I spent a couple hours this evening trying to learn a little more about what I do, how I currently do it wrong, and how I should spend more time learning how to get better at it. Since that title was a little long, they just decided to call it Refresh Dallas.
I wasn’t sure what to expect going in. Was it conference style? Did I need a laptop? Should I wear my glasses and make sure to stick an Apple sticker on my truck?
I didn’t know a single person there, nor did I expect to. Some because I am a little hermit’ish, some because very few of my clients are local, and some because I really haven’t had a lot of nerve to stick my stuff out there in front of my peers. I am what my cousin referred to one time as a person who knows “a little about a lot of things.” I’m not an expert at anything. And I’m not sure yet if I should be concerned.
I was asked this evening by a man named Tall (or Tallen, or Taller, or ‘hey guy I have bad hearing and really thought you called yourself Tall, ironically of which you are’) about what I did and I really didn’t have a good answer. I mumbled a few things but nothing really sounded like I knew. When I made an attempt at de-hermitizing, I asked several others and they all had specific job titles and quick responses. Information Architect. Front-end Developer. Project Lead.
Ever since Tall’s question, I’ve been wondering how it is that I can describe myself when asked again.
I own a business. Some would call me a freelancer. I do work for a handful of other businesses. Some even in my same profession. That would make me a contract worker. I am however, not the best business man. My bookkeeping and record-keeping skills are pretty poor. I don’t really like invoicing cause I question every single one I send out on whether or not I am worth the money I am asking for or if they will be mad at the time it took me to complete their task.
I make websites but as I learn more and more everyday, there are many different roles in website making.
- I design the front-end. The ‘pretty stuff’ as some like to call it. But I know I’m not the best designer. I’m getting better but I’ve never been able to look at a blank canvas and see a Picasso.
- I’m a coder, mostly XHTML/CSS (which are the basics) but am learning a few other tricks along the way. My degree is in CIS, which was a fancy way of saying I learned how to program computers. Which I didn’t. I don’t see the logic a lot of times that others see in how something should work.
- I’m a marketer in the since that I have to portray a message for my client to their clients. But I don’t have any formal training. I thought about reading a book on marketing once. But of course, I didn’t.
- I’m a content writer. Sort of. I don’t know much corporate speak. As you can tell from my writing, it’s broken, often times grammatically poor, and filled with words I made up unknowingly or just cause I needed them. I will tell you thogh that just in the last year or two, I have found out how much I enjoy writing. Not really sure what I can do with that knowledge, but I like it. Liking something doesn’t make you an expert.
I’m a salesperson, in the loosest sense of the word. I’m supposed to be one though. One “no” from a perspective client and I’m good. I’m such a bad salesperson that many times I don’t even ask or mention just cause I feel like I already know what they’re going to say. Maybe I’m just not a fan of confrontation.
I make other things. Like Interactive CD’s. My buddy Rob taught me how. But since my sales skills are so poor, I haven’t really sold any. I also rarely make Virtual Tours. I do it mostly for a free trip to the beach. I can fix computers, but I really don’t like to. I hate computer problems and I really don’t enjoy a stranger’s computer problems any more than my own.
(As I look back over my list so far, it’s a real downer. Not my intention. I’m just trying to figure out what it is I do. If I can figure out what I do, maybe I can figure out how to get better at it.)
Back to the topic, Tall helped me realize tonight that I am probably a jack-of-all-trades type but that isn’t much of an answer when asked what I do. I’m thinking of attending another Refresh Dallas meeting but next time I plan on being equipped. My goal is to develop my ‘elevator pitch.’ I want to be able to describe what I do in the amount of time I would have if I were riding an elevator with an inquiring mind.
For the record, I’m not very good with goal setting/keeping either.