In September of last year, after weeks of mulling the idea over, I announced to the staff that as of January 1, HTMLRockstars would be returning to it’s roots.
HTMLRockstars was started as CSSRockstars in December of 2007 as a boutique provider of HTML/CSS. I wanted to write front end code, but without the overhead of design work, and Rockstars is how I made it happen. However, within a few short months business had grown faster than I had anticipated, or even hoped. I had to bring on staff and over the course of that first year I moved more and more into a business role.
This was fine for a while as I proudly watched my baby grow from a one man shop to having staff of 6. Ultimately though, what I loved about Rockstars was no longer what I was doing. Instead of spending my time writing markup I spent my time managing schedules, bookkeeping and payments.
Fast forward back to September of last year, and I had had enough. I needed to get back to coding the way I wanted to code, and do what I enjoyed. Front end development is more than a job for me, it’s a passion, one that I sadly allowed to fizzle for far to long. I made the announcement to the staff as early as possible to give everyone time to find something else, and began slowing business down in preparation for the change.
In October and November I worked with several large clients to move them to a new system. In December I terminated all our advertising, and finally the staff all finished their last days.
January rolled around and the big change came… and went. I went back to writing markup, but business hadn’t slowed down as much as I’d have liked. I designed the new site in late January, but have only now had a chance to launch. The relaunch was important if for no other reason than the change in verbage from “we” to “I”.
I’ve had help from Johann and Matt here and there over the last couple months, both have been kind enough to lend a hand when orders spiked unexpectedly. The new site and order system should reduce or eliminate such spikes as you can now select both page count and turn around on the order form, and the form adjusts based on current load to only accept orders I can process.
The main goal of the new system is to allow me to work more closely with each of you, and provide more control to them for each project, while increasing my accessibility. To that end, several new things are coming over the next 6 weeks…
- Live Chat I’m implementing Olark Live chat to run on the site when I’m a my desk but not deep in code.
- Client Accounts / Logins You’ll soon be able to login to the site to track the progress of your order and manage invoices
- Term Contracts This is something that has often been asked for, but couldn’t be provided before now. You’ll soon be able to order buckets of hours where I can function as a direct member of your team, which comes with a number of perks beside the team integration
I really hope the changes I’m making in the service can provide a better experience for each of you. I’ve been incredibly lucky to have worked with so many of you, and the experience has been wonderful. I’m looking forward to making the rest of this year really rock, and I appreciate your support. Where else could I find the kind of clients who go out of their way to send me awesome stuff like this?
In case you didn’t get that, I’m Topher (ToeFur) and apparently I rock. One of you sent this to me today, and it really made me smile.
Thank you all for being so awesome!