Talking of Design
2016 was my last blog post. Close to 6 years! It was about how I’d just invoiced my 1,000th professional job. I’m actually close to my 1,400th now. So, yes, I am still going along quite nicely, despite my awful blogging efforts!
So why is my frequency of posting so rubbish?
Well, I’m hoping I’m not the only freelancer who is in this position. It comes down to many factors I think:
- Time. I love doing. I want to be doing. Not “writing about doing” doing, but doing doing (and now the word “doing” looks wrong — looks like the word for the sound of a spring doorstop being twanged by a cat paw). And when I’m not doing I want to be spending time with my kids, enjoying leisure activities. You know. Life.
- Being busy. I’m lucky that (touch wood) I tend to get a fairly constant stream of work — granted from a lot of repeat business, which I know can be a dangerous position if suddenly that changes. So, yes, I do need to make more noise to get more attention to get fresh leads. But talking of noise …
- I hate having to make lots of noise. That seems to be the marketing way nowadays. Or perhaps it’s always been like that but has got harder? It’s a great time for people who can’t seem to shut up! Keep making content, keep sharing it. It’s exhausting!
- Imposter syndrome. Sometimes I think of something I could write about — some advice, some coding or design idea I momentarily think is good / useful. But then I talk myself out of it. It’s probably not that good / been done before / can be done better. Then what if people like / dislike it and decide to make their own noise about it? I’m trying to reduce the number of “what ifs” I entertain, in both my personal and professional life. Why why what a terrible time to be alive if you’re prone to overthinking, as that Ezra chap once sang.
- What’s the point? I know. A bit negative right? But then it can feel like you’re muttering in to the void. The way to get an audience seems to begin with talking at conferences / meet-ups etc. Then combine it with frequent articles, and half decent social media content and engagement blah blah blah. Back in the day I did get asked to talk at events but turned opportunities down. Because “oh-hello-anxiety-meet-imposter-syndrome”. I can’t really complain about this lack of traction then really. I didn’t leap from my comfort zone. I’m OK with it though, I think.
So where now for man raised by puffins?
^ I wasn’t raised by puffins. It’s just an obscure reference to a line in a comedy show. Search it in Google if you like.
Well I’ve written this. So it’s a start, right? I’ll throw it about the usual social media places, see if it sticks. Plus I’ll have a look through my stats to see if — even this somewhat mumbling brain-fart — has some kind of positive impact on my “organic presence”, as they say.
There was a time, between 2008 and 2012, that if you searched “freelance web design” in Google, I was top. And that’s google.com. And from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD! But those days are gone forever, I should just let them go but … I can see you, your brown skin shining in the sun, you got the top pulled down and the radio on, baby. Wow. That went very Don Henley, very quickly, but I make no apology. It’s a banging tune.
The reason I think I couldn’t maintain such Roger Federer-esque dominance is because of the following. And yes, I do like me a list:
- Being busy. Like above. Got lots of work. Got very busy. Something had to give.
- Don’t touch anything or it will die! In other words I got precious with it, thinking changing a word or adding a full-stop in the wrong place would cause my organic rocket ship to fall like a stone and explode in flames. People screaming. The horror. Oh the horror. Blood. More blood. And bits of sick.
- It got old and stale. Because of the 2 points above really. The good links I did have, became old links. The good content I did have, become stale content.
- SEO is so different now. Let’s face it, social media is the new “google it”. Google is now also a complex beast to tame. I mean I could write a lot about where things are on that score now. I should point out that I do know how to do all this stuff, and have consulted many of my clients to great success, it’s just I don’t practice what I preach it seems. Not a great look, but I have a feeling that a lot of freelancers like myself can relate.
But you just watch. Next blog post will be in 5 years :) Hopefully not. Let’s see if I can be disciplined and maintain a good habit. It might be that I blog about non-worky stuff as well. Just because, well, why not?
I’m also going to be launching a separate arm of my business that promotes purely my website work. Why? Well I sometimes think offering all the services in one place saturates my website a little. So I’m neither here nor there in terms of my presence. The look of this website is also very stylised, and might not demonstrate my ability to produce more — how to say — slick and grown-up work? If someone is looking for some illustration for kids and also a website, I’d say I’ve got that vibe pretty much nailed, right? But I can do, and do do, so much more. Plus aside from all that, something new and fresh is exciting me. I could also re-design this website but, I don’t know, feels too homely. I’m certainly not one of those who re-designs their website every 12 months to keep “trendy”.
Anyway, let’s talk again sometime. Chow.