This year marked Kuztek’s second full year as a full-time business.
Although “two” may not hold a lot of significance for the general public, when I look back almost 20 years ago to the teenager in his room teaching himself html for the heck of it, the journey here and current result known as Kuztek will always be worth celebrating.
So cheers to 2017 and another successful year where Kuztek was strengthened, stabilized, and more focused.
This year, I challenged myself to eat more spicy food. (I like to aim high with my goals.)
In general, I enjoy typical “American food”, with pizza, burgers, and carefully prepared meat being amongst my favourite palette choices, but in an effort to expand my horizons, take a few queues from my wife, and live life more on the edge, I mixed some hot sauce in with the ranch dressing for dipping my pizza crust this year. I ordered outside my comfort zone by trying things that have the words Spicy or Medium in their name instead of keeping it Mild.
Simple, I know, but it was a life choice to grow this year, and I know it spread into other areas of my life and business. Strengthening, this year, looked like growing with my Mastermind and then transitioning to one-on-one coaching calls with Curtis McHale. Curtis continues to be my main challenger and encourager, and I am thankful for his influence in my business to help push me forward.
Strengthening also looked like reading good books, such as Patrick Lencioni’s Getting Naked: A Business Fable About Shedding The Three Fears That Sabotage Client Loyalty, which inspired me to be more vulnerable with clients. This year I was more intentional with speaking my mind to my clients, not being afraid to admit when I don’t know what they’re talking about, or not being afraid to politely inform them when their ideas aren’t very good. I found that strength through vulnerability forged stronger relationships with businesses and produced better projects in the end.
On the code front, we grew even more comfortable working with Vue.js, worked with Vuex for the first time, implemented Yarn into our workflow, created html5 canvas elements using the KonvaJS library, and worked with Gravity Forms more than ever before.
One of the most exciting parts of 2017 was (drum roll please) getting Kuztek incorporated. This means tax benefits, greater protections, and a larger gap between me as a person and Kuztek as a business. (This also means a fun “INC.” after our name.)
Another way we stabilized this year was by moving some clients to retainer contracts. This encourages our clients to be more intentional in the future development of their websites, and it enables us to be proactive in meeting the needs of those clients on a scheduled, rather than impromptu (possibly emergency), basis.
I also learned that stability comes from better organization in my schedule. Mid July - Mid August was an incredible month of camping in the Okanagan, enjoying cabin life at a family camp in Washington, and road tripping to Alberta. (No laughing matters when you have a 3 year old and 1 year old in tow… ) I treasure the family memories that were made this year, but I also know that kind of busy-ness in such a short span of time was not great for Kuztek as the short spurts of work in-between trips felt a little too chaotic for my liking. This year, I am going to schedule our vacations more spread out so as to not affect the stability of our long-term relationships with clients.
Great businesses are marked by excellent products or excellent customer services, that cater to specific needs. This year helped me whittle down what specific needs Kuztek was most excellent at catering to. Often times this happens organically, where I take on projects too easy (here’s lookin’ at you basic theme fixes) or bit off more than I can chew ( like the Gravity Forms calculations nightmare of 2017 which led me to getting some help from the GF wiz himself, David Smith, because the complexity of algebraic form calculations were beyond my scope of knowledge), and as a result I am able to find the juxtapose of what I enjoy, what produces good revenue, and where my expertise actually lies.
At the start of 2017 our ongoing partnership with FaithGrowth no longer had enough steady work to warrant a weekly hour commitment so we moved to a per-project relationship, but I am thankful for the work we accomplished together and the friendship built with Chris over the last two and a half years. Despite that loss, I was still able to fill my time with 31 new projects and worked with a dozen new clients in 2017.
In the very near future I will be road tripping down to Oregon to join a handful of WP developers for a week of co-working at BeachPress (see what they did there?). It is going to be a great time of networking, learning from other creative minds, and taking in some sweet sweet ocean air.
Feel free to keep my wife in your thoughts and prayers as she cares for our two boys on my first business trip away.
In 2018, I am hoping to celebrate our 10 year marriage anniversary kid-free, maybe win a hockey tournament, get some chicken dinners in Player Unknown Battlegrounds, and finally grow a proper mustache.
Unfortunately, not all of my goals are under my control…
But if I can bring value to my clients, connect with more developers, finish this sweet Vue.js web app for Powell Canada Inc., write a half-dozen more case studies, and improve at following up with my leads using Streak CRM, then I will be a very happy, albeit, sparsely mustached, man.