January 28, 2011

A new year, a new groove

So hard to believe we're almost finished with the first month of 2011!

The last few months of 2010 were a whirlwind...between shoots + design projects + the Christmas tree season, it was a daily battle to stay ahead of the game while working from home with the Wee Ski in tow.

I did several things over the course of the 3rd and 4th quarter of the year to help gain a better grasp on the business for the upcoming year.
  • Did a full business analysis of Finian Road. 
    • For the year ending 2010, overall business was up 41%. 
      I transitioned away from Merrill Lynch and had time to develop the business from here (God bless double nap days!).  I honestly never believed in 2006 that this would be a feasible venture in terms of truly adding something to the family (as I'm pretty sure I just wanted to be able to expense sweet equipment back in 2006 when I started!).  But on the whole, I'm pleased with how the business has grown. 
      I love my clients -- they've been an incredible source of growth: both for photography and design.  And it's easy to say -- when you love the people you're working for, you tend to also love their friends and family when they refer you!
    • Nearly 60% of my revenue last year was generated from the "design" side of Finian Road Image & Design. 
      In 2009, design was at 21% of revenue. I realized that I have hardly ever featured any contract or design work here on the blog...and with the significant impact it made on the bottom line this year, I know I should be sharing some of the projects so you can see the depth of what's available through Finian Road.  I'll be honest - I love how the design side is growing.
  • I formed an Advisory Board for Finian Road.
    • In order to manage the growth of my company successfully, I needed to get a better perspective and gauge of how I'm doing - both in my work (image + design both) and from a business perspective. 
      I will tell you that I definitely appreciate my finance background in this, and all of my business management classes from the University of Portland.  It's the numbers geek balance to my crafty, creative side
    • The Advisory Board has been fantastic for feedback on what I need to improve. 
      • better time management
      • stepping up my communication game (read: getting email under control w/clients, wholesalers and suppliers)
      • challenging myself to grow behind the lens. 
  • My game plan for 2011
    • Better management of communication overall. 
      It's definitely a work in progress, but it's improving!  It includes getting all my sessions blogged (I still have a dozen from 2010 that have yet to see the light of day, even though the clients have been delivered their images long ago!) and sharing more about the process and insight into how I do what I do. 
    • Challenging myself behind the lens.
      I have completely reworked my post-processing with the help of a few marathon sessions of feedback + coaching.  I am loving how it's coming along.  And it's only January!
    • Better time management.
      Blocking out specific times in the office, and leaving it in the office when I'm done.  A healthy set of boundaries from both sides. 
    • Stretching myself from a business perspective.
      For photography, design + nonprofit work.  In addition to my commercial design work, I started a semi-personal line of goodies that I'll have up in my Etsy shoppe as a retail outlet. Simply fun stuff for the Type A nerds like myself, mainly.  And there's a good chance I'll have a giveaway on some of it soon!  (That means: check back!)  You're either green + growing or ripe + rotting!  I'd rather be on the growing side!  :)
...to all of my current + past clients, as well as those who want to become future clients, I'm adding in a special Valentine's special, available through Feb. 7th.

You can save $50 on a shoot - either for yourself or to give as a gift!  If you'd like a gift certificate, they can be shipped to you or the lucky duck who's receiving it...wrapped and ready to go!  Full shoots are just $400 through February 7th.

[And if this is something you'd like YOUR significant other to do for you...just forward them this post! :) ]

If you're interested, it's simple to do!  Just send me an email (shelley {at} finianroad {dot} com) to get the ball rolling and save $50! 

And here's to an incredible 2011 for everyone!

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