Well I just don’t write in this blog like I used to. When I started out I aimed for two posts a week. Now I’m lucky to get in a post every two months. But you know what? It feels fine. And I think that’s because right now I don’t feel like I’m still jumping. And while I haven’t exactly landed solidly somewhere, right now it feels more like I’m swimming, or rafting maybe. I feel like I’m finding my flow, and working with it. Like I’ve landed in a big river and now I need to really pay attention and steer myself in the right direction. How’s that for a life metaphor?
So what’s really going on? Well, I guess to put it simply, I’m busy. Working. In a good way.
Last weekend my family went skiing without me on both Saturday and Sunday. I couldn’t go because I was launching a new website. Skiing with my family is my most favorite winter activity, especially since my kids have become such competent skiers, (I think they’re passing Todd and me up!) but I was happy to be left at home, because I was so excited to be launching a new website; one that I’ve been working on for months, and I really needed to be distraction-free.
The site is ARC Dance, and it’s my biggest freelance project to date. ARC Dance is a dance company and ballet school in my neighborhood, and the director needed to replace their existing site with one that was easy to navigate, easy to maintain, responsive to all types of devices and screen sizes, and included well organized information about their camps, classes, schedules, performances, and calendar. She also needed e-commerce built for on-line registration, ticket sales and donations. Looking back on it all, I think, Wow, the two of us built this whole site together!
I got this job because a friend of mine, an artist who I traded building a new website for art camp for my kids, recommended me. (See, that free work really does pay off!) Initially I was hired to add ticket sales to their existing site, which resulted in a great working relationship, and led me to be chosen to build the new site. At first it didn’t seem like a huge job, but as we got plugging away at things, it became a lot more complex than originally anticipated. But working with a very smart and very engaged business owner made all the difference in the world.
When I think about it, it all boiled down to trust. And understanding. Like any good relationship. I think that’s one of the things that I love most about creating websites for small businesses. There’s just a small team of people dedicated to building something important and valuable. Conversely, that was what was often missing when I worked “for the man.” During the twenty or so years that I worked for large companies, there were only a handful of times that I felt like I was working on something truly important and valued. Too many times a project I was working on got scrapped because of budget reasons or leadership changes. Small businesses just can’t afford to work like that.
Besides the ARC Dance site, I’ve also been working on a few other sites, including a new web application for Nordstrom (not a small business but still a great job), a website for a company that provides commercial cleaning services, and a site for an Architect/Contractor. It’s been just the right amount of work, at just the right time, and I just hope I can keep up this steady flow.
But what about Suzanne Harrison Home and the pillows?
Well, that needs to be incorporated into the flow somehow. Because that work is really important to me too, and it’s the perfect balance to working on a screen for so long. It’s something that I love doing, something that comes 100% from me, and something I think about a lot. But I also need to make some money. And right now the money is showing itself through web development.
My dream is to find the perfect flow. Although I don’t believe such a thing exists. Life is too unpredictable. The current may flow really strong in some places, and barely at all in others. And there can be big unsuspecting rocks just below the surface, or an eddy that puts you in a swirling motion, or God forbid an unexpected waterfall, or worst of all, a dam! Best case scenario though, is that the river, which started from just a trickle of a spring, keeps moving and growing, getting fed and strengthened by tributaries, traveling many many miles through all types of landscapes, carrying along nutrients and sediment, providing food, energy, and recreation along the way, as it heads towards where it’s mean to go, towards something bigger, eventually depositing its nutrients in the river delta, and becoming part of the ocean.
Wow, I really took that metaphor to the limit, didn’t I? Instead of just saying, “You’ve got go with the flow!” Which is also so true! I totally need to go with the flow. But going with the flow still takes work. So, I’ll keep working on all of my projects, keep making adjustments, keep meeting new people and learning new things, and keep trying to keep it fun and interesting. Mostly, I need to keep the faith that the flow is taking me where I’m meant to go.