I still find it hard to believe that I get to do what I do and that I’ve now been at it for six years. I still get to call myself a web designer. I still get to say I work for myself. I still have zero commute and never have to walk into an office other than my own. I still have clients that have been with me since day one. I still really love the craft of building delightful user experiences for the web.
In short, all is good in the hood.
That’s despite the fact that I haven’t published a single post on this blog since the last time I celebrated by freelance-iversary. I feel silly even linking it up because it’s literally the very next post in the loop. But, hey, that’s just how the cookie crumbled this past year.
I wish I would have been blogging because this has been an active year! Even as I write this post, I’m sitting in a chair in the living room of the house we moved into last month. We gave up suburban life in downtown Long Beach and decided to rent our condo out so we could head up to the East Side neighborhood of Los Altos. Marcia had been keeping her eye out for possible homes and stumbled on this one the day it hit the market. I’m glad she pounced because there was pretty fierce competition to get in. I didn’t even see the place before signing paperwork to move in but I couldn’t be happier with it, especially now that we’ve settled in.
Speaking of settling in, that was up to me since Marcia was out of town on a work trip. I like joking with her that she timed the move so perfectly, but again, that’s just the way the cookie crumbled. I had a lot of help, thanks to my mom who was outstanding with the kids and unpacking boxes as they came in.
It might seem like this year has been all about personal changes, and for the most part, I guess that’s sort of true. I mean, those are the changes that are typically top of mind when I reflect.
But this has been a significant year for work as well. On the business-y side of things, I’m doing better than ever. I was fortunate to pick up a new client and that allows me to work with one of my best friends, someone I met at my very first job following my move to Southern California. It’s among my favorite work because it puts me next to smart people who are trying to solve interesting problems. It’s a little bit of design. It’s a little bit of strategy. It’s a little bit of development. It’s completely up my alley.
CSS-Tricks had a significant redesign. Although I wasn’t involved with it, the site itself is so fun to work on now; not that it wasn’t before, but it’s gotten even better. We’ve published (by my rough count) 642 posts since this day last year. That’s 1.75 posts per day… including weekends! Man, that’s awesome. The team over there is amazing and the work I do there as lead editor is still my most fulfilling. I’ve heard that you never have to work another day in your life if you love what you do — well, let’s say I never feel like I’m working when I’m spending time here.
I saw three products I worked on launch in the past year: (1) Loxi, an online calendar that can be embedded anywhere; (2) Promoter, a service that automates marketing and communications for calendar events; and (3) BigCommerce for WordPress, a plugin that syncs a BigCommerce store account with WordPress to make for a headless e-commerce platform.
Those were all projects I did with Modern Tribe. I continue to love being a part of that team and this next year should be an adventure in and of itself as I shift into the marketing team. We’re currently doing discovery for a complete overhaul of The Events Calendar brand.
Reflecting back on work makes me wonder just how much I’ve worked in the past year. Looking at Harvest, I’ve notched 1,842 hours since last year’s anniversary. That number was 1,743 for the same period last year. Numbers are kind of meaningless when they’re blurted out like that. I honestly don’t know if that means I’m actually working more or working less efficiently or whatever, but I’ve clearly deposited those 99 hours somewhere.
And while we’re talking about clocking time, I plan to do a little less of that through the rest of the year. I use a spreadsheet to help encourage me to take vacation and, well, I’ve been ignoring it to the extent that I discovered I accumulated 25 weeks of vacation. Whoops! I sat myself down this past week and scheduled time off between now and January to make sure I actually use some of it. I can’t use all of that, obviously. Or could I? 😎
Well, that’s a little peek into my personal and professional life between Independence Days. I’m happy to say that freelancing is now the longest-running job I’ve ever had and still ranks as my favorite of the entire bunch. Thanks to all the wonderful clients who make this possible, my friends for sticking with me through highs and lows, and of course, Marcia for encouraging me to go this route and being my biggest advocate all the while. This is the greatest ride.