs and learned a lot about what I’m doing right (and what I need to work on) for my small business.

The Brand Market DC giveaway with items from Rifle Paper Co., Sapling Press, and Dotted Design!

We each received an amazing swag bag with gifts from Rifle Paper Co., Sapling Press, Design Dotted and more!

The Brand Market in Washington, DC.  Rebecca from A Daily Something talking about social media and branding.

And learned tips on social media, branding, photo styling from Rebecca at A Daily Something.  (How amazing is the studio space at Sweet Root Village?!)

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.  By coco and mingo.

Inspiring words by coco and mingo.

Introducing the 2014 Desk Calendar

If you follow me on Facebook, you know that I frequently don’t know what day of the week (or month) it is.  Blame it on working from home, having an infant or not eating enough of whatever it is I’m supposed to eat to help my memory (clearly I can’t remember that either).  So I came up with a solution, which  conveniently doubled as a great gift for my vendors and colleagues this year!

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You can purchase them online at my Etsy shop as well.  And if you order by TOMORROW by 2:00pm (which IS Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013) you can get free Priority Shipping for US customers AND it should arrive by Tuesday.  Just in time for a last minute Christmas gift.  Click here to see the listing!  No codes necessary, just purchase the regular First Class shipping and I’ll upgrade you for free!

Anniversary GIVEAWAY #1

As I mentioned last week, I’ll be giving away little items every week during the month of November to celebrate my 5 year business anniversary.  Hooray!

Bah Humbug by Hitchcock Creative

You may have noticed that stores are already setting up for the winter holidays and we haven’t even finished our Halloween candy yet!  If you can’t beat them, join them I say.  To help you spread your holiday cheer early, I’m giving away a gift box of 12 “Bah Humbug” holiday cards.

Bah Humbug by Hitchcock Creative

CLICK HERE for your chance to win!

See this card and more (available in singles and box sets) in my Etsy Shop!  As an added bonus, use code FREESHIP for free shipping on ALL U.S. purchases through November 30, 2013!

Contest ends Wednesday, November 6, 2013 at Midnight EST.  I’ll announce the winner on Facebook, Twitter and on the blog the next day.  Winner will need to supply a mailing address via email or private message indicating where prize should be sent.

Throwback Thursday // 9/11 Ten Years Later

It’s hard to believe the 13th anniversary of 9/11 is next week.  I always equate this timing with my graduation from college and moving to Washington, DC.  I have lived in the DC area for 12 1/2 years now.  In another 2 years, I will have lived here longer than the small town I grew up in.  Like  many people, every year around this time I remember where I was and what I was doing and how much has happened in the world and in my own life since then.  So when I was given the opportunity to design for a 10th anniversary event, it gave me a lot to think about.

On September 8th, 2011 The New Republic and The Kennedy Center hosted an evening of remembrance and reflection.  I designed the branding for the event as well as the formal invitation and various digital pieces.  Whenever you’re asked to design for an event of this nature, there so many things to take into consideration.  We needed a logo that would be symbolic, patriotic and respectful, but also not too dark or sorrowful.

9-11 ten years later (c) hitchcock creative

9-11 Ten Years Later (c) Daneil Schwartz

Photos by Sarah Hitchcock Burzio, Daniel Schwartz

We thought this would be the perfect time to utilize the traditional red and blue colors of our flag, and I used a soft grey background instead of a bright white or somber black.  I specifically designed it to have large amounts of grey space around the logo.  In the end, the logo took on a US flag shape and feel and the 10 horizontal lines represent the “ten years later.”