03 January 2008

A new year...

2008, eh? Amazing how quickly it comes around. I can remember feeling smug this time last year for getting through my first ever self-employed Christmas.

Last year I made a few business plans and a few personal plans. Let's see how they panned out and make some new plans to not keep to:

Business plans

  1. Find a designer to work with. Kind of - I've made quite a few contacts this year and I can certainly point people in the right direction for design. I'm also having someone whose design I admire look at my site for me.
  2. Go limited. Nope - and I'm still umming and ah-ing about this one. At the moment I don't see the point. I'm getting by fine, I'm getting work in, and by working as part of consortiums I'm getting the weight of a bigger company behind me when I need it.
  3. Refine what I offer. It's not really been about "what I offer" this year. I am going to get new business cards, and re-do the focus of the website, but other than that there's been little activity on this front. I do what I do, and what I'm asked to do; it's nice like that. I have started to focus my writing work away from my main website, though, and I approach it quite differently.
  4. Sort out an office. Moving house was a great thing to do - the new place for my desk is excellent and I'm very happy here now. No need for an office, although I'd love one, and there's a brilliant building on the A10 I'd like to do up. Anyone got £300,000 to invest in me?
  5. Join a professional body. Yep - I'm now a fully paid up member of BIMA, the British Interactive Media Association.
  6. Upgrade the PC. Got a load more memory, decent graphics card and - most important of all - a really nice big flat screen monitor. Hurrah!
  7. Market. I spend what seems a painful amount of time looking for new work now, even when I'm busy. Once bitten - twice shy.
So - an OK year, plan wise, but successful for the one thing I didn't really put in the plan - keeping going and enjoying it. It's been a great working year with huge, huge amounts of potential this coming year. New plans? OK then:

  1. Sort out dull money things. I need a pension. Humph. I am nearly 30 and I do not have a pension. This is not a good thing. I also need income protection insurance. Luckily, a good couple of months mean I have a better bank balance than I expected - I've managed to pay the first instalment of quite a big tax bill (lots of confusing stuff about having 6 months in hand or something) without dipping in to the money I had put aside for that very purpose. When I know what the next tax bill may be, I might have enough put by to properly invest for my dotage.
  2. New website, business cards, letter heads and compliment slips. I often find myself wanting a compliment slip but have never had any; I am also bored of the design of my site. This is currently being fixed by some very nice people.
  3. Blog more. Both on this blog and on www.willwordforfood.com
  4. Make more distinction between my "normal" work and my writing. The two are quite different at times; plus I like the idea of Will Word For Food and want to really take advantage of it.
So that's business... what about personal? Here's what I planned and how I did:

  • Get back on the stage - nope. Oh dear. Perhaps this year?
  • Live like a monk - extreme! - that was January. I can't remember last January. Didn't really stick to it last year though - went abroad a couple of times, met a lovely girl and made the most of it.
  • Fence in a couple of competitions - Didn't happen. Far, far too busy. In the later part of the year I hardly even fenced on club nights.
  • Pay off my credit card - Not yet - although I'm doing OK. Got to keep plugging away!
  • Take more photos - Yes. Then my laptop died and I lost them all. :(
Not bad - I did have a most excellent and incredibly fun year. I did a lot I didn't plan to do, and it was ace, so in some ways I'm loathe to put down plans for the coming year... but I'll do it anyway.
  • Do my "things to do before I'm 30" - that's pretty much it, except to add:
  • Learn to dive - some friends have been amazed I have a degree in marine biology but have never dived. Apparently I will enjoy it - so that's on my list of things to do. Perhaps it will tie in with the plan to go south of the equator at some point...
So that's it - big ambitions for business, realistic ones for my personal life. Let's hope I manage some of them at least!

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