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Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014! | Sean Kennedy Web Services + Consulting in Vancouver, BC

Goodbye 2013, Hello 2014!

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Happy New Year everyone and welcome to 2014! Coming off a couple weeks of holidays it has definitely been difficult to get going again. However, with the new year, I want to get things back on track and try to start things off right. That also means giving my site some much needed TLC.

It’s been awhile since I posted anything on this blog so I thought it fitting to start the new year with an update and recap of what has been happening lately — and by lately I mean in the last 7 months.

What happened in 2013?

It feels like the last year has just flown by and while reflecting on what happened, it really was a whirlwind of projects, experiences, and fun. However, if you were following my blog you wouldn’t know it since I seemed to just vanish half way through the year. What happened to me and what was I doing? Most of everything that dominated the year for me can be summarized into three main categories.

Freelance Work

2013 was a fun and busy year with lots of new learning and challenges. I started off the year by taking to freelancing full-time — mostly specializing in email marketing strategies, design, and development with MailChimp. I also helped in WordPress website developments for a couple clients as well. This was a big change as I had been only working for web agencies up until then. So this was an opportunity for me to try doing things on my own and to do them my way.

It was great to have the freedom and to get to dive back into code and design a little more. As with all freelancers, there were ups and downs. Finding clients took some time but it wasn’t long before I started getting busy. However, finding the right process to manage different projects took a little longer. In the end, things worked themselves out and it was a great year for helping small businesses with their email marketing and web development.

Pitch’n

At the end of May, I attended Startup Weekend in Vancouver which lead to the creation of Pitch’n. Startup Weekend is an amazing experience and I’ve been meaning to write about it for quite some time now so you can look forward to a post on that in the near future.

For those unaware, Pitch’n is an online application that connects skill-based volunteers with non-profit organizations. Pitch’n took a lot of time and effort to get organized and start gaining some traction. There were a lot of wins and also a lot of mistakes made. The experience has been amazing and I am happy with where things are going.

It has also fuelled a great passion for the startup community and all the entrepreneurs trying build something awesome. I’ve met so many amazing people, including the team at Pitch’n, and look forward to learning more from all of them.

The time commitment for Pitch’n was quite intense and definitely more than I expected so this lead to the amount of freelance work I took on to be minimized. Looking at where we’ve come with Pitch’n, I think the time sacrifice was worth it and I’m excited and eager to see where 2014 takes Pitch’n as we move into a Beta version of the platform. Lots of things on the horizon but you will need to wait for future posts about that. If you are interested in learning more about Pitch’n, check out the website at www.pitchn.ca or shoot me a message.

Networking & Social Events

Before this year, I was never much of a coffee drinker. However, 2013 brought on a lot of networking, meetups, and social events including the GROW Conference and other startup focused events in Vancouver. It wasn’t long until I was having 3 or 4 coffee meetings a day and the delicious taste of an americano quickly became my daily addiction.

They say it’s not what you know but who you know and this year has been the proving point of that. With Pitch’n being a new company and our experience in startups and managing volunteers lacking, we needed to engage the experts and acquire the knowledge we would need to be successful.

Luckily, Vancouver is full of people always looking to help and we’ve made a large number of friends along the way. This includes other fellow entrepreneurs from Launch Academy or the Vancouver startup community and other experts who have been down this road before and had inspiring advice and knowledge. I thank each and every one who has helped us so far and look forward to strengthening these relationships and also helping other aspiring entrepreneurs throughout 2014.

That said, I have definitely learned that while I would love to go to every event I could, there is a balance between business productivity and networking. I’m still trying to find the perfect mix but will continue testing to find a good fit.

Plans for 2014

I’ve never been one for making resolutions as I never seem to keep them. However, here are some of the things I have planned or will be changing for 2014:

Job Hunting
Much of 2013, especially Pitch’n, has been funded from savings and other supplemented incomes. While I am still dedicated to Pitch’n and my freelance business, reserves are running dry and so I am looking for a paying full-time role in a company or start-up. I will be doing more consulting and freelance development to help pay the bills but would love to join a team of like-minded tech enthusiasts and digital experts. If you know anyone looking for an experienced technical project manager or someone to work in a digital or web-based operations role, let me know or have a look at my résumé
More Focus on Freelance Work
I plan to focus more time than I have in the past on freelance projects in email marketing and WordPress web development. This will still only be part-time but will mean more actively marketing myself and also increasing my knowledge in areas I have been neglecting so I can better serve my clients. I think it’s a win-win for everyone here and I look forward to new projects and continuing to help small businesses in 2014. Most of 2013 freelance work was focused around MailChimp development but I plan to expand to more WordPress development and also expand my development skills to offer other services.
Blog Articles, App Reviews, and Social Media…Oh My.
I miss writing articles and reviews about things relating to the web and focused on small businesses. I plan to spend more time writing and sharing my experiences either on here or over social media like my twitter feed. This includes things going on in the web world and also reviewing and weighing in on apps and tools I think people will find useful. Over the last 7-months, I have had the chance to test out a lot of new tools and I look forward to sharing them with you in 2014. With my new passion for the startup community, you can be sure to see articles focusing on starting a business as well. As always, if you have any questions or thoughts for an article, please let me know and I’d be happy to write about it.
Keep Pushing Pitch’n Forward
Lastly, while this isn’t so much a change, I want to keep the momentum going with Pitch’n. There were many mistakes and learning experiences last year and so not only do I look forward to applying what I’ve learned about startups but I look forward to making new mistakes and continually learning so we can make Pitch’n a success. I know there will be more road blocks and rough patches ahead but I think our team has begun to find our stride. I have no doubt that the next 12-months will be even more exciting as we gain more traction and start to make a real difference in the non-profit and volunteering space.

Wow! What started out to be a small update turned out to be quite long. It really has been a wild ride in the last year but I look forward to making 2014 even better.

And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.

Abraham Lincoln

I can sum up 2013 as a year focused on growth, learning, and challenging comfort zones. The next 12-months, however, will be about continuing the growth, executing, and applying all the previous experiences to “get shit done”. I’m sure there will be some surprises along the way but I’m looking forward to all the new people I will meet and the new experiences and adventures that 2014 has in-store.