2016 in review and a look forward to 2017

Happy New Year to you all!

DC fireworks
Photo credit: Architect of the Capitol

If 2015 was a year of huge change, then 2016 was more incremental, building on the foundations of 2015. I still tried lots of different things – different gigs, different projects, different tools – but I’ve found creating apps and solving data problems on the Google platform is my sweet spot of skills, experience and enjoyment.

2016 highlights:

On this site

Investing so much time and effort into this site really started to pay off over the course of 2016.

Web traffic chart

Over 2,500 of you have subscribed to my email list and enjoyed a free copy of my ebook: Spice Up Your Sheet Life.

Midway through the year, I passed 100k pageviews, then 150k pageviews and am now close to 200k.

Several posts have garnered some really great commentary from readers, adding tons of value to the original post. This one in particular has 112 comments and counting!

These have been the most popular posts of 2016:

In addition, this post about Google’s new data visualization and dashboard tool, Data Studio, was the most “viral” post of 2016, getting a huge (for me) number of shares and views on the day I published it:

Google Analytics Data Studio tweet

In addition to those posts mentioned above, I also really enjoyed creating this animated data visualization of Washington D.C.’s temperatures since the 1980’s, using Google’s Visualization API:

Animated temperature chart using Google Chart API

Client highlights

Over the past year, I’ve specialized in providing G Suite and Apps Script services to clients, building dashboards, apps and tools to solve problems and save clients time. I’ve really enjoyed these projects and have worked with some great clients. I look forward to continuing into 2017 and focussing even further on custom Apps Script solutions.

In addition, I really enjoyed teaching two more data analytics courses for General Assembly in Washington, D.C.. The students were great in both groups and it’s a real privilege to teach them, and see such rapid progress in 10 weeks.

For private clients, I taught a number of data visualization workshops, focussing on Excel and Tableau, in Minnesota, Virginia and California.

I learnt a ton this year about running my own consulting business.

One of the biggest lessons was one client disappearing off the face of the earth when it came to settling their invoice. Despite repeated calls and emails, I’ve heard nothing. It wasn’t a huge amount of money, but it taught me a valuable lesson about trust, respect and how I price my services.

Want to work with me in 2017? Let me know and I’ll be in touch.

Goals for 2017

January is an exciting time of the year: a chance to set ambitious goals and a strategy for getting there.

The one big goal for last year that I failed to complete was releasing my digital course on building dashboards with Google Sheets and Data Studio. However, I’ve not stopped working on it, and it’ll be even better when I do release it. I’ve now recorded enough material that I’m confident of a launch in Q1 of 2017. Sign up to my email list for news and an early-bird offer when it launches.

Specifically, my goals for 2017:

  • Launch my Google Sheets & Data Studio dashboard course
  • Launch Edition 2 of my free ebook: Spice Up Your Sheet Life, with more interesting tips and tricks for working with Google Sheets
  • Launch two other digital products
  • Make a huge push with Apps Script, to deepen my knowledge & experience, and create detailed articles for this site. One quick way to measure this is to see what my GitHub profile looks like by the year-end, hopefully something more like this:
  • Github Chart

  • Continue to create in-depth articles and tutorials for this site, aiming for 1 – 2 posts a week
  • Continue to provide great service and solutions for my clients, in the G Suite & Apps Script ecosystem

It’s going to take hard work, focus and dedication to achieve all of these goals, but it’s as easy as ABC*

*Always Be Coding

By this, I mean being productive and efficient, always moving forwards and minimizing distractions (beware the Shiny Object Syndrome!). It’s crucial as a freelancer to create efficient workflows and systems, and to stay organized.

Well, that should do it. I better get back to work 😉

Happy New Year and all the best for 2017!

Cheers,
Ben

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