0 comments / Posted on by Erin Gates

Photograph by Michael J. Lee

It feels like it’s been EONS since I’ve blogged, but taking the week and half off was so good for me to just focus on Henry and spending time with our extended families.  I think it’s the first time in a long time I really checked out.  As a perfectionist with anxiety, it really did stress me out a bit to not be “productive” , especially watching social media and seeing other bloggers working over the holiday.  But pregnancy gives me this great excuse to force myself to relax a little, I feel more “permitted” to take time off and not be working all the time.  It’s kind of sad that it takes something as monumental as that to make me chill out a bit, but I’ll take what I can get.

It’s always good to look back on your past year as a business owner (and person) and reflect on what worked and what didn’t and what you’d like to change moving forward in the new year.  Certainly I don’t expect to hit all my goals, but it always feels good to write them out as a road map to guide me.

BUSINESS:

The biggest thing that happened in 2019 as my second book coming out. it took me years to write this one and I was really proud of the content we produced, however, it failed to do nearly as well as the first book. As with lots of “sequels”, this is normal. But after putting in so much work, it was a big disappointment.  I wasn’t really sure why this happened, maybe I overestimated the number of people interested in family-life decor and alienated readers that did not have children (even though most of the book is great for everyone)?  Maybe people didn’t like the spine as much as the stripes?  Since I’m taking a break from books for a while, I don’t need to assess this TOO much, and I’m still super proud of it and content to have written two books in my lifetime for such a renowned publisher.

Since there isn’t another book coming in the near future, I want to put that time and energy into creating more unique and inspired blog content and Instagram engagement. So if you have suggestions on what you’d like to see more of (we WILL have new projects coming right to the blog and insta now that I don’t have save things for a book). There are a few big ones I’m going to pitch to media first, but I think there is more actual benefit to my business directly to publish on my own platform.

One aspect of the business that did really well the past year were my licensed collections, especially the rugs!  As with the production of ANY goods, there were hiccups and mistakes of course, but ones we really learned from and are changing moving forward. I am working on the new rug collection for next fall and it’s going to be SO good!!!!

Client-wise, we’ve had so many great projects in 2019 that will be finishing in 2020- including our biggest project EVER.  We are booking for spring 2020 right now, and while we still do smaller projects (a couple rooms), we are particularly looking for larger scale projects ideally where we can really execute a full vision.  It’s hard to say no to ANY work, but I have to accept that we just cannot do everything and that the really small jobs or small budget jobs just do not make sense economically for the business.  That’s what we started the “Style Solutions” column for the blog, so if you have a room that you are struggling with that could be a good feature for the community to see my design plan for, email stylesolutions@eringatesdesign.com!

Instagram has clearly become bigger than blogging, so I need to focus more on that content. I want to hit 100k followers in 2020. I feel like my audience is really dedicated, but smaller than I’d like compared to my peers in the business. So whatever you think I should do more of there to make my feed more interesting, let me know in comments.

PERSONAL:

Clearly, the biggest thing that happened in 2019 personally was getting pregnant and it sticking (after turning the big 4-0 no less!)  I still can’t believe it, and am still crossing my fingers and toes that 2020 bring a healthy baby girl into our family. Since I’m feeling so superstitious about it, I really can’t bring myself to plan the nursery yet. I also am torn about whether to go all out on the nursery (CONENT!!!!) , knowing that we are actively looking to move into a bigger house, or do a mini-nursery makeover and wait until we move to blow it out…. I’ll consider this more seriously once we pass our 20 week mark in the next 2 weeks.

Henry has grown into such a special big boy, who really is a joy to spend time with. He’s so sweet, independent and creative and really loving school and friends. I am excited to see him become a big brother in 2020 (I hope! Gah, I feel like I’m jinxing myself left and right talking like this!)

Other than that, I want to just enjoy more of my life and try to be happy and focused on what I have and not comparing myself to everyone else and not constantly striving for more, more, more.  It’s the one thing that can really rob you of all the joy you should be experiencing.  I have so much to be grateful for, and I want to continue to try to make that a real focus.  Since I’m pregnant I have no gym or work out goals, those I’ll save for 2021! :)

I also just want to thank all of you for continuing to support me personally and my business.  As hard as it is to keep the blog going, I cannot imagine giving it up, as this community of thoughtful, engaged, interesting people is so important to me and such a big part of my life. So thank you.

P.S. I am doing my Globes red carpet review in my stories this afternoon! Check @elementstyle to see who I liked (maybe 3 dresses) and who I didn’t (so many).

 

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