Year One

Frank Caron
4 min readJan 1, 2018

To say that 2017 was one hell of a ride would be, at the very least, euphemistic.

As it turns out, I’m not the only one who felt that way, either. Indeed, upon reflecting on the year past with many conversations over the last few weeks, the common thread woven was “growth” (read: pain).

But amidst the chaos of a personal life full of challenging changes, and a professional life seemingly anxious to follow suit, there were some noteworthy metrics to appreciate and celebrate.

  • Over 64,188 km travelled to the likes of Montreal, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and even Berlin
  • More than $500,000 in potential annual contract value (ACV) added to TouchBistro as a result of shipped and marketed product from our product roadmap
  • Over 250 prospective and customer restaurants visited across the country, with more than 1000 hours worth of user research
  • Over 150 product support cases closed for real small business owners at FreshBooks
  • Over 50,000 words written and shipped for TouchBistro’s gargantuan rebranding and various product launches
  • 10X the previous years’ gross revenue earned for my own small business
  • 10% reduction in the amount of spend on unnecessary purchases (e.g., video games, tech toys, etc.)

Some really great accomplishments, to be sure. I can scarcely think of a year that I accomplished more than 2017, aside from perhaps 2012, when I lost 100 pounds and lay the ground work for the move to San Francisco that followed.

However, those gains came with a great many losses.

I left a marriage. I let go of a leadership role. I lost my only property in a city losing control of its real estate. I lost control of my eating and spending habits. I lost sight of my vision for what I wanted in my career.

In many ways, and in the wrong frame of mind, it would be easy to consider 2017 a loss overall. But while the year cost me a tremendous amount, I believe resolutely as the new year dawns that the flight’s destination was worth the turbulence.

And so, 2018 will be a transformative year for me, and more importantly, for my new business.

This is year one.

Origin Story

The first job that I loved was writing for Ars Technica.

I was so fortunate to have had Ben Kuchera take a chance on me and introduce me, at long last and much to the happiness of the many around me, to the world of professional writing.

Sure, I went on to have a successful career as a technical writer and then ultimately as a product manager and product marketer, but my heart belongs, and always will belong, to professional writing.

I’m no fictioneer. I have no grand ambition to become a novelist or a journalist.

What I loved then, and what I love more than anything else now, is writing about products. I love content marketing. I love technical writing and help guides and success stories. I love product marketing and copywriting and, hell, in some cases even advertising.

I love the “art” of telling stories about, or tangential to, products and services. I love getting people excited about, inspired by, and drawn toward the products and services that I am too excited about, inspired by, and drawn toward

Yet, for years, I have resisted pursuing this passion further. I have channeled that energy into building products worthy of that excitement, and while I have dabbled with the idea of making the jump, I have never committed to it fully.

Ground Zero

And so, after years of flirting with building a freelance business to do just that – to tell stories about products and services and the people that use them and the businesses that can succeed with them – I have finally decided that 2018 is the year I get serious about things.

That’s why I recently relaunched my personal brand and built a brand new homepage.

My journey as a small business owner has begun, and in 2018, I am setting out to 10X my revenues from the previous year.

So what does that mean? A few things:

  • I’ll be writing a weekly post on this very Medium, syndicated across Facebook and LinkedIn, with the intent of providing value with stories and observations while generating new leads for my freelance business.
  • I’ve teamed up with FreshBooks to help build some awesome products for my fellow freelancers out there while learning more about the business (and accounting!) involved in working for yourself.
  • I am now actively soliciting new clients for my freelance work. 2017 saw me have some great success with Anthony and the team at Ambit, Nanci and the team at Food Forward, the crew at Guidepoint, and of course my alma mater TouchBistro.

I will have much more to share in the coming weeks and months, particularly about some of the new and exciting projects I have lined up with clients old and new, but one thing is certain: while 2017 was hard for many of us, the tides are turning.

Here’s to a better year ahead – for all of us.