We can’t quite believe we are at the end of 2018 already!  It only feels like a few months ago we were reviewing 2017, but here we are at the year end already. We always like to take this opportunity to think about the year we have had and plan for the year ahead.  Running your own business can be hectic so it is important to take time to reflect on our successes and occasional disappointments.  We feel incredibly proud that our business is growing from strength to strength and that 3 years on we still enjoy it as much as when we started.

So, what did 2018 bring?  We are happy to say it has been another busy year!  From creating new websites for a number of local businesses and charities, to increasing our involvement in the WordPress community, it has been an amazing year.  Our highlights have been;

 

Growing our reputation

When you start a business it takes time to build your reputation within the local community and wider area and this year we really feel we have become more established within our industry, particularly within Thornbury, Yate and Bristol.  We now have a large portfolio of work and this means we can show prospective clients that we have a good track record.  We are proud to have worked with so many great local businesses, but we are now spreading our wings to other areas of the country as well.  A recent project in Derby, with Deaf-intely Women, proved that working with clients remotely can work well.

 

Creating a wider network of clients

As we have grown so has our client network within the local area.  We have such a wide range of skills and businesses within our network we now able to put people in touch with each other when help is needed.  This has included connecting businesses in similar fields who can help each other grow, to sharing advice from businesses that is useful to everyone. We feel it is important to help other companies who are trying to succeed and with our trusted network we are creating a small supportive hub for local businesses.

Increasing our work with the charity sector

One of the things we love is the diversity of our work.  This year we have had the opportunity to work with a number of charities, creating websites to increase their reach on the web.  This is a sector we feel passionately about.  It was great to create the website for Made A Mark that aims to help bereaved children and build a website and provide social media training for Deaf-initely Women.  They work with Deaf women in Derby to give them the confidence and support they need.  We are looking forward to launching a new website for Jigsaw Thornbury in the new year and to continue our work with The Family Centre (Deaf Children).  To be able to contribute to the work of these great organisations has definitely been a highlight for us this year.

Being involved in the WordPress community

For the last couple of years we have been active members of the Bristol WordPress meetup group.  This is a great group of fellow developers and website designers who get together to share their knowledge with each other.  We have always found this group so helpful not only for technical help but for business advice too.  They are also a great bunch of people who are fun to catch up with every month!  Since the Autumn we have become more active in the organisation of the meetup, live tweeting the event and being a point of contact for members.  Claire even braved doing a talk to the group this year about copywriting.  A scary experience but a very rewarding one!

Our involvement spread past the meet up with Laura taking part in the first ever WordPress Do Action Day in Europe.  This involved volunteers building a website for a charity in just one day.  It was a crazy day but rewarding for everyone involved. 

Next year we will be volunteering at the next WordCamp Bristol and will be off to our very first WordCamp Europe in Berlin.  The WordPress community is brilliant and we are proud to be a part of it.

 

Helping fly the flag for women in tech

Our industry is still quite male dominated.  When we started attending our meet up group there were only around 4 women, including us!  This has now grown so that on most occasions half the attendees are women.  There are not many female centered web design agencies and we are happy to be out there as a female led team. Sometimes it isn’t easy for women with family commitments and busy lives to find the work life balance they need.  We are lucky to have been able to create a business that lets us balance our personal and professional lives as best we can.

 

Collaboration with other local companies and freelancers

Over the past year we have worked closer with other specialists, which has allowed us to concentrate on what we do best. In particular we want to say a big thank you to Refresh IT for providing website hosting and general IT support for our clients, and to Emma Irvine who has continued to provide branding and graphic design support.  We have also been able to provide copywriting services to other website design companies and freelancers.

 

It’s not all been plain sailing

We would be lying if we said this year has all been rosy!  There has been the odd disappointment, the work that we completed but was never paid for, the projects we had to say no to as we didn’t have capacity, but all in all we have been very lucky.  We have the freedom to choose the work that motivates us and work with some really lovely people.

 

What lies ahead?

We have had such a great year, ending it on a high by celebrating at the wedding of one of our clients, now a friend.  We are proud of how far we have come in three years and have busy times ahead with a number of projects ready to start in the New Year.  We love the diversity of our clients, no two projects are the same, and getting to learn about all these different businesses is a great part of the job.

This year has really given us a chance to think about what we specialise in and the future direction of the business.  We will be launching our new website in 2019 which will focus more on the areas we enjoy working in.

We look forward to sharing all our news in 2019!