Today’s post is just for fun – I realized that I’ve been officially freelancing for 5 years this month. I started my business in November 2012. It’s been an entrepreneurial roller coaster of ups and downs since then but I’ve learned so much and have come so far that I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Here is a quick overview of my past 5 years in business using screenshots from my website.
When I first launched my company I was only building websites and so I called it Prairie Fox Web Services. Here’s the first logo I made in 2012.
My sites at this time were all non-mobile friendly and were built on the Joomla CMS. I designed and exported the themes using a software called Artisteer because my coding skills weren’t that great yet. I can’t find screenshots of what my own site looked like, but here is the first client site that I built for a local pet store.
I spent most of 2013 learning and improving my skills. I remember in January I barely slept for 48 hours because I was learning how to use Zurb’s Foundation Framework. Responsive design (and mobile-friendliness in general) was still a new concept and almost none of the web design agencies in my city were offering it at this time. I remember having to convince clients why their site had to be mobile-friendly — how things have changed! This screenshot is my first website that I built with responsive design.
By the end of 2013, I had moved from Joomla to WordPress as my CMS of choice. I had taught myself how to build my own custom WordPress themes and brushed up on a lot of CSS so I no longer needed software to make my themes for me. Though you can see my design skills were definitely still being developed! 🙊
In 2014 “flat design” exploded and I of course updated my website to follow the trends. This was the year that I left my day job to focus on freelancing full-time. I had started also offering other digital marketing services like email and social media marketing using skills that I learned in my day job and also from marketing myself.
In January 2015 I changed my name to Loop Digital Marketing as I was doing more marketing services in addition to web development and had also moved away from the prairies. Angie Hicks from Be Humanly gave my company its new name.
At this time I was struggling in my business with knowing what services to focus on and who to target. I was trying to be everything to everyone.
In 2016 I decided to niche down to a specific type of client: women online entrepreneurs (such as coaches, copywriters or other service providers). I realized that I loved working with them, they were more likely to need the services that I liked doing, and they also valued their online presence more. I rebranded my company with this audience in mind.
Halfway through 2016 I accepted a full-time job and put my business on the back burner for a while. By this point I was feeling a little burnt out in my business and the job gave me a much-needed break. Though I was still working freelance jobs on evenings and weekends.
By 2017 I was loving my day job and was thinking that I was interested in pursuing that career a little further before going back out on my own again. In April I started offboarding my clients and shut down my website.
But, company layoffs happened and in August I found myself looking for work. Without any opportunities that really excited me, I decided to return to my dream of being self-employed.
My service offerings are pretty different this time around, as they are largely based on the skillset that I learned in my previous job (Facebook Advertising). I’m also running things pretty differently thanks to the lessons I’ve learned in the past few years. I’ve got some amazing, fun clients to work with and I again feel stoked about my business. I’m really excited to see where the next 5 years take me!