About 9 months ago I sat down and took a long hard look at my life because I was tired of floundering around aimlessly and not only getting nowhere but getting pretty beat up emotionally in the process. I realized that I had abandoned any semblance of goals for myself and in doing so lost my inner compass. I wrote down these goals then and I thought it was about time to revisit them, since my life now looks rather different now than it did then.

Professional: Work for myself as a freelancer/entrepreneur. (5 years.) This is still a realistic timeline, since Science Guy has 2-3 years more of school. Depending on where we end up, I may or may not be able to immediately make the leap to freelancing.

  • Photography
    • Upgrade my main portrait lens. (1 month) Still have to do this, and now I know my business has made the money I need for it!
    • Upgrade my off-camera lighting and experiment with new set-ups. (6 months) I’m happy with what I have right now, especially now that I have a permanent studio set-up, but I’d like to get something more portable eventually.
    • Redesign my photography website and logo. (6 months) I set up a new theme last fall and I just finished working with the fabulous designers at Imaginary Jane to come up with a new logo, colors, and fonts that are more consistent with my personal brand and the mission of my business. Check out the new look of Jennie Sue Photography here.
    • Research and join a professional photography group for education and networking. (6 months) I’m looking into a Studio Photography meetup group as well as networking groups for women entrepreneurs. I went to one studio shoot
    • Book and shoot 5 senior sessions, 5 family sessions, and 3 newborn/child sessions. (within 1 year) My count so far: 2 senior sessions, 4.5 family sessions, 1 infant session and 1 child session. I’ve also done 5 headshots for actors and business professionals, which I am hoping to expand conceptually in the next six months.
    • Write a new blog post for my photography business once a week and get into a regular social media posting schedule.
  • Design and Marketing – I am definitely taking a new direction and integrating this into a new photography service I’d like to roll out in the next six months.
    • Join a message board and/or Meetup group for digital marketing women entrepreneurs. I’ve joined several but still need to attend an on-the-ground meeting. I’ve also gathered a few other creative freelancers from my church with the intention of meeting monthly to bounce ideas off each other and decompress as needed.
    • Complete Skillshare course in Adobe Illustrator. (6 months) I paid for this already so I really should get on it. Might have to wait until things slow down…next January…
    • Subscribe to Lynda and complete courses in WordPress, Web Design, and whatever else strikes my fancy. (6 months)  I’ve decided not to dip my fingers in too many pots at this point. I enjoy photography, print design, typography, and writing. I…do not like the coding end of web design. Actually, I hate it. So I’m not going to try and do it right now. I can make it pretty – someone else can make it function.
  • How to Succeed in Business by Really Trying
    • Respond to e-mails within 12 hours. Doing very well with this.
    • Call to follow up with new project leads. Not so great with this one…am still going to make an effort when appropriate.
    • Give a gift and pay it forward with each project. I’m going to add something to my contracts giving clients the choice of three charities to donate to.
    • Meet with an accountant and/or business consultant to make a financial plan. I met with an account over the winter to answer a few questions, and I’ve also started using a spreadsheet to track revenue and expenses. I completed a pricing bootcamp in March and am gathering some books and other resources to work on a business plan. After I do some homework, if I still feel the need, I will meet with a business coach.

Creative: Have a finished draft of whatever the hell it is I’m writing. (1 year goal) This…is not a realistic goal. Not knowing what the desired final product is, all I can do at this point is practice the process, I guess.

  • Blog once a week. Between my photography website and personal blog, this is happening, more or less.
  • Work on the novel(la) an hour a week. Tabled for now. 
  • Connect with other writers through a group (preferred) or message board. Still something I want to do.

Creative: Expand my range of expression and find ways to create more socially. (ongoing, but let’s try and do these in the next year-ish.)

  • Take a painting and/or pottery class.
  • Paint something huge.
  • Sew something useful. I *sort of* did this
  • Learn to play guitar. I’m doing very poorly on Guitar Hero – drums might be more my speed.

Personal Wellness: Continue growing in independence. Prepare to be part of a family. (5 years)

  • Travel somewhere by myself. (1 year) Oddly enough, this is still kind of on my list of things to do. Not sure when or where that’s going to be.
  • Have a well-furnished and charmingly decorated home. (Check!)
  • Train for a distance sporting event. (Starting next spring, since it’ll probably be biking.) One of my coworkers captains a Pelotonia team and she’s encouraging me to join, but I have yet to get a bike…
  • Floss every day. Sigh.