Moving on into 2010


Fallen Sweets

So the year has been and gone. A decade down. 2009 was a mixed year for me personally and business wise. It was an interesting year overall now I look back on it with hindsight. It was a year for discovering what I really wanted and achieving a few professional goals. However it wasn’t without frustration and disappointment.  Time to reflect on it all.

The Professional View

Despite all the doom and gloom with the 2009 global financial crisis, from the business perspective I did manage to keep things moving forward and the dollars rolling in. Which is very important for a freelancer with a family. However I’ll be honest I did find for the first time in 15 years, that I had no work in the pipeline for a few weeks. This was a bit of a shock from a business view point. But I took solace in the fact that others in the web industry where in a similar or worse situation.

Wrong Directions

One major thing last year frustrated me was my business. The market seemed to be pushing me into a direction that I was frankly not happy with. I have been designing and developing websites now on various levels since 1995, yes I was a generalist.

I have in reality lost count of the number of sites I have designed and developed over this time. I was finding the industry and market as a whole was pushing me into operated the business as a standard web design shop for a while now.  Still I get the impression there is no place for a designer/developer combo anymore.

However since 2005 I have been trying to move away from just the standard web design business and into the more specialised User Experience consultancy / design market. Problem is I don’t really think the local market is ready for this. Seems a lot of education is going to be needed in 2010.

So I see 2010 as being  the year when I take out all road blocks and focus on moving the business into this direction, away from the rest of the market.

The Personal View

One thing that 2009 did teach me – life is just too short. Way to short to be spent doing things you have grown tired of or even hate doing. It has made me refocus on ensuring both my family and professional life are more enjoyable. Sadly to achieve this I had to let a number of personal projects go – being on the Australian Web Industry Committee was one of them.

The importance of ones health was also re-enforced during the year. This I have always consider this to be of an extreme importance, however I have been a little slack of late.   Tis is now changing, which will be reflected in my coming changes in my business direction. No amount of money or anything is worth that much if you can’t enjoy it.

So the previous and upcoming year in review:

Major Events for 2009

  • Speaking at several conferences and to professional groups throughout the year; I just love public speaking and educating people about the web.
  • Starting up rock climbing (after a very long absence) lots has changed, for the better. Issues are still in finding climbing partners.
  • Overcoming long term injuries allowing an increase in my training routines.
  • Resigning from the AWIA committee, this was a personal low, but it was for the best.
  • Writing more consistently with longer articles. Also writing more business focused articles.  This is something again I enjoy.
  • Attending 5 major web events during the year; despite the economic downturn.  Played around with sketchnotes at these events too.
  • Assisting AWIA in the organisation of several web events.  I will miss doing this.
  • Running Freelance Coffee and attending UXBookclub (Perth) and the UPA Chapter

The Wish List for 2010

  • To professionally read more, I really need to put aside several evenings a week to do this.
  • Network more and socialise less. Sometimes networking meetings just become social meetups and have no long term benefit.
  • Get into a consistent training routine. Main issue here is that I don’t yet have a training goal. Time will see on this one.
  • Change the business direction away from the industry norm, as discussed above. Maybe I need to get back into longer term contracting to achieve this.
  • Write at least one article a week. Considered doing Project52.  This should be easy, but reality will see.
  • Take more photos. I have been really slack, need to take more photographs and just improve my skills. Especially considering the equipment I brought last year.
  • Enjoy the simple things. Enjoy the quiet moments.
  • Get more sleep!  Drink less coffee.
  • Speak at more events, even outside of the web industry – I just get too much of a buzz out of this to let it go.

Yeah I know another year in review article, but in a way it’s good to reflect on what you have done or not done for the year.

What about you, what did you achieve?

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  1. Hi Gary,

    I really appreciated reading this reflection on the year that was. I am a new blogger (one month-ish) and after reading quite a few end of year /resolutions posts, I think this is the best. I really appreciated the detail both personal and professional that you included as well as your goals and achievements. So good in fact, That i am going to model my own end of year post (just a little late) on your format and credit you with it on my blog. I am hoping to write my own tonight but holidays and moving house and entertaining family just takes so much time away! lol.


  2. Nice mate. Well said. And for what it's worth, on the business end of things I'm in exactly the same boat. I decided only this morning (early) that I wanted to expand my business into a more specific realm and away from the generalities but the local market may not be ready for it. IMO, I say just do it and MAKE the local market ready. That's what I'm doing… I'll let you know how it goes, ahahahhahaha…

  3. Hi Gary

    Nice to hear your thoughts and reflections on 2009.

    I can’t agree with you more that the local market is yet to embrace user experience and task focused design. I started a new studio early last year in Perth after 10 years running an agency overseas. Although we develop in house, our approach is strongly design focused and we have found this not to be the norm locally. So far I have found that that the local approach is either one or the other ( design or development ) and not one that unites the two which is where I like to position my company.

    I believe the most challenging objective locally will be connecting with clients that are open to a UX approach.

    All the best for 2010 and your new direction.


  4. Thank Victoria and Scott for your kind words.

    @Scott – it’s just an education thing, sadly it takes time.

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