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We have come to that time again when we look back at how far we have travelled from January first. It’s a good time to reflect on what went right and wrong throughout the year.
I always have a good year, as I am an optimist. Even when I am not having a good time I reposition my thinking around it and see it as a learning experience. I know what not to do, or what I would do differently next time.
No matter what way I look at 2016, it was a hugely positive year for Loudon Design and in my personal life. My family unit is growing, my business is growing and I couldn’t be happier with how much my network of contact has grown this year.
I added so many international friends to my contacts list, from my two trips in 2016.
The loudondesign.com project ran over from 2015, and was worked on throughout the year to be ready and up there for September 2016.
It felt like the longest-running project I had worked on and there are good reasons for that. I have not cut corners with this website. Normally with a full-time day job, busy freelance life and a family, the Loudon Design Changes and updates take a back seat.
I wanted a platform I could build the company on. A website that would let me share my services, document my process and discuss what was happening behind the scenes. I am very pleased with the outcome and it seems to be going down well with visitors to the site too.
Although Loudon Design is a new enterprise we have started to gain serious traction and things are looking positive with several great clients coming on board for large projects in 2017. Rather than trying to grow a huge client list Loudon Design are focused on delivering quality, performance led projects that are stand out pieces. Slow and steady wins the race, but it has been great to see clients actively engaging with our services and content.
I am big on family, and this year we decided to add to our number, taking us up to four kids in total. Our kids are great, it’s one of the greatest pleasures in the world to have miniature people to care for, to watch them grow and develop their personalities and skills.
Family gives you a strong purpose to work for and drives you forward in your goals. The latest Edition will arrive in April 2017.
This year has been built on the back of a lot of writing. Newsletters, proposals, blogs, website content, and more have all contributed to well over half a million words tracked with Grammarly.
27,001 of which were shared right here in the Loudon Design Blog in the last 18 articles.
For someone who hadn’t previously done a lot of writing this has been a great achievement of 2016.
Taking time to share ideas and get out from behind your computer is important. While I don’t deliver many talks I do enjoy the opportunity to get out of my office and give a presentation on something I care about.
I am big on ecommerce, conversion led design and the related topics so i have a lot of practical knowledge I can share on the area of helping businesses grow.
This year I gave one talk on User Experience and the role this plays on optimising ecommerce websites. Then later in the year I delivered a talk at Microsoft’s headquarters in Edinburgh on Engineered Conversion, and how to design websites to increase your profits.
When I was younger we didn’t fly, my mum was scared of planes so that meant we seen a lot of the UK on our family holidays (not exactly a disadvantage there are a lot of great places to visit in the British isles).
This fear of planes became a worry of mine about going through airports. I surprised myself in January by booking a flight to Austin, Texas, having never boarded a flight or travelled on my own this seemed somewhat like a moment of madness.
Facing your fears and getting outside of your comfort zone will always be the place you make the most growth. I felt empowered when I flew to London for the first time, and even more so when I safely made it to Austin without issue.
For someone so big on Scotland, you would have thought I would have been to the highlands with the family, and I suppose I have spent time with them in the Loch Lomond district, but we have never had a family holiday there.
Mainly because I associate the highlands and islands with hiking and mountaineering. Not the safest of activities for young kids. This year we booked to spend time in the Hilton located in Aviemore (a well-known skiing area in Scotland).
This trip let the kids visit the Highland Wildlife Park, have a short trip on a steam train and get in lots of time for Hiking and games as a family.
I really enjoyed being up north with my family, and I am somewhat kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Definitely on my 2017 agenda.
In January I will be joint hosting a European event for entrepreneurs and business owners looking to get around international businesses. The purpose of these weekends will be to discuss and debate merits of strategy, techniques and methods that are working for companies in the group.
I experienced this culture and focus in Austin, earlier in the year and I am keen to cultivate it here in Europe. The first meeting is scheduled for the end of January in the beautiful setting of Prague in the Czech Republic.
My background is in software design. I have spend years of my life designing for organisations that rely on the conversion of stores, academies or analytical software to build their revenue. In 2017, you will likely hear a lot more about what I am building.
I believe fully that the software I have planned out will be a game changer for many creatives looking to monetise their talent, without having to gain the technical knowledge to self build their solution.
A Mastermind Group is a small, diverse group of business owners, that agree to share knowledge, insight and keep each other accountable. Currently our group holds three members. The first meetup was at the seanwes conference in Austin, Texas, which I wrote about at the start of November.
Our schedule works on a monthly basis. A Google hangouts call every month, then we also meet face-to-face every 4 months normally in Europe. Renting an apartment for the sole purpose of breaking down business struggles and also what’s working is a great way to get your mind focused on what matters.
Its often the case that when you are working in or on your business for a long time you find that you get drawn into the small details and can often miss things that would otherwise be obvious to you.
I’ve had a good year, working out my marketing and social media strategy, investing time and money finding the best places to promote my services. 2017 will be a big year for video in Loudon Design, I see that very much as the progression of what I have been building this year.
I have wrote blog posts and newsletters weekly since the website was published back in September and I feel video would be the best place to put my effort as it’s a more direct medium and allows people to put a face to a name.
For those who have met me they know how passionate I am about design, business and helping people. How do you convey all of that through words though? In a world where most of us skim headlines, read the odd blog quote and summarise the takes aways, video is a vastly different animal.
I loved 2016, I hope it was as good for your career or business as it was for mine and if not then I wish you every success for the coming year.
If you have written your own yearly review I would love to read it, it’s always interesting to see whats going on in the business world. What did you achieve, and what are your aspirations for 2017?