731 days of freedom and keeping it real


On April 22, 2014, I hit publish on this little blog post, effectively sending Carrie, Ink from "fun little side project" to "this is what I do now." If it weren't for the inarguable nature of my calendar, I'd be hard-pressed to believe that day was two full years ago. Time flies when you're having fun—or trying to remember to have fun. 

How about a year two recap?

I'm not going to lie, this second year of Carrie, Ink has had its ups and downs. You wouldn't know it from my lack of blogging and embarrassingly out of date portfolio, but it was also an insanely busy year. 

The good

At this point last year my team and I were gathering the last bits and pieces of content for 804ork, Vol. 2—right on schedule. I had just started mentoring other entrepreneurs and business owners with Thrive. And I had the second half of 2015 booked with client work. 

In May, I even squeezed in two business trips to NYC—the first for 99U, the second to attend NSS. I made new friends, met people I admire, and became truly inspired. 


 1) That time I sort of broke into MoMA 2) 99U swag 3) That time I met @swissmiss 4) NSS awesomeness by Easy Tiger 5) and Bespoke Letterpress 6) Paper Party Photo Booth fun 

1) That time I sort of broke into MoMA 2) 99U swag 3) That time I met @swissmiss 4) NSS awesomeness by Easy Tiger 5) and Bespoke Letterpress 6) Paper Party Photo Booth fun 


It was also right around this time I woke up to the brutal reality that was my plan.

The bad

On paper, it all looked feasible. I blocked out a break in my client work to accommodate the 804ork schedule. I outlined every milestone of the design process and felt like I knew exactly what I was doing this time around. I lugged around 4GB of photos to edit in airports, on trains, in hotel rooms at 1 am. I thought for sure I had given myself enough time to get everything done. 

In reality, projects had gotten off-schedule and still needed to be wrapped. New projects popped up: opportunities I didn't want to pass up, people I felt obligated to help. Oh yeah—then I decided to redesign the entire format of the book and grossly underestimated the time it would take to do so. 

I spent months pushing myself harder than I have ever pushed before. The result was the record turnaround of 224 meticulously designed pages, published just in time for holiday shopping. And week after week of my calendar looking like this (see below).


 The good: a final product!

The good: a final product!

 The bad: Those measly little green areas? Yeah, those were my blocks of free time—also known as working out. Ugh.

The bad: Those measly little green areas? Yeah, those were my blocks of free time—also known as working out. Ugh.


I'm not going to sugarcoat this—things got ugly. 

How ugly?

By the time I approved the last set of proofs in late July, I was spent. I also needed to jump right back into major client projects that I had already lined up. Should I have taken a break? Absolutely. But given the fact I not only lose many, many billable hours during the 804ork design phase but that I also fund the entire project, this wasn't an option. My client work suffered, and so did I. 

This sure sounds like a lot of complaining.

My apologies. Only in the past month have I felt as though I'm caught up from everything that started a year ago. Now that I can look back and evaluate what went down there's one thing I know for sure—I don't want to do it again.

For the past few months, I've been reassessing my business model and thinking of ways I can improve my services and products—not only for my wellbeing but also for my clients' benefit. What bothered me most about what happened last year was feeling like I was letting them down. Projects took longer than they should have and I let the chaos drive my schedule and affect my process. This simply cannot happen. 


 On the bright side: New office design.

On the bright side: New office design.


Day 732

Have I figured it all out? Heck no!

Will I figure it out? You betcha! 

There are great things on the horizon for Carrie, Ink—and hopefully you all will be getting a taste of what's to come real soon. But not today. Today I'm rereading what I wrote two years ago and remembering why I started it all in the first place.