· By Kelly Hogaboom
my 2021 greatest hits
I worked hard this year - just like last. I accomplished a great deal and I would be remiss if I didn't take some time to give myself some major props!
Here are my top feats that either strengthened Bespoke Hogaboom, deepened my ethics - or brought me (and others) a lot of joy. I write them here, because they were deliberate choices, they were important to me and others, and you and I made them happen. Perhaps some of these will inspire you to make a vision for your 2022!
I doubled my income, in 2021.
In 2021 I made 2.2 times what I made in 2020 - DURING a pandemic! This wasn't an accident, and it wasn't random. It was hard work! It all started with a Cash Forecast/Pro Forma - a spreadsheet. This is the same spreadsheet I provide my Whole Enchilada students (and that I used in November 2021's "Pricing Party" class)! Please trust me that I am the most impulsive person on the planet - but I still made a plan that let me have full creative freedom and my own schedule! And I made my big splashy impulsive silly self financially lucrative!
I launched and ran two cohorts of the Whole Enchilada - my business course for ethical Creatives!
I am so incredibly proud of this accomplishment, because I really designed everything myself - including how I marketed and vetted students! In 2021 I ran two cohorts, and I am proud of the education I provided.
Every student who's taken their Whole Enchilada coursework to other mentors (SCORE, the SBA, the SBDC, etc), has been told my course is impressive! I showed up to every lecture session and coaching appointment and I did right by my homies; most of them are still in contact with me today, and several of us meet weekly to continue our good work together (we call this group the Ghost Peppers)!
I paid off all our family debt (that we'd carried for about twenty years)!
We have my partner to thank for this in more ways than one - this summer he was making our regular payments to our creditors, and he accidentally paid one big bill in full, which meant I'd have to transfer some business savings to cover us for the pay period. I was a bit annoyed at first and then I realized that the truth is, we owe this money and it's time to pay it off - for everyone's sake. I decided to to spend my business savings on this debt and then rebuild these savings.
Now when you have some money, there are a dozen things you could do with it. But living without debt for the first time in twenty years... well it's kind of an amazing feeling. To be honest, I'm still getting used to it!
I started the Tiny Horror Hug Club!
This is my mutual aid program where I create couture and fashion gifts for trans, nonbinary, and gender-expansive homies! The reason this accomplishment is important to me is - well, lots of reasons. But I am proving you can run a lucrative, ethical business - and build an infrastructure that gives forward in a meaningful and generous way. If I can do this - teeny tiny me with no corporate backing or sponsorships - then MUCH larger enterprises have NO excuse. Let's kick Capitalism in the batch, and show people how it's done!
I converted to Quickbooks, and took one-on-one coaching with two financial mentors.
Since upgrading my accounting (I previously used Wave, a perfectly serviceable free app) I have gained so much more power in making business decisions. I regularly meet with two professionals: one is a no-cost mentor, and one is $125/hour bookkeeper. My bookkeeping and decision-based accounting skills continue to strengthen and that's something I bring to my students - and my mentees.
I researched and made regular donations - twelve of them per year just like 2020 (you can see them on this page)!
Again: there's no excuse not to make regular donations to good causes - no matter how teeny tiny your business is. Even $10 month that you commit to and enact will eventually bloom into something stronger! But this will never happen if you don't carve out that time and space. My advice? Don't wait until you're making money hand over fist: start giving regularly and in a committed fashion, now.
I continue to provide meaningful support for Creatives through my Discord community.
To be honest, my Discord server is probably my most valuable property in a few ways, because the nurture and encouragement people receive there is quite valuable and quite rare online. I don't go hard in promoting my Discord, because I want it to grow slowly and steadily. It's a space for people who want to SERVE others - people who are ready to invest (mostly time) in one another. It's a sacred, awesome, amazing group. I'm pleased with how it's humming along and I have no immediate plans to do something major or ambitious. (I'll let you know if that changes!)
I moved my business to waitlist-only.
This was a major, major change from how I was doing things. I get a lot of DMs and emails (and even a few texts and phone calls) from people asking me to do work for them. I also get a lot of people who want to talk about some future project but who are nowhere near ready to put money down and make a plan. Converting my business to a waitlist model saves me more time than almost any other strategy I've put together.
I re-invested my profits.
I bought a LOT of machines in 2020, and I slowed down in 2021. Still, I bought some goodies: a new chainstitch embroidery machine and a new coverstitch machine (these were my first-ever new machine purchases), a vintage denim chainstitch Union Special, two handmade bases for my vintage Singer domestics, and a vintage glove-making machine! All my vintage machines have a high resell value, and most of them will actually go up in value - so they're not only wonderful to own and work on, they are investments.
I garnered 50 five-star reviews on Google business!
I have 100% satisfaction rate! I hope you're listening... because you won't find a better business mentor and course instructor!
I hosted Friday Lives all year.
My lovely friend Annmarie Gustafson joined me for ten months (thank you!), and I rounded out the year - providing my best thoughts, encouragement, and resource-sharing on Fridays at noon on IG. There was a Friday or two I couldn't be there, but I did a great job and I responded to your questions and needs with generosity and consistency!
I graduated from the SBA Ventures business incubator program and joined the GBSA (Washington's LGBTQ chamber organization).
Some of this activity serves to strengthen my business; and some builds me up as a mentor and instructor. Even a few short years ago if you said I'd become a business nerd I would have said, No way!
And yet here I am! The more I learn, the more I love it!
Here's to next year!