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I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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Hello 2020: My Personal And Business Goals For The Year

January 29, 2020

Dakota hersey photography setting personal and business goals for 2020

I am a SUPER goal-oriented person. I have a hard time feeling motivated without setting some type of goal and measuring progress because I often get lost in the “there’s so much to do and I’m doing nothing!” state. I’ve found that it’s really helpful and encouraging to me to actually write my goals down and talk about them frequently to hold myself accountable and know when to make time to celebrate! 

In my previous post, I reviewed 2019’s wins, challenges, and lessons learned and shared the reflection notes from my Cultivate What Matters PowerSheets prep work. Today I’m following up with the main goals on my list for 2020.

Yes…a whole month into 2020. That’s okay, I’ve already been working on them!

While I’m not a huge “resolutions” person, I did pick a word for the year (NOW –– you can read all about that here) and I do have an idea of what I want this year to look like, with some big goals that can be broken down into lots of mini ones.

In the past when I set goals for myself, they always gravitated toward business goals. Goals for my career and business are obviously SUPER important –– how else would I have gotten to a point where I could quit my job and go full time? BUT I think it’s necessary to have an identity apart from just being a business owner/entrepreneur/photographer and set some goals in my personal life as well.

I’m proud to say this year has a healthy balance!!!

Here are the top 7 goals I have for 2020:

1. Run a half marathon.

Yes, I think I’m crazy lol. I have been focusing on my health and fitness for a few years now but never really had anything I was working towards besides really loving my body and feeling good. I want something to work towards that can be an achievement (and also something I can’t monetize, ha!). Honestly, I had no intention of it being running until we watched “Brittany Runs A Marathon” over Christmas and I was reminded of when my mom ran a half marathon a few years ago and I was SO proud of her for accomplishing something so huge.

So the plan is to run a half marathon at the end of the year. Kyle will also be running the same race so we’ve started training and holding each other accountable by sending the maps and times of our runs.

It should be…fun? Haha!

2. Create a financial plan.

I am a HUGE saver when it comes to money. This has come in handy when I’ve had to leave jobs in the past and when I need to take the next step in my business…or if my car randomly breaks down. This past year’s goal was to just simply be able to fully support myself during self-employment.

Now I need to take it to the next level and start planning for the future. I’m solely responsible for my retirement, health insurance, investments, etc. so now it’s time to really have a plan and start budgeting.

I know it’s a little weird to talk about money but I think it should be more normalized and we should be talking about it more! So many of my friends are taking financial peace classes and have financial advisors, so 2020 will be the year of me feeling confident in my financial planning. 

3. Create a 2020 yearbook at the end of the year.

I am the worst at documenting my own life…isn’t that so weird? I literally take photos and write for a living and don’t have any type of system for remembering my own milestones and little moments.

I went through a phase of always being the one taking photos and I could be counted on for having documentation of every event and non-event in life…but then it kind of turned into a thing where I let the comments about it being annoying for me to always be asking for a photo turn me in the complete opposite direction –– where I don’t take photos of anything! At least not with my professional camera.

This year that’s changing! My plan is to end the year with enough images to create a 2020 yearbook for myself. My mom has SO many scrapbooks of our years growing up and I continued that tradition into college and stopped…up until now!

I’m off to a good start with my family trip to Arizona, and will be making sure to photograph all of the small moments in-between so I can fully remember this year.

4. Implement an outsourcing process.

Outsourcing. Some people don’t get it, others are scared of it, and some are living their absolute best lives because of it.

I learned a LOT about outsourcing when I was at the agency so the concept of handing off the tasks that you aren’t good at or don’t like doing to someone who gets fired up about it wasn’t hard for me to grasp. Giving up control though…AND paying more for it…that was a different story. Why pay someone to do something when you could just do it yourself? And what if they don’t even do it right?

Here’s the thing –– I really don’t like sorting and organizing my expenses. When it comes to design, I know what I like and don’t like but the process of getting there takes me a reallllly long time.

But you know what I am really good at? Creating content.
You know what I love doing? Loving on my couples and seniors and making their experiences better.

So this year I will be making room for a lot more of those things and handing off the stuff that doesn’t require my time or that someone else can do better. So I can continue to do more of the things that ONLY I can do. Chances are the things that I’m outsourcing are going to be done better and faster than if I did them myself and my clients will all benefit from that! It’s a win-win.

I’m excited to build some new partnerships and relationships that will make your experience (and my life) even better. WOO for teamwork!!!

5. Build into photography community and relationships.

Being a solo-prenuer is hard. I spend a lot of time alone, bouncing ideas off people who aren’t even in my industry (you know I appreciate you though!!!). It’s hard to brainstorm with people who are technically your competition and to just generally feel that team mentality, which I desperately need.

This year I’m focusing on pouring more into my local photography/wedding industry and building more “work” relationships and friendships. I’m working on something super special with one of my photography friends that I can’t wait to announce, I have trips planned with photographers from across the country, and I’m going to find ways to strengthen the relationships I have right here at home.

If you’re a creative entrepreneur, I’d love to be friends!!!

6. Learn to cook.

Not a whole lot of explanation for this one, ha! I just really want to eat healthier and I want to be able to cook for myself. I looove to eat and I admire when people can throw together meals, but I’m just not one of them…up until now 😉 

Hello Fresh, here I come!

7. Schedule time for friends.

One part of getting older that no one warns you about is that you have to get really intentional about scheduling time for your friends. One day you’re seeing your best friends every day at lunch, then you’re living with them in an apartment, and then you’re all in different cities, working different jobs, and having to send “facetime” Google calendar invites.

I have a lot of long distance friendships (even if it’s just the two hours to Raleigh) so I have to make an even bigger effort to stay close to them. I’ll be honest. I’m not the best at that. So this year I’m continuing to focus on being intentional about scheduling time and trips and making sure that I don’t let those friendships fade away while life gets in the way.

Business Goals For 2020

As far as specific business goals for 2020, I have a full list of things I want to implement and accomplish. Last year was a year of growth and proving to myself I can do it, and this year I’m ready to take it to the next level. I’m excited to provide my clients with an experience I hadn’t been able to before, try some things I haven’t before, continue with the things that are really working, and start setting myself up to expand into other areas I am super passionate about.

Some things to look forward to from Dakota Hersey Photography in 2020 are:

  • Wedding and senior ALBUMS!!!
  • More video content (especially personal vlogs!)
  • Special surprises (read: gifts!) for my couples and seniors
  • Chances for us to keep hanging out (like at your anniversary session!)
  • Outsourcing strategies to make turnaround times faster
  • Business coaching content for other creatives

I’m PUMPED UP for this year and all that is already planned –– and the fact that there is room for some of the unplanned! Thank you so much to everyone who has been on this journey with me and continues to support me, and for everyone who is just joining! Y’all are seriously the freaking best.

Here’s to 2020!!!

PS. I LOVE hearing other’s goals and big plans (and helping them figure out what the heck they should even be!). If you want to share them with me or get my opinion, I would love to help!


I’m Dakota, a Wilmington, NC-based photographer Helping engaged couples feel comfortable in front of the camera and creative businesses grow with purposeful brand imagery.

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