Happy Birthday to Studionashvegas! And *Whew* What a Year!
Today marks the first anniversary of studionashvegas. A lot of people don’t know my story – they just know that I’m some guy on the Internet who does design, social media, and fools around with WordPress to the point of obsession. But, it’s actually a really funny one. Want to know how it all started?
I was fired.
I was an employee with the Tennessee Baptist Convention from June to around Thanksgiving. I actually enjoyed the work – I was a print designer then, mostly doing postcards and brochures. I did some pretty cool stuff (and I still like doing the print elements even though I’ve mostly moved away from print). Thanksgiving came and went, and the TBC had their annual budget meeting. Needless to say, budget meetings are never a good thing, and I ended up with a month’s salary out on my butt before Christmas.
Truth is, it was really a motivating factor to go out and start my own thing. I’d been kicking the idea around for some time, and the TBC allowed for freelance work, so I had seriously considered it for a while… I just didn’t have the time to do it properly.
Getting fired was a great motivator and time-freer.
When I was let go, I went home that night and researched some good names for my new business. Studionashvegas wasn’t taken (thank God!) so I bought my domain ($1.99) secured hosting ($6.99/month) and started a twitter account (those were the only expenses, minus business cards, that I had to spend).
The latter would be the catalyst for the business’ success.
I started following people in Nashville who were on twitter to try and make some contacts here in town. Not being from around here, I thought it would be nice to start making friends and getting to know the locals.
If you don’t know dave, he’s one of the Twitter Elite of Nashville (having written, videotaped, and spoken on his love of Twitter). I followed him and learned about the Geek Breakfasts that had just started up. I missed the first one, but managed to drag myself out of bed at 7:30 AM for the second one. I’ve missed two since then (because of baby and… well, baby… lol) but most of my close Nashville friends were met there, and I still love the chance to keep up with them every month. Being a designer in a room full of marketers is pretty lucrative, especially when you know the marketing too. There was a point where I had done work for a lot of the Geek Breakfast attendees. Now, there’s so many people that attend every month, I’m lucky if I even make it over to talk to everyone.
About this same time, Scott Schwertly over at ethos3 was looking for some graphic work. His wife Cara worked with my wife at the time, and so I freelanced for them, eventually getting hired by them part-time to fill in some gaps.
From the Geek Breakfast, I was introduced to @RemarkableWit (Marcus Whitney), who was helping Dave put together the first PodCampNashville. They had ran a BarCampNashville before, but that was before I had gotten into the scene. I attended, and spoke at, PodCampNashville, and it was apparent that studionashvegas was starting to at least gain some traction. Scott and I parted ways and studionashvegas became my official full time gig.
It’s been almost a year since then, and a lot has happened in that year:
- I helped Andrew Chadwick get his restaurant’s web presence up and running
- I created business cards that got people talking!
- I gave Marcus Whitney a business card that really “hit the mark”
- I helped a Canadian social media guru get her start, and her business cards became collectable items.
- I found my love of WordPress (again)
- I helped an author and speaker get his voice online.
- I became an official consultant for Automattic (further raising the obsession level for WordPress).
- I helped a mission trip get video, pictures, and text out to the masses.
- I travelled to Memphis, Cincinnati, and Birmingham to speak on my love of WordPress.
- I tele-travelled to Toronto to help a fellow Mitch explain social media.
- I surpassed 1,000 followers on twitter… then 1,100… then my friends at church thought I was nuts when it became 1,200 (and yesterday… 1,300).
- I had a son… who’s flickr page has more photos on it than mine does.
- and I helped my wife do the same thing for herself as I am doing for me.
So much stuff has happened it’s hard to really quantify it as the most important. All of it has changed my life, and made me who I am today. To all of my clients, friends, acquaintances, twitter followers, and anyone who’s listened to me speak either in person or on Ustream: thank you. I couldn’t have done this without you.
My plans for the coming year:
- (finally) release my first free WordPress theme
- write a book on WordPress
- learn AJAX, Flex, and some other cool languages
- learn Japanese, an even cooler language
- Start, and maintain, a podcast
It’s a busy year ahead, and I can only hope that I enjoy it a quarter of the amount I’ve enjoyed this one. Thanks again everyone!