I can't believe that I nearly completely forgot about this - but as of a day or two ago this blog is officially a whole year old. Join me as we take a short trip down memory lane and see what's gone on in the last 12 months, and where I plan on taking us for the next 12! Hold on to your hats, it's going to be a big one!
A Year Ago
Almost exactly a year ago I was working for two complete morons who had absolutely no idea what they were doing with their company - and I'd had enough. I spent my last two weeks of employment building this blog, meeting up with friends to give me advice on working for myself, and getting incorporating Lyrical Media as a UK Limited company - before walking out of there and setting up on my own as a new member of the self-employed.
That means that as well as this blog being a year old, I have now also been in business, by myself, for a full year. If the statistic that 80% of businesses fail in year 1 is true, then I would say I'm doing ok!
Well the company that I stopped working for are doing worse than ever, one director muscled the other director out of the company, lost 50% of all the rest of the company's staff after I left, and has just relaunched the site with a truly awful web1.0 design. Given that they're in their 5th year of business now and they've yet to break even, I'd say that's pretty poor.
Mean while, I haven't turned into an overnight millionaire, and to be totally honest with you I haven't even been living the "high-life", it's been a lot of hard work - but it's also been totally, totally worth it. In the end my year 1 salary ended up being 80% of what I was making at my job before I left it.
I think the most significant thing is that it doesn't feel like it's been a year. In the past I've always managed to get really bored of any job after 6 months - pretty much without exception. This time though, it feels like I just started out a couple of months ago, and on the whole things are still on the up and up - so they can only get better!
Tomorrow (and the next day)
So what's next? Well, I've learned a lot about myself and about business in 12 months, and while my ambitions have largely stayed the same, my goals have changed a little.
Here's the thing: I'm good at what I do, I know I'm good at what I do, and I can't stand being commissioned to do some work and then having to hand-hold a client all the way through the process because 1.) they don't know what they're doing, and 2.) they won't trust me to do it. Unfortunately what i've discovered over the last 12 months is that most clients fall into that category.
Don't get me wrong, there have been exceptions - all of my work from overseas and from major corporations has been absolutely amazing, I think my main contact at Virgin Atlantic knows just as much about design as I do, which is both awesome and extremely motivating - she really "gets it" and it's genuinely a pleasure working with her.
On the flip side though, all of my local-business work has fallen into the "don't know, won't trust" category - which I'm totally not interested in dealing with.
On that basis 2010 is definitely going to be an interesting year to say the least. I don't intend on working with any local businesses at all, and I fully intend on turning down any local business enquiries that I get. I want to work with people who are really good to work with, because if I end up hating the people I'm working with then what was point of starting my own business in the first place?
Aside from that I also plan on exploring some other sources of income... but more on that another time. There's plenty to do in year 2 of running your own business, and I'm only just getting started.
I think at this point the tradition is to run through a list of various stats that a blog has built up over time, so if no one has any objections, that's what we'll do!
In the last 12 months of existence, this blog has managed...
- 76 posts
- 1,250 comments
- 7,000+ prevented spam comments
- 100,000+ visits
- 650,000+ page views
- 65+ gigabytes of bandwidth
- $266.25 advertising revenue (only started ads in Sept)
- $1,000 (est.) of paid writing work elsewhere
- $20,000 (est.) of referred web design work to Lyrical Media
The most popular posts were:
- How to Kill Your Business: 30 Day Payment Terms, which received 110 comments and 8,000 page views
- The World’s Best Web Designers Are Unknown, which received 104 comments, and 15,000 page views
- Getting Creative: Moo’d Cards, which received 90 comments, and 10,000 page views
Finally, I want to thank every single one of you who has ever left me a comment. Quite frankly if it wasn't for you then I probably would have given up a long time ago.
If you've never left a comment but you've still been reading my stuff then I thank you too, and really genuinely hope to "meet" you in this year - in fact why don't you email me right now and say hi? I promise I don't bite. Much...