Reconnecting: reflections on self employment

Roof of the Scottish Parliament

It’s now just over six months since I left Edinburgh Napier University and made the switch to full-time self employment as Awdesign Digital. I have come to recognise the many benefits of being my own boss during this time, including:

  • Flexibility: the ability to work whenever and wherever I choose (e.g. home, coffee shops, libraries and offices).
  • Variety: no two days are the same, with different projects demanding different solutions (e.g. website development, graphic design or video production).
  • Convenience: my daily commute has dropped from 70 miles to six feet!
Continue reading “Reconnecting: reflections on self employment”

Small steps and giant leaps: transitioning to self employment

Awdesign business cards

Sometimes in life, change is considered, planned and expected; at other times it takes you by surprise as your personal circumstances shift. The latter happened to me this year as I moved to full time self employment.

I was fortunate, having balanced my main job at Edinburgh Napier University with freelance work as Awdesign for 12 years. My roles in each were largely similar, involving a broad range of digital work like web design and web analytics. This allowed me to utilise skills developed as a freelancer at the University and vice versa.

However, despite working as a freelancer for some 16 years now, I still had gaps in my knowledge on the business side of things that I had to rapidly plug when I left Edinburgh Napier. Below are some of my key learnings over the past few months and resources that I have found useful.

Continue reading “Small steps and giant leaps: transitioning to self employment”

Hotjar: an essential addition to your analytics arsenal

Hotjar logo

I have been using Hotjar in both my freelance and Edinburgh Napier work for about a year. Hotjar is an analytics tool that shows how users interact with web and app content, using tools like heatmaps and recordings.

Hotjar has been available since 2014 and is very simple to use. It offers a wide range of pricing options (including free) depending on the numbers of user visits you want to track and the number of reports you want to run at one time. Continue reading “Hotjar: an essential addition to your analytics arsenal”

Using technology to improve fitness

App icons

I’ve been overweight since I was at high school. Over the years I’ve made various efforts to shift the kilos and improve my fitness with mixed results.

My wife and I follow the Slimming World plan and are seeing positive results. We’ve also both been training for races in a bid to improve our overall fitness.

Losing weight or sticking to an exercise programme can be hard so I thought I’d share some of my experience in case it might help others trying to do the same. Continue reading “Using technology to improve fitness”

Women into Computing section for Edinburgh Napier

Women using computers in the JKCC at Edinburgh Napier

I spent the last few months of 2017 working on a Women into Computing section for the Edinburgh Napier website.

The aim of the project was to promote Computing as an option for those either choosing their subjects when leaving school or considering a career change. As such, the Women into Computing section is aimed at both undergraduate and postgraduate markets. Continue reading “Women into Computing section for Edinburgh Napier”

Harlaw Hydro: a case study in collaborative working

Harlaw Hydro year chart

In my post on flexible working in June 2017 I mentioned work I’d done for Harlaw Hydro. This community-based, crowd-funded hydro electric scheme has a small generator installed at the outflow of Harlaw Reservoir near Balerno, Scotland.

I was involved in the development of the Harlaw Hydro website used to raise awareness of, and funds for, the project.

With the pump in place, they were keen to display the power being generated. Continue reading “Harlaw Hydro: a case study in collaborative working”