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I’ve wanted to write this post for a good few months but knowing it was going to be a long one i’ve been putting it off until it was on my mind too often not to publish.

Simply put, Voltronik is changing and I want the first step in this to be as open as possible for everyone it might affect. To explain why and to what though, I want to give you a bit of background.

A Bit of Background

Voltronik started life as a way for me to pay my way through University. I had just enrolled on a 2-year HND in Electronic Engineering and I wanted to do something that I knew how to do to supplement my savings and student loan. I already had a few people asking me about producing websites for them so I thought that this would be the right way to go. Previous to this, I had mostly worked in retail (as you tend to do in your teens) and then as an IT Administrator in a small archaeological company belonging to my Dad, now a client of mine.

A basic heating system circuit that I designed.

A basic heating system circuit that I designed.

Computing has always been a passion of mine. I’ve used computers from an early age and when I was twelve, I got the chance to build one using parts in an after school club. Back then, it was cheaper to buy the parts and build one than to buy a pre-built one. This, coupled with the upgrade from 56k dial-up to 64k cable broadband at home meant that I had internet in my room and my interest with web design came almost immediately.

‘Jaxx Gaming Grove’

Jaxx Gaming Grove - 16/09/2000

Jaxx Gaming Grove – 16/09/2000

Jaxx Gaming Grove - 19/05/2001

Jaxx Gaming Grove – 19/05/2001

That year I built my first website about retro-gaming. Because of my slow broadband speed, I couldn’t compete with the big sites offering more modern, larger game demos to download so I provided downloads of free and out-of-copyright games that were less than 100KB in size, later moving up to 200KB. These types of games sites used to have thriving communities – does anyone remember ‘webrings’? It was immediately apparent that others had slow connections and were looking for small, fun games to download too and so I started getting monumental amounts of traffic to my site (for the time). Within my first year, I’d had over 100,000 visitors. Shortly afterwards, I started my GCSEs and stopped updating it, eventually taking it offline in around 2002. You can still find references to ‘Jaxx Gaming Grove’ if you look hard enough. I’m not sure exactly where the name came from but at the time, I was thirteen and I liked ‘Basement Jaxx’.

Fast-forward ten-years to working in IT where I had to maintain a small WordPress website which gave me a chance to stretch my web design legs again. After a bit of self-education, I started making sites for anyone I knew wanted one and began my HND in Engineering. Truth be told, the course was not what they described. There was far less ‘learning by doing’ than they advertised and this completely put me off.

Starting Voltronik

After just one-semester, I quit to start Voltronik and I never looked back. Within the first month, I had learnt more, done more and earned more than I had in any previous month in my life. It truly felt great.

One-year down the line and things were ticking over nicely. I was learning about business, producing good work and was generally happy but I wanted bigger, more sustaining, interesting jobs and felt that the best way to go about this was to have a team. I decided to ‘fake it until I made it’ so asked if two friends, one a developer and the other a designer, would be on the Voltronik ‘team’ and feature on the website. They had both just started their own businesses too and I think they were happy for any additional visibility. This made me switch from saying ‘me’ to ‘we’ when talking about the business. From then on, I was uncomfortable as I felt I was advertising the business as something that it wasn’t. Sure, they did some freelance work for me but it just did’t feel right. By changing Voltronik, this is one of the things I hope to correct.

Changing Voltronik

I started Voltronik because I felt web design was the right way to go and it’s web design that I want to continue to do. I love it. It’s everything that I ever wanted to do as a career and, credit where credit’s due, if I hadn’t have started my HND and disliked it, I would never had started my business. So simply put: I don’t want a team. I didn’t start Voltronik to be anything more than me and I certainly don’t want to give credit to a collective entity that I concocted because I feared that larger businesses wouldn’t hire me (something I now know isn’t true). I’ve worked very hard on my business, learning design and development, putting in the hours, worrying, attending conferences, and waking up in the middle of the night with an idea in my head over the past 3-years and I feel i’ve earned that attribution.

The other thing is that I do more than just web design and I don’t feel these parts of my life receive enough ‘air time’ on this website. I started off in the industry of general web design but now I work solely with WordPress and have released a couple of plugins. I want to write blogs from my position instead of the position of a company where you’re more restricted. I also co-founded ‘Bath: Hacked’ with five other people and I recently joined ‘Tidy Repo’ as a co-owner and whilst these aren’t directly linked to the reason I started the business, they are part of me, they’re things that I love and they add value to the work that I do in Voltronik.

Bath: Hacked

We had over 50-attendees to the first Bath: Hacked event during a weekend in March 2014

Conclusion

So with that all said, Voltronik is changing:
Voltronik is not a team, it is me.
Voltronik is more than just a one-man WordPress web design agency, it is my collective workings that add value to each facet of my own, hand-crafted career.
…and Voltronik will receive a name change to reflect this, just as soon as I work out something meaningful.

I have a whole set of posts about to go up about various things so if you’d like to follow me at this stage, please subscribe to this blog or follow me on Twitter.

Thanks and Merry Christmas.