The Waiting is the Hardest Part
Posted on: 5/10/2018
As I move through all the projects I’m working on I can’t help but compare it to my previous job. For the most part this is a significant improvement but there are some things that take a little getting used to. First and foremost is the responsibility. I spent most of my time at my previous job on an assembly line where if something went awry there were 30 to 50 other people to shift the blame to. This work is mostly all on me.
TI’m also figuring out that I need to be a little more specific with clients regarding a time frame for them to get their material to me. Sometimes I’m all fired up to get something done but spend a week or more waiting for a reply. Everyday I learn something new, though. Sometimes it’s how to solve a technical issue and sometimes its how to interact with clients.
My Kind of Trouble
Posted on: 5/3/2018
Most of my internship work this week was practicing different ways of migrating a WordPress site so when my clients are satisfied I can replace their old site without any major problems. It was a bit of a challenge to get everything lined up correctly and the biggest hurdle was figuring out to change the URLs in the widgets to match the new location. One of those things that are easy to fix once you figure out whats wrong, but it took a lot of swearing and frustration to get to that point.
The finishing touches have been put on my windows and door site referb and I put it up for the clients to look over before it goes live under their URL.http://bradbartelt.com/stromberg/
Train in Vain
Posted on: 4/26/2018
I have a couple of projects that are ready for to look at. The first is for the bird feeder site. I have most things in place. I’m still waiting on the copy from the client, but you can see where its headed.http://oriolecopperfeeders.com/
Next up is updating the windows and door site. There was much work to do on the backend, but the clients also asked for an updated look. This is their current site:http://www.strombergwd.com/
This is what I’m doing with it:http://bradbartelt.com/stromberg/
It still needs some polish but the main trouble I’m having is keeping the nav bar in the center as you scroll down. I have consulted with some experts on this and hopefully a fix can be implemented. If anyone has any suggestions how to fix this get a hold of me.
This week I spent most of my time doing what I like best, designing. With most of the technical issues solved for my windows and doors clients, I set about reworking and updating the look of their site. There is a great deal to be gained by picking up someone else work and it was fun to investigate what was there and try to read the mind of the site’s original developer.
The biggest challenge with updating the look was that the feel that the clients were looking for wasn’t necessarily something I would go for myself. Its very easy to come up with design choices on my own projects but it was a good learning experience to work a little outside my zone in an effort to give the client what they are paying for. Its sort of like being in metal band and getting asked to write a country song. I think I came up with some things they will like, and I am looking forward to showing it to them. Just a few minor kinks to work out and this project will be ready to go live.
Posted on: 4/12/2018
This week I had the pleasure of figuring out how to migrate a WordPress site from the host, so I could run it locally. The was much consternation and swearing during the procedure but it felt good once I got it running. I updated and fixed the technical problems that this older site was having and I’m now in the middle of making the aesthetic changes the client requested. It won’t be long before this project is complete.
My other projects are humming along nicely too, Though I spend some of my time waiting for clients to email whatever pictures and copy I need to move forward. Then I get them all at once from multiple clients. I’m learning all sorts of new time management tricks to keep track of all my clients and all the internal due dates for various stages. I keep a treadmill in my office so when I get a little overwhelmed I jog for a little while. Endorphins are your friends.
"Feed the birds and what do you get? Fat birds!
Posted on: 4/5/2018
One of the things I’m learning (or relearning) is patience with people who are not tech savvy. I used to be the guy people knew to call with a computer problem but over the years I’ve grown more and more grouchy and irritated when it comes to assisting people. Moving into to this line of work I have to let go of that bad attitude so that I can help my clients. Maybe it’s that I’m getting paid to do this as a job rather than giving up free time to guide people through trouble but in some ways its rewarding. Though one of my clients texted me earlier in the day for a computer problem that had nothing to do with the project I’m working on for them. I kept my sarcasm to myself and helped them but as I’ve said before, It’s the people part of this job I stress about the most.
I spent the bulk of my work week getting the bird feeder site up and ready to go. The client for this project is still getting together all the content she wants on it, but the basic structure of the site and its look and feel are set in place. Its gratifying to send a link out to the client to show them where the work is at and get a message back that reads “That looks ‘effing’ awesome.” I’m looking forward to dropping in all the copy and getting this site launched.
For the Birds
Posted on: 3/29/2018
I just got home from helping a client set up all her accounts for a site to sell some bird feeders that she makes herself. Of course, there was a dog but this one was small and not too yappy. Tomorrow I start the fun process of setting up WordPress and laying out the foundation for her site. I am cautiously optimistic that I can make a site the she will like.
I also took on another client recently. My brother and a few guys I grew up with are in a band that plays around the area and while they already have a site I was able to convince them that I could make them a better one that they could easily keep updated. I was also asked to concoct a new logo for them. This is going to be a fun project because I was given a wide latitude as far as design choices go.
Hair of the Dog
Posted on: 3/8/2018
One of the projects I have been working on involves updating and redesigning an already existing page. I thought that this would be much easier than building from scratch, but I am finding out that is not the case. The site was built 4 years ago and many things on the backend need serious updating to the point that it’s a security risk. There is also some concern that the updates will break the site as it is now. I anticipate lots of testing and swearing. The client also would like the look of the site updated and that’s something I’m more comfortable doing.
I also met with another potential client recently and the initial meeting went well enough except for the dog. I prefer to meet clients face to face to better ascertain what they are looking for but this is the second time I dealt with a yappy dog at a client meeting. This was a gigantic and friendly dog who barked throughout the entire meeting. I love dogs but hopefully my next clients are cat people.
19th Nervous Breakdown
Posted on: 2/22/2018
I had my first face to face meeting with a client today. My first client lives in Milwaukee, so it isn’t practical to meet face to face. While I was a hot mess of nerves on the drive I kept my cool when I met with them. The pug they had in the house made a great ice breaker since my dog is half pug. I have to say that I prefer to meet with clients in person rather than over the phone because its easier to gauge what they are looking for, but this is the aspect of this work that stresses me the most. I am confident in my abilities to solve the technical riddles we face doing this but meeting new people is often something I freak myself out about. It went perfect though. We discussed what they liked and what they didn’t about their existing site and it will be an interesting challenge to update their look.
On the way home I got a call from another potential client who I had contacted earlier but they were out of action for a while due to some health issues. I meet with them next week. I’m a bit spooked but still enthusiastic about all this multi-tasking.
Posted on: 2/15/2018
I have several clients lined up. The first is for a small company named Milky Way Clay. It’s a small basement run startup that makes trippy pearlescent vases and grumpy faced coffee mugs. The proposal is currently being drafted and it looks like it will be a fun project. Going into this, I had no idea how big a role the paperwork plays. However, many of the assignments I was given had to meet the criteria of a professional looking document. At first, I found this tedious. But as it became apparent to me how important documentation is in this line of work, I see the wisdom behind that.
The next client in the pipeline is Stromberg Windows and Doors. They already have a site but would like it updated and maintained. I’m going to meet with them next week to discuss what they would like done.