2014: You Blew Our Minds

Yes, it's time for that retrospective blog post. 

But this year is worth taking stock of. It was an amazing year both personally and professionally. First and foremost: I started this business. Yes, I had been freelancing and consulting for several years before this, but the act of giving this "thing" a name, putting real thought into my branding and identity and then holding it up above my head for everyone to see was pretty major. And I learned something during this process - believing in your vision makes believers out of others. 

I quit a stable job to pursue this business full time and that was a real leap of faith to go from a steady paycheck to the inconsistently terrifying nature of total self-employment. But it paid off, in many ways - including, but certainly not limited to, money. 

The fruit of this labor can be easily summed up by the projects and people I've had the pleasure of working with. 

Website Content

The Chop Shop wrote, edited, organized, revised, wrote, rewrote, rethought, agonized over and eventually published content for over 20 different websites. Some websites were from the ground up, such as Refreshed or Wise Owl, others were website "renovations" where existing content had to be reorganized and rewritten, such as Corgibytes and RIC Design build

   Sometimes content can be pretty!


Sometimes content can be pretty!

 

Blogs

With a ton of help from our on-call blog writer, Molly, we wrote just under 200 blogs for our clients this year including the TLC KitchenChesapeake Montessori School, and South of Belmar

  This blog got South of Belmar a sweet, complimentary Perfect Bar package in the mail! 

This blog got South of Belmar a sweet, complimentary Perfect Bar package in the mail! 

Emails

We put together several dozen newsletters and email marketing campaigns through both Mail Chimp and Constant Contact for clients like A/E Clarity. A/E Clarity attributes about half of their training sign ups to their email marketing campaigns and can see the direct results of these campaigns by tracking link clicks and registrations. 

  Email platforms such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact make it easy to track real results.  

Email platforms such as Mail Chimp and Constant Contact make it easy to track real results. 

Websites

Although building websites is not our primary focus, we were able to provide a handful of clients some website services this year, as well as providing the content for these sites. RefreshedWise Owl Resale ShopCrossFit Excursion and Ghent Craft Beer Festival were all sites we built from the ground up on the Virb or Wordpress platforms. We are also in the process up wrapping up our largest website project to date - a Drupal website and payment platform built for Dominion Law Associates. More to come on that soon! 

  We loved working on this site, built on the Virb platform, with Shari of refreshed. 

We loved working on this site, built on the Virb platform, with Shari of refreshed. 

Specialty Projects

Some projects (and clients) just don't fit into a box. These projects are special, one-of-a-kind things that we love and that challenge us. Our favorite example of that this year are the brand archives we did for American-made champion, Roaring Pines. They challenged us to write "Smithsonian-style, archival quality content" for their brands, and we did just that. 

  Content fit for a museum

Content fit for a museum

Collaboration

It would be foolish to think that all of these projects can be done alone or in a vacuum. So many were the results of collaboration with other professionals, many of whom I am lucky enough to call friends. Website content and design collaborations were done with Campfire & CoGenesis Graphic Design and Artsmith Media as well as various other designers, developers, writers and creative folks. Thanks, friends. 

What's Next?

When I went and applied for a business license and registered my trade name just 9 months ago, I could not have imagined where this company would be today. And I cannot imagine where it will be this time next year, and that's a good thing, because my imagination just isn't big enough for this thing yet.

Bring it on, 2015.