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Setting Goals for 2020

Happy New Year!

I'm sure I'll not be the only one over the next few days, sitting down to write some goals for 2020, and telling the world how much I relish a fresh start, a new page, and a new set of goals. Every year. I like to look back at the goals I set for last year, and set some new ones for the coming year, and it's finally time to close the 2019 chapter of my business, and start making plans for 2020!


a Christmas Tree illustration - Annie Dornan Smith


After a year that had felt a bit like "treading water" - just ticking things over, taking small repetitive steps - I was ready for 2019 to be a year of "big things" and I think in a lot of ways it has been - which is pretty clear from my Wins and Losses of 2019. I had tried to be a bit more purposeful with my goals, hoping they'd be something I'd check back in on more regularly this year, but I confess that I didn't manage to remember to do this as much as I'd like. However, I am pleased that I did manage to achieve most of my goals, so let's take a look at them in review.

Hit 10k followers

Even though this was a goal that had stopped being as much of a priority last year, it feels good to have finally hit it after having in my "yearly goals" posts for 3 years! I think this year I became a lot more strategic in how I use instagram and have tried to use it as less of a sell-sell-sell tool, and have begun to cultivate more of a community. I suspect that that, paired with some absolutely fantastic collaborations with other instagrammers with bigger followings, has been instrumental to achieving this goal.

Set goals every month

I started the year off well, but it's something I've struggled a lot with. Sometimes by the time next month rolls around, the goal i'd planned for it seems irrelevant, or more urgent or important things take center stage, or it gets lost on a page of my diary, never to be looked at again. I've started to combat this by writing a "monthly checklist" of things I hope to get done every month in a google doc, and setting aside 1 day a week as a "CEO" day - a day to do the "boss" work instead of the day-to-day work. I'm thinking that perhaps I can use this checklist method to help me chip away at my overarching goals for the year. 

Extend my Product Ranges

It's definitely something I achieved in the past year, but I have mixed feelings on it. I expanded the British Bee collection and the By the Beach collection with the addition of new Jot pads, introduced a selection of print sizes when launching the Super Love collection, and introduced a few new giclee prints for those looking to upgrade to something extra colour accurate and archival. But equally, I've let some of my stationery sell out, and am still in two minds whether to restock, find new suppliers, or move away from pads, pencils and pens completely, so it doesn't feel absolutely like a goal achieved. 

Apply for and Get into a Trade Fair

I finished paying off my space in November, and I am busy preparing for my first ever trade show at Top Drawer this month. it's definitely going to be an exciting opportunity, and I am really hoping to make the most of it, but I also have to keep reminding myself not to pin too many hopes to it! This is all a new experience, and I have no idea how my work will be received. 

Learn to Drive

Boo! This is one I just didn't prioritise this year, and after another trip by train to Native Makers, I am kicking myself. I'm lucky that Martin has since learned to drive, so I do occasionally have a set of wheels at my disposal, but for now, I'm still license-less! 

A Wholesale Order wrapped in festive tissue papergrey, rattan and pink velvet living room


I'm pleased to have finished out 2019 solidly hitting 3 goals and starting to make headway on the 4th, and I'm ready to set some new goals for 2020! Towards the end of 2019, my approach to my business has started to feel a little bit different - I'm pursuing a slightly more grown up style, and I've introduced some more luxe products - and so some of my goals are a little different this year. Let's take a look.


1. Smash Top Drawer

In some ways, I can't guarantee the outcome of this goal - I can't guarantee that it will be a success and I'll come away with heaps of new wholesale clients and be rolling in cash, but I'm really focussing on creating a stand that I can feel proud of. It's important to me to feel like I made the most of the opportunity, so I'm prioritizing preparing as much as i possibly can, and I'll consider this goal achieved as long as my stand is beautiful and enticing, and I do my best to meet new people and make a few connections. 

2. Develop a New Product

I've got so many product ideas bouncing around my head, and I've been putting everything off until I have the brain space in the New year to start experimenting and developing a new product. I'm planning to jump off the collection-designing-treadmill for a bit, and make space to consider something entirely new, without worrying that I should be developing various new collections at the same time. 

If you want to see exactly what new products do arrive in the shop this year, make sure to subscribe to my mailing list, where I always share my latest product launches.

3. Shedule Time to Paint Once a Week

As I mentioned before, I am feeling drawn to a more sophisticated style in the future, but have spent a lot of time feeling torn, or unsure what or how to draw/paint. I realised that the only way I can really combat this is to stop worrying about it, and start getting on with it, and start painting more. But "paint more" is a goal that's vague and easy to ignore in favour of more urgent tasks. So, following the intenseness of Christmas, in this season of goal setting and habit forming, I am aiming to schedule in an opportunity to paint, once a week. I learned quickly from Inktober that creating one finished piece each day was actually really uninspiring to me, and so instead, I just want to commit to honing my craft in a small, repetitive way. 

4. Learn to Drive!

And it's back on the list again! This time, I'll break this goal into small, actionable steps, which I think was some of the barrier last year. I've watched my partner achieve the same goal in exactly the same way over the past year, so I'm confident I can do the same. 

5. Pledge to shop #onethingindie

I launched this on Instagram, and mentioned the idea on my mailing list, but I thought it was defintely topical to mention here, too. This year, inspired by a chat with my friend Kat at a similar time last year, I am pledging to choose #onethingindie to buy this year. I don't have heaps of disposable income, and can't always choose to support indie brands in every aspect of my life, but the only reason I make a living is because there is so many of you wonderful people who do choose to support independant brands.

Kate told me about how she'd decided to spend the year buying 1 category of item from only indie brands, and I thought the idea was the perfect way to support indie brands in a way that suits your budget, so I decided I had to share it with the masses! Whether you choose to only buy cards, coffee, socks, art, teabags, birthday presents, baby clothes, furniture, skincare or something else, there's something that will fit almost all budgets. 

 Come and check out my #onethingindie stories highlight on instagram if you'd like to get involved, too!

one thing indie logo


 So, that's my goals for the year wrapped up. and for now, I suppose I better get out of my seat and stop planning, start doing! 





Setting Goals for 2020 - Annie Dornan Smith