30 December 2006

2006 in review, 2007 ahead...

Ah, the end of the year. They just seem to be racing by, to be honest. I said in a previous post I'd set some personal goals for 2007 to go with the business goals, so I'll get on to that in a minute. First up, though, 2006 in review. I doubt anyone's interested; this is as much for me to be able to remember what went on this year.

2006 was the year in which, after over a year of planning, umming and ahhing, general scaredness and procrastination, I quit my job and became my own man. Scary? Yes. Worth it? Definitely. It's been the best thing I ever did. I miss the people I used to work with; and, I suppose, the certainty of the pay, but nothing beats the feeling of working for yourself, in your underpants. 2007 is going to be the year it all takes off. The last couple of months were just practice.

2006 was a good year for music; Wolfmother, who I have on iTunes at the moment, were my big discovery for the year. I've been to lots of gigs, too; the Subways, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly, local bands, the list goes on. Theatre-wise, I've seen some oddness. Film-wise, Bond was very good, but little else really sticks out.

I discovered the Backstreet Bistro this year, which I fully intend to go to again, when I have some money. Also, Ta Bouche, with nice food, pleasant staff, and free wireless. I've found a love of The Pickerell, which is a great little pub. I've managed to not go to The Snug, the pub I've been intending to try out all year.

I watched the World Cup in Cambridge and didn't enjoy it. I bought a giant china cat from a charity shop and now keep my pens in it.

I fell in love with Apple computers this year, too; my little Mac laptop is the best investment I made all year.

2006 was the year of living like a month; my budgeting exercise. Not exactly fun, but well worth it.

I said goodbye to two great friends this year; Michelle, who I met, had a wonderful time with, and then watched (well, metaphorically) fly to New Zealand; and Monty, my lovely MG Midget, who I had to sell to finance the business.

All in all, a good year. Wouldn't change a thing. Except perhaps the World Cup bit.

Aims for 2007

So what's next? Here are my personal aims for 2007. I've not actually thought about these at all, so I'm just making them up as I go along. I bet I won't achieve any of them.

  • Get back on the stage - I'd like to gig a few more times, just to keep my hand in.
  • Live like a monk - extreme! - that's January. No going out, extremely careful budgeting, buying the minimum of anything and not wasting a thing. Time to clean off the bike.
  • Fence in a couple of competitions- if I can afford it, I'd like to compete a bit more. It's nice to fence some new people.
  • Pay off my credit card - somehow. I may alternate months of living like a monk. I'm certainly going to be working as hard as possible and saving every penny I can. Maybe I'll alternate live like a monk (living to a set budget) with live like a monk - extreme (just not spending anything).
  • Take more photos - I like photos.
And that's it... a modest set of targets. I'm going to print these out and tick them off as I achieve them.

10 December 2006

Being unreasonably ambitious

Way back in 2004, the organisation I used to work for held one of their series of "ideas talks", getting leading thinkers to talk about business, ideas, and creativity. This particular event - Robert Heller holding an "ideas audit" for three leading regional businesses - called for business to be unreasonably ambitious. Well, I'm working on version 2 of my business plan at the moment and I'm trying to do that. So as we round up 2006 - the year in which I quit my job with nothing to go to, sold the car I loved, discovered fresh ingredients are far, far superior to anything you can get from a supermarket, and won my first awards for something I've done at work - I've decided to set out my unreasonable plans for 2007:

  1. Find a designer to work with. To provide a fuller service, I'm going to need a designer. I also need to find someone who'll be there for small projects - I've got "associates" who are perfect for bigger projects, but I doubt they're interested in little bits of work here and there. A freelance designer who thinks like me would be a great boon to my business. Someone I could learn a bit more design from would be ace in itself.
  2. Go limited. Earlier than I originally planned, I'd like to go limited in the middle of next year. The paperwork as a sole trader isn't as bad as I thought, so I can handle that; the benefits would be great; and the risks seem lower than I thought at the moment, with some decent clients coming in and some good work on the way.
  3. Refine what I offer. Small business stuff doesn't seem to be particularly "me", or in demand, while public sector, strategic work, and content - writing and planning - are working well. I think I might drop the small business side of things. When I've used up a few more business cards.
  4. Sort out an office. Working from home is great, but the cat can be incredibly annoying, it's difficult to concentrate at times, and there's no-where to hold meetings or anything. I'd like an office. I'd like something interesting and different. And room for a decent chair and desk.
  5. Join a professional body. Like CIPR, CIM, or - possibly, but it's too design focussed - UKWDA
  6. Upgrade the PC. And replace it with a decent big Mac running Parallels.
  7. Market. Market hard.
I think that's about it from a business point of view... I imagine I'll write some personal objectives over the next couple of days too.

05 December 2006

Even more awardy

There are photos of the awards ceremony online now - rather small, but I'm about to email the photographer to get a copy of at least one of them.

See them here: http://www.ipr.org.uk/prideawards/eastanglia/2006/photographs/photographs.asp

04 December 2006

Oh dear, oh dear.

I've succumbed to seasonal fever... not to the point of looking forward to Christmas, or anything like that, but maltpress.co.uk has been updated to reflect the season.

Of course, it's going to be a little while before the fairy-lights go up in Maltpress HQ, what with me being a grumpy old scrooge who's not a massive fan of Christmas (I think I'm just quite ant-hype; I don't think it's worth all the fuss and pressure put on it... although the parties are fun). Mind you, the corporate world moves at a different pace and it's probably about time to be thinking about sending cards to my contacts. Being a new company, and having better things to do with my time - and not actually having that many contacts yet - I'm probably going to send actual, physical cards to people rather than electronic ones.

I've also updated the site to reflect the fact that I'm now an award winner - or at least part of an award winning team. See the post below for more details. But I'm going to remain smug about this for some time.

01 December 2006

Award winner...

Last night was the East Anglian CIPR (Chartered Institute of Public Relations) PRIDE awards - which I went along to, and at which the project I was there with (Running the Gauntlet) won two gongs. A gold and a silver.

My role in the project was as an internal consultant - providing advice and support for the electronic communications part of the campaign. Because one of the awards was for integrated PR campaign, I'm rather proud of my involvement. It shows that what I'm doing now is something I'm actually pretty good at and I can prove the results I'm capable of getting; a job for today is updating maltpress.co.uk to highlight the award.

I'm also rather pleased that I'll be getting a copy of the physical award which will be taking pride of place on my window-sill. Oh, and the fact that I wore a self-tied bow-tie - although I did have to have help tying it...

EEDA, my former employers, won five awards in total last night - including the Grand Prix overall prize for an internal communications campaign. It was incredibly nice to sit and bask in the reflected glory for an evening.