This week marks 5 years since I arrived back in Australia (after a jaunt in Christchurch) and Jordesign became a full time venture. It’s been a crazy 5 years — so I thought I would spend some time taking a look back at what has happened, and what I am looking forward to in the future…
Jordesign has actually been in existence for almost 11 years – but it is only since 2009 that it was something full time (rather than on the side). I was blessed to land a part time contract with Youthworks when we moved back from Christchurch – which gave me the baseline to go fulltime freelance. It’s been an interesting 5 years – with plenty of lowlights as well as highlights. But I thought I would share some of the good stuff!
Youthworks, Fervr & The Webbies
That little part time job I mentioned was on a little fledgling site called Fervr. It was a great site that provided topical & biblical articles for Christian teenagers. It was in the very early stages when I arrived – and over the next 3 years it was fantastic to be a part of bringing it to life. Working with the team (hi Kitty, Rich & John) was a blast, and taught me a lot.
We were blown away when we won the 2012 Webby Award for best Religious & Spirituality site – and I was stoked that so many clients, friends and family members pitched in to help pay my way to New York for the awards ceremony. It was a truly surreal and amazing experience.
One of the best things about being a freelancer is the range of jobs you get to work on – and the range of people you get to work on them with. I’ve had the privilege of working with, and learning from, some amazing people. I really hope this continues.
A chance to settle down
One of the other benefits of freelancing is the flexibility it has given me. It was this flexibility that allowed us to move down and settle in Wollongong – near the beach on the South coast of NSW. I already work remotely for most clients – so being a bit further from Sydney was really no problem.
Wollongong is a great place to live and work. There’s all sorts of interesting pockets of culture, a bunch of great people working for themselves, and a burgeoning startup scene. I look forward to the coming years in Wollongong to see how it continues to grow.
The WordPress community is amazing
I’d been using WordPress for years prior to going full time – on blogs and the like. It was only once I had to decide which CMS I was going to use for clients that I started using it more regularly. It worked wonderfully for me – but it was another couple of years before I really engaged with anyone using WordPress.
Heading to WordCamp Sydney in early 2012 changed all that. I met a bunch of wonderful people (smarter and more talented than I) who also use WordPress for all sorts of things. Everyone in the WordPress community is so open, generous and thoughtful – they’re always ready to lend a hand, and offer some advice. It’s truly been a pleasure getting to know many of them better.
A massive thanks
All that remains is to say thank you. Thanks to all of the great clients I’ve had the pleasure of working with for the last 5 years. A massive thank you to all of the friends and family who have supported me and offered advice over that time. And the biggest thank you is reserved for my wonderful wife – without whom none of the past 5 years would be possible – thanks sweety.