Today is January 1st of 2022 and as 2021 is now officially over, it's time to - like last year - look back a bit and review the past year.
Second year of working for myself
2020 was my first full time year of working for myself. Looking back at 2021, I'm still very happy with my choice to start my own company.
Like last year, my client work mostly consisted of developing custom WordPress plugins and themes - although I also worked on a couple of Laravel projects.
This year was the first time I worked on a project for a client outside of The Netherlands, that was exciting too. This client found me through my open-source work on TailPress - pretty cool.
I count myself very fortunate that I've had another successful year.
Open source contributions
Last year I wrote that I wanted to do more open source work. So, did I? If we were to measure this based on the amount of commits I made, then no: 936 vs 836.
But that is probably not a useful way to measure this. Below I'll go into a little more detail about the things I did.
I released 9 version of TailPress, a Tailwind CSS theme boilerplate for WordPress. TailPress is now by far my most starred repository on GitHub.
The most notable things for TailPress this year include:
- An installer was made which allows you to quickly setup your next WordPress theme project.
- Giving users the option of using Tailwind CLI with ES Build for compiling or Laravel Mix.
- Creating a landing page.
Don't repeat yourself
In most of the WordPress projects I do, I need to create custom settings pages and meta boxes. I noticed I was doing some repetitive work and decided to create packages to save my future self some time.
Working on a new plugin. Wanted to start building the settings page. As much as I love @WordPress, I don't really like the core Settings API. Now working on a package to make this a little easier in the future. #WordPress #php pic.twitter.com/SXbJxGAKJf— Jeffrey van Rossum (@jeffreyrossum) July 30, 2021
Contribute to repositories I use
In my previous year in review, I also stated "I'd love to contribute more to other repositories that I like to use".
Last year I noticed a clear upward trend in the pageviews of my website. This trend continued as you can see below.
I did write a lot less articles this year though. I think this mostly was due too being busy with other things.
One screencast I made was an attempt to start a series of screencasts in which I recreated an existing site with TailPress. I'm afraid part two hasn't been planned yet as I'm not sure if the long form screencasts is for me.
For this year, I'm thinking about creating some more shorter screencasts that answer some FAQ's regarding TailPress.
In last years review, I wrote about Addrow (my SaaS invoicing tool) and the challenge I had with marketing. I wanted to improve on marketing and strictly speaking, I could say I achieved my goal. I did work on Addrow's marketing this year and I think it did improve some things.
But like last year, I'm still not sure what my target audience should be. I can conclude that 'freelancers and small companies' is just to big an audience. There are many invoicing solutions fishing in the same pond, and more often then not - with a bigger budget and team behind them.
I did get some advice from a friend of mine who works in marketing, but that was more focused on website improvements, pricing plans, creating a blog section (also for SEO) among other things. And I did work on most of those things. But the fundamental question is: is there a market for Addrow? And if there is a market, am I offering all the features this market is looking for.
A goal for next year is more concrete: find out if there is a market for Addrow and make a plan to reach it.
Other year in reviews
I love reading other people's year in reviews. If you have written one yourself, please share it with me and I'll list it below if you want to.