Anatomy of a Career

If you've ever read my sparse 'About' page you know that I worked as a designer for many years. When I started out I designed mostly printed materials and worked predominantly for non-profit organizations. I didn't set out specifically for that to happen—but one job led to another and who was I to complain. One of my clients was moving into the digital age right at the start of the web (now you know how old I am) and they paid me to figure out how to get a website up and running for them.

So I became a website designer.

I worked in a freelance capacity for a while and then took time 'off' to have my first child. Seven years later I found myself single and in need of a job. I was insecure about freelance work and had other concerns including competing against new graduates who were hipper and cheaper than I was. So I tried something new. And then something else. (I had some success at both of those somethings, and one in particular makes a good story, but I digress.) Still, I keep coming back to website design.

I've mentioned here before that the Commonplace household hasn't been immune to the economic downturn and that we've made some rather large life changes in it's wake. So work I must. But, like many women I know, I long to have flexible hours that allow me to be available to my children. I hate the thought of being carried away from them on a commuter train or sending a babysitter in my stead to the school play. (If you do either of these things, please don't consider yourself judged. I'm only commenting on what feels right for me.)

Any work I have is word of mouth and as is often the case with the cobbler's kids, I have no shoes website of my own (yet). Designing websites is a big field and like everything else, I have areas of strengths and weaknesses. Since I work alone I don't have the resources that a big website production company has and I sometimes turn away work because it's beyond the scope of what I'm good at. It occurs to me that rather than throwing darts at fish in barrels (Niall, chime in here on the metaphor mix-up please) I might be better off narrowing down my scope of work and focusing on the area of my strengths.

So, if you're still with me (thanks and), I'd like to introduce you to my newest project:

My plan is to cover all areas of blog development from domain name registration through hosting and SEO (search engine optimization). I can work within self-hosted platforms (i.e. Blogger, Typepad, Wordpress, Squarespace. etc.) or provide hosting and software (Wordpress or Moveable Type) on my own servers. I can do small items like buttons and banners all the way through headers, backgrounds and total re-designs, custom Wordpress Templates and e-commerce sites and multi-media sites. Of course I'll still design 'regular' (non-blog) websites but I feel that narrowing down my scope allows me to really focus my time and energy.

I'm excited to share the news here first because I have found this community to be very supportive in the past and frankly, I'm hoping for more of the same. Also I kind of needed the accountability of having made a public announcement.

I'm planning to give away a full blog re-design (or design from scratch if the winner doesn't already have a blog) in conjunction with Parkcity Girl's Fall Blogger's Quilt Festival (for which, by the way, I designed the logo). So spread the word and come back next week for more details.