January 5, 2021

2021 Word for the Year: Collaboration

Filed under: Uncategorized — lidia @ 10:00 am

2021 Word for the Year Collaboration

This year’s word was a bit tricky to pick. I felt like I did a great job manifesting last year’s word (voice), so what to choose this year? Collaboration.

After participating in a recent webinar, the topic of creative collaborations came up and I knew I had my word.

I’ve been doing more creative collaborations this year, partly due to the pandemic but also because I’ve realized there is strength in numbers—by teaming up with creative friends, we can get bigger jobs, make a bigger impact and grow our businesses. It’s also fun to have “coworkers” when you mostly work solo.

I realized it was the perfect guiding force as we head into 2021. A few ways I hope to manifest “collaboration” this year:

  • Continue building my strategic and creative team at Lidia Varesco Design
  • Collaborating on events: participating in panels or other speaking events and  developing my own event (I’m dreaming of a summit!)
  • Blending complementary skills along with my colleagues
  • Creating and growing strategic partnerships

I’m also going back to my word for 2018 and continuing to streamline my business and financial systems (it’s been a real game changer!

See all of my past words for the year:

Do you have a word for the year? Let’s hear it!

January 7, 2020

2020 word for the year: voice

Filed under: Small Business — lidia @ 10:00 am

Over the past 6 years, I’ve picked a word for the year to set the tone for the year. This year’s word is VOICE.

Choosing this year’s word was a bit of an impulse decision after reading a prompt in a MsTech Facebook group post—but it think it encompasses many things I’d like to achieve this year.

Quite literally, I want to do more public speaking and webinars on branding (and creative marketing). I want to help as many people as possible find their organization’s unique voice—and the best way to share it with their supporters and community.

I’m also in the process of revamping my website and creating brand guidelines for myself, so that my voice shines through in my branding and marketing.

I also want to use my voice through my nonprofit work and involvement in the local nonprofit community, by bringing awareness to issues that are affecting local Chicago communities.

Doing this yearly exercise has kept me focused—but it’s also fun to look back and read prior years’ words:

And no pressure if you miss a year. Apparently, I skipped 2015—the year my second child was born—but I “regrouped” the following year.

Do you choose a word for the year?

January 9, 2019

2019 word for the year: essential

Filed under: Small Business,Time Management — lidia @ 9:00 am

2019 word for the year: essential

For the last 5 years, I’ve chosen a word for the year to set the tone and stay focused. Last year’s word was STREAMLINE. I wanted to streamline and simplify my life, so that I could be more productive and feel less rushed.

So, how did I do? I successfully streamlined my digital and social media marketing by focusing on the outlets that make the most impact for me (email, LinkedIn and Facebook) and using Buffer to schedule my posts. I also streamlined my time tracking and invoicing by using the Harvest app.

My word for 2019 is ESSENTIAL. After reading the book, Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, I was inspired to examine my business processes and habits so that I can focus on what is most essential to reaching my goals. My creative brain likes to jump from task to task, so my hope is that this will help me stay focused and be more productive in my somewhat limited time.

I’ve kicked off this year putting essentialism into practice by doing a manual setup on my new phone, adding apps as I need them, rather than copying over all the clutter from my old phone.

As McKeown advises in his book, “Only once you give yourself permission to stop trying to do it all, to stop saying yes to everyone, can you make your highest contribution towards the things that really matter.” Hear, hear.

January 3, 2018

2018 word for the year: streamline

Filed under: Creativity — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 4:30 pm

2018 word for the year: streamline

Since 2014, I have picked one word to set the overall tone for the year ahead. My word for 2017 was PRIORITIES. I wanted to be better about staying on task in my business life (which also affects the priorities I’ve set for my family life).

How did I do with 2017’s word? Well, I know that I’ve been better about avoiding social media during the day (unless it’s work or client-related) and focusing on one project through completion instead of jumping around all day (for the most part…let’s be realistic here, I can’t totally change my creative brain!)

2018’s word is STREAMLINE. Over the course of last year, I’ve slowly gotten myself to this point. I’ve realized: I don’t need to be active on every single social media outlet. I don’t need to write every single blog post that pops into my head. I don’t need to reach out to every prospect that looks interesting.

And I finally admitted to myself that I need to streamline certain aspects of my business that take up a lot of time (time tracking, invoicing, accounting) and started taking approproate steps (I recently migrated to Harvest for time tracking and invoicing and it’s a major time saver.)

Now, I’m ready to move full force and create simpler and streamlined systems for all aspects of my business—both to be more productive during my workday and have more time for my family and personal projects.

What’s your word for 2018?

January 4, 2017

2017 word for the year: priorities

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion,Time Management — lidia @ 10:00 am

word for the year_priorities

Starting back in 2014, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the upcoming year. 2016’s word was REGROUP. In 2015, my second child arrived 7 weeks early (requiring a 3-week hospital stay) so my priorities understandably shifted to my new baby. Once I was back to work, I felt that I needed to regroup and focus on my business again. I also joined an accountability group and used my word regroup to guide my goals progress.

I like to choose a word that applies both to my personal and work life, so this year’s word is PRIORITIES. My creative brain tends to jump from project to project as inspiration strikes. Now that my work hours are dictated by my kids’ schedules, setting strict priorities and staying on task each day is crucial.

I also want to set my priorities at home, for example making after-school time more focused on my kiddos (my 15-month old literally cries when I open my laptop and try to finish up work!)

What is your word for 2017?

December 16, 2016

10-Minute Marketing: Choose a word for the year

Filed under: 10-Minute Marketing — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Choose a word for the year

Starting back in 2014, I’ve chosen a word for the upcoming year. I learned this from Gretchen Rubin and I’ve found it to be a great way to set the tone for the year and stay focused on my goals.

This year’s word was REGROUP. After taking some time off to focus on my new baby last year, I wanted to regroup and get back to business this year—which I successfully did. (Stay tuned to hear my word for next year…)

This week’s 10-Minute Marketing task:

Choose a word for the upcoming year. Print it out and post in your workspace.

BONUS: Share your word on my Facebook page!

10-Minute Marketing is a weekly series featuring short, easy-to-accomplish marketing tasks. Follow along with past posts here.




January 4, 2014

2014 word for the year: focus

Filed under: Creativity,Small Business — lidia @ 8:45 am


I don’t usually make New Year resolutions, making instead a list of things I want to learn (see this year’s list here). But this year, I also decided to choose a word for the year: FOCUS.

Choosing a word for the year can be powerful. It can help guide your decisions and keep you on track, both personally and professionally. I chose focus because I want to focus on working on specific areas of my businesses—as well as being fully present in time spent with my son. I also want to narrow down my list of creative side projects (and believe me, there are a lot!)

Alternatively, some people choose a phrase or theme for the year, like “Think big.” Get your family or friends involved too. For example, I chose a word for my toddler: learn (though since he is 2 years old, maybe it should have been “patience”!)

See Gretchen Rubin’s tips for choosing a word for the year here.

What’s your word (or phrase) for the year?


January 13, 2017

2016: a year to REGROUP

Filed under: Featured Design Project — lidia @ 1:00 pm

2016 was a great year for Lidia Varesco Design—both for my personal goal of continuing to grow my design studio, as well as my professional goal of helping as many organizations as possible share their story and mission.

For the last few years, I’ve chosen a word to set the tone for the year. Last year’s word was REGROUP. After my kids were born, it took some time to adjust to my new life as a mom in business—and admittedly it was sometimes difficult to juggle it all. But last year I made an intention to REGROUP and get my business back on track.

Below are a few highlights from 2016, click on each to learn more.

2016 Year in Review

10 new clients   1 podcast   10 email newsletters
judged communications awards   published 57 blog posts   exhibited at nonprofit symposium
10-Minute Marketing series on Faceebook Live   36 Biz Mama Interviews   #the100dayproject art journal

I’m grateful to everyone who has provided work, support, inspiration, opportunities—or just an ear to listen. Here’s to a great 2017!

March 17, 2010

One year of Neighborhood Networking, already?

Filed under: Networking — Tags: , — lidia @ 4:21 am

Join Neighborhood Networking next Tuesday to mix and mingle with fellow businesses at Katerina’s (1920 West Irving Park Road).

You can also help us toast Neighborhood Networking’s first anniversary! (can you believe it’s been a year already?)

Buy tickets in advance for $10 ($12 at the door).

Neighborhood Networking is hosted by Lidia Varesco Design and Elizabeth Lulu Miranda of Mercury Organizing Professionals, with BBR Chicago joining us as co-hosts.


Northcenter businesses: promote your business by donating an item to our raffle! Contact us for a donation form and details.

December 30, 2009

Year-end wrap up

Filed under: Small Business,Workspace — Tags: , , — lidia @ 3:06 pm

photo by ttcopley

2009 is coming to a close and, in my quest for organization, I’m inspired by articles such as 10 things to Do Before the New Year (from Web Worker Daily).

Personally, I always do year-end organizing for my small business— it just feels right to start off the new year at least slightly more organized than you left the last one. My current routine includes the following….

  • Designing my 2010 Quick Peek Calendar to send to friends and clients.
  • Filing paperwork into project folders—or the recycle bin
  • Sorting and filing project samples—setting aside samples to enter into design competitions
  • Reconciling final bank statements
  • Filing financial statements and receipts—creating new folders for next year
  • Preparing and mailing client invoices
  • Paying bills
  • Cleaning up the email inbox
  • Assessing needs for office supplies or equipment could be purchased this year
  • Making end-of-year donations to my favorite nonprofit organizations

How are you spending the last few days of the year? Share your ideas!

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