Writing a yearly review is not something I normally do, but after speaking to some other independent developers, it seems like it is a good idea, just for yourself to see what you’ve accomplished throughout the year.
What went well in 2018
Well, had another year of solid work, with no long-term breaks between contracts.
I worked on 3 major projects, one Angular project and two Ionic mobile apps.
I actually had my best year financially, bringing in the most I have since I started working for myself, which is very satisfying.
I’ve also managed to work remotely for over half the year, which was one of the goals I had for 2018. I do enjoy working remotely, mainly because I don’t like commuting into London every day, the trains in the UK are rubbish. Unfortunately, I do think I’ll have to go back to London for my next contract, as they will probably want me to work onsite in their offices.
One of my other goals for 2018 was to get work directly, which I managed to do. I found my latest contract through a connection on Twitter, who knew someone looking for an Ionic developer. I contacted them and we arranged a telephone interview and that was that. It turned into a really fun 3-month contract, which is soon to end, but it’s great to see that getting work directly does work.
One of the other ideas I’ve had for 2018 was to start writing a book. I was thinking of ideas and planning to go down the self-publish route, using something like LeanPub, but through a couple of blog post I’ve written on Angular and Ionic I was contacted by Packt Publishing to write a book for them. I started this in October and still have plenty to do. This is one of my main goals for 2019 to get this book completed.
Throughout 2018 I’ve worked with in some great teams, learnt a lot for them all. Each new team I work with I learn new things, new ways of working, new approaches to how people develop.
A lot of these yearly reviews mention how many books they’ve read or how healthy they have been for 2018, but for me, these are just ongoing things. It’s interesting to see some of the books that people have been reading, but I’m not that concerned about how many I may or may not have read.
What didn’t go so well in 2018
I definitely got too caught up in spending too much on content marketing. In 2018 it seemed everyone was releasing a new course or a new book, which is great. I do believe that content marketing is a great way to promote yourself and the work you do. It is something that I plan to do more of myself in 2019, but I did find that I bought a few too many freelancing books or online courses. Many of them I still haven’t read or watched. So I’m planning on not doing that so much, instead just taking what I’ve learnt from the ones I have read or bought and applying that to my business.
I have also found that I did fall back into just contracting instead of running my own business a few times. What I mean by this is, I have been working on a few projects as a development resource, where I get paid to work daily, 9-5 as an extra developer on a project. This is fine, it can pay well and has kept me working for the last few years. But my aim is to change how I work so I can get work directly as a consultant instead of a development resource. Instead, clients will come to me because I can solve a problem they have. This will take time to set up, as I need to be able to show potential clients what problems I can solve for them, prove that I can do this and also have the business skills in place to win these new types of clients. This is a goal of mine for 2019.
So all in all 2018 was a good year for me and my business. Writing out these yearly reviews do help you take stock of what you have achieved, now I need to start planning out my goals for 2019.