With year one under my belt and year two puffing along (and work being admittedly a little slower than I would like), it’s a good time to consider things and make appropriate changes.
The biggest thing I wanted to change about this year was being a little more selective about the work I take on. A completely booked up schedule, while a good thing, can mean having to pass up on some really big opportunities. With four really excellent relationships developed in my first year and a half, my goal for 2015 was to cultivate at least a couple of more with people I really respect – people I would learn from and enjoy working with. So, I reached out to some people on my “I’d really love to work with” list earlier this year, and I have high hopes that some positive things will come to fruition.
The other side of being selective with work is to guard my time a bit more. There were a couple of periods in 2014 where I had more work than I could handle, was super stressed out and was generally not reaping the benefit that I’d hoped this move into self-employment would bring. And even in the middle of that, I was scared of turning down work. I’d like to break that pattern this year.
I also continue to think about the type of company that I want Guerilla Labs to be. A lot of people recommend specializing in an area, becoming known for something that you’re better at than anyone else. And, it’s hard to argue with that logic. Most of my work in 2014 was in front-end development – something I think I’m especially good at. But I don’t think I want to narrow Guerilla Labs’ focus that much. I think I’d rather Guerilla Labs be known for really high quality work and truly excellent service instead of being only known for a specific type of work. I’m not sure if that makes sense. Maybe I’m just easily distracted and like to do different types of things.
People keep asking if I plan to take on employees. I don’t. I do hope to bring on a partner or two over the next couple of years, though. I’m lucky to get to work with some really talented front-end developers, designers, artists and illustrators. They’re some of the best I know of. And when one of them is ready to join me, we’ll be full partners. I just don’t know how to make this type of working relationship work if we don’t have equal skin in the game and equal ownership and motivation to make it succeed. Eventually I can see having an illustration branch of Guerilla Labs and an area that focuses on branding and maybe some other things.
And there are lots of other ideas constantly swirling in my head — I think it would be great to bill more on a weekly or monthly basis instead of a project basis, I would like to have more contract type relationships with companies (10-20 hours a month), I really want to get back into training and teaching people how to build things on the web, I’d like to figure out a couple of physical products I could spend some time on.
I guess we’ll see where it all goes, but I’m excited.
Continue A Field Guide to Self Employment with chapter 8: Thanks.