I haven't written here much recently and I think it's about time for an update. I have a lot of different things to mention so I toyed with the idea of doing individual posts for each, but in the end I thought it would be most productive to just do them all in one fell swoop.
Changing Direction, Re-branding and Moving Forwards
When things stay the same for too long, they get comfortable. If there's one thing I don't like being; it's too comfortable. Comfortable is boring, comfortable is not innovative, comfortable is playing it safe. With that in mind, it's time to change things up a bit.
Over the coming months I'm going to be killing off the Lyrical Media brand (not the company, just the brand). Why? Well, over the last eighteen months I've tried lots of different ways of marketing my business. By far the most successful of them has been through this blog and my personal Twitter account. I'm finding that clients come directly to me, John O'Nolan, not Lyrical Media. In fact since the beginning of 2010 I've had at least one enquiry a week through Twitter or this site - and no enquiries at all through Lyrical Media's contact form. The site is stagnant, very limited, and it needs to go.
I'll be moving my portfolio over to this site, which will get a redesign, and I'll be adding new 'photography' and 'travel' sections (more on that in a minute).
Changing my Business Goals and Ambitions
You might be thinking "but how are you now, as an individual, going to take on staff?" - well I've thought about this a lot, as it was high up on my original list of goals. Gradually, however, it has slipped to the point now where it doesn't matter at all.
In the long run, I don't want to run a web design agency. I want to work on the web, I want to design and build websites, I want to work with other people... but I don't want to run a web design agency. The last eighteen months has taught me that I'm almost 100% happy with what I'm doing, but I'm not quite there yet. So what parts am I not happy with? Well... head on over to clientsfromhell.net and see for yourself. I've had some really amazing clients, but they really have been in the vast minority.
So at the end of last year, @Japh and myself started up a little side-project called @BioThemes. This is not just another premium theme company, it's a whole lot more. I can't really say much about why it's different (wouldn't want to lose our competitive edge!) - but I'm extremely excited about getting it off the ground in the coming months and selling products instead of services.
I'm still going to be doing client work - but once BioThemes is up and running I'll be a lot more selective about it. Client work isn't scalable, there's only one of me and finite number of hours in each day. That's the main reason for this shift.
Broadening my Horizons
I was born in Scotland to English and Irish parents, grew up in The Netherlands reading and writing Dutch well before English, spent six years in The Philippines, before finally moving to England in 2004. My father worked all over the world, so I've visited an estimated 200 cities across 23 different countries. All that travel (especially during my teenage years) made me want to do just one thing: settle down and go nowhere.
The grass is always greener, so while some dreamt of sandy beaches and crystal clear water in some exotic foreign land, I dreamt of living in a place where I could have friends who I'd known for a longer than a couple of years - and some sort of place to call 'home'. To this day I still have no-fucking-clue what to say when people ask "Where are you from?"
So until very recently, I hadn't been outside the British Isles in about 6 years.
Last week I went on a trip to Valencia on behalf of @vtravelled, organised by the Valencia Board of Tourism. I was fortunate enough to be provided with flights, stunning accommodation, amazing food, and a truly fantastic group of other people to spend the week with. This subject most definitely warrants its own article (which it will get) but suffice to say that it was a jolt to the system in terms of evaluating my life a little.
Sitting in the sun on Friday, surrounded by people speaking another language, and a totally different culture to England made me realise that I really would not rather be doing what I normally do on a Friday: Sit in my very small office, work all day, take a short trip to Sainsburys, and then work all night.
Travel just moved way up my list of priorities - the whole week was incredibly refreshing. Like I say, more on that soon.