The last few years of my work life have been pretty great. I got to work with a lot of smart, down to earth people, clients with great products and services, and do what I love to do: sit at the computer and design things. If that thing is a website, I get to develop it into a fully functional, usable, search engine optimized website for the world to see.
My Old Jobs
Besides my client list for Anything Graphic doubling in size, I have also had the opportunity to work for an amazing start-up company called Spaboom for the past three years. I got to work alongside some amazing people who are now friends outside of work, I learned a lot about the operations of a successful small business, and have also set the precedent on a new role as a graphic designer and website developer, combining the two titles into one for the first time. Prior to my position, those titles were separate.
My primary role was to design and develop custom websites for many different brands and implement them into Spaboom’s custom content management system. I did the same thing for its sister companies, Coverboom (restaurant vertical) and Boomtime (not industry specific). I also developed websites from the other graphic designer and friend I occasionally do freelance web development projects for, Lori from Design564.
I learned so much while in this position and the company allowed me to kind of do my own thing. Naturally, I had the freedom to apply newly developed skills into each new project. Along working with a lot of great brands, I have also:
- Designed many different logos and instant gift certificates
- Extended the website templates, accompanying email templates, and holiday themed email templates
- Started the push and streamlined the process to make all previous templates mobile friendly
- Created two custom, responsive frameworks for future web design projects
- Helped extend the functionality of the custom content management system
- Developed the new, responsive website for spaboom.com
Like I said, I learned a lot through working with this company and it has been a pleasure. I am sad to leave, but happy to start a new chapter in life.
I was happy. However, the last year I was there my work/life balance was even more out of control than it used to be. My friends will agree. Lori had pursued other opportunities in the freelance area and had left the company. Between being the only designer and developer for Spaboom, working with more than 5 brands on 15 different projects at any one time, and then trying to focus on my company Anything Graphic and the 50 clients I have, I quickly became unhappy and didn’t want to work anymore.
I was highly unmotivated, had almost stopped completely, and went into another field. I needed a break. A large part of the problem was that I was stuck in a routine that just wasn’t working out.
I needed a change. I needed a challenge.
A Horoscope and Perfect Timing
I’m not too much of a superstitious person, but it was quite amazing how things worked out near the end of 2012. I started to read a lot of horoscopes after I let my workload schedule slip into a downward spiral. Every week, there was always a little something about my business and career choices.
Albuquerque, like most other cities, has a tight-knit designer and developer community and we all tend to know about each other (or know somebody who knows somebody). Luckily for me, people think I do great work. A local friend and co-owner of Cornershop Creative, Ben, knew an awesome guy named Chad who was looking for a Front-end Website Developer for a start-up company called @Pay.
I wasn’t looking for a job. My plan was to slowly ease Anything Graphic into a 10-hour a week gig instead of the 30+ hours I was putting into it and focus on Spaboom. But when I got that first phone call from Chad I rethought my situation. I realized I was looking at things the wrong way and my horoscopes were putting it right in front of me.
I simply wasn’t paying attention. I needed this change.
After 4 interviews over the span of 4 months, I got the job offer to start as a Front-end Web Developer at @Pay.
Until the end of June, I am working for all three jobs: Spaboom, Anything Graphic, and @Pay. The weight will soon lift off of my shoulders. During the last two weeks of June, I will be finishing up some large projects for Spaboom and saying my final goodbye’s. It is a sad time, but I am ready.
During this time, I am also slimming down the amount of freelance hours in half. I have a handful of friends I work with on an ongoing basis as well as a marketing firm I contract with who bring premium clients with amazing designs to the table. Consistent, repeat business is something I am going after instead of taking on work from anybody who makes a phone call.
My role as a front-end website developer is to enhance the usability and functionality of two company websites: @Pay and Clover Leaf Solutions. By keeping up with advancements in the industry, my focus is to keep the website fresh, fast, SEO friendly, and coded with clean markup. My background in design is also a great tool for paying attention to the details that our amazing graphic designers put into their work. The @Pay engineers have developed a game changer for the donation and e-commerce industries and am grateful to be able to jump on board.
This is the biggest challenge I’ve had to face in recent years. I will be working with people who know a lot more than me and use a handful of different technologies. They are brilliant, smart, and know so much. I am looking forward to learning, growing, and gaining different experiences on a completely different path.
My near future is going to be exciting. Thank you to Chad and the @Pay team for giving me the chance to be a part of such a great team and giving me a warm welcome into their offices. I didn’t get hazed… yet.
Here’s to learning, growing, good food, Nerf wars, and a pool table. Hello second family 🙂