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Bryan Monzon

websites & triathlons

Starting at Zero

I’ve always had ideas and dreams of being a business owner. I’ve always thought I have the brains for running a business. I see strategies in my head clearly and can handle adversity fairly well.

In addition, I have some useful skills building interfaces on the web and with WordPress to create processes for customers that are crucial for business. Want to hook up a payment gateway with an order form? No problem. I can do that easily.

All those skills are great, but they’re worthless and time is just wasted if you don’t have customers coming to your door. I’m at ground zero with my first real business, WP Setup. It’s a little scary.

I feel like it’s thinking you know how to swim, but having never been to a pool, you just don’t know if you can actually swim until you jump in.

I think I’ll be fine. It will be tough not having a ton of time but I’m ok with that. I need to push forward and do this. I don’t want to make other people money. I want to provide for myself, my family and hopefully find success.

Why so quiet?

I posted recently about focus. The truth is, I still struggle staying focused.

I’ve started a couple of business ideas. One is becoming an actuality and than the other is just an idea I had on the site. I’ve started WP Setup and am working to gain some traction on it. Right now, we’re just populating content and writing blog posts.

Originally WP Setup was just going to be setting up WordPress sites for people. After a lot of thought, this isn’t sustainable. Supporting WordPress sites, is. For a recurring subscription fee we can do plugin and theme updates quite easily. We can even do a lot of 30 minute tasks as well.

We’ll see where things go. I’m trying to keep my mind on that, planning a wedding and my day job. Obviously, my fiancĂ© is my priority. The other two are fighting pretty hard right now. At the moment, the day job wins. I’m hoping to change that soon. I think I need a change of scenery.

My Struggle with Focus

I’ve always struggled with focus. I remember day dreaming in primary school when I should have been paying attention. Even throughout college I struggled with maintaining focus. Even at work today I struggle with keeping my mind clear of the dreams and aspirations of the future and rarely do I stay long in the present. I suppose it’s how I’m wired. But I don’t think that reason holds much weight, generally.

Dreams without action, stay dreams. The process of translating the dreams of the future into actionable items today is the difference maker between those that are extremely successful and those that reach a point of satisfaction.

While there is nothing inherently wrong with being content, I truly admire those that have the sense of being satisfied. Personally, I want to always move in a direction that is beyond where I’m at now. If I’m a good designer, I want to be great. If I’m a good developer I want to be even better.

I think the desire to get better was primarily learned through sports. Growing up I had great coaches who always challenged me to be better in the details. It was never just “good play!” It was “good play, Bryan! Next time position feet like this so that you can easily do (something else)”. There was a lot of positive critiques that allowed me to accept instruction and realize that I’m never done getting better.

There have been many iterations of this site. Originally it was just a portfolio site for my terrible work. Then it turned into a landing page that directed you to contact me by email. Lately I’ve only been doing WordPress development, so I don’t have much in the way of designs to post. About a year ago I thought I’d start blogging often, but I couldn’t honestly write more often than once a month. My struggle, is focus.

I still want to blog. It helps me sort out my thoughts but I don’t want it to be a random dumping ground when for when I’m pissed off about something. I would like to focus it and spend a little more time writing things on topics that mean a lot to me.

Once a week is a big commitment. I am committing to writing a post at least once a week for the next year. My plan is to focus on three primary topics. I spend most of my time in code, so the first area will be here. There are some things I’ve learned over the past two years that have turned me into a quality developer and I can offer some ways to make that process easier for people.

The next area I spend time in is coaching. This refers to two areas triathlons and developers. I’ve started down a path of coaching triathletes. I’m terrified of it to be honest. I’ve only coached swimmers and I honestly know very little about running and cycling. I’ll learn and post some things here that will hopefully help other triathletes and coaches. In a totally different world, I coach developers. I lead a team here at Fifty & Fifty and there a lot of things that come up that are worth writing about. If it’s just for my reference, that’s fine. But I think there are some useful things I can offer.

Lastly, is business. I like the idea of starting a business. I am in the process of starting two. One is WordPress focused and the other is triathlon focused. In no way am I an expert right now. I have some experience getting started and I’m interested in working independently of a company. I’ll write about how it’s going, what I’m learning and host of other topics.

I’ve failed at this more consistently than I’ve succeeded and that’s ok. My goal isn’t to create a popular blog, it’s to be better at communicating and processing my thoughts. Today’s post was great practice. maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to publicize my writing.

Fifty & Fifty

New Job Title

Recently I was promoted. That’s not saying much in a company of 12, but it is pretty cool. My title is now Vice President of Engineering.

For all intents and purposes, my job hasn’t changed much at all. I get a fancy title now that really only affects first impressions and a client’s perception/understanding of my role at Fifty and Fifty.

It’s exciting to think about where I’ve come from and where I’m headed. I was chatting with my friend from college, Dairien. He and I were in the same web and interactive media program at the Art Institute of California, San Diego. At the time, Dairien was one of the top programmers in the program and I was one of the top designers.

Fast forward four and a half years and Dairien is now the primary designer for an app called Rise and I’m leading a development team. We reminisced about how much I hated programming and would stress every class about it.

If you’re a young designer or developer, don’t close the door on other skills. If you’re passionate about design, then by all means, pursue it. If you like design because it’s “easier” to learn, then I’d urge you to consider expanding your horizons and grow in other areas.

There has been a longstanding debate about whether or not coders should learn design or designers should learn code. My opinion, do what you’re passionate about. I was once a passionate designer that tinkered in code. I didn’t dislike it so I kept learning. I definitely miss designing full-time every once in a while but I’m perfectly content where I’m at.

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