While I don’t do much freelancing anymore, I’m seemingly incapable of existing without a few personal projects happening at all times. Here’s what still exists out of a vast labyrinth of ideas and concepts over the years.
I can’t talk about projects (or anything, really) without mentioning my dogs. Their growing Insta-fame is probably the greatest accomplishment of my adult life. (Is that sad? I feel like it’s maybe a little sad.)
What started out as a single Pekingese puppy with an Instagram account has grown into a mini herd of four strong Peke personalities with a cultlike following. Their website is slightly… tacky right now but I’m working on a redesign. The cobbler’s children never have any shoes, I swear…
If someone had told 2016 Andrea that she’d be driving dogs to photo shoots or spending thousands of dollars on camera equipment, she would have laughed her head off, but I can’t pretend I don’t enjoy it. They keep me entertained in a world that isn’t always very entertaining, and I console myself with reminders that they’re at least slightly cheaper than drugs.
I have a couple of big ideas for the Floofs and their business – oh yes, it’s a formal business now – to come in the back half of 2021 and early 2022. I won’t spoil the surprises just yet, but I can’t wait to be able to share.
Down Zero Shooting Sports
Unfortunately this project is coming to a close thanks to COVID-19, but it was a LOT of fun for the 4 years it lasted.
My husband and I decided to open an outdoor gun range several years ago. We came up with a long list of complaints about the existing options in our area and realized none of them would be difficult to fix. Primarily, we wanted to offer online payments and subscriptions instead of “here, mail us a check” as well as providing high-quality firearms training classes.
The range was a huge part of our lives and we met a ton of amazing people through the classes and memberships we offered. When 2020 shut down the world, though, it took most of our members with it, since they couldn’t find reasonably priced ammunition (and still can’t as of this writing). We’ll be locking the gate for the last time at the end of 2021, though we’ll still use it for our own place to shoot.
This was one of my first website builds where I integrated a custom member dashboard with quick links to the things they’d need to access most. Since then, I’ve implemented it on every other site I’ve built that offered some type of membership, and it always goes over well. This build also included legally binding waivers signed right on the site and quite a bit of custom code to ensure family signups submitted a waiver for each member of the household.
The Daily Bolt
Wow, this is a huge blast from the past, though for the moment it’s still going. I started The Daily Bolt in 2014 as an aggregator site for news related to WordPress and, specifically, the Genesis framework, which is the backbone of every site I’ve built (including this one) since 2011 or so.
A lot has changed since then and StudioPress, the parent company behind Genesis, was acquired in 2018. While Genesis is still out there, a lot of the community members who wrote tutorials and articles about it kind of moved on to other things; it just isn’t quite the same (though Genesis is still hugely popular and deserves to be).
Seven years after creating The Daily Bolt, I still get emails asking how I built the site to pull in articles from other websites. I actually wrote a tutorial about it on my old business blog, which I brought over here when I decided to shut that site down.