This week marks one year since I've been full-time in my business at Orracle Media and it's been awesome. I've learned more than I could have imagined and exceeded my expectations and goals for this first year. This is a post that I've been eagerly anticipating writing.
What I've Learned
Since I've been doing this full-time I've learned a lot. I think it takes a good deal of humility (which is not always my strongest asset) to do this kind of thing because you learn things about yourself, your strengths and weaknesses that you may have thought about before, but are now front and center. Without humility you'd just be likely to ignore those things and keeping marching down that same road.
I've learned that there are some things that I'm good at and some areas where I need to get better. That's been my mantra over the last year – "get better". This really goes for both the things I'm good at and things things that at which I need to improve. You've got to constantly be striving to get better at what you do or you will be bypassed by the competitors out there.
New Parts to the Business
This year has been a great success in building up Orracle Media and adding some new things to the business. Initially I began by focusing primarily on doing custom website design work, but quickly realized that there were other areas of need, and other opportunities to build the business that fit really well with what my core values and competencies are.
Just a few months back I launched what has been a very successful service – the WordPress Blog Set Up Service. I still hate the name, but it's been a really popular offering and it's actually exceeded my initial expectations. Plus I just I think it's a valuable tool and resource for those who are just getting started with their website.
Orracle Hosting has become a much bigger part of my business. I've got a site dedicated solely to my hosting offerings and expanded it from just a service that I offered to my design clients to opening it up for anyone who needs blog or small business website hosting.
Another area has been the success of the eBay Blackthorne-specific hosting plans. It's actually one of the top keywords that drive people to this blog and to the Orracle Hosting site.
I also started a podcast on website owner's type topics. Right now, it's on hiatus as I'm reworking the model there a bit, but it's been a really fun way to connect with people and help gain exposure for my business. And don't worry – the show will be back by the end of 2011.
This year has also marked the launching of two new websites – DragonflyHQ.com, and MyWebsiteWorkshop.com. Dragonfly is off to a solid start and we just launched a holiday campaign in conjunction with my friend Jared Angaza and Charity:Water. MyWebsiteWorkshop.com is the home of the podcast and a blog about website owner's topics. Most of what is there at MyWebsiteWorkshop.com will soon actually become part of a newly redesigned Orracle Media site, but there are still things that will be specific to it. I'm working on some big plans for 2012 for the Workshop, so be ready!
Last October I came up with a list of goals for 2011 that have helped me stay focused. These goals were heavily revised over the next month or two as we came back to Tallahassee and I'm glad to say that I've had a lot of success in reaching those goals.
I've already already met the goal for the year between client work completed and upcoming projects. This has been huge as it's a major revenue source for my business and family. I've met the goals I set for launching new website projects myself and still have a couple that I'm working on to bring to fruition in the future. I had goals for producing content that I've still got some work to achieve along with some other goals for the consultation part of the business that I'm still working on. Overall though, it's been a great year in getting things done.
The most important part of all this has been that I've needed to be able to earn a living and provide for my family. We've been able to provide a very modest living for our family by this business. I keep remembering hearing Kent Julian talk on Justin Lukasavige's show about how his first year in his business was so tough and then the next year it exploded. Certainly not without a lot of hard work, but I look forward to having that kind of growth next year! The bottom line is that any business venture has to do enough to provide for you and your family and Orracle Media has done a good job of that this year.
It's been a learning process. It's been a lot of hard work. There are areas where I fell short by quite a bit for what I wanted to accomplish. But year one has been a very solid success and I can't complain about that. There have been times where I didn't know if I was going to make it through the obstacles but we've made it through. Running your own business, even when it's something you're wildly passionate about, is a big commitment and a lot of hard work. You have to ask yourself how bad you want to succeed and then be resolved to push yourself out of your comfort zone to get there. It's not easy.
I'm cautiously optimistic about the future. I'm excited about the future, my growth goals for 2012 and seeing what's next. Here's to an even better 2012!