2016 was a year of big changes for us. When the year started, iWitness Design was a DBA for my solo freelancing business. Business was booming and I was pretty content to continue working by myself. In fact, I would regularly tell people that I wasn’t interested in starting an agency at all. I was scared of the complexities, not to mention the extra overhead. As the year wore on, I began to realize that my attempts to juggle client work and the products I was developing was not working. So for the first time I started seriously considering hiring on some help.
Julie, who is a good friend of mine with extensive admin experience, heard me mention that I was looking for some help. It turned out she was looking for some part time work and I jumped at the opportunity to bring her on board and she became our first hire! The irony was that, bringing her on as an administrative assistant, she ended up doing her own employee paperwork. Ha!
With an admin assistant I knew we could start handling some more projects. So I reached out to Dustin, my long time friend and brother-in-law, to see if he might be interested in joining the team. He agreed and by August my solo operation had grown to a little agency with 3 team members. I was very excited with the direction we were moving and before too long we started expanding the services we offered from strictly custom development to full site builds. In doing so we brought on some great contractors to fill in our technical gaps. It wasn’t too long before we passed $20,000 in revenue per month. That was huge! Our team was working great together and we were building some awesome things.
Then a crazy thing happened. Topher, a good friend of mine (many of you may know him as topher1kenobe on Twitter), told me that he was thinking of freelancing again. We chatted about pricing a little bit and I thought about how cool it would be if we could work together. I talked to my wife at great length and she agreed. So I told Topher that I had a crazy idea about bringing him on as a partner. With his level of experience and connections I didn’t think the offer would be that appealing to him, but he said he would discuss it with his wife. He came back shortly after and said that they were very interested in that idea. I was floored!
So we discussed details and even met up in person at WordCamp US in Philadelphia. The pieces just all seemed to fall into place. Topher started contracting in December to help us with some overhead and we discussed how 2017 might look.
Now as of January 2017 I am pleased to announce that he is part of our team! You can read more of the details in his announcement here.
Topher will be helping me manage the multitude of contracts we have coming in and will be particularly focussed on internal training and strategy.
I am so excited about this team that has come together and can’t wait to see what 2017 brings for us!