2012 Goals Recap

I can’t believe I’m writing this post already. 2012 is almost over and soon 2013 will be here. A whole new year. It’s always a little nerve-wrecking to dig in and see what I did and didn’t do during the year. I mean I kind of have an idea since I kept up with my goals (originally published here) quarterly (here, here, and here), but this year just went by so fast and I feel like so much has changed in a year. For starters, this was my first year being completely full-time, out of college, on my own, 100%. It was also my first full year working here in South Carolina (I moved down from Maryland in June of 2011 after graduation), so I literally started from scratch at the beginning of the year. At the end of last year my horses came from Maryland to live with me, Dustin and I bought a farm (or basically a big project haha), he left to work in Oklahoma from March to August, and we got married in September. I traveled to Maryland 6 or 7 times, went to Wisconsin for a wedding, and put a LOT of miles on my car driving to Charleston, Savannah, and various parts of Georgia for work. It was a crazy year, to say the least. But regardless of how I did or didn’t do with my goals, I’m really proud I at least set them, shared them, and kept myself accountable. It’s been exciting brainstorming my 2013 goals and I hope to share them sometime in January.

So here’s how the year looked for business goals…

1. Have a home office that inspires and motivates me: I thought I had this taken care of about the middle of the year, but then I rearranged my office and everything kind of got all discombobulated. I’m trying to get Dustin to finish building me some closet shelving and then I think things will be a lot more organized and inspiring. So sort of done, but definitely a work in progress.
2. Learn to shoot film and actively use it for personal work: Excited to say I accomplished this. I only shot 5 rolls of film this year due to time and cost, but I’ve definitely enjoyed it although I really don’t know what I’m doing. I will definitely be shooting more film in 2013.
3. Book and successfully shoot 4-5 weddings of my own: Done. I had eight amazing couples this year who I am endlessly grateful for.
4. Actively second shoot as often as the opportunity arises: I am so thankful for the photographers who let me shoot alongside them this year. I’ll be doing a separate post on this (and some things I learned this year as a second shooter), but I think when it was all said and done I second shot 14 weddings this year
5. Take part in a styled shoot: Sadly did not accomplish this, but it will get passed on to my 2013 goals
6. Continue to volunteer for shelters and pets in need: Done
7. Donate portrait photography for a good cause for people: Not done 🙁
8. Put money aside all year for WPPI 2013: Didn’t have the means to accomplish this goal for 2012, but I certainly hope to be able to attend WPPI 2014
9. Do a 52 weeks of Riley and Lexi Project: Not done. Got a little over halfway and had to let this project go.
10. Have each wedding I book and shoot of my own featured on a wedding blog: Still a work in progress…some were published, some not yet. I hope to have all 8 published by 2013.
11. Have a pet session featured on a popular pet blog: Done. Proud to have had my work featured on Hair of the Dog Blog, Dog Milk, The Daily Dog Tag, and to have been listed among many other talented photographers on The Pet Anthology’s 30 Inspirational Pet Photographers Part II
12.  Upgrade lenses a little: Unfortunately I had to keep on keepin’ on with what I currently had this year
13. Make more local photographer friends: Done! Too many new friends to count 🙂
14. Photograph more horses and cats: Photographed a few cats and one one horsey client!
15. Photograph a terminally ill pet: Did not accomplish this
16. Work with 20 new clients and make 20 new friends: Done!
17. Establish a quarterly online newsletter: Done but not really done. I did well the first half of the year then let it slack the second half. Definitely something to work on in 2013.
18. Get a new backup body: Done
19. Have one “review day” at the end of each month: Again, was doing this at the beginning of the year, then slacked off at the end.
20. Better learn on-camera flash and completely learn off-camera flash: Done, but definitely still have a LOT to learn about OCF!
21. Plan a calendar for next year: Did not accomplish this, sadly, since it was something that was important to me 🙁 I will HAVE to prioritize it for next year.
22. Finally find a B&W action I like, or develop my own: Done. Color images, meet desaturate. Easy peasy.

And for personal/lifestyle goals…

23. Come up with a consistent schedule for my weeks and daily plans: I have a “daily schedule” taped to my wall that sits over my computer, but I can’t say I stick to it every day. Definitely a work in progress.
24. Read one book a month: Didn’t quite accomplish this BUT with my downtime this winter I will probably read enough to make up for what I didn’t read earlier this year 🙂
25. Date night out with Dustin once a month: Well obviously this didn’t happen considering once again we lived in separate states for almost 6 months out of the year
26. Shop for birthdays/Christmas throughout the year: Defffffffffffinitely did not do this. BUT, I did shop early enough in November/December to not have to be out at the last minute this year.
27. Ride my horses at least 4 times a month each: Nope. Didn’t do this. But I rode 4 times last week, which is kind of a miracle!
28. Work one day every two weeks on wedding stuff: Done
29. Foster at least 2 labs for the Lowcountry Lab Rescue: Done
30. Be at least 1/3 of the way through renovating the main house on our property: We actually decided to completely tear the house down and build new in the next 2-3 years, so this goal is no longer relevant but we did save a lot this year for our new house
31. Run a 10K: Nope. Not done.
32. Compile a Croft Family book for each year: Also not done. Tried to do this in time for Christmas to be able to give it to Landon this year but I’m completely overwhelmed by the idea of designing said book with now 4 years worth of pictures of us. Geeze.
33. Create at least 10 ideas off of my Pinterest Creative Ideas board: I did a few but definitely not 10. You can call this one a definite fail.

So out of all 35 of my goals (the last 2 were financial goals I kept to myself), I accomplished 17 of them (including the 2 financial goals). That’s not a very good percentage, but it honestly doesn’t matter that much to me. I think 2012 was an awesome year in ways that can’t be quantified by that list up there. More than anything, what I’ll remember about this year are so many of the memories I made with my family and how we’ve made our not-so-fancy temporary little house into a home, the amazing times I had with my friends (and the new friends I made), all of the cool places I worked and visited, my dogs and how grateful I am to have them to keep me company, and the fact that I did a lot of things with my business that I never thought I would or could. I’ll definitely keep that in mind as I build my 2013 goals, because something I’ve taken away from this is that it’s definitely so much more about that quality than the quantity. It doesn’t matter how many goals I did or didn’t accomplish, but about the quality of my experiences and work throughout 2012. 2012 was a good year, and I hope to make 2013 an even better and more fulfilling year both personally and in my business.

2012 Goals: The 1st Quarter In

I wasn’t sure how often I’d be reviewing the goals I set for this year, but since March just ended and we’re officially 1/4 of the way through the year, I think it would be smart to look at where I am in comparison to where I need to be to accomplish my goals in 2012.

If you’d like to look over my original post, you can find it here.

So far in terms of business goals, I have:

2. Learned to shoot film and actively use it for personal work
4. Actively second shoot as often as the opportunity arises. I worked with Paige of Paige Winn Photo last weekend and had an absolute blast. She is so good at what she does and I found it to be a really great opportunity to learn, gain experience, and work next to someone whose work I really admire. I’ll be blogging that wedding next week. I’m looking forward to working with her more this year and am always open to other second shooting opportunities. I’m definitely eager and excited to learn 🙂
6. Continued to volunteer for shelters and pets in need. Not as often as I’d like because I’m still finding it difficult to build a long-term relationship with a shelter anywhere nearby, but I’ve worked with a few groups here and there
9. Kept up with my 52 weeks of Riley and Lexi project
11. Had a pet session featured on a popular pet blog. I’m so excited both Dog Milk and Hair of the Dog have featured my work so far this year!
13. Made more photographer friends this year. So exciting to be building friendships with so many wonderful people in the industry! I only hope to continue to grow my circle of photographer friends this year 🙂
14. Photograph more horses and cats. I’ve photographed my own horses a handful of times (doesn’t really count haha), and I had my first full-on 100% cat session in March, which was great!
17. Established a quarterly online newsletter. 2/4 of my mailings have gone out so far this year! To get on the list and catch the summer mailing, click here.
19. Had one “review” day at the end of each month. So far, so good! It’s been great for me to review my financials, re-organize, and evaluate my short and long term goals.

So far in terms of lifestyle/other goals, I have:

23. Come up with a somewhat-consistent schedule for my weeks and daily plans. Always a work in progress, but I’ve got a fairly straight-forward general structure of the day, I just need to get a little better at ironing out the details that have a lot to do with productivity. To see what a “typical” day looks like, click here.
24. Read one book a month. So far this year I’ve read: Permission Marketing, One Bite at a Time: 52 Projects for Making Life Simpler, The Hunger Games Series (started last year), and I’m currently reading The Five Love Languages
28. Work one day every two weeks on wedding stuff. This started out REALLY good. As in, I was making every Wednesday a really productive Wedding Wednesday with my afternoon hours. Then work got busy and it’s shifted to the backburner. I’m determined to get back on track because I was feeling so accomplished, and it also made me so excited every Wednesday to have time to sit back and think about how badly I can’t wait to marry my best friend 🙂 To see some of my WW posts, click here.
29. Foster at least 2 labs for LLR. You can read more about Greta and Chase here.

So…so far, fairly okay. Some of these are not totally crossed off the list until the year is over, but I’m excited that some of the bigger things I thought would happen later in the year are already done. Here’s to the rest of 2012! 

2012 Goals: The Third Quarter In

So we are officially starting the last quarter of 2012. I honestly can’t believe it and even though I thought last year was fast, this has been the FASTEST of my life. But I have a feeling I will say that each year for the rest of my life. Do you remember those goals I made at the beginning of the year? Well, here’s what I’ve done thus far: 1st Quarter, 2nd Quarter. So after the third quarter…these are the other goals I have crossed off my list…

In terms of business:

3. I’m so thankful I actually booked 8 weddings of my own for this year and have successfully shot the first 5. Three more amazing couples left for 2012! I am outrageously thankful EVERY DAY for the wonderful people who have trusted me with such a huge day in their life.
6. Continued to volunteer for pets in need. Just recently I met a handful of awesome LLR dogs down at the James Island Dog Park. You can see their sweet faces here.
8. It’s official. I can say I have NOT put money aside for WPPI all year as many other things have taken priority, but since I joined PPA, I’m hoping to make it to Imaging USA in Atlanta in January instead. WPPI 2014 maybe?
9. I will blog about my 52 Weeks of Riley and Lexi project this week.
13. I’ve continued to make more local photographer friends and it’s been wonderful 🙂
22. Finally nailed down my B&W conversion! Woohoo!

And in terms of lifestyle/other goals…

Wow. I haven’t done anything else off this list since June. Time to get a’crackin! But, to look on the bright side, I have done these things…even if they weren’t on my goals list…
– Bit by bit I’ve been making our little house a home, donating old, un-used items and clothing and purchasing small and affordable pieces here and there, like a shelf and buffet for our living room.
– Gone on some major cleaning sprees. I love to clean and love nothing more than a clean house. And fall!
– Taken Facebook and work email off my phone. This is huge and I love how much of my life I have gotten back and how I don’t feel the need to check EVERYTHING ALL. THE. TIME.
– Been riding more! Probably because of the bullet above and how I’ve gotten so much of my life back from it.

So this check in has been a wake up call. If I want to accomplish the majority of my list, these things need to be done in the next 2.5 months…
1. Have a home office that inspires me. Kind of sucks that my office is our “catch all” wedding gift room right now too. But I have been brainstorming a LOT of ideas to change up my office, organize it, and really get it feeling inspiring.
5. Take part in a styled shoot. Got some ideas burning in my mind 🙂
7. Donate portrait photography for a good cause for people.
10. Submit unpublished weddings for publication
12. Upgrade lenses a little. I have some other necessaries I have to take care of first, so we will see if we get to this this year.
14. Photograph more horses and cats.
15. Photograph a terminally ill pet.
16. Learn off-camera flash.
21. Calendar. Hmm.
23. Come up with a consistent daily schedule.
24. Once the craziness of early November goes away, get back on that GoodReads list!
25. Make date nights a priority
29. Foster for LLR again.
30. Start considering floor plans for the new house build.
31. Sign up for a 10k for the first half of 2013.
32. Compile Croft family books! Super important!
33. Get crafty with my Pinterest Creative Ideas!

Soooo…lots to get done! Wish me luck! And if you have been chugging along with your 2012 goals or are already setting them for 2013, leave me a comment with a link! I love reading other people’s goals 🙂

And since every post is better with a picture, here’s one of Rees and Nicole from last night. You’ll see more of them (and their ADORABLE boxer puppy!) later this week!

The 36 in 365 Project

For those of you who have followed since the old blog, you might remember the 36 in 365 project. The purpose was to come up with 36 goals that I wanted to accomplish in 365 days, or 1 year. Many were business/post-graduation related, and some were personal. Although every year there are things I want to accomplish, it was my first year really setting goals.

To recap, here are the things I accomplished off of my list:

Work with a designer on brand development: brand new business name, logo, and blog thanks to Ribbons of Red
Get my photography published: June 2011, Tamron Article – July 2011, Bayside Bride – November 2011, Rustic Wedding Chic
Launch a flash website: Well, it’s actually HTML but works like the flash I wanted and it’s simple and SO easy to update. Thanks Folio Websites!
Attend a photography workshop:The MJ 2 Day in Colorado (Go figure this coming year she’s coming to Annapolis. Oh well, I’m SO thankful to have spent time in Colorado and to have made the friends I did.)
Do regular charity work with my photography:  I shot SO many adoptable dogs this year for the Humane Society of Calvert County, the Lowcountry Lab Rescue, and the Marion County Animal Shelter. I also donated all of my proceeds from the Holiday Mini Sessions at the Walk a Hound, Lose a Pound event to the Aiken County Animal Shelter.
Upgrade cameras: In March I made the jump from a Nikon D80 to the powerhouse NikonD700. And I’ve loved every second of that new camera body.
Get a macro lens: Tamron so generously sent me one of their macro’s as a thank you for the above feature. Fun stuff!
Organize my computer: This is constantly a work in progress but for now I’m pretty happy with how all of my files and folders are organized
Order more sample products: Especially with my re-brand this year, this was expensive, but I can finally say I have a sample of everything
Get 100 comments on my blog: Did this way back in the middle of the year thanks to all of my supporters!
Buy a ShootSac: Got it for my 22nd birthday this summer
Graduate: So proud that although I transferred schools like a champ (long story), I hustled my butt off and graduated from college on time (5/25/11). This day was SO special and I’m really thankful my whole family was there to share it with me!
Gamble and actually make money: Dustin and I won a couple hundred dollars gambling in Vegas for the WPPI Convention, but then lost it shortly after thinking we were invincible. Typical.
Visit Charleston, SC: Made my way to Charleston several times, love it!
Visit Savannah, GA: Beautiful!
Get engaged: My handsome husband-to-be popped the question last March here in South Carolina 🙂
Finally write my business plan: This is embarrassing…haha. At least it’s on the “done” list and not the “didn’t get to” list…
Get 100 Twitter followers: I think I have around 175 now 🙂

So I accomplished 18/36 items on my list. Uhhhh, okay, not as good as I thought haha, but hey 50% is better than…less than 50%?

Of the photography-type things I didn’t quite accomplish…

– Shoot with a Canon: Just wanted to for fun. Maybe one day.
– Shoot more photography for art: Not necessarily my thing, I’ve realized. Just doesn’t excite me the way I’d imagined.
– Second shoot a wedding: Well, I did this all out of order. I shot two weddings on my own but totally skipped the second shooting part. Second shooting is a BIG part of my 2012 goals!
–  Learn to shoot film: Also something I really wanted to do this year but it’s new the top of my 2012 list!

Quite the recap, eh? I’m kind of complacent about the whole thing…I wish I had done better, but at the same time some of my goals were kind of lax and I still didn’t do them…things like visit my friend Ariel at Clemson, watch the Tigers play in Death Valley, go fishing with my dad, eat at the Melting Pot for the first time, get a massage, and read two books a month. I’m learning that it’s important to make goals very specific and strategic, but then to also incorporate these smaller more “lifestyle goals” into my every day life, because that is what helps keep life balanced and healthy.

So my goals for 2012 are structured pretty differently. I’ve got a solid list of business goals that I’m still mulling over a little, and then I’ve got a list of things I want to be able to try harder to balance in my everyday life. On Monday I’ll be chatting more about photographers and business women who inspire me, and then on Tuesday I’ll be sharing my 2012 goals here on the blog.

Oh and tomorrow there’s something super exciting coming to the blog! I’d keep an eye out if you’re engaged or planning a wedding 😉