2013 - A Year in Review
Christmas is just around the corner and with Walk Through Bethlehem being setup tomorrow and running over the weekend, and a wedding to photograph on Tuesday, I feel just about ready to press 'shutdown' and close the office for the Christmas break. I'll be 'out of the office' from next Tuesday (Christmas Eve) lunchtime and will probably be back at work full time from Monday 6th January, so if you call or email me during this time you many not get an immediate reply!
2013 started slowly. With the impact of the financial crisis affecting Whitby businesses throughout 2012 and well into this year running my business has been much more difficult than in previous years. At the start of the year I had a bit of free time, so put together www.welcometowhitby.co.uk, a new accommodation directory for Whitby holiday cottages, bed and breakfasts and guesthouses. Almost a year later I'm now about to start advertising it and hopefully with a bit of hard work next year it'll start to gather interest. If you run a holiday accommodation business why not sign up today, you'll get free advertising for a year!
In May my web server suffered a catastrophic hard drive failure. Almost everything which could go wrong did go wrong and all at the same time. This was the worst week of my life. Thankfully my brother stepped in to save the day and since the summer we've been putting a new hosting system together. Most of my clients are now on the new, far more robust and reliable, system and the remaining clients will be moved early in 2014. I would like to apologise (again) to any clients who were adversely affected by the hardware failure and at the same time I'd like to thank all my clients for continuing to support my business, and my growing family (Baby Barber No. 4 now on the way, due end of June 2014!). All of the websites I host are now carbon offset at no extra cost.
In June and July we went on a 3 week adventure to France, enjoying Paris and its surrounding area, as well as the northern coast. We camped, and we agreed it was the best three weeks of our lives!
Back home in July it was time to play catch up with all the work delayed by the server problems and extended summer break. My sister got married in Exeter in August, so we enjoyed a few days down south celebrating with them.
Having built a new advertising management system, and helped build the new website for the Whitby Advertiser, in August I decided to start advertising - the first time ever. I don't know whether it was the adverts (I continue to advertise) or just the general state of the economy, the end of Whitby's really busy season or a mixture of all, but since September I've been really busy.
In September I ran the Great North Run, beating my previous personal best time and finishing in a respectable 1:35:40.
I've updated my portfolio with some projects from this year, and have a few more to go on (probably over the Christmas holidays) so have a look there to see what I've been up to. The main changes I've seen in kinds of work I'm asked to do this year is a huge increase in website owners requesting content management (probably about 95% now) and an equally large increase in 'responsive' design - websites which react to the screen size they're being viewed on to give the user the best possible experience.
I'm looking forward to taking on more interesting projects next year - although I now have several larger projects in the pipeline, ready to get my teeth into in the new year.
This week I celebrate 4 years of self employment. I remember thinking how terrified I was to start working for myself, with a family to provide for, bills to pay and relitively little idea of what I was doing. Four years down the line I can say it's been both the most demanding and rewarding thing I've done (other than parenting, perhaps!).
I look forward to the next few years, excited about the projects I'll undertake, the skills I'll learn, the friends I'll make. Maybe I'm getting a bit over excited with the thought of the Christmas holidays only a few days away - so I'll stop now and leave you to get on with your Christmas preparations.
I want to wish all my clients, friends and relatives a happy Christmas and New Year.
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.