For several years I ran my own web design business, before selling it a little over 4 years ago and deciding I’d become a writer instead. Indeed, this blog began as a way of experimenting with different styles of writing and forcing myself to put fingers to keyboard on a regular basis. Then CFS then took over, drained the momentum and I never became a writer. So now I’m becoming a photographer.
However, I have never fully escaped web design and at the moment it feels like I’m doing more than when I ran a full time web business. Mind you, in those days I got paid.
The reality is, while I no longer run a web design business, and have no desire to return to running a web design business, I do have a great deal of experience, skill and understanding about how to make websites work effectively for people and businesses.
And in moments of compassion and stupidity, I find myself offering to help people out as a favour.
Of course I regularly put my skills to use to help Maggie get her art business growing. As well as the main website, she has a newsletter people can sign up to, and monthly(ish) videos going up on YouTube, but that’s only to be expected.
But then I have a close friend who’s a poet. I’ve been telling him for ages he needs to get a website together. Unfortunately it seems I’ve now convinced him…
Then there was a hotel/restaurant I used to help in return for taking family and friends there for meals on the house. They moved, but have continued the arrangement with their new place. And the new owners of their old place also wish to carry on this way of doing things, but the person in charge of their web and emails is technically, er, timid. So I find myself spending an extra 5 minutes here and there sorting out wee things because it’s easy for me and impossible for her.
I did get paid for one website I recently worked on, although the amount of effort involved was far more than the amount being paid, but he’s a good friend and helps us in other ways, so I couldn’t charge him much.
I’ve also been teaching bits of web design to the son of another friend, who in return is giving Maggie a few lessons on the fiddle. Which is a great skill swap as far as I’m concerned.
On my recent trip to Wales, I met with up an old school friend. It turned out he’s had problems with his web designer charging him lots of money for a website that’s out of date, badly designed and has the wrong prices on everything. In a moment of nostalgic friendship I told him I could put up a basic, but effective page for him and scrap the rest of the site. Easy for me – I can do it in an hour or 2, but impossible for him as he has no idea how these things work. Which is why, of course, he was at the mercy of an overcharging web designer.
Then I got an email last week from another old friend I began creating a site for over 2 years ago, which then got shelved for various reasons. However he’s now thinking we need to blow the dust off it and kick start it again. “Any time,” I said.
A close friend of my stepdaughter set up her own business last year and I gave her various bits of advice and helped her get a basic page up. Of course I was quite clear she could call me any time she needs any help…
There is one possible paid project in the pipeline, although to be honest, I’m hoping they take plenty of time to decide as I feel I’ve got web stuff coming out of my ears at the moment.
And at some point, I desperately want to get round to sorting out and updating my own new photography website. What’s up at the moment is essentially a first draft. I know there are several things I need to change to turn it into the site I want it to be, but all these other web projects seem to be getting in the way.
And of course I don’t want to forget about posting on my blog, now do I?