When Chris Tolar and I first met, we were playing a game called “Magic: the Gathering.” It’s a strategy-based collectible card game, not unlike Pokemon or other such games.
Yes, we are nerds.
Playing that game taught each of us that we’re problem solvers; that we enjoy orchestrating “things and stuff” that will produce a positive outcome. After a couple years of getting to know one another and having deep conversations about life and the like; we realized that our paths were aligned. We decided to team up on this DigiSavvy business thingy and we opened our doors in 2010.
It’s taken a while to truly establish ourselves, honestly. It’s been harder than I thought, certainly. Yet, I was not doing this full time. This year, I committed to doing my business, DigiSavvy, full-time, come hell or high-water; I was going to do this. Chris still has a full-time “day job.” There’s a lot of exhilaration in taking a leap of faith because, really, you have only yourself to rely on… If you fuck up, it’s on you. No one else. In a couple months, I may be doing this from a car. Turning ‘Code-tricks’ for cold hard cash… It could happen. I may be asking you if your couch is available for a few weeks…
Why do this?
The desire to do what you love and not have to do something else that only half your heart is in, or less, was too great. I could point at a number of reasons why; however, I will say that I could see something better for me and the only way it would happen is if I reached out and took it.
No one is going to give me anything.
I put together what savings I could and I got to work. The only way to do my business right, in my mind, is to do it full-time. That’s my gambit and this is the bed I’ve made. I’ve got a lot of support in the community and that’s been great; I’m so grateful. But I also know it’s going to take real work to get to a point to where things are beginning to elevate. What I mean by that is, DigiSavvy is at a level right now where it needs to grow to support what I want it to be and also to support myself and other employees. That’s right; we’re not quite breaking even… Yet.
That’s a hard thing to fess up to. But that’s the truth. Working on my own has been… Humbling. It’s not easy, but I’m also not discouraged. I have the tools to succeed; I just have to do the work. And thus things have evolved. My processes are beginning to evolve; I’m growing to respect my time more, as a professional and just as a guy that has interests. I’m committing more to those areas where I wish to grow professionally and personally. It’s been an interesting, fun and scary process and it’s going; it’s working. As I noted previously, I don’t have to do what I don’t want to and if I truly love something then I should not be afraid to chase it down and make it mine.
The journey from point A to point B has been something else. If nothing else, it’s taught me that I have so much more to learn. Along the way, in this short journey, I’ve stumbled a number of times and it’s made me question myself and why I’m doing this… But this is not new. I’ve always doubted myself. It manifests itself in a variety of new and interesting ways. People who know me will tell you that I’ve mastered the “art” of self-deprecation… I mean, really, I have! The point is that this self-doubt has caused me to not be true to who I am and it’s affected how I represent my business.
Specifically, when it comes to DigiSavvy, I say “we” a lot. The truth is, the we has been Chris, myself, some partners we’ve worked with on projects in the past, outsourced resources and more. There’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that I thought this was something to hide… And it’s not. The people I look to who do this business thing right in the WordPress arena are numerous. Bill Erickson, Natalie Maclees, Nathan Tyler, Carrie Dils, Ryan Sullivan and more do this shit well.
What does “doing this shit well mean?”
To me, it means representing who you are as authentically as possible. Yeah, just being yourself. Turns out it’s a thing. Representing what you love to do. If you love to build WordPress themes using Genesis, just say so. Own up to the good work you do. For me, for my business, I’ve been all over the board with the things I do.
I can’t tell you how much time I’ve spent looking at Google Analytics and Moz reports. When it comes to stuff like that, I can tell you I HATE looking at them. I don’t like looking at that data. But Chris does… However, the vast majority of our work has been Web Dev related, specifically on WordPress.
I love WordPress, I organize a meetup and I am a proud, proud co-organizer of WordCamp LA with some talented and smart people. That’s what I love to do; has been and will be for some time to come.
This brings me to where I’m at now. I’m getting ready to re-launch a my business site (DigiSavvy.com) and I redesigned it. I’m not a designer, but I did it anyway. I needed to feel a stronger connection to what we were doing.
I love me some WordPress, but, you know what else? I LOVE to write, too. Really! And the thing is that, as some of you might know, I run a kinda popular dating blog that I don’t like to talk about because I’m embarrassed about it. It’s called the Urban Dater, if you didn’t know. The thing is that, that blog has provided me with a lot of education through the years that I can turn around and give to people… Yet I don’t. I need to be okay with the fact that I have a dating blog. I guess I get embarrassed because I don’t want people to read stories of my shitty dating life and raw “the wrong conclusion.” But you know what? If you think less of me because of it, that’s okay. I don’t need you and I don’t need you to like me. What I do need are the people in my corner, who have always been there that know, even though I may be a serial dater, that I’m not a bad fella and I have some pretty spiffy talents and they’re going to cheer me on… And that’s what matters most.
I don’t know if I’m going to succeed. If I fail, that’s okay. I can live with and learn from it. I think, today, I’m more connected with what love and what I want in life. Also, I’m humbled, honored and overwhelmed by the people who “got my back.” “If you’re coasting through life, you’re going downhill.” One of my best friends said that, and truer words have never been spoken and I hold on to that quote. At the end of the day, we’re imperfect; but someone (or many someones) love those things that make us so… imperfect. It should empower us to be a truth-seeker in discovering that inner fire within; to move about our world fearlessly and to “do the hard thing.”
Today I take another step in that direction… Wish me luck