A couple of weeks back I shared I’d been let go from my job. I signed off not saying what exactly I was doing next. I was unsure, and a little mentally punchdrunk - being let go wasn’t something I was expecting.
Prolific North got in touch at the time quite quickly, and wanted to run the story of me leaving - and were going to run that story. So I offered up some words, floated the vague idea of “doing my own thing”, without any real idea of what that was going to be, and they ran the story.
When I left Bloom a year back I was already mentally ready for leaving. When I left Home I thought I wasn’t prepared. But reading my previous post again I realise I probably was. I had become tired/frustrated mending/rebooting someone else’s thing again - and it shows in that blog post.
So, I’ve decided to go “do my own thing” as I said, and start off by doing ‘freelance’, ‘contract’, or ‘consult’, or whatever phrase you want to describe someone who is paid to come into somewhere temporarily or for a fixed amount of time, be it “just a day”, “several days a week for the next few months”, or “from now, every day, for the next two months”. Do that to start things off and see where the wind takes me.
I am going to concentrate on the strategy and UX side of digital work/projects (because, to me, strategy and UX are linked). Being focused on researching audiences - their habits, needs, what they don’t realise - and understanding how that can flow into the resultant user experience to engage people with technology-driven experiences has always fascinated me. (I’m not talking cyborgs here. Yet.) And I’ll be able to do it directly, face-to-face, not hidden away “back at the office” or “in a room with the rest of the geeks”.
It’s not about digital for me, or online and/or/versus offline - it’s about experiences that are part of our modern existence. I just happen to be more interested in how digital facilitates that.
Not being tied to a full time role in someone else’s business gives me the space to do more R&D focused digital stuff as well, and I’ve already a couple of things bubbling under which could prove to be promising enough to apply for grant support for. And putting a little time aside during my working week to help out with bodies like Leeds Data Mill - that’ll all be my choice.
I’ll continue teaching and lecturing, and even a little training - because I enjoy spreading the word!
I’ve had people in touch about offering them business advice, if I can look over the way their businesses work. With 12 of my 14 years in agency life looking after and running studio functions, creative departments, and also for a year pseudo-running an agency those people have wanted to tap into that. That’s fine. But I won’t be doing that full time. If I did I’d be back full time somewhere. But I don’t fancy that.
I want to spend most of my time getting on with researching, understanding problems, and working to solve those: ideas for what can be done and then getting on with making a solution, a product, a service.
The chance to work with a few different folk in new environments, not just the agency ones I’ve been tied to the past 14 years is massively alluring. Studios. Technology companies. Academic institutions. Public bodies. Whoever. Wherever. That’s exciting!
And the bits I don’t specialise on? It’s not a one person show. I’ve got a great network of people who can help me collaboratively, and want to be on the case as well!
I’ll be putting work through a business called Things, because that what I want to make: things. (I’ll blog on the name and identity another time.)
Which all means this shop is now open. Better go and find some more work!