2021 Lessons & Studio Highlights
I share some lessons I learned this year about growth and leadership + some highlights as we wrap up 2021.
Good morning & Happy Holidays
I hope all is well with you guys and you’ve enjoyed your holidays. I’ve been taking advantage of this break to prepare for next year. For now, I reflect and get organized for what’s next. I’m antsy, it’s 4AM Monday morning, it’s pouring rain, and I haven’t slept yet. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this excited for my future and what we’re building. I want to share with you today some of the key lessons I’ve learned in a leadership position and highlights wrapping up a phenomenal year.
Lessons learned this year
Invest in people
Investing in people has came back 10x. Whether that’s buying a course or membership for my team to educate themselves, helping them with their own personal businesses, or use my company to jump start careers — I put people first business wise this year. I don’t regret it, as a matter of fact I feel better because of it. This same concept applies to my partners and associates as well, by sending referrals and setting up plays when I can.
What goes around comes around. Creating my own mini economy has been the most impactful thing I’ve done this year.
Vet people — reject them with kindness and without guilt.
This one was a tough one, a costly one too. I lost $15K and almost a good client by not doing this properly. I can’t stress enough how important it is to not be hesitant to say “unfortunately, we can’t work together” or “we’re not a good fit at the moment”.
Stand on it, respect your brand, your values, your quality. Whatever it is that you pride yourself on because not everyone will be able to match that. Setup applications, do a skills test, you’re not overdoing it. Trust me. Large companies do it, so why not studios? As business gets bigger so does the amount of risk and you don’t want to deal with that stress.
I remember a good friend of mine told me that who you hire, even if it’s temporary is a reflection of the brand, sounds obvious right? Right, finding that fit is a different story.
You define your own success and happiness
For a while, I’ll be real I was struggling with personal success for years. In the back of my mind I always thought I wasn’t doing enough if I wasn’t building generational wealth. I don’t even know where that came from or why it did, that just goes to show you how much of what you read even if it’s for a second, it influences you. I’m not interested in that right now, I can’t even wrap my head around having kids at this stage of my life. I noticed everything I thought of doing was for an imaginary kid I don’t even have! The second I let that go and just did what came naturally to me is the second everything grew.
I lived on my own terms this year, I stayed off of social media — getting my time spent down to 15 mins a day on the phone overall. The only voice that matters is the one within, you create the best environment needed to thrive mentally.
We’ve partnered with a lot of thriving companies this year and I’m proud to say we’re trusted by them:
Yahoo RYOT Studios (Yahoo’s immersive experience department)
In my last newsletter, I talked about how I wanted Crafted Studios to become trusted consultants. We’re slowly entering this with Yahoo (That’s a W on the board 🏆)
We’ve also created a “extended family” for Crafted Studios which just means we created a small group of friends who are founders and freelancers that we can rely on as trusted referrals or partners in collaboration.
One of them is Visionary Rising (shout out and thank you to LaTecia of Visionary Rising, she’s probably reading this and she inspired this newsletter) love what they’re doing over there.
I can say it now, but we’ve worked with some dope companies this year. A favorite of mine is a Fintech company called Zest AI in CA.
FalconX (crypto trading)
We launched a total of 30 projects this year. It’s not a race to me. Focusing on making that 30 and up more profitable. The price definitely went up.
Our team has expanded to 6, looking to add to that into next year. I want to stay small so I can’t imagine growing over 8-10 right now. If you’re interested in joining a dope team, are well versed in Webflow, and you’re a web designer, check out this doc here for more info: Looking for a Webflow Developer / Designer
I got an opportunity to share a bit of my story via VoyageLA — a local publication. I talked about business, what shaped me into the person I am today, and I highlighted the team as well. What’s dope about this publication is how people responded to it. A family friend told me “you’re changing the game man for all of us, we never seen someone we know in an editorial before”.
Check that out here if you like: Exploring Life & Business with Dexter Washington of Crafted Studios
My resume website got nominated for an Awwward, which is dope to me. I’m on pace to get an Honorable Mention, which to me I’ll take that for a site I built in 1 day: https://dexterwjr.com/
That was a lot, but I’ll leave you with this. Trust yourself and bet on yourself. Just a few months ago I had $200 to my name, no one knew me or cared about any of this. What I’m doing has been called a “little side hustle” and look at the outcome in reality. None of that noise matters, what matters is what you tell yourself in the late night as you’re planning for tomorrow.
What you can expect next is content around what tools we moved to, how we got business expenses down, and became more productive in a shorter amount of time so we can sleep at 6PM if we wanted to. Appreciate you all!!
Much love & Happy New Year.