Goodbye 2016, Hello 2017!


Like any other year, I had a lot of things I wanted to accomplish in 2016. As usual, it fell short. But that’s fine because I always set my goals high. And even when I fail to reach the goals, I still end up achieving a lot. That’s always been my motto in life. Most of the time, it works for me. However, this time around, I felt like I short-changed myself.

In 2016, I started to become more serious about taking my passion to the next level. I planned to ramp it up in 6 months and set milestones that I could work towards. I aimed to make the design business self-sustaining. I hoped that I could start to consider doing it full-time. As you can probably imagine, they were too unrealistic that I started to waver in the middle of the year. I went through a phase of complacency. And yep, I failed big time.

Despite that, I would say last year was (it still feels weird to refer to it as the past) still a good year for me. Despite missing hard on my target, I still managed to accomplish a lot. I discovered a lot of things about myself, and about how important my passion is to me. I realized that in order to be better and to achieve my goals, I needed to set more realistic yet urgent targets. And, most importantly, 2016 has prepared me for what's yet to come.

Here are some of the milestones I achieved last year:

Client Work - The client work I had last year may not be much, but they have been instrumental in helping me grow as an artist and as a person. I have earned new friends and collaborators (not the traitorous kind) along the way. Thank you for those who trusted me with logos, site designs, marketing collateral, and gifts.

Instagram - Instagram has been my go-to social media for sharing my work. At the end of the year, the amount of followers and engagements I have on Instagram has doubled from the past year. I've been featured 4 times by huge art/lettering accounts, which helped increase my reach.

iMessage Stickers - I created my first iMessage stickers this year. The sales were not that good, but I am glad to have had the chance to try it out and to learn more about the process.

Community - I finally decided to join an online community - Seanwes. Initially, I was afraid of spending to join a chat room, but those fears were unwarranted. It was not just a chat room – it is a community bound by the passion of sharing and teaching. No matter what level you are in, you will surely have a place to learn and to share. Most of us introverts have a hard time looking for communities to join and to be part of. Through the community, I learned to become more open about myself and learned to communicate with other people better. A place where you can freely share things with like-minded people is a good foundation for building something great. To me, it was money well-spent.

Website and Blogging - Last but not the least, I launched my own website with a weekly blog. This is a huge milestone and a huge commitment for me. I have always been struggling with the impostor syndrome. However, through the things I’ve learned from books and from the key messages of the people I look up to, I have learned to accept that there is no other way to grow but to put yourself out there in the world. I have learned to accept my fears and start sharing my journey. Through my blog, I am able to share a bit more about myself and what I know. This is important to me, and I hope I will be able to reach more people and be of help.

Overall, 2016 was a good start for me in becoming more serious about what I do. It set the stage for more hustle and more outputs in the years to come. As of this writing, I have been consistently putting out work for at least 2.5 years, and am nearing my 10,000 hours mark. I am glad I have overcome most of the kinks of starting something. I still have a long way to go, but I know that it will only get better. Everyone starts small, and it may not be easy to achieve greatness. But I believe that good things will come when we put our all in it.

2016 was a year of learning and hustling. 2017 is about more hustling and stepping it up.

These are my plans for myself and for Designate Studio this year:

  • Daily personal writing
  • Read 1 book a month and summarize it
  • 2 lettering courses
  • Double Instagram engagement
  • New Youtube channel
  • Weekly blog and newsletter
  • Hands-on lettering workshop
  • Stay positive and hustle harder

I don't know what will happen in 2017, but I am going to hustle harder. Last year, I have been complacent because I have my day job to support me. That won't do anymore. I want to grow my passion and business bigger. It is time to shed off the inhibitions and break free from my comfort zone.

Like what my good friend once told me (and a quote by W. Clement Stone) - 'Aim for the moon. Even if you fail, you'll still land among the stars.' Don't be afraid to have big dreams. As long as we put our mind and our hands to it, we will be able to achieve it.

Thank you for being part of my learning journey thus far. Let's continue to learn and share together in 2017!