Review of 2017

Sometimes, as a small business owner, it’s easy to keep chugging away without ever stopping to reflect on what you’re doing. For the last couple of years, I’ve written a quick blog post at the end of the year to look back at what’s gone well… and what could’ve gone better.

Whether you write it down or not, whether you share it publicly or not, I really recommend doing this. It’s a great opportunity to reflect on whether your business/life is working out the way you want.

If yes, great! If not, you have a few days away from your desk to think about making adjustments – small or large.

The date 2017 in green text, with the Webscape Gardener logo in place of the zero.

I also tend to find myself surprised by how much I have achieved over the past 12 months, so it’s great to be able to give myself a pat on the back for that!

What’s gone well

2017 has been a good year for me, both personally and professionally.

I’ve developed and launched three new (or heavily-redeveloped) websites this year, and given a ‘facelift’ to two others. I’ve had some absolutely lovely feedback about these.

Midway through the year, an agency approached me, looking for someone to help them with WordPress. In quite a short time, we’ve built up a really good working relationship. I’ve created bespoke themes and custom functionality for three of their websites (two of which have gone live), as well as offering general advice on WordPress and website good practice, in particular accessibility.

Although I haven’t blogged as much as I planned, I’m pleased with what I have written. In particular, I loved writing “Why Coding is like Crochet”. This had a great reception, with plenty of comments on the blog and on social media. I suspect much of the exposure this got was due to publicity from my good friend (who also happens to be a fabulous knitting and crochet designer/blogger) The Twisted Yarn – so thank you, Ms Twisted!

But the best bit of this year (which will come as no surprise to those who’ve seen my previous reviews) is that I’ve learned TONS this year!

I’m really pleased with how my coding and development skills are… well, developing. I’ve pushed myself by taking on a couple of projects that I found slightly scary, and (without wishing to sound too arrogant) I’ve nailed them.

Continuing the theme of learning, outside work I’ve been polishing up my French language, through courses on Babbel and Duolingo. I’ve done at least 30 minutes of French study almost every week in 2017, and I plan to keep going. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put my improved skills to work next summer!

What could have gone better

Last year I resolved to blog more. That really hasn’t happened!

I need to think about why that is, and what I can do about it – or whether I should abandon the idea of blogging altogether. 🙁

At times, I’ve found myself feeling pulled in too many different directions at once. At the moment, I get client requests by email, phone, text, and sometimes even via social media. That’s in addition to ongoing project work where I need to stay on top of all the details. There are lots of online time-management and task-management tools which could help here, so there’s no excuse for me not to be more efficient about this.

I’ve also been guilty of blurring the separation between my work life and my family life. Working primarily from home, it’s all too easy to get distracted by chores or errands. Similarly, when I’m not “at the office”, it’s far too easy to “just do a little bit of work” and lose time which I could – and should – be spending with my family.

Aims for 2018

My aims for 2018 are pretty similar to those for 2017:

  • Keep on delivering websites that make my clients happy.
  • Continue learning: in particular, to make sure I keep stretching myself with more of those slightly-scary projects!
  • Put in place a task-management system so nothing slips through the cracks.
  • Keep up my French practice.
  • Keep control of my work-life balance and look after myself a bit more.

What are your aims for 2018?

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