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Zahid Karakaya · Updated 26 July 2021

A Year In Review (Frontend Developer)

I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve sat down to write a yearly review. I’ve got a chunk of time and felt compelled, so here we are.

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This will be both a professional and personal review of my 2021 year. TLDR: It was amazing, fulfilling, loving, eye-opening, character building, stressful and hard work. All at the same time.

Business

I turnover quite as much from my freelancing business this year as I did in the previous year. 37.5% more in fact. I put this down to three main factors:

  • I've had multiple quality customers
  • All my “spare” office time has been focused on personal development.
  • Being way pickier about the projects I work on and the clients I work with.

Coding continues to invigorate me in general.

I find it empowering to know that I can build out any of the ideas that come to my head.

I love that there’s always more to learn.

At this moment in time, I can’t imagine myself ever working outside of the digital.

During the last quarter of 2021, I’ve been taking the initial steps toward making some career-based adjustments.

I’ve been working for myself for over four years. During this time, I’ve become pretty good at it.

My interest in the business of freelancing, efficiency as a solo business owner, and digital marketing have always been high.

It’s a topic I’ve studied profusely and I attribute the success of my freelancing business to this.

My experience and studies have brought along a skill set enabling me to freelance as a web developer to a high level of success. I’m super thankful for this and grateful for everyone who has helped forge me along the way.

I’m a big believer in passing on knowledge. Everyone wins when we share expertise.

I accepted a full-time position

This might be the biggest news of all. I still feel like a freelancer cause position is fully remotely, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t also itching for a way to get myself out of the house to be around some real, live people every now and then.

So, here we are: I’m now a full-time Front End Developer at PurpleBox Inc.

I believe that It’s a great way to maximize all of the knowledge I've gained after years of being a freelance developer!

Life

My life has changed quite a lot this year and I’m changing as a person.

I don’t believe that you have to be the same person you always were. You can adapt to your circumstances and sometimes, quite simply change because you want to change.

As I’m always trying to better myself in business, I’m always trying to improve as a person.

Finding a client is stressful. Getting a payment is stressful. Digital is bloody hard work.

In my continued quest for balance as a solo business owner, I owe a lot to my friends and parents as a whole.

I’m privileged to have their continued backing, guidance, and support. This year and in years gone by.

I made way more space for interests outside of work

One of my lifelong passion is music. I actually played in a band during my college years as the main guitarist, and playing guitar was a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember—until it wasn't.

This year I finally realized it was something I missed desperately, so I took action. I improved my classical guitar skills during quarantine days.

I moved to İzmir

I hate to say it, but when you live in a bigger city there are just more work opportunities, period. Events, meetings, networking, collaborations. Yes, I’ll have to pay more to live in a big city, but I’m hoping that what I get out of it will be worth it in the long run.

With so many more creatives living in İzmir, I’m hoping there will be a lot more opportunities to collaborate. In general, there is just so much more creative energy in İzmir — everything from the restaurants and shops and hotels to events taking place constantly. Everything in İzmir just buzzes with creativity.

Wrap Up

If people told me what I’d achieve in the last couple of years, back in 2017, I wouldn’t have believed them.

In 2019, I had my second best year as a freelancer, I made a big jump.

In 2021, my freelancing business had its most successful year ever.

I started a full-time job in a company that has awesome people.

But primarily, life has never been so fulfilling.

Continual improvement is important to me. It’s something I’ll always strive for. I’m driven like that.

Nonetheless, I’ve found it’s also important to take on board perspective in equal measures.

Sometimes you can get so lost chasing the dream that you fail to remember you’re already living it.