My 2021 Retrospective
Hey there 👋
It’s always been a productive exercise for me to reflect on the year to recognize what I’ve accomplished and learned. In writing this article, I hope it encourages you to reflect on 2021 and get encouraged and challenged through what you discover.
So, let’s dig in!
2021 was a year of healthy growth with a large dose of working “on the business” as opposed to only working “in the business.” Here’s what was accomplished:
- Added 14 wonderful new clients to the roster (my goal was 8)
- Had a repeat client rate of 92%
- Created a new video that intros my services and mission: watch it here
- Built “giving” into my business model. Now, a portion of every dollar goes towards helping those in need of healthcare, food, education, and hope.
- Refined my mission statement to be, “Lifting up the hurting, oppressed, and hopeless through industry-leading design.“
- To support my mission statement I created my tagline, “Better apps for better lives.“
- Taught myself Figma, FigJam, After Effects, and Balsamiq
- Moved my project management from stickies, spreadsheets, and documents to ClickUp
Business accomplishments are great to have, but helping people in need is what gets me fired up. Through the partnership with my clients and the organizations we support, we had life-giving and long-lasting impact on hundreds of families in Africa, including:
- 81 kids were able to go to school, with 25 receiving college scholarships
- 196 people received crucial medical treatment, including 39 life-saving surgeries!
- 80 families received food relief packages
- 120 kids received at-home visits from a counselor to offer prayer and emotional support through the crippling COVID restrictions they faced (and still face today)
My goal was to read one book a month, so at 13 I get a little extra credit. Some of the ones I read were transformational, and I highly recommend you check them out:
- I shared publicly for the first time on my blog and LinkedIn about my terrible brain injury and recovery (read about it here). I learned there is healing in being publicly vulnerable and sharing about challenges I’ve faced — which gave me the inspiration (and courage) even to share this very article.
- While difficult and scary, there can be immense value and freedom in offering fewer services and narrowing who your customer is. I’ve read that concept dozens of times in business books and it always felt overwhelming and impossible. Thankfully I had the courage to take that leap, and it’s been the best business decision I’ve ever made.
- SMART goals are essential to continuous improvement and growth. Like I’ve read before somewhere, “you get what you measure for” and therefore “be careful what you measure for.” While I already had revenue goals, I added SMART goals for repeat client rate, marketing ROI, and donation impact. The latter drastically shifted my thinking from solely increasing revenue to the impact that revenue was having on people in need.
I also like to take this time to look ahead and contemplate where I want to improve in 2022. While I still need to convert the below into SMART goals, here are a few things that come to mind:
- I want to spend more intentional time mentoring my sons, especially my oldest, who will turn 15.
- I want to further improve my health by shedding 30 lbs through more regular rowing/jogging and a Keto diet (which has helped in the past).
- I want to spend more time reading the Bible each day — which helps provide me spiritual health, hope, much-needed wisdom, and frequent encouragement.
- I want to publish at least one article a month — giving me an outlet to share with others what I’ve been learning throughout my 20+ years in the industry.
A big “thank you” goes out to all my clients who partnered with me, but more importantly, improved the lives of those in need. Also, many kudos go to my business coach and mentor Mike Burkesmith for his wisdom and encouragement. I also want to acknowledge my family for supporting me every step of the way.
And the most praise goes to God for providing me wisdom, insights, health, and a heart to serve along with countless other blessings.
Here’s to 2021 and the hope for an even greater 2022!
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Being focused on designing apps & SaaS products for many years, I serve brands with big ideas who are passionate about impacting people for good.
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