My Year (of No Clients) In Review

Rock And Me

Are you just as surprised as me that this year is almost over? As we prepare for what’s to come in the new year, it’s natural to be reflective over the past year so here’s my “year in review” but more specifically, the last update on my Year of No Clients.

12 months ago I set out on a mission to do 2 things:

1. Focus solely on passion projects in my free time.
2. Make money from these projects.

Before this I would constantly switch back and forth between moonlighting on freelance client work or my own projects. In the beginning it was fun to get paid and then use that money to fund my ventures but over time I noticed the strike difference between how I felt and approached client work vs my own ventures and so my goal was to combine the two. Instead of relying on client work to fund these projects, they would fund themselves.

I learned a lot this year but I won’t lie to you, while I did a great job of turning down client work and enjoyed every second on working on my own s**t, I failed to reach any of the benchmarks I hoped to achieve as it related to revenue. So what did I learn?

Saying no is easy when you know why.

I try to be very introspective about why I do what I do and what drives me. It’s how I choose my projects and how I identified what makes me happy professionally. At first it was hard saying no to potential client work that came in but deep down, I knew I couldn’t be happier. I’ve never been fueled by money but it was a nice motivator for dealing with the drama that seem to always come with client work. Saying no was like saying a big f** you to the headache I knew I’d be avoiding. Saying no eventually became easy and I was happy to refer work to other talented people who could take the stress better than I could.

It’s okay to change your goals as long as you’re doing for the right reasons and not out of fear.

Initially my goal was to focus on revenue but after I launched my first project for the year, MORE, and watched it crash and burn(in other words, I made a loss – can’t help but be dramatic lol), I realized I’ll never get to revenue if I don’t start giving marketing more of my time. So I shifted my focus to being better at marketing on every project after that. This led to me to learn more about different marketing tactics, write my first marketing plan and develop a better understanding of working with social media platforms. My second project, No Questions Asked NYC gained a solid audience before launch and I was pretty proud of that because it was the first time I had a plan for marketing and followed through...for the most part.

Making money is hard without a strategy.

Ever since I quit my job to pursue this path full time, I’ve been banging my head against the wall trying to figure out how I’ll ever make this type of business work. A business that relies on its own ventures to survive and not client work. A business driven by my need to create solutions for my own problems and not based on what the market needs. As always, I’ve spoken to so many people that have helped me try to understand myself better. One thing I’ve intentionally done and never questioned is how I approach projects post-launch (to be fair my first startup, Hshtags scarred me). Ive always been the type of creator to launch and leave like a one-night stand but that has to change if I want these projects to sustain themselves. While not every project will take on this new way of thinking, the ones with potential (revenue) will, until it’s time to move on.

Know who you are, own it and build your life around it.

This year gave me an opportunity to not only uncover more of my professional traits but also accept them. Instead of trying to force a model of what business should look like to who I am, my goal is to find the right model to complement my values, needs and artist tendencies. It’s going to take a while to get there but I can imagine I’ll be much happier doing it this way.


All in all, 2017, The Year of No Clients, was an interesting challenge. I learned a lot about myself personally and professionally and made the jump to focusing on my ventures full time. I also won a Webby, spoke at TEDxCUNY, was featured on a few podcasts and websites, made new friends and traveled around the UK and Europe. 2018 is going to be a tough year but I can’t wait to live every second of it to the fullest.

PS. If you’re wondering if I’ll be taking on freelance client work in 2018, the answer is yes; but selectively and sparingly.

How was your 2017? What did you learn?

CommentsHow was your 2017? What did you learn?

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