I like to spend New Year’s Day pondering the year that just left and cementing goals for the new one. Last year was both strange and wonderful for me. The one that’s just arrived seems so full of promise, and I want to capitalize on that. I usually do this kind of stock-taking privately, but this year I’m taking it public and bringing it over to the professional blog so that I have some accountability to go with the introspection. I think it’ll help with turning more goals into reality.
2014 was actually pretty great considering (a)I didn’t do a lot of marketing, and (b) I spent two months out of action while dealing with what turned out to be Bell’s palsy. I started out the year with some theme customizations, and I also filed the paperwork to create the company that is Customer Servant Consultancy. This is a huge achievement for me, because in my mind it lends some legitimacy to what I’ve been doing full time for the last five years; Working with WordPress. I’ve also conducted two successful semesters of the WordPress course through the Cisco Academy for the Vision Impaired. In September, I got serious about my business hosting and moved all sites over to WPEngine so I no longer need to worry about site performance or my own security or whether or not things will scale when I add new services or features to the site.
The next big achievement for me last year was going to WordCamp San Francisco. This one’s been on the bucket list ever since WordCamp first started happening. But it was also a huge achievement because I almost didn’t get on that plane. The day before while I was getting ready to leave, I had a serious case of Impostor Syndrome, and I was convinced that I would meet all the WordPress people I interact with online, and some I don’t but look up to, and they’d all figure out that I have no idea what I’m talking about and that I’ve spent the last sixteen years faking my way through web technologies and accessibility, and the last ten years faking my way through WordPress and leading everyone down a path ending in catastrophy, all while playing the blind card. So I muddled my way through packing and didn’t sleep because I was also afraid I’d sleep in and miss the plane. Yeah, completely irrational. The trip was amazing though, and I met all sorts of great people who influence me in ways too numerous to count. I of course learned a lot, both during the camp and the summit and contributor days afterwords, tried new beer, (come on, everybody knows no year is complete without at least one new beer), and cemented the connections I have online with three-dimentional ones.
I’ve also made some stronger connections within the Genesis community which I think are professionally promising. Which leads me to my goals for 2015.
In 2014, I started dabbling in affiliate marketing, and made a few sales. In 2015, my goal as far as that’s concerned is to make affiliate marketing part of my overall passive income strategy. My strategy has four pillars: Support at three varying levels, maintenance at three varying levels, affiliate marketing as part of the content I write for this site, and courses, which I’ll touch on in a bit. A note about affiliate marketing: Yes, I’m going to sell. No, I’m not going to be a douche about it. I will continue to write tutorials for the sake of teaching people how to do new things. But I’m going to be a little more aggressive about adding affiliate links as part of the linky goodness. There are some specific products I use on a regular basis, and as long as I’m writing about them and spreading the word, I may as well earn a little from it. Plus, twenty percent of all commissions from affiliate links will go to support the NVAccess Foundation, which develops a free and open-source screen reader for the blind.
Regarding courses, there are two planned for now: How to clean up a hacked WordPress site accessibly, which is scheduled to land in February, and a course on making Genesis child themes accessible, which is scheduled to land in May. Both of these will be pre-recorded with notes and appropriate exercises with grading and everything.
I also have a few goals that are related to getting noticed/self-promotion. First, I’ll be co-hosting a podcast on WordPress that reaches out to those outside the WordPress community who have accessibility concerns. I’ll be hosting that with Laura Legendary of elegant Insights, and Elle Waters of Simply Accessible. The podcast will run on the Cool Blind Tech network, as well as being archived here. I can’t speak for the other two co-hosts, but my goal with the podcast is to demonstrate that there’s a lot more you can do with WordPress than just run a blog, and that you can do most of it with very little sighted help.
Speaking of podcasts, related goals for 2015 include co-hosting Genesis office Hours, as well as the Dradcast. I listen to several podcasts on various topics, but these are the two I try to make it a point not to miss.
Getting Listed on the WordPress Credits Page
I love contributing to the wordPress project. Up until this year, I’ve been doing that in the forms of testing and providing tips to other developers as part of the Accessibility Team, as well as answering questions in the WordPress and Genesis support forums. I will continue to do both of these. But I also want to start sharing the code I write on both GitHub as well as here, and I also want to start submitting patches to tickets I test. I benefit from the code snippets shared by others, and I appreciate their sharing of said snippets. But I often have to modify them so that the output they generate is accessible. That is not a stab at developers/designers. and why is a discussion for a later post. But during this year, I’d like to start contributing those modified code snippets back to the community. This will take some adjustment to my workflow. It’s not that I’m purposely stingy with code, I just write the code to solve a particular problem I’m having and then stash it away for later use if necessary. This benefits me and the people I work with, but I think it could also benefit the wider community.
I also plan to continue working with Slack to improve the accessibility of their product. I have a few things to test currently, and will be making steps throughout this year to make that relationship a closer one, without being creepy, of course.
Then there’s the WordSesh Transcription project. I haven’t forgotten about this, and have started transcribing the first talk. But I’m changing up the workflow on this so I can spend an hour transcribing instead of trying to knock it out in one sitting. I have twenty-five minutes left to go in the first talk, and after transcribing I will finish the editing and post it.
These are my concrete goals for 2015. As you can see, I’ve got a ton of work to do. But I think as long as I take these goals in small, bite-sized chunks, with a lot of self-examination thrown in to ensure that I’m staying on track, I can achieve them by the end of 2015. I wish everyone success in whatever they’re trying to do in 2015, and I sincerely hope this is a great year for everyone.