My 2021 Year In Review (Reflections & Musings)


I am Jess! Ottawa brand strategist and website designer helping ambitious service-based businesses grow with confidence through meaningful design. I'm the type of gal that use one too many exclamation mark in my emails and can only have one cup of coffee a day. Weird, I know. If you ever want to chat any thing biz, branding, or well - life, feel free to reach out!










What a year! It feels like yesterday that I was writing my 2020 Year In Review. It feels sorta like at a standstill here in Canada – heading back into yet another lockdown, unsure what day it is exactly, and still living in my sweatpants. On the bright side, I got a new computer!

Although there was a lot of tragedy, division, and uncertainty that lingered around from last year, what kept me going personally was my business and my tight-knitted community. For me, 2021 has been a year of immense growth in every aspect of my life, and also a celebration of milestones.

More importantly, when I reviewed the list of goals I made earlier this year. I realized that I crossed off most of them on my vision board. If I didn’t believe in manifestation before, I definitely do now! The power of intention is A FORCE to reckon with!

My 2021 Vision Casting Board from Design Biz Mastery

My Biggest Business Wins:

Clients: I am humbled at the opportunity to have worked with 16 incredibly talented and passionate clients this year elevating their brand, website, and online presence. To see them thrive in their business and make an impact wherever they go pushes me to keep going and do better. Some of my favourite wins from them include: being fully booked out for 2022, hiring new staff, and consistently getting new inquiries every week! #SLAY

Finances: I can’t believe I am writing this… but I hit my revenue goal and was able to match my 9-5 salary this calendar year. It was a lofty goal that I didn’t think I would reach. In March, I had my first 5-figure month which baffled me like no other. You bet I had a mini dance party in my living room when I saw the final numbers rolling in!

Evolution: Celebrated the rebrand from Grace & Oak to Studio Crescent – with a mission stronger than ever. This rebrand has been 9-months-in-the-making which I am excited to embrace more of it in 2022. I am eager to collaborate and work with service-based business owners that are looking to redefine their own version of success and freedom, unapologetically.

Partnership: A collaboration with The Branding Boutique! Over the last three months, I have been working alongside the visionary and talents behind this branding agency. It has pushed me to think more creatively and also outside my comfort zone, but more importantly, having the opportunity to work with Black women and women of color in elevating their brand and online presence. I am eager to see what we will create together in the new year.

My Favorite Lesson(s) Learned:

Embracing slow seasons: I hit a 4-month dry spell in my business that discouraged me and sent me down a spiral. Despite having a 9-5 to fall back on, I started to question everything – from beginner’s luck to imposter syndrome to self-worth. It wasn’t very pretty, to say the least. After spending some time wallowing in my own self-pity, I realized that THIS is what entrepreneurship is – riding the wave, the uncertainty of it all. It was also a nudge to myself that this is the perfect time to be working ON my business, not IN it. Which made perfect sense considering it’s what got me to finally put my big girl pants on and put the finishing touches to my website.

Re-defining Success: To not get caught up with what everyone else is launching, creating, selling! As a Generator and Enneagram 7, I tend to get excited really easily and take action on whatever it is that’s right in front of me, even though it might not be what I want. Having taken the time and space to sit down and reflect on what it is that I ACTUALLY want in business this year + next was so, so critical! Success doesn’t come in the form of 6-figures, 10K months, 50K followers, or running an empire. It comes from happiness and alignment.

What to Improve On:

Work/Life Balance: I often get messages asking me “how do I do it all” – from working a 9-5 to running a business… while putting aside some downtime and having a life outside of work.

Well… I am embarrassed to say that I don’t (as I write this at 10:30 pm on December 30…)! 😅 I work 12-14 hour days on most weeks, and when I am not working, I end up decompressing on Netflix. Which isn’t the healthiest of habits, especially during a global pandemic. I am hoping to scale back and work smarter, not harder next year so I can spend more quality time with my loved ones while STILL being able to do what I love. Especially it will be a big year for celebrations. Let’s hope COVITA behaves, eh?!

Investments I Made:

While 2020 was the year where I invested in education, 2021 was the year I outsourced, and boy – was I ever glad I did. 

Coaching Mastermind: Design Biz Mastery was the biggest investment I made to date ever in my life and it paid off in more ways than one. One of my favourite parts of this mastermind was the community of designers and business owners curated – it really pulled back the curtains of entrepreneurship and showed me that no matter what season o of business we are in, we are all experiencing similar things. It also pushed me to think bigger – about what I want for myself, for my business, and for my clients.

Copywriting: I hired Lauren from Salted Pages to help with my rebrand and website copy at the beginning of 2021, which was a total lifesaver! To have someone be able to take my brain and download it onto a piece of paper is something that is absolutely priceless. Not to mention, I learned a few SEO tips that I am looking forward to put into place more next year as I get more serious about blogging.

Systems & Automation: After telling myself that I will “make time” to get my Dubsado set up and streamline my client experience, I finally let go of the reins and hired Angela Munoz to do it for me. Again, an investment worth every penny.

I am eager to put all of this into action for 2022 and really focus on refining my client experience, marketing, and offerings!

On a Personal Note…

I turned the big 3-0 this year, entering into a new decade. We spent a beautiful week in Kelowna & Vancouver, which was paradise in itself. It has also been 1.5 years since we last travelled together, so this was definitely well-needed.

For those that know me, you wouldn’t be surprised when you hear that Shaun and I got engaged 3 days after celebrating my birthday… and then bought a house 3 weeks after that. 😂 Everything comes better in a package of 3, right? No wedding plans yet… but we are looking at a European elopement in the future…

Onward to 2022

I want 2022 to be about sustainability and refinement. Now that I have a better understanding of what lights me up and the type of clients I like to collaborate with, I want to hone in more on that and create a sustainable full-time business.

Two of my big business goals for this upcoming year:

  1. Diversify, diversify, diversify! I want to spend 2022 being more intentional and not put everything in one basket. Specifically, I am looking to expand both my offerings and visibility. I am looking to officially launch my Design Intensive services at the beginning of 2022, as well as taking Pinterest and blogging more seriously.

  2. Saying no to inquiries that don’t align. I have narrowed down my “niche” from service-based providers to the following three industries which I am really excited about!
  • Wedding pros (i.e. wedding planners, photographers, hair + makeup artists, bridal stylists, florists)
  • Wellness & health (i.e. nutritionists, mental health coaches, yoga teachers, etc.)
  • Lifestyle creatives (i.e. travel bloggers, interior designers, personal stylists)

And if I have enough time and energy… perhaps a source of passive income to come?! Who knows!

Adieu 2021

Business aside, 2021 will always remain the year of new beginnings for me.

Lastly, I want to say thank you for being part of my 2021. None of this would have been possible without your support. Thank you for downloading my freebies, reading my emails, engaging with my Instagram posts, cheering me on, and hiring me!

What are you most excited about in 2022? I’d love to support and cheer you on in any way that I can. Whether that be accountability or design, I am always just a message away.


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