As is my custom, here’s a year-end retrospective. If you’d like to catch up on previous year-end reviews, here ya go:
- 2013 review
- 2014 review
- 2015 review
- 2016 review
- 2017 review
- 2018 review
- 2019/2020 review
- 2021 review
The tl;dr is that this year looked fairly similar to last year in terms of my business. Revenue streams fell primarily in three buckets:
- Online courses at LinkedIn Learning
- Contract work
- Very select client services
While affiliate revenue played a significant role in previous years, that’s pretty much dwindled as I’ve given very little attention to content creation on this site for several years running. While I enjoyed that income stream (who doesn’t enjoy income streams?), it cost me a lot of time to keep the content creation engine churning. When I was actively podcasting, teaching freelancing courses, speaking at conferences, etc., there was a synergy around generating and re-using content across multiple channels. The time investment made sense then in a way that it hasn’t in recent years.
Let’s take a closer look at each of the three areas where I focused my attention in 2022.
Teaching front-end development and WordPress at LinkedIn Learning continues to bring me joy. This year saw the following course releases:
- WordPress.com Essential Training
- Introduction to CSS
- Building a Small Business Website with WordPress
- Building a Small Business Website with WordPress.com
Recorded, but not yet released is a course on building an online store with Shopify.
After recording nine courses at home during the pandemic, I finally got to get back in the booth at the LinkedIn Learning studios in Carpinteria, CA. It was GLORIOUS to record on campus again and connect with folks in person.
If you’re curious about the process of pitching, writing, and recording LinkedIn Learning courses, I had a fun time talking about it with Joe Casabona on this episode of the How I Built It podcast.
I’m set to record on campus again in Q1 2023 and plan to record 3 or 4 additional courses this year.
As a freelancer, there’s always the push/pull of work availability and keeping the pipeline full. The beauty of long-term contract work is eliminating the need to constantly “go shake the bushes.” It’s added stability to my work roster and brings the added joy of developing ongoing relationships with other team members. Working as an independent is sometimes isolating, so I’ve appreciated the opportunity to collaborate in a team environment.
In 2023, I’m working to add one more contract gig to my lineup for up to 40 hours/month. If you know me and know a company that might be a good fit for my skill set, I’d love to chat. Hit me up on LinkedIn.
The majority of my career in web development has been centered around direct client services. There was a series of years where I all but stopped doing client work in order to focus on other endeavors. But I’ve started to take back on client work and…I’m really enjoying it!
Between teaching web dev courses and doing consulting and dev work for clients, I’m able to strike a good balance of keeping my technical skills up to date. While I’m not coding 100% of the time (and don’t want to), I’ve got enough of a foot in to stay technically relevant in the ever-evolving world of web development.
One site I was particularly proud to help launch in 2022 was zengig. It’s chock-full of high-quality resources for anyone looking for a job, from students to seasoned professionals.
Endings (and then 3 became 1…)
I started this year with a trio of brands including carriedils.com, thefearlessfreelancer.com, and OfficeHours.FM.
In last year’s recap, I mentioned that I would put no additional resources into The Fearless Freelancer®, a series of courses created to help freelancers get their businesses off the ground. Aside from keeping the install up to date, I didn’t touch it.
In December, I officially shut it down. I moved business articles from that blog over to this site.
If you’re interested in acquiring the course content, domain, brand package, and trademark, let’s talk. LinkedIn is the best way to get in touch.
In addition to shutting down thefearlessfreelancer.com, I also (finally) let go of the OfficeHours.FM podcast. I stopped paying to host the archived episodes and even sold the domain (likely for too little considering the domain history). I’d held on to it thinking I might eventually reboot it. No more! If I do ever start podcasting again, which I’d actually like to do, I’ll start fresh.
So, my brand trio is back to a party of one and that’s the site you’re currently on: carriedils.com.
Looking forward to 2023 and beyond
I’ve officially been working with WordPress since version 3.5 (that’s 10 years)! That’s a long time!
A word on the WordPress Community
I feel like I’ve lost the community connection that has made WordPress such a special project to work with over the years. I think the pandemic played a big role in that. Not traveling for WordCamps, hitting up Hallway Tracks, or bonding in person over frustrations with Gutenberg took a toll.
There’s also divisiveness in the community regarding leadership and governance, and the overall direction of the project. Add in the jaded perspective that comes with time, and I’m just feeling a little “meh” these days about the project.
While I remain connected online and still cultivate my most meaningful relationships from WordPress offline, I don’t feel the same level of connection I’ve had in the past.
A scheduling conflict kept me from WordCamp US in 2022, but I am looking forward to attending WordCamp EU in 2023 and hope to re-kindle my little WordPress flame.
Working with WordPress
I plan to continue working with WordPress this year in the same capacity as last year (teaching, developing, consulting). There’s no question I like it, however, something in me is ready to add new experiences to my career.
I’m not sure exactly what form that will take, but I anticipate that my review at the end of 2023 will reflect a shift to work that doesn’t solely revolve around WordPress.
You and me both can stay tuned for that – ha!
Wrapping it up on a personal note
Rewind to 2019. That year launched me into a new and unknown chapter of life. In an interview with Lindsey and Cory Miller, I commented that the chapter was “as yet untitled.”
I couldn’t have imagined the things I’d experience as a digital nomad, a life-altering accident, a global pandemic, cross-country moves, etc.
(In retrospect, I might title that chapter “Taking It Down to the Studs” or “Burn It Down to Rebuild It.”)
After a few roller-coaster years, 2022 was blessedly uneventful.
I traveled, listened to a ton of live music, soaked up a lot of sun on the beaches of Southern California, and generally fell into a really nice rhythm. It felt like a lovely ending to that uncertain and honestly unpleasant chapter that began in 2019.
I recently moved back to my native Texas and feel very much like I’m starting the next chapter of my life. To quote Natasha Bedingfield, the “rest is still unwritten” and I’m excited for what it will bring.