REFLECTING ON 2016 & PLANS FOR 2017
We normally enjoy doing goals types of posts and talk about our achievements and dreams. It's great to loook back on them. We haven't done one of these posts in a long time, actually since July 2016. >>>You can see that last post here >>> it's interesting to see how far we've come since then.
A LOOK BACK AT 2016
We came into the new year in 2016 watching fireworks blasting off Mt. Hood, while snowboarding down the mountain through a line of people holding flares, it was pretty epic. They always say- 'what you do the first day of the new year represents what your year will be like, and we spent the day snowboarding, falling, tumbling, getting snow down our pants..etc. During one of my yoga classes in January, a new instructor was talking about how 2016 is the year of the fire breathing monkey. Meaning this year is gonna be straight up flipped around and upside down and full of really intense changes that will test our limits and mold us for the future. She couldn't be anymore right.
This year was full of many changes and a lot of things that definitely tested our limits. Cody and I decided to leave our wonderful life in Portland behind and set out for the unknown. For the adventure of a lifetime. The beginning of the year we focused on enjoying time with friends, going on weekend adventures, exercising at the rock gym, and graduating college; which was definitely a huge accomplishment for us to do together. We also got to work on a few great projects with some good friends and clients. Here's a few links to some of the amazing trips we went on and the projects we got to work on.
CAITLIN BREHM BRAND DESIGN & VISUALS
ALEX BREHM HOMEBREWER DOCUMENTARY
After seeing all the projects and trips we did in the first half of the year, we're feeling pretty great about everything we did. Starting in April, we started selling everything we owned. I sold my car I had since I was 17 years old, Cody sold his beloved motorcycle. We bought our Sprinter Van at the end of May and lived in an empty apartment for a two months until we were finally done with college.
We had a graduation party with all of our close friends and family, packed up all of our things in our van and set off down south to Paradise, CA the very next day. We spent the next 5 months converting our van, working small local jobs in the area, and spent time working on our business because we were newly full time entrepreneurs. We also couldn't resist some mini trips here and there. We went to Las Vegas to celebrate our graduation and then to Breckenridge, Colorado for the 4th of July and had a great time with our friends.
After the fun, we hunkered down and really spent a lot of time working on the van conversion. During the summer we had an amazing opportunity to work with Sseko Designs to create content for their summer line and we found the perfect spot at Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Next we worked with North and Stanley PMI to create a fun campaign, check out the outdoor retailer show in salt lake city, and camp for the evening on antelope island. We also had the opportunity to work with Stay Wild Magazine and meet some cool new friends. We we're so excited as fresh full time entrepreneurs to have such wonderful opportunities come our way. Those were some pretty big accomplishments for this year for us. You can check those projects and adventures out below!
ANTELOPE ISLAND, UTAH
We quickly realized nearing the end of our van build in September that it was beginning to cost a lot more than we originally anticipated. Despite running low on funds, we had a few jobs that were a 'maybe' in our future so we planned on heading out in October. Once we moved into the van, i'm not gonna lie..it was really fucking hard. We we're completely broke by this time, we had 0 clients and no idea how we were going to pay our bills the next month, but we were so determined to make it work. We left my family's house and set off regardless of the circumstances, but we quickly learned our lesson that you can never bank on a client that has not paid you yet; and unfortunately our potential client had cancelled.
It's definitely a lesson we learned the hard way that its good to have enough money saved up just in case someone cancels on you; and we're definitely making that a priority this year.
This is one of my favorite lessons of the year: Shortly after we left and traveled from California to Colorado and then on our way back to Oregon; I was ready to give up and throw in the towel. The clients that cancelled on us gave us a little curveball. I was crying to Cody that I didn't know if any of it was worth it anymore. We had no money in our bank account, and our gas light came on with about two hours of driving left. We went to the nearest gas station; Cody grabbed our mason jar full of change and dumped it on the floor and started grabbing change. It clanked around all over the floor and the gas station attendant came over and asked if we were ready. (because they fill your gas for you in OR) I was completely mortified at this point. I looked at Cody and said "well, now we really look like we live in a van." and even though we were both on edge, my eyes red and puffy from crying...we both chuckled.
After managing to fill up with enough gallons to get us to my moms house in Portland, we were feeling pretty defeated. We started to get directions to my moms house, but instead of turning left to get back on the highway, we sponateously decided to drive straight. The Columbia River Gorge was right in front of us, the sun was going down, and we found a small area that you can park your car and hang out. Cody parked the van and we flung open the back doors to a pristine view of the sun going down. We grabbed the camera and seized the moment to take photos, regardless of being stressed.
This exact moment was the one that reminded me it was all worth it. That even at the most difficult times in life, we shouldn't give up. Even though shit gets hard, we can still find the light in everything. We can make jokes about dumping our change on the floor, and even though my face was all swollen from the tears, we still managed to laugh and smile and enjoy the scenery.
I've posted these photos a few times on here, but now theres a meaning behind them. I really wanted to share this moment of the year because it was definitely one to learn from the most.
Anyway, after that we spent a few weeks time hunkered down in my moms living room and we worked every single day, trying to figure out how we would find our next job to support us through the end of the year.
And we did.
I believe we did because we didn't give up when it got hard. Because as the story always goes, you are only 3 feet away from gold, right when you feel like giving up.
The rest of our year went fabulous and we had a few amazing adventures to Big Sur, San Francisco, Mt. Shasta National Forest and Death Valley National Park. Check out our photos below from those trips!
After seeing all that happened in a single year and all of the trips we went on, and all of the projects we got to do. I'm so grateful for everything that happened. It was a year full of adventure, huge crazy changes in our life, and testing our entrepreneur strength and abilities. We're ending our year in Arizona working on our business, getting our financial situation back to normal, and spending time with family. I can't be more happy with where we are at right now. We're hoping to spend the first day of the new year in our van, blasting some fireworks in the desert, and using the word Momentum as the way we spend our first day. I really think this year is going to be us moving forward rapidly in our life and business.
LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017
So, 2016 was all about change, learning the hard way, and figuring it all out. We tumbled and fell and there were huge shifts in our lives. This year we are going to propel forward in our business and our personal lives. Our ideas are going to come to life, and after all that learning over the last 3 years since we started State of Mind Studio...we are ready to come at the world full force. 100%. All In. Committed.
2017 is the year of the fire rooster. So, of course I had to check out what that meant.
"The Rooster of Fire represents a new dawn and awakening, and will be marked by success and success as a result of work Hard and patience, in this new period nothing comes by chance or luck."
So, after reading that I'm really thinking that this will be the year that all of our hard work and efforts will pay off in amazing ways. With that said....
Here are our upcoming plans for 2017
Focus on passive income: we've got tons of ideas on our plate and we're hoping to bring something funky fresh to the table. Something that isn't already out there. Think courses on topics you don't know you need yet. A subscription based service that is new, exciting and different than what is already out there, and of course an e-book launch Cody and I have been working on for months.
Launch our services: After working with tons of different types of clients in 2016, we know exactly what we can provide. Now were more than ready to show the world what we can do. We want to focus on how we can help our clients create content that is meaningful, and less about paying someone to talk about how cool you are. *cough* sponsored influencer posts *cough* I mean come on, we all know they are being paid to say it. 2017 is going to be the year of the influencer, our goal is to combat that with authentic real sincere ass shit. We're not hating on all influencers, but lately we've seen a lot of phony posts.
Work with big name clients: We've got someone on our mind, and we have a plan on how we're going to woo them. Don't worry, were planning on sharing how on our blog. We really want to make sincere connections with people we want to work with and we're determined to reach them!
Travel in our van, and out of the country: We're spending time in Arizona for the next couple of months to save up for more adventures. Our next destinations are going to be exploring around Arizona and the desert for the winter. Joshua Tree, Grand Canyon, Seguro, White Sands, Havasupai...we're stoked to explore those places while we use Cody's moms house as our hub in between. In the spring we'll be planning out our route to head north, then we'll be back in the PNW in June. Aside from that, we're hoping to travel to New Zealand sometime this year and hopefully Italy at the end of the year. If anyone has good tips for saving to travel abroad let us know! We want to make it a priority to see more of the world.
Video content: We started a vlog (check it out here.) and have loads of ideas on how we are going to use it to share our story. We also are going to start doing our helpful content blog posts in video format, making it a little more interesting and human than just reading words on a page.
Blog posts that matter: After our reader survey we realized that people want something different, so we are going to continue with our stories, but also provide projects and ways for you to create your own content. We also want to give you a more behind the scenes look on how we do things, like the story I mentioned earlier about how we wanted to give up. I just wanna be real with you, so that is how its gonna be. We're hoping to share more details about how we do what we do, 100% honestly.
Thanks for checking out our reflections and 2017 plans. We're stoked to see how this year unfolds.