I always enjoy reading other people’s “year-in-review” posts, so I thought I should give it a go myself. 2017 was a hectic year for my business, and this fall was almost too intense!
I had three continuing clients that I worked with throughout the entire year: E.ON, Keystone, and Lingio. This work has ups and downs in terms of how much time I need to devote, but they’re clients that I always dedicate a little time for. If it’s one thing I’ve learned from running a business, it’s wise to take extra good care of your long-term clients!
Spring was a crazy time with E.ON as we completed a full redesign of the product I’ve been working on. I can’t wait to update my E.ON case to reflect the good work we accomplished together, so stay tuned for that update.
After the summer, I was running a bit dry on work so I went to Oslo to talk to Keystone and also travelled to Stockholm to talk to several potential clients. Boy did these trips end up reaping results! Not only did we tweak certain areas of the Keystone websites to convert even better, but I also took on a 50% commitment to lead the UX-design for Thinkable’s biggest client, Apotek Hjärtat, one of Sweden’s largest pharmacies. It’s been an extremely rewarding process to work in a team again (especially with such a great team!) and lead the UX-design for such a large e-commerce website. I’m looking forward to continuing that work in the first quarter of 2018.
Around the same time (September), I also got in touch with Travis Schmeisser and Thomas Petersen, the founders of First Principle in New York. As a newly founded product design studio, they needed help exploring proof of concepts for one of their clients. So on top of my other work, I also did a 50% commitment to them from end of September until the end of 2017. It was a strange, but highly rewarding feeling to work with talented UX-designers like Travis and Thomas!
This was also the year when I made my first non-public investment to a place that’s very close to my heart, Hyper Island. My time there formed me into the person I am more than any other school and introduced me to some of my closest friends and even my wonderful wife. I worked with Hyper Island for many years and it feels great to now be a share holder. In 2018, I'll be back teaching at Hyper Island too!
It's almost 17 years since I attended @hyperisland. It's a place where I've met friends for life, a fantastic network and it's also where I met my wife. Needless to say, it's a place that has brought many great things into my life. Proud to say that I'm now also a (very minor) shareholder! Godspeed :facepunch::skin-tone-3:
As you can see from my Timely report, the final months of 2017 were… intense 😅
Office & Setup
For almost 8 years, I had my office in Malmö. At first, I rented a desk at an agency and then, 5 years ago, I moved my office to Media Evolution City. Although, I loved that space, I became tired of the commute. Also, I had the extra step of dropping off Meta at home for every meeting. It became a hassle that just wasn’t viable for the long run. So in June I moved to my new office that’s just a 5 minute walk from my home! It’s larger and in a couple of weeks I’ll even have a couch here for those midday siesta moments. 😉 Being able to walk home every day and make lunch is a huge improvement to my everyday happiness (as well as Meta’s!).
I’ve also made some changes to my tech setup. I had been using a 13” MacBook Pro TouchBar since it came out with the LG 5k Ultrafine monitor recommended by Apple. I was never really satisfied with either of them. The MacBook TouchBar doesn’t need an explanation as to why, but the LG monitor was great barring the horrible sound quality and the USB-C hub that tended to disconnect my peripherals randomly. It was clear that while sold by Apple as the only supported 5k monitor, it was no Apple product.
So since the end of the year I have a 27” iMac in my office and I’m on a mission to try and do all of my work outside the office on an iPad Pro! I have tried hopping on the iPad train multiple times earlier, but this time I’m forcing myself to use it. One month in and I’m really liking it! Are you using an iPad Pro for work? What are your favorite tips? Email me!
My website saw a +60% increase in traffic in 2017 compared to the year before and my newsletter grew by 20%, both of which I’m extremely grateful for. While obviously the release of Mastering Freelance was a fair amount of the traffic, I did have a couple of blog posts that individually did even better. Here are the top five posts from last year:
- The Future of the UX-designer
- Why Designers Need to Write
- A Redesign
- Chasing Growth
- True Fans or Just Followers?
Personal & Exercise
One of the biggest insights from last year and especially the end of the year was that in order to perform well, I need to regularly exercise. While I’ve always loved running, I found Pilates to be my first choice of exercise.
Just as keeping my body in shape is important, keeping my head on track is even more important. I’ve struggled with anxiety for some time and especially at the end of 2017. The Headspace app really helped keep my mind on the right track and helped me focus on what’s important and let go of what wasn’t. This is something I’ll continue to work on in 2018, but I’m optimistic that I’ll further sharpen my mind and decrease my anxiety.
Watching the XX at last year’s Way Out West was one of my musical highlights.
We didn’t go on any longer trips this past year, but we did manage to go to our favorite spot, the Eden Roc in Antibes no less than three times last year (April, May and September) and since September, I’ve spent every other Wednesday in Stockholm.
My fiscal year ends on last day of April 2018 and I’m hoping I can beat my previous revenue record. Granted, this isn’t always the greatest benchmark of success, but these figures give me the freedom to continue to grow and take on challenging projects. Speaking of that, I have a couple of highly interesting projects lined up that will kick off at the beginning of January.
I’ve set a goal to read and write more in 2018. I’ve just finished the book Sapiens which has spurred so many interesting thoughts. If you haven’t read it already, you won’t regret it. Do you have a book that you’d like to recommend to me? Send me an email and I’ll look into it! I also plan to blog more often even if that means occasionally shorter posts or just links to valuable sources. I have gotten a lot from sharing my insights with all of you and receiving your wonderful feedback.
I’m looking to find a better routine for regular exercise and mindfulness (such a unique thing to say in the beginning of the year!). I’ve started cutting down on meat, soda, and sugary snacks while striving to stay on track on track with these dietary tips. I especially like their advice to treat all beverages with calories like alcohol.
I’m hoping to travel more this year and revisit some old favorites like Paris and London as well as visiting friends more. If you have any suggestions for amazing places to visit, I’d be happy to hear them!
Here’s to a great 2018 🥂