Build & Grow

For the month of December, I’m participating in Reverb 10. The project is an invitation for online writers, photographers, and creatives to reflect on the year that has passed and to manifest what is next. Each day for the month of December, a prompt is sent to participants and we are invited to respond to the prompt in whatever way feels appropriate.
As I am a writer, I imagine that many of these prompts will spur me to reflect with the written word. Here is today’s prompt:

December 1 One Word.

Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)

2010 – Build
I’ve spent a lot of time building this past year.
A few weeks ago, my wife Bethany said to me, “When people ask me what you do for a living, I now tell them you’re a Writer since that is where your regular income increasingly comes from.” This was kind of a proud, humbling, and a bit scary revelation to me. She is right about the money. The final count is not yet in but I may have made more this year from my writing and things related to it then I did from my consulting business. I spent a lot of time building myself as a writer this year. Despite the fact I have been writing all of my life, and others may have always thought of me as such, it was this year that I focused on really setting and reaching a bar high enough where I could feel comfortable calling myself one.
This isn’t to say that I did not spend a lot of time building my consulting business as well. I did. Like, a whole lot. It’s just that not all of the work I did here is as successful as I would have hoped. That said, it was not due to my lack of effort or missed opportunities. I have many ideas about “why” but most of these are out of my control and, if true, will only get worse. No matter the cause, I feel the effort and execution were there, the results were not. That said, regardless of results, or the future, many of my efforts here have taught me lessons that I can apply elsewhere and share with others.
Speaking of sharing with others, I also worked hard to build myself as a consultant to others. Taking these lessons I have learned over the last ten-plus years of doing this and using them to help those who wish to start freelance consulting businesses of their own or are just beginning to do so. In this, I feel successful.
I built Minimal Mac into a vision far larger than I initially had for it. I worked hard to expand its message beyond simplifying and streamlining ones computing to larger ideas around consumerism, need, global impact, and sustainability. An idea I broadly term as “enough”. I also have watched the readership build beyond any measure I could have ever dreamed of. Some of this was luck but I often do not tell the true story of the amount of time I put into building the audience and making sure the content was consistent and compelling enough to have them stay.
I also feel as though I’ve spent a lot of time building new and existing relationships both online and off. I have made more true and lasting friendships this year, and have worked hard to build them, then I feel I have ever done before. There are too many individuals to name here now. Perhaps a future prompt may cause me to enumerate all I can. That said, it is my hope that those in that group who may read this know how much work I have put in to build those connections and why, because I value them so very much.
I also feel as though I continued to build a life with Bethany that is filled with love, compassion, comfort, laughter, and fulfillment. Not a week goes by when one of us looks around us, at our home, our neighborhood, our daughter, all of the beauty that surounds us and says out loud, “We have a good life.” We both work very hard to build this life and the results are proof of this effort.
2011 Grow
I want to focus on taking everything I have built in 2010 and growing it in the next year.
I want to grow as a writer, editor, and curator. I hope to not only improve and expand my content online but I also will collaborate on at least one book and self-publish another. I also would like to do some contract writing and editing for others and find ways to further turn my craft into sustaining industry.
I would also like to find the right combination to grow my consulting business into a regular and sustaining revenue stream. I have some ideas in the area but given this past year’s execution/results balance, I do have to admit to a certain level of being gun shy. That said, the current model is obviously no longer working the way I feel it should and, therefore, I may be at a point where I have nothing to loose.
I have already drawn the line with my goals for growth for Minimal Mac elsewhere but I will do so here for the sake of completeness. I will double the readership of Minimal Mac by this time next year.
I want to grow as many of my my existing relationships as possible. Even as an introvert, I find the one-on-one time I spend with any of these individuals to be exponentially and spiritually rewarding. I want to deepen and strengthen these. I want to find ways and opportunities to break bread and meet face-to-face as often as possible, even with those far away.
Most importantly, I want to grow my relationship with Bethany. I want to make sure I’m supporting her in every way I can and am being an equal partner and contributor to this life we grow daily together.