Losing my mojo, then finding my flow again

by oneafrikan on November 9, 2006

If you’ve spent any time on this blog at all, you’ll know that I’m a passionate blogger who likes to talk about pretty much anything that takes my interest. You would also have noticed that things have been pretty scant around here primarily because yours truly has decided that for the last little while, blogging has been a secondary priority to building a business. In about 9 months I’ve gone from being a web contractor/freelancer guy to a business owner with salaries to pay and clients to deal with on a daily basis.

A little background…
In my career so far I’ve been a part of precisely 5 startups, of which this is the 5th and the one in which I have the most to lose. Of those startups, one has been wildly successful, one I walked away from as a co-founder after 6 months or so, one was shut down by the owner after he realised he was losing money hand over fist, and one was killed by the owner through unnecessary spending and doing unto others as you wouldn’t want have done unto you.

I guess it’s in my nature to work in the agile, startup culture, ‘cos I like the speed, flexibility, ability to change direction and try new things, as well as the potential to learn massively, sometimes well before your time.

Today I received my forms from the UK companies house – basically I have to send them a whole bunch of information – which isn’t really important to you at all, except that it reinforces that I’ve made the first year of being in business, and that I’m not one of those 80% first year casualties of business that everyone hears about.

Most importantly we’re building a team of crack web professionals (who in past history would have been ninjas) where we’re planning on making everyone a shareholder eventually. It’s damn exciting and heavy stressful at the same time, but I guess that’s the way it goes, and you know what, I wouldn’t have it any other way at all.

Back to the mojo thing…
So, I guess the point is that to make all of this happen, I’ve had to make a few choices, one of which was that blogging became less important than getting client work out, or finding some sleep, and another is that I was only going to blog again when I felt inside that it was right. I think I needed some headspace to figure out where I was going, and how I was going to get there.

To be honest, I’ve not done much reading, browsing or playing with new code toys at all, because I’ve been so busy getting client work out the way, and building some neat things that we’ll be releasing in the near future. What I have done however is consolidate a lot of my thinking about the web at the moment, and what we’re talking to clients about, and what we’re putting into our web apps, and it’s exciting – for the first time in a long time, the weariness is giving way to hope and anticipation, which is a great place to be in.

.. and then finding my flow.
I’m a big believer in the idea (not necessarily the religion) of Zen and the state of no-mind (being “in the zone” to Westerners) that advanced practioners of Zen get to when they’re completely and utterly focussed on the task at hand. For me, finding my flow has meant re-discovering the things that I enjoy about work, and then finding other people to work with, that feel similarly.

Having my head down in client work lately has meant that there was little else to think about bar the next deadline, but now that we’ve grown the team a little, and we’ve gotten on top of our workloads, we’re able to take a step back and recognise that we’ve made good progress (the fruits of which I’ll talk about now) as a result of being in the zone, and in doing that I’ve reached a point where blogging has and will become part of my flow again. This is exciting as I’ve got so much to talk about now I’m almost bursting at the seams.

To give you an idea of what we’ve been working on, in the near future we’ll be launching a web app that I don’t want to say too much about here for now, a business blogging service aimed at making blogging easier for business people, another take at personal bookmarking, and a web and emerging technology conference in (Southern) Africa (website still being tweaked and tested) where we’ve got some really good international speakers lined up. On top of that we’re going to be launching a web 2.0 dating site with a client, and helping Seagull become the leading PHP web app framework/platform. Additionally, I’m hoping to find another 2 to 4 days in the coming month to get the first public version of the PHP / CSS framework I’ve been working on and using internally for 6 months now, out and into the wild.

Bottom line is, it’s good to be back, and I hope you’ll stick along for the ride ;-)

7 comments

Good to have you back Gareth. I’ve every faith in you and your huge popularity with your clients should give you every faith in yourself.

Looking forward to seeing the apps go live buddy.

Peter

by Peter Nixey on November 9, 2006 at 2:29 pm. Reply #

Hey Gareth,

It sounds like you’ve been getting good things done in the zone; i’ll be keeping an eye out for the results.

Know what you mean about blogging versus getting other stuff done, I seem to be permanently hamstrung in that respect. Glad you’ve found a way to rebalance :)

by Deirdre Molloy on November 9, 2006 at 2:44 pm. Reply #

Exciting times! Best of luck with the new enterprises.

by Lisa Price on November 9, 2006 at 2:48 pm. Reply #

Now I’m all excited to find out about what you’ve been up to and what you’re planning for the near future. Fun times ahead!

by Ryan Shelton on November 9, 2006 at 3:35 pm. Reply #

The man is back! I’ve always told you that networking and blogging are your strengths, keep to them.

by Andrew Preston on November 10, 2006 at 11:59 am. Reply #

Great to hear you on the blogs again.

by Robert on November 10, 2006 at 6:07 pm. Reply #

Thanks for all your kind comments peeps ;-)
Glad to be back, and am working on some good content – hope you’re all well and enjoying this “little” growth period in the indutry… ;-)

by Gareth Knight on November 21, 2006 at 12:20 pm. Reply #

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