2019 has come to a close and 2020 is now upon us all. Happy New Year, everybody!
At the end of last year, I wrote a similar retrospective post all about how I viewed what I accomplished that year and what I hoped to achieve in the following year. 2019, that is. It’s always fun to look back on posts like that one because it’s like opening up a time capsule. So many days have passed since I published that post; there’s no chance I was going to remember everything I wrote.
I’m glad to see that I was hopeful about 2019 when I wrote it. I had gone through some major hardships in 2018, so it would have been understandable if I had sounded pessimistic about what the next year would bring. That wasn’t the case. I was working on building the life I want to live and that’s always a reason to feel optimistic.
While I may not have achieved everything I want to achieve, I’m glad that I’ve stuck with it and continued working on my goals.
So what happened in 2019? It wasn’t a dull year, I can tell you that. I’ve had more work to do than the year prior, which is exactly as it should be with a growing business. My personal life has settled down a bit. Things are good.
While I’m looking forward to what 2020 has to bring, I think it’s important to reflect on your previous year. So let’s get down to it...
A small preamble…
Last year, I used a format that I’d found from a retrospective post made by Paige Brunton. That format worked well enough last year, but I think it made the post feel a little heavy. I think I’ll do things different this year.
I’m going to go into deep detail on three major topics. I think this will give me a chance to write a little more openly.
What did I do in 2019?
I spent the first half of 2019 working on a couple of websites for clients. Those were the websites for Bernard Mondello Racing Enterprises and Alexis Hickox Design.
On the one hand, they were great projects to work on because they gave me an opportunity to grow my client portfolio (when that was an important facet of Dandy Cat Design). They gave me an opportunity to learn new things about web design. I also learned a fair bit about fostering happy relationships with clients.
On the other hand, those projects were done for free. I don’t see an issue with doing free work if you’re doing it for the right reasons. I believe I did those projects for the right reasons. However, I don’t know that a business is really a business if it’s not bringing in any money.
At that point, it’s more of a serious hobby than anything else.
The lack of paying clients made me reevaluate what I wanted to get out of Dandy Cat Design. Did I want to be a website designer for people who need websites? Did I want to be constantly trying to find the next person to create a website for? Did I want to spend time worrying about a stream of income drying up?
Obviously, the answer was no.
I spent a great amount of time trying to figure out what I want Dandy Cat Design to be for the future and what I landed on was that I want it to be a resource for people who want to build a more productive life in the most stress-free way possible.
I love the topic of productivity. It really gets my brain sparking with ideas. Some people enjoy baking cookies, working on car engines, or playing video games. I love figuring out how to make my calendar even more useful and efficient.
I want to be the go-to resource for people who are feeling overwhelmed with their work and/or personal lives and need a way to make sense of it all. I want to be the inspiration behind a clearer and more pleasing life.
2019 was a great instructor. It taught me that the path I was on wasn’t the one I should be walking. It’s sure as hell scary to shift your focus when you’ve invested a lot of time into something, but sometimes it’s the best thing you can do for yourself. Consider giving it a try if you’re feeling stuck.
What do I want to accomplish in 2020?
In last year’s post, I wrote about wanting to have at least one paying web design client a month. 12 clients throughout the entire year. I got two, and they didn’t pay anything. That was a jarring wake-up call to receive.
So this year I think I’m going to temper my goals a bit. But not by much.
My goal for 2020 is to grow a community of passionate Dandy Cat Design followers. I think you can say my theme for this year is “growth.”
I want to grow my Pinterest following. I want to grow my email list. I want to grow the income I’m making from my business.
None of that has to be unattainable. I’m not imagining that I’ll have 100,000 followers on Pinterest, 20,000 people signed up to my email list, and be pulling in a six-figure income in just a few short months. If any of that actually happens, then hells to the yeah! Who would I be to complain about that? But I’m just working on growth, in whatever form that takes.
I also believe that I’ll be moving away from Squarespace as my website hosting and development platform. Big news, I know.
The current Dandy Cat Design was built on their new 7.1 platform. It was not an easy or enjoyable process. I want to work on not allowing things that are unpleasant into my life whenever I can help it. In this case, I can help it.
Building a website on 7.1 is probably an easy thing to do if you’re not looking to dig below the surface they give you. It’s a great platform for DIYers, but it doesn’t appear to be a friendly platform for web design companies or specialists. This is evidenced pretty clearly in the lack of a Developer Mode and the complete inability to convert a 7.0 site to a 7.1 site (and vice versa).
The major changes they’ve made don’t sit well with me.
Does this mean that I won’t be writing about Squarespace anymore? Possibly. I’m planning on writing more about productivity in general. There’ll most likely be lots of new talk about platforms like WordPress and Ghost.
That doesn’t mean that I think Squarespace is wrong for everybody. It just means that I feel Squarespace isn’t right for me anymore.
This means that Dandy Cat Design may undergo another cosmetic change. I’m not sure what it’ll look like yet, but if it happens, then my goal is to make it a fast, powerful, and informative experience.
What have I learned about myself?
When I was a young boy, I wanted to be a teacher. I also spent 10 years, most of them in my 20s, teaching karate to people. I think I’ve always had a knack for it. Indeed, writing this blog has scratched a teacher itch that I wasn’t always aware of.
Plus, I don’t need to give anybody pushups as a punishment like I had to at the karate school.
It appears that what I really want to do is show people how to do things. Whether it be how to use a Spacer Block in Squarespace or how to get your task manager under control, I want to help people learn something they didn’t know before.
It makes me feel fulfilled when I see other people light up with understanding. That glow they get when a tough concept really clicks in their head is so pleasing for me.
I want to turn that into the way I earn a living for myself.
What I envision Dandy Cat Design as is a place to deposit whatever I’ve learned. I want it to be a resource for others to come and learn something new.
Whether it’s through a blog post, some sort of freebie material, or a paid course, I want Dandy Cat Design to be the place where someone can come to learn something new.
I’ve learned that I enjoy creating new things and sharing them with others. It fuels the light inside of me. When I can earn a living doing exactly that, then I’ll be a very happy person.
Happy 2020, cats.