This is 10 years.

Posted on July 23, 2020

Caroline Blaker

This is 10 years. Image

Pixel painting by .carolinecblaker.

I have to find more time to write, I keep telling myself. Of course I’m writing all day - for them the computers! Not you. In a good way, all the time, in state of disbelief of how good I’ve got it sitting here compared to the rest of the world. When I’m not writing, I’m reading. News, tweets, a simple recipe for Italian herb bread. I feel drained. Reading books makes it worse.

Petroglyph as a business is declaredly the picture of success I had hoped for when I set out to do this, 10 years ago. That is- I got about as far as I could see. When I set out, I wanted to be busy. I wanted to be skilled. I wanted to be sharing work with a team. I wanted our work to be respected and in-demand. Steady, creative, progress-oriented. All of this is Petroglyph Creative today.

Last year, I cleared the biggest challenge this company had yet to face: a 6-week total absence of myself followed by a very limited schedule for 6-18 weeks following that. It was a pregnancy, so I had the benefit of planning ahead, even in the presence of exaggerated fatigue. It was clear that I would need help. With that help, not only did the business survive but we had record profits. So, I took time off, and ... it paid off. Which was cool, because it made all of those one-liners about “Entrepreneurship” sound true.

Back to today: we made it! Here we are. It’s me and Niki (have you met Niki?) with contributions from a slowly growing number of people. (I don’t want to bother them all with web mentions. If you’re seeing this and want mentions I am here for it.) We may have actually risen above Feast or Famine, freelance work’s most notorious weather pattern. A growing number of businesses and organizations of all sizes need ExpressionEngine and Craft CMS work. We can say no to work that’s not a good fit (WordPress) and mostly stay within a niched scope of expertise while also evaluating and using new Front End technologies. A recent adoption of Tailwind CSS has yielded a framework that we are using to start new designs in-house, enabling new designers to come on board with a code standard, as well as providing the project with a solid code head-start.

And I just have to come out and say it: I am le tired. Time off is needed. Not too much. Mostly days off.

Thinking back to the pregnancy, when I decided to bring people on to ride out my absence, I felt much like this. Overtired, stretched thin, and planning something big, with a decent lead time. What I’m planning now, though, is a more valuable business for everyone. One where I can develop the greater creative vision that informs our strategic decisions. One that supports time off for myself and whoever else is employed. One that can support the professional and career development materially and in practice of the people who want the work. One where I can talk openly about what’s going on with candor and honesty; kind of like this right now, hopefully.

Our calendar this summer is full of deadlines. Then, I’m hoping there will be some time to rest; even if its only because I’m organizing my time differently. I would really like to be able to rest because I have an optimal number of reliable contributors. I wouldn’t want it to be caused by some major world catastrophe, but I do fear that. So for now, I will acknowledge that I am tired because the world hasn’t collapsed; even though I could wish for it to be more tolerable.

Our immediate goals as your web developers remain: to stay available, be informed, and approach issues from a larger perspective of User Experience (UX) and Data patterns, when called to do so by issue magnitude. We are here to design beautiful, useful things that do good.

We also want to gain more volume and increase specific offerings in these areas:

  • Conversion from the Joomla! platform
  • Vue.js apps
  • Content Strategy and Content Writing

Looking ahead, I have no reason to believe we will continue to have anything other than the success we deserve. It’s just that what we deserve depends on both how much we work and how smart we work. And steer. And navigate. All that I know about this I picked up in the field sometime in the last 10 years. I’m consuming strategy on Audible to help stay a hunger for figuring out how other people do this, grow businesses. Podcasts and news too. Code trainings.

I wonder if at this point I should have the business acumen to talk numbers and projections and sales, but I still don’t really see the business that way. It’s more human. It’s a service to clients and to us on a separate level. It’s a place to show up on weekdays and be happy, creative, inventive, and effective. It’s a place of improvement and mutual appreciation. It’s a place to walk the walk of whatever growth is on the table at that moment.

And it’s mine - and I’m keeping it.

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