The first of what I hope will become a weekly blog. I want to use this as a forum to air what I’m thinking about, talk about new things that I’m working on, and hopefully allow you to get to know who I am a better, and why am I am like I am.
This one is a bit longer than it will be in the future, but it does cover eight months, so, you know, sorry.
I started MaadWeb in 2019 after seventeen years working as an Industrial Engineer for a motor company. In year seventeen, I was given a choice – move to Luton, or leave. So, I left. Now, I don’t know much about Luton, (and what I do know I learnt from 24 Hours in Police Custody) so I’m not casting aspersions, but it’s just a long way from where I currently live. So, you know, sod that. I can’t remember anyone saying ‘Bye’. Or ‘Thank you’.
I was deeply unhappy working in that place. I hadn’t grown up with the ambition to be an Industrial Engineer, or even work in the motor trade, but, like many people, I found myself on a conveyer belt. Once the money starts coming in, it is VERY hard to get off that belt. That job in particular rubbed up against some of my personal values. For those that don’t know, an Industrial Engineer’s prime purpose is to improve productivity – to get more out of people for less. Great idea, but not so great when that involves making people work harder. I already felt that the folk working there were working hard enough (in most cases), so I tried to make the way they worked smarter. Layouts, tools, positioning – these things became my currency. This way seemed better than trying to flog people harder.
Working in this way helped me to exercise the critical, analytical, right-side of my brain, and this is the part of the job that I enjoyed. It was the first job since leaving university that had actually worked my grey matter and it felt good. It had taken seven years of relatively quick progression through the company to get to this stage. Seven years of working in different roles, exercising different skills – personal, strength, planning, customer service – but never really using my noggin. I enjoyed this part of the job.
The part I didn’t like was the ‘grind’. Waking up at 6am every morning, rolling in at 5pm. Being tired all the time. Not spending quality time with the family. Missing out on the kids growing up. Being a grumpy misery that sucked the joy out of life for the people around me. I yearned for a change. I wanted the freedom of working for myself. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but in my mind, not spending 90 minutes a day stuck in a traffic jam would make my life infinitely better. It had to, right?
At this point, I should let you know that I’ve always considered myself to be a creative. A lifetime of playing in bands and messing around on Photoshop should be all the proof you need. I had long-held ambitions of writing a book (don’t we all?) and even longer-held ambitions of being a rock star (I was in a signed band once!). However, after working all day, the idea of travelling to Pontefract and back to do a gig, only to have to wake up at 6am the following morning, became increasingly less attractive and felt more and more like a chore. This was the part of my life that I should be enjoying, it shouldn’t have felt like this. What if I didn’t have to wake up at 6 the next day??
So anyway, I was given a choice – Luton or leave. I saw this as the opportunity I needed! Now I could work for myself. Now I could kill the part of my life that I disliked and expand the part that made me happy.
I’d always enjoyed creating websites and had made a few for different bands that I’d been in, and also helped family and friends with their sites when they’d had issues, so starting a web design company was the obvious step. I toyed with a few different ideas before settling on this, though – one idea was of selling eco-friendly, multi-use cleaning/laundry products. I’ve always been a bit of a hippy and this idea appealed to my tree-hugging, green side , but I was talked out of it by my better half. Probably for the best, in hindsight.
Anyhow, July 2019 came. I left my job, gave myself a week off to enjoy by myself in the sun, and then the school summer holidays started. Let me tell you, trying to start a business whilst having two bored (despite seemingly owning every gadget in the world) kids in the house is very difficult. Virtually impossible, I’d say. I knew I’d have to make it work in the future, but there was still so much for me to learn, and working for myself from home (my dream, remember) wasn’t conducive to this. I wished away that six-week holiday so I could truly get stuck into MaadWeb once the kids had gone back to school.
Once the kids had returned to school, I started trying to get MaadWeb off the ground and get more customers. I was kept busy with my video-to-digital conversion, building my own site and a couple of regular monthly website maintenance customers, but I still had spare time for more work. I started to step up my exercising (which I’d neglected for about a year), and started to learn the piano (again – one day I will master it). I realised the last year in my full-time job had been super busy (60+ hour weeks regularly) and I hadn’t been looking after myself physically or mentally. Now I had the time and the inclination to do both, and it was great.
Around November 2019, I identified an issue I had, an obstacle if you like. It was one I must overcome. I needed (and it pains me to say this) a schedule. I was so used to the ‘grind’ (as I called it earlier) – that thing that I desperately wanted out of – that I found it difficult to adapt to not having one. I had to invent a new ‘grind’. My ‘grind’. I realised that I needed a schedule, a strict one. I can’t operate without one. Only by working this way could I make sure that I can concentrate enough; put 100% effort in; make the most of my time for myself and my clients; do the best possible job I could for my customers, and give the best representation of myself.
I felt that I’d got my ‘grind’ nailed on by about February. I was working smarter, not harder (see my Industrial Engineer transferable skills coming into play here). I had freed up more time, and I was happy about the way things were going. I was ready to step up MaadWeb up to the next level, starting in March 2020.
That went well…
“ I am a self-employed plasterer who wanted to advertise my business on Google. I contacted MaadWeb to find out my options. I found Adam very helpful over the phone, we arranged a meeting at my property and from there I was given the advice I needed. I made my decision on what I wanted and he put everything together for me. I am now advertising my services on Google. I found Adam to be very professional at his job and I am very pleased with the outcome. He told me to not hesitate to contact him if I needed to make any changes on the listing on Google or a website build. Thank you so much! ”
“ I've known Adam for a few years and he did a great job proof-reading and tidying up my site. It looks great now! ”
“ Working with Adam was a pleasure. In developing the website, Adam added lots of value and was able to recreate our vision. The process was very efficient, helping us launch additional services quickly. The finished site is high quality and really cost effective. We are looking forward to continuing to work with Adam on upcoming projects and would highly recommend Adam's skills and services without hesitation. ”
“ Maadweb have been amazing in converting some old memories onto modern digital media. I am now looking forward to designing a website with these stars! ”
“ Thanks for all the DVDs and stick. I’ve viewed several and lots of happy memories.Thank you for all your work ”
“ Very friendly and helpful as one video cassette was broken in about 20 places he managed to retrieve what he could and loaded throughout.. ”
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