On June 3, 2016 I made the biggest decision of my life. I had been dreaming about working for myself for some time and even started to talk to my family about the idea of freelancing full time rather than working for a larger agency or freelancing on the side in the jobs I'd had in the 10 years since I'd graduated college. It was easy to decide that I wanted to be in charge of my life and my career but it was terrifying to leave my comfort zone. A place that had paid vacations and holidays, health benefits, and a biweekly paycheck. I felt so incredibly lucky to have a family and network that supported me in that decision.
On June 4, 2016 I launched this website. I let the world know I was jumping off of a cliff. The last year has been an adventure to say the least. I feel like a parent watching their child smash their face in a cake on their first birthday. There have been so many exciting things that happened and it's time to take a look back at those moments and reflect on the first year of HeyGiud.
I've traveled more in the last year than I typically get the opportunity to. Whether it was Kansas City for a football game, Orange City for the Iowa Chamber of Commerce Executives Conference, or Florida to visit my grandparents I've been able to see things and do things that if I were still in a tradition Monday through Friday job that I wouldn't have been able to do.
I was voted onto the Board for the Des Moines East and South Chamber of Commerce. Something that I hadn't thought about despite my involvement with the Chamber for the year prior to starting HeyGiud and since the first moment that HeyGiud was born. It's been an incredible experience during the first half of this year to be part of an organization that is growing and helping businesses in Des Moines grow and succeed. In addition to being voted onto the board I was also presented with the award for Ambassador of the Year and named the 2017 Chair of the Ambassadors for the Chamber. In addition to a really beautiful award that I look at every day I was also featured on digital billboards throughout Des Moines. Getting phone calls, text messages and Facebook posts from friends as they drove past my billboard is something that was cool. But seeing myself on a billboard for the first time was one of the most surreal experiences in my life. It was something I didn't even know was on my bucket list. It was also incredible to be able to take my niece and nephew to see the billboards and then hearing that my niece said that was her favorite part of the weekend.
I've been able to work with some incredible businesses and individuals over the past year. People who inspire me every day and make my job amazing. People who allow me to try new things (like custom Snapchat Geo-filters) and encourage my creativity to grow and flourish. I've also been able to benefit from the incredible talents of people in my life. How amazing is it to have headshots that show my personality and my love of the city I call home. A HUGE thank you to Lauren Campbell Photographyfor giving me the visual images that not only grace this website but also were able to be seen on billboards and other websites. Lauren has not only been the incredible photographer behind the pictures but an amazing friend and resource through this first year.
With year one in the books it's time to get started on year two and beyond. Thank you for all of the likes and loves, for sharing this year with me and for putting up with a year of photos of cups of coffee from all of my meetings. Don't worry...those aren't going anywhere.