Be forewarned: That Darn Kat may be down for a couple of days this week, as I move to a new web host. I just received an email from my current host. They are closing up shop and shutting down their servers in a little more than a week.
image courtesy dhesterWhich means I had to also make backups of all the freelance client sites I was still hosting and let them know that they’ll have to find a new hosting provider as well as a new webmaster. I’ve also decided to let the couple of people who’ve inquired with me about freelance work know that although my work permits it, I’m just not interested.
I’m officially done with freelancing and small business webmastering. Holy cow, does it feel good to say that. In related news, I’m also starting a new blog. (More on that at the end of the post).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m glad I went into business for myself, and I’m glad that I did the freelance thing for a few years. In my opinion, everyone should run their own business at least once, just for the experience. Truthfully, I wouldn’t be in the job I’m in now (which I completely adore and which feels like what I was made to do) if not for running my little web and design studio.
I learned much more than how to build and manage websites in my time as a small business webmaster. I gained tremendous confidence in myself, and got to spend a lot of extra time with my kids. (Well, sort of. We were in the same house.)
Running a business has just as many downsides as being an employee. If anything, you’re busier as a business owner than as an employee. Cash flow can be greater, but it’s also a lot less predictable. When something goes wrong and a customer wants to take it up with the management? Guess who gets to handle it?
The main issue for me, though, was how impossible it became to separate work life and personal life. To a large degree, you have no real personal life. You’re always on the clock, or at least on call. And when someone criticizes your work–your industry, your company, or the actual product of your hands–it’s difficult not to take it personally.
I’m grateful to be in a job right now where I believe in the industry, in the company I work for, and the value of my personal contribution; but I still retain the ability to “unplug.” It matters, but it feels more like an important element of my life among many important elements. When you own a business, that business is your “baby” and it takes up a huge amount of your attention even when you’re supposed to be “off work.” As a passionate person, I still struggle with leaving work at work.
Like Lexy Gray, I have boundary issues and I occasionally take too much emotional ownership of work stuff that doesn’t belong to me. But ultimately, when I find myself getting off-center in that way, I can remind myself that it’s not my company, and that the smart people who do own it care more than I do, and are perfectly capable of handling things without my
I have to admit, when I first got the email from my web host, gratitude was not my immediate emotional response. But now that I’ve had time to think about it, it’s definitely a blessing. It’s prompted me to finally make some firm decisions regarding some stuff I’ve wrestled with lately regarding my work and personal lives. Compartmentalizing is dangerous when you’re a different person at work, or at church, or at home. Your character should remain consistent no matter where you are. But I’m beginning to realize that you do need certain boundaries between the different spheres in your life.
Which segue ways very nicely into another related announcement.
There are some things I’d like to blog about that don’t really fit here (which is mainly focused on spiritual matters and the creative side of writing), and don’t really fit on the official work blog to which I also contribute. I still think I’ll keep the two new categories, life in the marketplace and the connected life, because I think there’s much to say about the implications of the workplace and technology on your soul.
So in setting up my new hosting account, I’ve also added a new domain: internet-bard.com.
In my previous work as a webmaster and my current position as a web copywriter, I’ve seen the web grow and evolve. The internet is delivering on the promise of being a high-speed, two-way medium. As broadband connections and wi-fi get more common, people are increasingly going to the internet not just to research, but to connect, and the web is becoming a place not just of commerce, but of community.
Instead of writing mainly one-way “advertising copy,” web copywriters need to adapt into content strategists and social media experts. In addition to stellar writing skills, we’ll also need to brush up those relationship (and even acting and improv) skills, because much of the copy on the web in the next several years is going to be as much about conversations, as it is about conversions.
Every culture has the concept of a bard, someone whose job is to tell stories and pass messages, partly to entertain, partly to persuade, and partly to keep the community connected. Internet Bard is going to be about developing the skills to fill that role on the web.