It’s Your Life

As you may or may not know, I’m an Indianapolis web designer who specializes in making custom WordPress themes. I also do affiliate marketing and write on the side. This is one of those posts that’s more traditional to a formal blog, the kind that people like to look down on blogging because of – because the author is just talking about what “he had for breakfast”. Sometimes posts like that are useful if they give you insight into how other people are living and solving problems in their daily life. I’m hoping this post can be sort of like that.

I wrote a post on my technology consulting blog about a day in the life of a business analyst. It’s one of the most popular posts on that site. In my mind I imagine there are two types of people reading that post: the first being people researching the position to see if they want to do it or to write a paper on it and the second being managers and/or human resource personnel writing up a job description for one of the most widely used terms in business. It could, however, be a bored business analyst like I was looking for some validation that their life is like someone else;s and they’re not struggling alone.

I ultimately left that job as a business analyst after taking Steve Jobs advice, “‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘no’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” So I did. Although I’ve been able to sustain my family with web design, affiliate marketing, and technology consulting since leaving my day job, I didn’t leave my day job because I had six months of padding. I didn’t leave because I was making more on my side projects than my day job. I quit because I wasn’t having an impact, I wasn’t being utilized, and I felt like I was wasting my life. There were things I wanted to do and they didn’t include being 33% utilized for 8 hours a day.

Today I work between 6-8 hours a day without having to drive anywhere, but this doesn’t mean I never leave the house. The fact is I can work from anywhere. Right now I’m working from Starbucks. To my left is another web designer talking to his client about the paths users take through her site. To my right is a manager coaching an assistant manager on how to guide the career path of one of her longest employees. I check in to Foursquare, but never become the mayor. I come here for the power outlets and the warm bathrooms. Right now I’m drinking a chai latte. The foam is green. I don’t care for that.

Two days ago I started playing Minecraft for the first time. I bought it specifically to dig holes and play with flowing water. The zombies really scare me so I started playing in creative mode. However, there is something not as fun when there are no limitations. And I was disappointed in whatever physics logic is used to control water flow. When water is released by digging next to it, it flows for a little while and then stops. It doesn’t flood wherever it can like real water would. My ultimate game design would be one where I could manipulate a flowing stream using sand, rocks, and small shovels – just as I did when I was a kid under the bridges in our sub-division.

As I wrote in Affiliate Marketing in Indianapolis, my nook covers site is doing better and continues to do better, but I’m also trying to get my tablet comparison and learning sets sites to take off. One thing I’ve been doing is posting as many posts as I can, doing over 50 new posts over the weekend. This is just to give the site some “gravity” and depth, but it’s not sustainable. If I’m not adding value to the transaction, I will become irrelevant.

Adding value is so important to me that I made it the mission statement at Watershawl, “To add value to its customers and its community.” It’s not just something I do for my web design, computer repair, and technology consulting customers, it’s something I do as a person, through this blog, and with affiliate marketing. The web will not write itself. We need content makers, content mashers, and content editors. For a long time I was a consumer of data without giving back. Blogs are one way I can give back to the community some of the value I’ve gained from it. As Derek Sivers has pointed out, this type of sharing can be beneficial to all.

This is about the time when I would think about wrapping up my post, consider adding a picture and an affiliate link, and publish. I’m not going to add a picture and I’m not going to add an affiliate link. This post isn’t what that’s about. It’s about letting you know what’s going on in my life, a little bit about how I think, and a little distraction to your day. For those who’ve made it this far I thank you for reading and leave you with this little tidbit. Life, like money, will be managed for you if you don’t manage it. The world will have it’s way with you if you don’t have a clear vision for where you want to go. When I first started my career my goals was to work somewhere that had air conditioning and a dress code. I worked in that position for 6 years. Since then I’ve realized there is more to a career choice than that. If you’re not happy with where you’re at, there’s no better time than the present to make a change. It won’t be easy and it won’t be safe, but it will be a step towards making the most out of your life. Remember, it’s your life.