It’s been one year since WYZGYZ started. In that year the company has successfully generated new clients, stayed firmly in the black, and is now well on track towards having a fantastic 2012. We’ve learned some things, dealt with way more paperwork than we’d like, moved across the country, and discovered what it takes to run a business and be on your own.
Some projects we’ve done:
- LiveWall at PNNL. As a subcontractor, I continued to work on this project, taking it to a finished prototype that is in use.
- Did some projects through freelancer.com. The first one was a calculator that showed returns from installing solar power. You can visit the tool by going to http://www.hestiaservices.co.uk/solarprospector.aspx# and clicking on the link called “Solar Returns Calculator”. After a few odd jobs through freelancer, I found one that led to more consistent work.
- Redesigned http://atomiccityrollergirls.org for the Richland, WA roller derby team.
- Threw together http://thecostofcoffee.com in a day.
Besides projects, there have been volunteer activities, like:
- Judging First Lego League competitions.
- Judging Science Fair competitions.
- Participating (and winning prizes) in two hackathons (BuildMadison and RHoK).
- Collaborating with the Madison Children’s Museum.
And there are the internal projects that are slowly progressing, but will soon be made commercial:
- Portable Electronic Scoreboard
- (and others I’m not ready to discuss yet)
The WYZGYZ brand has become formalized, with a successful trademark registration, a web site, facebook page, twitter account, and business cards. The only downside is getting people to recognize its proper pronunciation (wise guys, not whiz giz, not whizzy…mumble, not W.Y.Z…mumble).
There was a low point when a research project I’d spent a couple months on turned out to have already been done and patented a few years ago. That was disappointing, but at least it was found early rather than after a significant amount of work had been put into it.
Moving to Madison, WI was a great step up for the business. The startup and entrepreneur community is strong, and there are lots of resources available.
Looking forward to 2012, we’re raising the contracting rate. We need to focus on internal projects, and spending lots of time on other people’s projects doesn’t help with that. We’re also making great progress towards selling the scoreboard in 2012, and we’re exploring various avenues for production and sales. The other projects will be started and hopefully generate some consistent revenue. There may be expanding if the right people come along, as I’m quickly discovering that one person just can’t handle the expertise required to maintain all the functions of a business, but I’m not so busy that I can hire a second person, so it may be on a contract basis.
With one year down, WYZGYZ has become a real business. Here’s hoping that 2012 will make it a fantastically successful one.