Just over the last couple of months I have felt the way I did 15 years ago when I started web design with my business, Sound Ideas. Back in those days I was just about the only full time web designer in Northumberland, and one of only two on the Business Link Approved Suppliers Register.
It was a time of extreme growth in the Internet, as small business everywhere realised that they needed a web site, and demand outstripped supply for about 2 years - at least in this part of the country.
My memory of that time was of answering the telephone every day and wondering where I was going to find the time to do all the work. And Business Link was picking up 75% of the cost, at £400 a day. I worked morning noon and night Monday to Friday, and often at weekends too. That wasn't good for my family life and general levels of energy. But the bank was happy.
I had a real sense of excitement and enthusiasm then. And over the years, as there have been fewer new experiences, so my levels of enjoyment and enthusiasm have settled a bit, and more recently diminished more noticeably. After doing something for so long it is to be expected that it might not feel as fresh and exciting as it once did. But such is the world of work.
In the last year, there has been a steady turnaround, as my business head has woken up again, and decided to turn off the autopilot. Since last summer particularly, I have been turning the business around and starting to enjoy it all again. But just in the last month it has been unavoidably apparent that I enjoy my job.
It's not easy being self employed. The buck always stops at me and when things go wrong, there is no hiding. Fortunately things don't go wrong all that much, and particularly recently I have been hugely encouraged and buoyed by some wonderful client feedback that reminds me that I'm doing what I should be doing.
I enjoy working for Sound Ideas. I enjoy meeting with the clients and finding out a out what makes their business tick. And I enjoy being creative and delivering solutions and training and designs and strategies that help them do what they do better than they have before.
I just had a meeting with an NBSL advisor about running a series of seminars, and I'm really looking forward to it. And I'm looking forward to the creative professional challenges and opportunities 2012 will bring. That's all that I can want really. Bring it on!