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  • Nayda Cruz

2021 Year with Intention

2021 Year with Intention

The "Year After"

2021 was “the year after” whatever 2020 throw at us. In 2020 I did many, many, tiny things. 2021 was a year to pick some and grow those seeds. That’s why my word for 2021 was “intentional”. I wanted to do things in 2021 with purpose, with an end in mind.

I always like to reflect on what I accomplished every year. Not all the beginning of the year goals are met. But most are. And some that I didn’t even plan, become accomplishments!

I share what I accomplished, and more important, how I did it or what I learned from it. So you can take something out of it.

Here is my list of accomplishments:

1. Got a whole week off!

I believe it is important to stand out that 2021 was the first year since I started my business in 2018, that I intentionally took time off. It is important to give rest to the mind and soul.

Sometimes, especially when we work with clients, that is kind of difficult. Because clients may contact you with a project and their own deadlines. Which takes me to my second accomplishment.

2. I got better at communicating with clients

I think that communicating with clients is always a growing process. Being clear about the project scope is SO important. Having a contract that specifies those is too.

Also, it is important to set boundaries. Specify the way you will contact one another: phone or email. Set office hours to be contacted. You don’t want a client calling you at 9:30 p.m. while you are getting ready to sleep or spending time with your family. (This has happened to me!).

3. I worked with 5 recurrent clients.

In 2021 I had 5 clients with which I worked a variety of projects. From books to magazines, to eBooks, and fun merchandise for those.

This year I started merging my two favorite types of designs: editorial and surface. Which is a project that I plan to expand in 2022. I love to design a book and then take that same style to merchandise products on stickers, tote bags, boxes, buttons…you name it!

4. I wrote 12 blogs

Blogging is always fun for me. This year I more than double what I wrote in 2020. And I really saw the effects from it.

In June, I wrote a series of 4 blog post called “The Building Blocks of Graphic Design”. That topic is related to one of my Skillshare classes called “Design for Non-Designers: How to Create a Functional & Attractive Design”. At the end of every blog post, I shared about my Skillshare class. That month I saw a big increase of minutes watch on Skillshare on all my classes.

I shared those blogs through Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and my small mailing list. The most recurrent platform I shared was Twitter. Which has turned out to be a great tool for sharing my work.

5. I published 2 Skillshare classes

2021 was surprisingly great for me on Skillshare. I won my first series of referral earnings. As a teacher, you get a referral link for every class that you publish. You can share that link on any social media or website and earn $10 for every person that, through you link, becomes a first time Skillshare paying member. You can also do this as a student! Just go to the “Refer a friend” section.

Finally, Skillshare invited me to become part of “Teach Corps”. Which is a community of selected teachers who have weekly conversations, personal coaches and special challenges with money prices withing the community. All this support is for you to become a better teacher, and therefore, earn more. Also they can get better quality classes on their platform. So it is a win-win situation.

This has been big for me as for 2021 was when I started earning three figures. I started teaching on Skillshare back in 2020. And never got to earn over $100. But now, I consider Skillshare to be a recurring revenue stream for my business.

So if teaching is something you are interested in, check out Skillshare. Even better contact them! I know they have developed other groups for first time teachers.

6. Challenges and literal wins!

I am not the kind of person who wins things hehe. I have participated in many things and never won. But this year changed that.

In January I won a personalized mentorship with the Director of a Puerto Rican organization that focuses on helping small business. I won that by just filling out a survey. That mentorship put me in contact with many talented and successful fellow designers in my hometown. Which was amazing!

On September I got nominated for “Best Poster” at the “The Children’s International Film Festival of Wales”. For a poster I designed years ago for a short film called “Danaé”. I didn’t win this one. But it sure feels as has being nominated for an Oscar!

But I did win two challenges within Skillshare Teach Corps. One for my latest published class and another one for collaborating within the community. These were both money prices.

7. Read 3 books

Lastly, this year I bought 4 books, that I haven’t read yet. But I did get to read 3 that I bought the year before! These were:

  • The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changed the World by Melinda Gates

  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry by John Mark Comer

  • Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

I can recommend all of them. I really liked them, and they all taught me something that stuck with me.

This year I also learned that I really enjoy reading on a Kindle! I love printed books. Hello! I design them for a living! And I still love to buy specific books. Cooking books for example. Those are gorgeous books that an eBook won’t make justice.

But I have begun to have a space issue in my house. And I love how light and convenient it is to carry around a Kindle with many books inside!

So that’s it for me!

Those are my biggest highlights from 2021. I hope you get something out of it and use it to meet your goals in 2022. See you around!


This blog is a space to learn about design and how it intertwines with life; and also about technical aspects of design. I invite you to join my email list. This way you will receive a message every time I publish a new blog. I respect your privacy and will never share your personal information.


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