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  1. #1
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    Help a webmaster with her professional mid-life crisis and loss of confidence

    Hello,

    Hope this is the right place, I'll try to keep this brief. I'm 26 and I've been involved in web design & marketing for nearly 6 years now. I've accumulated most of the knowledge I have for the first part of these years by reading books and online. I basically know and do a bit of everything from design, html, css, usability, content writing, seo, link building, affiliate and even though I feel my knowledge of each individual field is quite superficial, I have somehow managed to made it work.

    I now own and run a few websites which allow me to live comfortably and save more than the average person. Monetization is done via adsense, affiliate and direct advertising deals. The bulk of the work for these websites was done 4 years ago and they've grown organically. But I have never taken them for granted and I know they'll go downhill at some point without serious work. For personal reasons, I haven't been that involved in them for the last 3 years so I did not add much content or do much promotion for them and yet revenue is quite steady, even growing a bit.

    I have always worked on my own because I felt it suited my personality but I've now moved to London from Eastern Europe (on my own) and I feel like I've now reached a crossroads and I'm interested to know if other webmasters have felt something similar at some point in their lives.

    With me, it's a combination of factors, I guess:

    1. Because I haven't done all that much in the past 3 years and because I also stopped reading and gaining knowledge around the same time (because that's all I was doing, there simply wasn't time left to put it into practice) I feel I've missed the boat when it comes to the web. I don't know what works these days and the volume of information has become so massive that the thought of trying to get myself up to date with everything seems impossible and daunting! Years ago knowing a bit of everything worked, these days, people are far more specialized and the web will change even more dramatically as time goes on.

    2. I have lost my confidence in my abilities and yet my results over the years indicate that I probably know more about web marketing than I think I do at the moment! But I feel that as more time passes, I know less and feel even less confident.

    3. I feel bored, I don't know if this (e.g. web marketing) is what I want to do for much longer, but then if I don't do this (which earns me good money now so it seems silly to give up) I don't know what else I can do for a living. I've never been an employee so I don't know how regular jobs work. I've been considering getting a 'real' job but after years of being my own boss, I don't know if I can adapt to its constraints.

    4. I've been thinking of specializing and becoming a consultant in a specific, more manageable, area of web marketing which I would find it easier to stay on top of. But then I've never been accountable to anyone but myself so having clients would be a major shift. Plus, I don't know which area I could go for and don't all areas interact with each other so I reckon I would need to be up to date with everything, regardless.

    5. While I've always worked on my own and felt comfortable spending long hours/days on my own (even when I was in a relationship), with my move to London I now feel the need of a social working environment because I've been also going through some personal changes which have brought out my sociable side. This is partly why I've been considering getting a job. I'm also considering some shared office space or a co-operative of sorts (if that concept exists) but being new in London, I'm at a loss where to look.

    6. Because money has been coming in steadily (but not in massive amounts), I've become too comfortable and laid back. I have savings to last me for 2 years at my current lifestyle. So, I don't have the same incentive to make more money that drove me years ago. My brain was buzzing with ideas and I couldn't wait to get up in the morning to start work.



    Because I've been feeling all of these things, I'm now looking at the clock every 20 minutes and waiting for the 'working day' to finish and inevitably, I feel cross with myself at the end of the day for not being productive.

    Has anyone experienced anything similar? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Any tips on specific resources/groups to look for in London would also be appreciated.

    Thanks for reading

  2. #2
    Barefoot on the Moon! silver trophy Force Flow's Avatar
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    When was the last time you had a vacation? Sounds like some burnout is starting to kick in
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  3. #3
    You Bet Your Life...Really lerxtjr's Avatar
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    Taking a vacation is a good idea. And, leave your computer at home! You see society in a different light when you're disconnected for a week.

    We who are in this crazy business are so fortunate to be able to create our own paths and pretty much dictate the income we want to achieve using the hours of the day we want to spend. Visit any grocery store and listen to the checkout people whine about "only 2 hours to go and I'm off" and you'll start to appreciate your role in a different light.

    Another I'll suggest is that you find some offshoots to support. We just launched a website we did for a homeless shelter, which was hugely gratifying.

    The third suggestion I have is to consider teaching. If you've "done" something right, people want to know about it. Share what you've learned and you will have the social component as well that you might be clamoring for by going into some full-time job somewhere.

    There's no place better to be right now than online.

  4. #4
    SitePoint Evangelist rhysboy84's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lerxtjr View Post
    Another I'll suggest is that you find some offshoots to support. We just launched a website we did for a homeless shelter, which was hugely gratifying.
    This. This. And Thrice This.

    There's no better way to regain confidence in your abilities than by making a difference to somebody who actually (and I'm meaning no disrespect here) needs it.

    I've made a couple of websites/seo projects for people who need a web presence, but can't afford it. If you don't want to work for free, why not offer a bartering scheme. My favourite thing to do is travel to Australia on a working visa, work on a farm for 5 weeks or so, just enough to clear my head and I don't get bored, then offer to make the farm a website in exchange for not doing backbreaking work. Took me two weeks on and off (worked on the farm but 3 instead of 5 days in the week), and a few days link building. Was well worth it, as I'm still in touch with them now.

    So yes, holiday. Working holiday, get an interest, just do something different!
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  5. #5
    SitePoint Evangelist rhysboy84's Avatar
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    Also, try these people out. These are based in London, and are pretty good. Not been on one myself, but heard good things:-

    http://www.geekdinner.co.uk/

    Sure somebody at that event will know where to get a Co-op working environment.

    Also, try picking up a new interest. You can do EVERYTHING in London (I should know, I've lived there), so why not try to meet new people with a new hobby?
    I'm Rhys Wynne & I blog at Winwar Media
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  6. #6
    SitePoint Zealot Scrampy's Avatar
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    Ahhh... the endless search for meaning in what we do

    Seems like you have the freedom to explore these feelings... so go do it!

    Holiday/"real job"/volunteer work... whatever it is that you feel drawn to my friend. That's the right thing for you. I doubt you will give up the livestyle you've got now... well at least not the income.

    Maybe outsource it a bit. Look for a way to use your skills, or expand on them (like specializing like you mentioned?). A consulting business might be the way to get social, and integrate what you already know and can do.

    And you know what? (I know you've heard this before): There's always someone who can do what you do better! (mostly lol). And unless you're striving for the absolute best in the world... be happy that you're doing something of value. And you are! Remember: The pay you receive, is directly proportional to the value you contribute to the marketplace.

    That money is a big THANK YOU for what you're doing. So good work!

    oh and btw... regular jobs suck! haha

    Hope this helps,

    Dave


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