About Wicked Web Designer
I come from very humble beginnings growing up in a small town in the south west of England...
I didn’t really know what I wanted to do with my life, but I knew it would have something to do with computers and business.
I was worried it might sound a bit rude...
The very first website I ever work on was for an engineering company on the same technology park where I worked designing tracking equipment for constabularies; originally, I was just asked to give my advice on the quality and functionality.
But instead of giving a list of what was wrong, I was worried that might sounds a bit rude, I explained what I would have done differently and why…
He got pretty excited with all of the new options on the table that he’d never even thought of before and that’s when he threw me the challenge; if I was able to create a website that was as amazing as I’d just described, its easy to add some embellishments when describing something, he would pay me double!
Well within a month I took the finished site to him and he was ecstatic! The first thing he did was instantly pay me, which through me back a bit as the business I was currently in, you were lucky if you got paid within 30 days!
I have a Wicked Web Designer for you!
The second thing he did was ring a colleague right in front of me; I remember this as clear as day, as on the phone he was saying, “Hey, if you still need that website doing, I have a Wicked Web Designer for you!” and the name has stuck ever since.
From that day forth I was a freelance web developer; I had every intention from the get-go of making this a fulltime business, but it was many years before this actually happened.
Since I had started as a freelancer, most of my work came from web development firms, who in-turn would get their business from Marketing agencies; that’s just how things were back then. But slowly over time, as websites became more mainstream, we started to get more and more clients coming directly.
I would say things started to pick up properly from about 2003, and at the very pinnacle, we had over 84 staff and were responsible for over 2,500 websites!
Once the financial crisis hit however, we had no choice but to downsize. Initially, I thought it would be the same as any other recession, which usually means customers want to pay little to no money and we would just have to ride out the storm offering complimentary services for a residual income to at least break-even whilst we were waiting for the financial circumstance to improve.
I spent most of my time with my nose in Contracts or Anylizing Gantt Charts!
Not only was it longer than I had ever envisaged, but the straw that broke the Company’s back, was the sheer volume of customers that were going bankrupt and leaving us to cover their costs.
Well I had to go back to being a freelancer after spending three years as a project manager; actually, more like a project manager’s project manager where I spent most of my time with my nose in contracts or analyzing Gantt charts.
Being a freelancer again after three years, it’s not so much that you lose your skills, but you update and revise your skills as you go along and I had a lot of catching-up to do. The first few months were hard, as everything took a little longer than it should do. But my clients were prepared to accept longer delivery times, as long as the finished price was not effected and for that I am eternally grateful.
Within a year, not only were my skills back to where they should be, but the constant working, constant learning and the evolution of technologies increased the opportunities out there significantly. I can say these were difficult times, but they were also incredibly enjoyable and I learnt a lot.
I also took this time to reflect on what we had achieved and I remember when we were discussing the salaries in India that although lower than the UK, the salaries were high compared to other jobs out there; this was down to the overall cost of living and that got me thinking...
Having no need to be in the UK and having a vocation that allowed me to work remotely, I took advantage of my position and started traveling the world and pitched for work in any country that spoke English!
Ten years later, I’be had the pleasure of living in more countries than I can count on both hands and have customer in the UK, the US, Canada and Australia.
I’m constantly asked “Why don’t you set-up a new company again? Why are you still a freelancer?” Well the truth is I have! It’s just freelance work allows me to ensure that my skills and my knowledge never become stale again…
My name is Darren Thompson, welcome to my journey.