2010. Oh my… what a year!
Every year — in the week between Christmas and New Year’s — I find myself in that thoughtful place of transition between the current year and the one to come. I find myself eagerly anticipating the new year, as if a slate is to be wiped clean and the possibilities of dreams I have not yet realized are closer. All too often, I forget what amazing things I’ve already succeeding in accomplishing.
It’s easy to brush aside the past year as we set new goals, but I think it’s also important — if not necessary — to look back. Sometimes I can be a bit hard on myself when I think of what I haven’t done, and assessing the past year is a good way to appreciate all that I HAVE accomplished.
Here’s what I did in 2010:
- Left KVUE to pursue web design business full time
This was a major goal in 2010, and I’m proud that I finally had the courage to take this step.
- Secured 3 clients — 1 of them new
It’s not as much as I aimed for, but it’s a start.
- Had a baby
The birth of my daughter was so momentous. It’s tremendously difficult maintaining that balance between work and family, but I’m so glad I’m able to work from home and be there for my kids.
- Learned to use Quickbooks
OK — I’m still struggling with this, but I know enough to get by for the time being and aim for hiring a bookkeeper in 2011.
- Went to SXSWi
South by Southwest Interactive was an amazing experience for me. I learned so much about technology, trends, the industry and the business of the industry that I was able to venture out on my own with a bit more confidence than I otherwise might have had.
- Continued my education
It’s imperative for people in my chosen profession to stay in the know, and I did my best to advance my knowledge. I started learning as much as I could about PHP and how to design and develop with Joomla, Drupal and WordPress
- Connected with other small business owners
Through the City of Austin Small Business Development Program, I started meeting other people who could potentially help me or hire me in the future.
Now that I’ve looked at my 2010 accomplishments, I can get down to business making goals for 2011, and those goals can be specific and build upon the foundation I’ve already laid.
One thing that I have feared is giving a ballpark estimate for a site and scaring off a client.
Apparently, I’m not alone. A lot of freelancers, especially when first starting out, worry about giving a ballpark figure right from the get-go.
But I read a great blog post about why giving a ballpark is actually a good idea, and it all revolves around the idea that TIME is your most valuable asset. If you spend a lot of time with a client who will later balk at your price, then you’ve lost precious time that you could be using to develop skills or other client connections.
I really recommend reading the post from Freelance Folder: Why You Must Quote a Ballpark figure.
Happy (belated) Independence Day!
It’s been a lovely weekend here in Brummerland. We managed to slow down the pace quite a bit and pursue some interests as well as fun for a few days. Besides taking Luke to the pool and playing with his new set of “Crystal Climbers,” I’ve had some solid time to do some “research and development” for a House on Payne project.
It’s great that I was able to work on this project this weekend, because it’s totally new and I have a lot to learn. I’ve mentioned I’m using Joomla for a redesign project, and I’ve been busy reading and learning everything I can about the platform. This weekend, I dived into making a custom template for my client.
I know I could have modified an existing template, much like what I’ve done with WordPress templates for my blogs, but I have designs on doing custom Joomla templates in the future, and now seemed like the perfect time to learn. My client also happens to be a friend (a very patient friend, I should add), and he’s willing to let me experiment.
I tell you, the experience I’m getting is one of the most valuable things I could have invested in. I’m confident it will pay me back positively in more ways than I can imagine.
On a related note, I was just taking stock of the past month — my first as a freelancer/full-time business owner/ full-time web designer-developer. I realized I have learned more in the past month about myself, my craft and my business than I learned in the previous 3 years.
That’s really something. I’m just so excited to be pursuing projects that really stretch my imagination, my abilities and my mind — it’s nice to be in charge of my own destiny.
The only source of knowledge is experience.
Have you ever dreamed about something, but have been too cautious to actually go after it?
I tend to be like that. I weigh major decisions in my life with great care and diligence. I discuss them endlessly with a trusted few. Many times I choose the path that is least risky.
But everyone needs change, transition and risk. These are qualities in life that don’t necessarily always go together, but can make life much more interesting and personally fulfilling. I found a quote from Mark Twain yesterday that sums it up perfectly.
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
So I’m taking an opportunity that came my way to take a risk and see where life leads. I’m going to work on my business, House on Payne web design, full-time.
There isn’t going to be a better time to pursue this. It’s scary and exciting and full of emotions I can’t yet interpret. This has been my dream. It may not work out. But then again — it just might.