I like to work when the world is sleeping and share while the world is at work

—Austin Kleon, from his book Show Your Work

This is me as well. I feel most productive when I’m cranking away at a blog post, photography project or design project late on a Friday or Saturday night. ‘Share while the world is at work’ was a bit of lesson for me – as I haven’t always thought about the time of day I’m sharing via twitter, facebook, or instagram.

Family photo

It’s that time of year again: to see where I’ve been and where I’m going. This has become an annual tradition: 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014. And now for 2015…


  • Paid off 3 debts leaving just one debt plus the house left to pay off!
    • Paid off last student loan. We now have no credit card debt or student loan debt.
  • Sold our house for lots of profit and bought a beautiful, new home.
  • Continued following the principles from Getting Things Done – including:
    • Weekly review of projects and tasks to ensure I know the next task on every project and that my head is empty (see next point)
    • Constantly keep my head empty of things to remember – by putting them on lists in Wunderlist (with due dates & reminders)
  • Wrote 2 Design Myth articles: Put it above the fold & Show me some mockups, then I’ll sign the contract
    • I launched this website in 2014 after years of frustration surrounding outsider perception of the design industry.

Photo shoots from 2015

Creative Improv

  • Worked with 15 clients (Including many mini-projects for past clients – retaining clients has been great.)
  • 37% decrease in sales from 2014 (which matches my 2012 sales). Reason: new baby – but no regrets about this.
  • Tripled the number of photoshoots I completed for clients from 2014. I did 6 photoshoots this year! See some of the photos here.
  • Photoshoots and stock photography royalties made up 11% of my total sales.
  • Completed fun & fulfilling projects like the many photoshoots as well as the website and portraits I completed for First Baptist Church in Kirksville
    • aka: Fewer projects that I was just ‘meh’ about.

ITS website

Full-time Job

  • Redesigned the ITS department website. This wasn’t just any redesign. It was a 6-8 month, extensive process. I utilized a content inventory, analytics, and other data to build a case for a redesign as well as define real problems with the current website (based on data). I also made the case for WordPress over other website building tools. From there, I began designing in the open and getting client input on every piece of the design. See the redesigned website!
  • Attend An Event Apart – a web design conference in Washington DC – my second in 3 years!

What I shipped in 2015

Seth Godin talks a lot about shipping (or launching & putting things into the public). He is a big proponent of, ‘ship early and ship often.’ Meaning – if you have a project that you’re waiting until it is just right to launch – push through and launch it now. In 2010, Seth Godin challenged his readers to think about what they shipped the previous year. I think this is a great way to hold my own feet to the fire and assess what I launched/shipped in the last 12 months. Here is what I shipped in 2015:


f4.5 – 1/60 – ISO 400 – 50mm lens with 2 lens extension tubes (for a closer, more macro-type image)

Macro flower

1/180 – First photo using a Pentax 80-200mm lens from the 80’s. I purchased an adapter to use this lens on my Canon camera. The focus and aperature are all manual – but the results are stunning. I love the background effect I get – the background was the neighbor’s yards.

f8.0 – 1/180 – Speedlight flagged off coming from back left. Mini soft-box as reflector on front right. Second speedlight unmodified aimed at background.

f8.0 – 1/180 – Speedlight with no modifier coming from below and behind subject.

f4.0 – 1/180 – Speedlight with blue gel below table aimed at background.