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Last year's realization that I didn't know if I'd been hitting any New Year's Resolutions at all, and my subsequent vow to declare it and update it proved effective. I actually know how I did this year - what I did accomplish, and what I didn't. Therefore, for 2017, I am bringing over any resolutions in 2016 that I did not hit, and adding new ones.
I do have one kicker for 2017: I'm pregnant! With No. 3. While that was a little scary to say the first time, and if you've read my previous Diary of Small Business entries, you'll see why, I'm not as scared anymore. Ever since I declared to myself that this is a "pregnancy on my terms." Which means that I'm doing what I need to. Like not putting off buying clothes I need or want, and not beating myself up over snow-days throwing my schedule. For example, as I type this, my son is home for a sick day, and we are taking turns playing a video Nerf Blaster on my iPhone. This article was the 1st on my list today, and it's ok that it's 2:20pm and it's getting finalized.
Things have changed since my first pregnancy. During my first pregnancy, I had 2 businesses and 2 business partners in one of them. Today, I have 2.5 businesses, no business partners, and 1.5 of those businesses are radically different, and I seek input and feedback from my team, Tin Shingle members and clients as I grow the businesses. Additionally, since my first pregnancy, the web design landscape has changed significantly, making design much more fun and integrated with clients and customers.
Without further ado, here are my 2017 Resolutions!
When we moved into our home seven years ago, it was "move-in-ready." The previous owners had staged it with muted colors of paint. I'm a loud paint color kind of girl, yet I've not repainted any rooms. Except for my daughter's room, which is robin's egg blue - gender neutral color - because my husband didn't want to know the gender until after the birth, so I had to decorate in gender neutral. Here's what is changing:
- My Kids Rooms: I'm going to nursery both rooms, since this baby is going to move into one of them. I want my kids to feel special and individual when someone else comes into their worlds.
- The Rest of the House: It is time to stamp some personality onto these walls. I just finished painting my old home office since moving out of it and into a storefront office on Main Street. It's the sunroom, and it's dark brown, for a lovely contrast between sun and dark walls! I'm also going to scrape up the adhesive carpet tiles and discover the wood underneath, then will paint the floor. Rest of the rooms to come with colors, including my bland dressing room (we have no closets) which will become Benjamin Moor's Color of the Year Deep Shadow Purple.
Update 4/17/17: Need hubby's help on painting, and this is a tough tooth to pull. But, I have started moving furniture around. Ruby has a new/old desk (formerly the dining room table), and a honest to goodness hair styling chair purchased from a stylist. Cole and I have been discussing bed options, and ruled out loft beds because the ceiling is too low. He tells me we can just "go to Home Depot and buy another ceiling." More on this to come.
Update 12/28/17: Binge-bought cute boxes and new baby crib sheet set at Babies R Us to set the tone for the boy's new shared room. Felt good! Room is still split between StarWars (blue, red, gold) and modern gray elephant/owl theme. Also have been decorating the rest of the house by covering old furniture in fabric. I also finally hung this wallpaper from Target. Picture below!
Alright, so 2016 was a flop for this. I've since done the math on this for what I need to contribute monthly in order to max out the amount aloud per year for taxes. While that is too high right now, I can at least do a smaller number monthly and set it on auto-deposit.
Update 4/17/17: No update here :)
Update 12/28/17: Good grief, still no update.
Refinance Mortgage and Eliminate PMI
Each year, true to promise, Quicken Loans calls to try to lower our interest rate and cut the PMI we pay on our mortgage. We have refinanced once, and came close to doing it again, but two factors get in the way:
- Either the house appraises just shy of being enough above our purchase price (which happens because we didn't update the kitchens and bathrooms, which give you bonus points), or...
- Credit score needs to improve.
While we're not going to update kitchens and bathrooms this year (unless it eventually gets done piece by piece), I am on a mission to improve our credit scores, which used to be awesome until the kids came and credit cards got used.
Update 4/17/17: PMI has been removed! I called the bank and started the process. Our house needed to appraise at a certain amount. Thanks to the "hot market" our neighborhood is in, our house did just that. I realize that I actually don't want to refinance at all, I just wanted the PMI gone. But whenever Quicken Loans called, it was to refinance and eliminate PMI, so in my brain, I connected them. Consider this resolution DONE!
Update 12/28/17: And further, I started applying the extra $200 to our Principle payment, and the QuickenLoan app shows me the long term savings on the life of the loan in interest. It was like $4,000! We have since refinanced again, thereby knocking off $300 total this year from the monthly payment.
Take Fitness Classes
I'm an outdoor runner kind of gal. I don't commit to classes. But I think I want to. Especially now with a bump, I want to keep moving.
Update 4/17/17: The most ridiculous thing: I signed up for a monthly membership to a yoga studio. And I've never gone. Being pregnant is weird on the body! But the truth is, the class I need is on Saturdays, and I still work on Saturdays in a creative zone all by myself, so it's hard to break that habit to leave the cocoon of my creative space in the morning, and go to class. Still contemplating this one.
Update 12/28/17: Finally went to class! When my husband learned I've been a member there for a year but haven't gone, he pushed me out of the house. Now, on Saturday mornings, I just leave. I prep the kid's breakfast, and if they eat it great, and if they don't, too bad for them. But I'm in class!
Watch More TV
This resolution from 2016 also was not a huge success, but I've since figured out the problem: We had 1 cable box! And my husband and kids dominate it. This fall, my husband insisted on a 2nd cable box in order to watch Ohio State during a big game with friends over. This has been a game-changer. The 2nd box is in my old office, now back to being a sunroom, so in my newly painted walls and furniture that we recently inherited, it's feeling quite cozy in there, and I've just started watching more HGTV! There is more TV I could watch myself and to bond with my kids, so will keep updates on this.
Update 1/13/17: Over the Winter Break of 2016, I came down with a bad cold. This slowed me down big time, and I collapsed into chairs to watch whatever TV was on. In fact, if my kids were watching one show in the back room, I snuck away into the front room to watch my new subscription to Acorn TV. And the TV watching continues. My kids are currently hooked on Disney TV, and my daughter gets excited if I watch and get to know the characters.
Update 12/28/17: Funny...I'm updating this a year later, with the same bad cold. I have allergies and was allergic to the Christmas tree last year, and this year was allergic to a visiting dog. So I cleaned and I cleaned right after Christmas, sitting down finally at 10pm one night to watch Mako Mermaids with my daughter. For my son, I am watching (trying really hard) football, as he's obsessed with it, as is my husband. I am trying to get into the teams so that I can share their passion.
Cook More Rice
This may be code for "Cook Different Things Other Than Creamy Pasta." Our refrigerator broke, so we got a new one and it's beautiful. This has been helpful in seeing vegies that I haven't eaten yet. However, our oven also broke, and we just got a new one on Black Friday. So 2017 will be a new year for cooking. Especially with my new oven's "Roast" feature! See, I already have a head start here.
Update 4/17/17: I'm officially firing this resolution. I hate rice. Ok, I don't hate rice, I just hate rice that I cook. I think what I need to do is cook cous cous and other grains. More on this later.
Update 12/28/17: So I started buying box rice with seasoning packets. That has helped.
Increase Income - Replace Husband's
Isn't this everyone's goal? But this year, there is more urgency because we want my husband home more. He commutes 4 hours every day, and it's getting hard. We need more breaks for him, or flexibility. His job is gig-to-gig, so it's not a regular 9-5 desk job. He works in the film/TV business as a location manager. While he loves it, he has yearnings to start his own entrepreneurial thing. Therefore, I need to look at my numbers to set goals. Once all goals are visualized, I will set strategy for how to get there and maintain it.
Update 4/17/17: I've started keeping a daily log of what revenue comes into both of my businesses. This has helped, instead of focusing on the end of the month number, which is what I normally do.
Update 12/28/17: Goal not hit yet. I conduct zero marketing, and this needs to change. Even though I preach it here at Tin Shingle!
Start In-Person Events for Tin Shingle
For years, members in New York have asked for this. The hang-up was that people who don't live in New York would ask me: "Do I need to live in New York to be a member?" No! It's a training and support program based online that works anywhere. So, I will start this in January, and figure out how to make it clear and inclusive of folks who don't live in New York. But even classes - I aim to offer in-person classes in 2017 from my new office.
Update 4/17/17: Yyyyyes, have sort of started this with the Local Member Meetings at the last Monday of each month. It always springs up on me, but a few friendly faces have shown up! Tina, the Bra Fit Expert, the savvy wine PR professional Mara Farrel, and Christine Agro. When the second component of Tin Shingle's website is released, I will list more in-person classes here in the office.
Update 12/28/17: Getting close with the launch of the new Tin Shingle website! We hosted a joint event with BeaconArts and Dutchess SCORE for a finance workshop.
Hiring Someone at Tin Shingle
In addition to Jackie (newsletter production, media contacts, other awesome projects), Shayne (lead developer of Tin Shingle's website) and Ashley (editorial calendars), I need a boots on the ground type of person who is very involved with Tin Shingle's membership. Someone who can take members through an orientation and possibly lead a PR Challenge call.
Update 4/17/17: Yyyyyes, Ms. Ashley Cox is back at Tin Shingle! And I've committed to her the most that I can. She has taken to Tin Shingle so well, and is such a natural fit. Working with her has been a pleasure and has helped immensely.
Update 12/28/17: Ashley is awesome!!! She is the researcher for Media Contacts and Editorial Calendars available in the All Access Pass Membership with Tin Shingle. She has also moved back to New York!
Pitching the Press and Marketing
Carrying this over from 2016. Success happened, but more needs to be done. The creation and participation of Tin Shingle's PR Challenge Group has been very helpful for me with this goal, and with others who have taken it. Therefore, Tin Shingle's PR Challenge will continue in 2017, as will my personal efforts.
Update 4/17/17: I'm in the trap of waiting for that redesign. I see members and clients do this all of the time, and I always want them to spring forward and continue to pitch. But I'm also using it as the excuse not to pitch. Soon!
Update 12/28/17: Redesign happened. See it here! I have broken through my HARO block and pitched this morning. I will continue to do so only when I receive the HARO emails and not wait on them.
PS: If you are a Tin Shingle Member, please share your 2017 New Year's Resolutions here in the Small Business Diaries! We will have TuneUps dedicated to them throughout 2017 to check back and see how we are all doing.