Although it seems to be a bit of a trend to write an end of year review, 2012, over other years, is definitely worth reflecting on.
Jan 1st 2012. After semi recovering from NYE celebrations, I sat down to solve a problem of integrating Instagram with a personal WordPress blog. A few weeks and a name change later, Instagrate to WordPress was available on the WordPress.org plugin repository. Without knowing it I had started the year by taking a rather large step into the world of WordPress plugin development and support, and it was a busy year.
I had caught the bug. I quickly followed up with a couple of plugins that also solved problems for me and helped with learning – Set List and Nivo Affiliate. But it was clear that Instagrate to WordPress solved the same problem for many other people. The support questions and feature requests came in thick and fast, and suddenly my evenings and weekends were filled with plugin development. There was scope to grow the plugin and enrich its features, but as a one man team with a full time job, its development threatened my work / life balance. I made the decision to put some time aside to develop a bigger, fuller version of Instagrate. I also made the decision to release it as a premium plugin.
June 6th 2012. Instagrate Pro was released. The large audience that the free version had created meant it seemed worthwhile not to release the pro version through a marketplace like CodeCanyon, and instead sell it myself. The decision to use Sellwire as a selling platform had a couple of benefits. The first, quite simply, was money. At this point in time Sellwire was still in beta and free to use. Without a marketplace taking a large percentage of my sales, Instagrate started to generate some reasonable money. The second benefit has probably been the most important. Exposure.
June 11th 2012. Instagrate Pro gets featured on the digital deal site Dealotto. A conversation starts on Twitter from the appearance on Dealotto, that results in some feedback and a connection with John O’Nolan. At the same time I suggest some features to Sellwire’s creator, Gilbert Pellegrom from Dev7studios. A long Skype conversation and a couple of days later I became a member of the Dev7 team on a part time basis.
Working on the Dev7 suite of plugins and applications has been a great opportunity to hone my WordPress skills and get stuck into building applications with CodeIgniter. Also working with Gilbert has been an eye opener. That man knows how to create, both rapidly and effectively. Every time I turn around he has produced something new, even along side his full time gig at ThemeZilla.
November 1st 2012. I make the decision that at the end of the year, the end of my contract in London, I will not renew or look for another contract. In January I will continue working with Dev7studios, take on more client work and more importantly give myself time to build things.
December 20th 2012. Last day of my contract. I am now freelance. 2013 will be a very different year but I am ready for it.