Why web design is something I got into, but should I have?

June 2, 2011    getting into webdesign own business start up business web design

Lately i've been spending a little time reflecting on my day job (running a small web design firm) and asking myself a few questions as to why infact I do it. I'm not going to go into the reasons why i've been taking sometime to think about it, but what I am going to do is use this blog post as a methodical and perhaps helpful way of me expressing myself.

I got into web mainly through 3 avenues; the first of which has been feeding my creativity ever since I started doing it. I've always been creative minded, (i.e. I can come up with some decent ideas, amongst, admittedly some not so great ones). Although i've never been that great at artsy forms of creativity (cant draw for toffee), i'm not bad at graphic design and designing systems but im certainly no Van Gogh. The second of which, I really love, problem solving, it has to be one of my favourite things, and it can be very satisfying, formulating a plan to solve a complex problem. And lastly my love for computers, since a young age i've been into computers, both playing them and getting involved with the technical side (under the hood). I built my first computer when I was only 15, it wasn't the greatest, but hey, I went onto make better :)
I also spent alot of time learning visual basics and creating complex Access and Excel solutions throughout high school and particularly in my year out from university, so coding was at least familiar to me.

I've now been solidly working in web design and dev for just under 4 years, am fluent in PHP, jQuery, HTML, CSS, Javascript, MYSQL, dabbled with Python and Ruby and tried out countless other entourages along the way. All self taught. I've even now built my own PHP game framework, with hundreds of addon libraries. But truth be told, as the old saying goes "its a developers curse", the more you know, the more you want to know and we all also know that evantually just like anyone in any position "you'll fall out of touch, if you don't keep up". I often feel that as a developer, especially working for yourself, there's no one to tell you "hey that piece of work is really ace, nice job." or anyone to say "hey, you've really progressed lately have a bonus". Tar very much. Doesn't quite work like that in my world.

Outside of work im an active, sports enthusiast and have a small hatred for sitting down in a chair burning deep down inside, which gets made worse by the fact, at times, I can sit in front of the computer much like I am right now and not even notice that well over 2-3 hours have just dwindled out of my life. I suppose that could be a good or a bad thing, on the one hand i'm clearly not bored, as time flies, but on the other, I need to be active as well and thats also something I love. Balancing the 2 can be interesting, in a rather more shit, than interesting way, lots of early morning gym or warewolf style moonlit runs, are the order of most weeks.

When things don't necessarily go entirely your way, or even, at all your way. Your first port of call is to question yourself, well at least it is with me, I have to constantly say to myself am I good enough to be doing this? Which I find a right pain in the ass at times. And truth be told the only real answer to this question is within myself and in the evidence of my work. You start asking yourself, are you working hard enough? Could you work harder? Could you start earlier? finish later? work weekends? freelance? twilight? And all these questions often just become a little overwhelming, to the point at which a headache is usually the final outcome. Working for myself, has its perks, yes I can start when I want, yes I could choose to have a day off when I want and yes if I want to have a long lunch I can, but invariably I do none of these things. Maybe I should? Once every now and then. Or maybe I just feel that when I'm earning the sort of money where I feel I can afford to kick back and relax a little more than I can do these things. But in the mean time I just feel like i'm letting myself down if I don't work as sodding hard as I can.

I also ask myself, as much as I love being involved in the designing/coding/planning stages of all projects, i'm not sure I could see myself doing the "grunt" work forever. Having never worked in the environment where I've had the time, to take my time, so to speak, nor the environment where someone will be scrutinising my code, I've only ever had coding standards to base myself on and only myself to benchmark and learn from. Which i've actually found a pretty heavy burden. I'd far rather be working in a room with 20-30 likeminded programmers all bouncing ideas and what have you off of each other. Much more fun and beneficial way to learn. Alas unless of course my company takes off, then thats unlikely to happen in the near future.

I don't like to bitch and moan, but I think, or hope, whatever it may be, that their will be some other like minded dudes / dudettes & whatever else out there, with some similar thoughts, maybe even some experience of going through similar things. I'm coming up to 25 years old, 4 years out of uni, and 3 and a half years running my own company, i've learnt so much in this time, but i'm currently not sure where its all taking me and what direction i'm heading in. My company hasn't advanced enough in the 3 and a half years we've been doing it to progress with my life (buy a new motor / move out of my parents home) and my friends around me are starting to achieve these things. I don't mind being the last one or even if it doesn't happen right now, I just kind of want it to happen at some point and know that i'm heading in a direction which is working. Most things in life, evantually reach a crossroad, knowing where that point is and for how long to pursue it, is the hard part.

In the mean time, I continue to work hard on the projects we are currently working on and hope I can get my head round the situation, so that I can really start to attain some of my life goals. Not that i'm at all one for following a life plan or anything of the sort (just had to get that clear). I guess anyone who's gone into business with themselves in the past, and things haven't taken off or quite gone as swimmingly as they would have hoped will have been in a situation like this before and hopefully (not in a cruel way, of course I hope your business did well really) you might be reading.

Hopefully this will be a half decent read and not just a bitch and moan about how hard done I feel, because I don't, I'd do it all again, just maybe this is the time to put it all under a magnifying glass. Please don't view it that way, drop any constructive comments below.

I'm really kinda hoping that it might also be useful for anyone else feeling a similar way to have a read.

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