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20 Lessons from the last decade

Happy 10th Birthday to The Forge Web Creations!

Actually, I’ve been a free agent for a bit longer than that but my CC was officially registered a decade ago.

So, who woulda thunk, eh? A chickie with no formal training, no qualifications, no mentor and no investors decided to start her own web agency and actually made it work w00t!

I guess I’ve come rather a long way, although I very rarely stop to look back at that progression, I tend to focus on what’s happening right now and how I can improve going forward. But I know that I have certainly learnt a lot over the last 10 years …

In no particular order:

  1. Get everything in writing. Always.
  2. Very little goes according to plan – be prepared to adapt, especially in this fast-paced industry.
  3. Play to your strengths – focusing on your weaknesses is soul-sapping and counter-productive.
  4. Hire experts to fill any gaps in your knowledge base and/or skill set.
  5. Surround yourself with talented, motivated people and treat them like gold.
  6. Don’t keep all your eggs in one basket – diversify at the earliest opportunity.
  7. Undertake to work with clients on your own terms.
  8. Managing client expectations correctly, from the beginning, will save you a lot of unnecessary stress and trauma later on.
  9. Saying “no” is completely liberating.
  10. Don’t work for or with people that you clash with – the relationship will not survive.
  11. Look after your existing clients – it’s easier to up sell than cold sell.
  12. Word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing tool in your artillery.
  13. Admit when you’ve made a booboo and then fix it. It can lead to unexpected doors opening.
  14. Making tough decisions is part of the package. Deal with it.
  15. Never undertake spec work – you’ll set a dangerous precedent that will come back to haunt you.
  16. Most meetings are a total waste of time.
  17. Backup your data regularly.
  18. There will always be someone else cheaper, faster and better than you so position yourself to add unexpected value.
  19. Under promise and over deliver – exceed all expectations.
  20. Honesty and integrity will serve you well.

And guess what? The learning process never ends! In fact, the more I learn, the more I realize how little I know. That’s incredibly humbling!

So … 10 years! That’s quite a milestone. Here’s to another 10 and many, many more 😀

Apparently not …

Nope. It seems like no-one wants a foot in the proverbial door.

Strangeness. I’m normally inundated with CV’s and at the moment, there’s NOTHING.

Which seriously sucks because with 40 new sites coming in each week, we really DO need new people!

Well, I’m not going to panic. These things always have a way of working themselves out – the right person (or people) will come along when the time is right.

Until then, I’ll keep grinding away 😐

If you know of anyone just starting out the magical world of the WWW, please would you be so kind as to point them towards our job posting?


So you want to work for me, huh?

If you’ve spotted my tweets about me looking for new talent at The Forge Web Creations, you might want to know a little more about what the work entails in particular, and about working for me in general.

Firstly, let me just say upfront that this is NOT sexy work. This is entry-level, basic front-end development. You’ll be trained to work on one of my personal pet projects, the Cape Stay Accommodation Guide (and its associated websites). It’s a simple site and the work is relatively easy but the volumes are high, deadlines are fierce and quality is critical.

On that note (quality), you should know right away that my standards are demanding and I expect only the very best from my team. There’s no room for sloppy work here. I’ve spent 10 years building up a solid reputation for great service and it’s important that everyone in my team understands this and applies it to all aspects of their day to day duties.

The company is small – there are currently 7 of us working on site (at my home) and another couple working remotely. For this reason, you should be comfortable working in close proximity to other people in an intimate and casual environment. Oh, and you should like animals, ‘cos I have 6 of them.

Although our workplace is “homely” and we have a lot of fun, I like to think that we are all thoroughly professional. At the end of the day, we have to make sure that our clients are overjoyed with our service and that takes hard work. I never expect anyone to work overtime, in fact, I discourage it. I believe that everyone should pursue work/play balance to remain happy and motivated. I can’t have my team exhausted and miserable, that just won’t do.

My team is my most precious asset so I invest in my people and look after them as well as I can. In return, I expect each and every one of them to be committed to the continued success of the business.

I’m looking forward to receiving a bunch of promising CV’s soon. You know, I actually get so many CV’s sent to me all the time and I tend to just glance over most of them unless there’s something that really grabs my attention and impresses me. If someone writes a personalized covering letter, tells me why they want to work for me and explains what they can bring to the business, I’ll take notice. Just saying …

Here’s the post advertising the position: Junior Website Designer/Developer.

You can only do so much

Today is not going to go down as a ripper.

Unfortunately, I’ve lost a team member. He resigned last week, just prior to a disciplinary hearing and this morning I decided to pay him out for his notice period so that he could leave immediately and receive no further blemish on his record.

That was a tough choice as it means that I am now minus a staff member just as we’re heading into our craziest 3 months of the year. The slack obviously needs to get picked up on that side of the business and yours truly is going to have to work her butt off to make sure we stay on top of things! I foresee some long days ahead …

But quite honestly, it’s all for the best. In my opinion, the physical and mental stress of dealing with additional work is preferable to the debilitating emotional strain of dealing with one team member who no longer wants to play ball. And the effect it has had on the rest of my team, the ones who are dedicated, passionate and excited about their work, has been excruciating to watch.

But it’s over now and we can all get back to working as a unified force.

I’m really sad that it’s come down to this and ended on a bit of a sour note with this guy, but he had months and months of hand-holding, coaching, warnings and everything else we could think of to turn things around and give him every opportunity to sort himself out. Regrettably, not everyone wants to be helped and that’s just the way it is.

So … that’s where we’re at. I don’t have time to hire a new person and train them up – not now – and I’m bracing myself for 3 months of blood, sweat and tears!

Long time no blog


Probably because absolutely *nothing* interesting is going on right now. I’ve hit a serious slump and I’m thoroughly bored with my life. Jeez, I need to get out and find a frigging LIFE! I mean, it’s just occurred to me that my car is now just over a year old and I haven’t even driven 9000kms yet – and that includes a trip to Plett and back. Pathetic, really.

So … quick catchup (if you can stand the dullness of it all) …

Son#1 is out the house now – for good this time, it seems. I’m ok with that. I’ve made peace with it. He’s 18 now and I have to let go. It’s entirely his own choice and I think he’s old enough to make the best of it. He’s bunking with friends for now, until he can find a place of his own. I’ve made arrangements with the X for him to pay over Son#1’s portion of maintenance to him directly, to pay for rent and I’m giving R250 petrol money, R500 for clothes and a monthly grocery shop (which is about R1500). It’s setting me back a little but I don’t want Son#1 working while he’s in matric.

I miss him.

Work-wise, things are pumping, as usual. Here’s a sneaky peak at some stuff we’re busy with:

I really should make a start on revamping this site – I feel like SUCH a fraud having a blog that uses somebody else’s template! Eeek.

I’ve kinda stopped watching TV, apart from Monday nights – Survivor, Lost and House night! I’m PVR’ing all the Lost episodes and one of these days I’m going to have a marathon catch up. I do this because I’m far too impatient to wait a whole 7 days between episodes hehe 🙂

Instead of TV, I’ve been reading like a demon. I’ve always loved books and reading but I’ve not been reading as much as I like to recently and now I’ve taken to re-stocking my library and spending loads of time inside my books. Escapist, me.

Other than that, I’ve nothing to report. Seriously. It’s all pretty hum drum and uninspired *yawn*


“Only boring people are bored” … ? I’m in trouble!