Amber Eyes

This next goal concerns my web design business, Amber Eyes Solutions.

Innovative And Successful Software Solutions Business

I enjoy developing software applications. I enjoy learning new ways to use new technologies to build software applications. I like hanging out with others who share my enthusiasm. So I started a company where I hoped I could make money doing what I love.

Amber Eyes was initially an event management and services company. Then it morphed into an event services company. Now it is a software solutions company focused primarily on web design.

I am still struggling with how to make money doing what I love. But one thing is clear to me – I love introducing people to tools that they can use. Plus, I enjoy the design process. I enjoy sketching out ideas, investigating alternatives and finalizing the design. And…. I love it when a plan comes together.

I just need to make money doing it.

One thing I have learned as I morphed my business, if you cannot change, you cannot grow. Over the last two years, I changed my business model. I adopted an open source content management system as the foundation of my web design business. This has been extremely helpful in many ways. However it also meant that I had to come up to speed fairly quickly in learning a new software tool and since it was open source, I had to get directly involved in the developer community in order to get assistance with the software. I now have seven sites up and running, and in many ways I can no longer consider myself a newbie.

But my increasing skill level comes at a price, not of money so much as time. It takes time to learn and experiment. It takes time to research and delve into the intricacies of mastering a new set of tools and methodologies. I had to teach myself a new language, while simultaneously modifying code written by gurus and masters in that language. It was harrowing at times. But along the way, I got to hang out with some very cool people.

But now I need to create ways of building on that period of intense learning and begin to reap some reward for that investment of time and space. But it is not as easy at it sounds. The software continues to evolve and new versions and capabilities are coming out faster than I can keep up with them.

I need a way to keep current with the tool, support my current clients and build my business. This almost constant churn in the development arena is very taxing.

One thing I am considering is backing away from the developer community some, and instead focus on finding ways to automate more of the routine procedures and processes.

I also need to build sites faster, so I may need to simplify my theme development for new sites. Right now, I can build a site in less than two weeks even with my already packed schedule, but it can take me sometimes months to finish a theme. I need to let go of the idea that every site needs to be an original work of art.

2008 Goals

  • Support ticket and CRM (customer relationship management) system
  • Automating key maintenance and upgrade routines
  • Publish my design philosophy on Amber Eyes web site
  • Implement e-commerce solution on two sites

Ongoing

  • Site design templates
  • Several ongoing development projects
  • Completing key site upgrades

What you do not see on this list are marketing goals. Last year I had a goal of 2-3 new web designs. I created two new designs last year but only one was for a paying client. And I am still working on her graphic theme (see above). I thought I had a new paying client in November, but the process got bogged down and now it is the start of the school year. Marketing is not my strong point, although I am getting better year after year.

I guess I could add a goal called, "Create marketing goals", but that feels kind of silly. This is an area that needs work.

2008 Goals Addendum

  • Create marketing goals

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