5 Year Anniversary

Five Years Stronger

In October 2014, I took the freelance leap. I was working as a web developer for a local business, and I missed having full control over my work. I knew it was time to get out there and work for myself.

As an extremely risk-averse person, this was a decision I measured, worried over, and spoke to countless friends and colleagues about. Failure was definitely a possibility. I had no idea what would happen when I no longer relied on an employer to bring me work. I didn’t really belong in the business sphere, did I? (It turns out this feeling has a name — imposter syndrome.) I was just a person with strong web skills who wanted to make my living working with good people.

I left my previous job knowing that I could do the work, but not sure about the whole “business thing.”

Slow & Steady

Over time, I learned to trust that the work would come, and it has. More often than not, there’s way too much on my to-do list. I’ve narrowed my focus and now only take on work that I’m excited about. Years later (slow and steady, remember?) I’ve transitioned from working with businesses in any and all industries to mostly the wellness and coaching fields. Basically, I see myself as helping the helpers.

I made mistakes along the way, and still do. I haven’t always anticipated problems I should have seen coming, or realized a task would take much longer than I thought. I’ve been frustrated by having to “know it all”, and realized it’s ok to assemble a team of experts in other fields like SEO, marketing, and social media.

This print from Ugmonk sits in my office and pretty much describes my business approach

The community

I’ve made friends with some extraordinary designers, developers, and other creatives. The folks at Craftpeak taught me several workflows and told me about tools I still use today, as well as provided an awesome co-working space for a couple years. These friends and others inspire me and support me, and their work makes mine better, too.

I got involved in the WordPress community and was the lead organizer for WordCamp Asheville in its inception in 2014 and 2015, and then got to enjoy transitioning my duties to the other organizers for the next few years 🙂 As an introvert who tends to shy away from leadership, I found a community. I even got up in front of a ton of people and talked without disastrous consequences!

WordCamp Asheville organizers from 2014
Throwback: the organizing team from our first WordCamp Asheville in 2014

The Mindset

In 2018 I was extremely lucky to be part of a beautiful studio space created by Mountain Laurel Digital. Being around these strong female businesswomen changed the way I thought about business. My slow and steady approach was a success, but my under-the-radar “business is scary” mindset was holding me back. The time in this space taught me to push aside those imposter syndrome feelings and embrace being a business owner.

And in 2019, when my husband and I moved to Las Vegas, it was only the community of supportive clients and friends that bolstered me and allowed me to do this. They, and my years of experience, gave me the confidence I needed to provide the same services, despite the physical distance.

The ladies of 372 Depot St, a beautiful working space created by Casey Nifong (far left) of Mountain Laurel Digital

5 years stronger

These days, I’m still the person that wants to do high quality work for good people. In moments of overwhelm, I am encouraged by seeing my clients flourish, watching how they work through the hard times and how they capitalize on and plan for the good times. Just check out my portfolio and you’ll see a group of dedicated and talented business owners doing their best work.

I know I’m not the absolute strongest I can be, but I am five years stronger. And I’m excited to see where we go next together.

Valley of Fire hiking
Hiking through the Valley of Fire
I'm Moving to Nevada

I’m Moving!

After months of planning, I am moving this summer to Las Vegas, Nevada. I’ve gathered up the basics of the big move here, and what it means for business going forward.

Why now?
Moving out west has been a dream for many, many years. After nearly 15 in Asheville, my husband’s job began to allow for 100% remote work. He is a programmer, so this change gives us both a unique opportunity to work from anywhere.

Why Vegas?!
Despite the *very* hot weather, Las Vegas is an ideal location for exploring the canyons, mountains, and deserts of the southwest. I know many of you have been to this area and fallen in love with it, too. We’re excited to use Vegas as a home base for working, hiking, and sight seeing. And with clear weather and tons of flights, it’s a good city to be able to fly quickly back to NC for a visit, too!

On the road to Great Basin National Park in 2017. Route 50 is the “loneliest road” in America.

What about Lydia Roberts Design?
Never fear, Lydia Roberts Design is here to stay. Although I’ll be on Pacific Time (3 hours behind the east coast), it will be business as usual. I will fully support all my Asheville clients from afar. I’m available to hop on video calls so we can still see each other. The Asheville community is near and dear to my heart, and I will make visits and keep up with happenings in the 828.

Will you still work with Asheville clients?
Yes! I would very much like to keep working with Asheville-based businesses both new and old.

Will you move back?
Right now the plan is to move back to NC in a couple years. As with anything in life, nothing is certain. But, since most of our friends and family are in NC, I imagine we’ll make our way back!

Lydia sits behind her laptop and smiles
I’ll be where you can find me – behind my computer screen!

My deepest thanks to all of you who have supported me all these years. I look forward to many more years of building fun things on the web together!

PS- If you’re a photo or travel junkie, feel free to follow along with my western adventures on Instagram @leaflyd and @lydiarobertsdesign


2018 in Review: A Big Year

2018 was a wild ride. Here are some of the highlights:

Celebrating Four Years in Business

Flashback to October 2014: I left my full time developer job to go solo. It was the right time to spread my wings and take on the new challenge of creating a business. I had freelanced for years on the side, ever since I graduated college, and it felt like a natural next step to work on my own.

But, as the years passed, I still thought of myself as “just” a freelancer. My inner voice told me I was “trying it out” — even after four years.

In 2018, my mindset changed completely. I fully embraced Lydia Roberts Design as a business and a brand. This new mindset emerged from a few pivotal moments:

New Shared Office and finding Inspiration

In June, I joined a shared office on Depot Street in the River Arts District. This is the biggest shift for me and my business in four years. Having my own desk in this beautifully designed space alongside four talented and creative women, is a dream come true – a dream I didn’t know I had.

I am forever grateful to Casey Nifong for inviting me to join this space. Getting to know her and the other women has been a joy this year. But beyond that, seeing their businesses thrive and grow is a huge motivator for my own business. I’m inspired by their work, their business practices, and their success.

Going Fast…in Vegas

Driving a sports car around a track at 125mph? This was an an experience I never anticipated.

Lydia standing next to an orange McLaren 570s sports car

No big deal, just me and the McLaren

For my husband’s 40th birthday we splurged on a big trip to California with friends. Our finale was a day in Nevada at Exotics Racing Las Vegas. Driving fast cars was at the top of his list — not mine. I was nervous and felt unprepared. I even thought about backing out. But in the end I let go, listened to the instructor…and had an absolute blast.

At the end of the day, I clocked the fastest lap time of our group. I tried something scary and unknown, and loved it. For a risk-averse introvert, this was huge.

I started to think: if I can do this, I can do so much more.

New Work + Services

It was a busy year for website and email work, too.

Sourwood Inn

Custom site for Sourwood Inn

I created a completely custom site for the Sourwood Inn. The Piano Emporium got a custom design to focus on mobile sales. I created a brand new site for River Island Apothecary and guided owner Katie Vie through launching her first online courses on the Pathwright platform. Pamela Millis, LPCS got a completely updated look when we replaced the previous nature stock photos with new professional photography of her and her office. Earlier in the year, I created a new site for Broo using the Divi theme to allow their team to customize their own design. I got to attend an awesome launch party for Hempé. I created the Hempé site in 2017, but this year we updated the site and they began selling through Amazon. Later in the year, I created a new custom homepage for CooperRiis Healing Community, and continue to work with them to improve many areas of the site.

In addition, I worked on countless content updates, Mailchimp templates and consulting, and completed major upgrades to WordPress 5.0 and PHP 7.2.

Flywheel Agency Partner badge

Hosting with Flywheel

This year I also added hosting and maintenance plans as a service. It was a big leap to pay for a large hosting plan, but it’s allowed me to stay in closer touch with clients and be more involved in an on-going way with their online life. I host with Flywheel, an awesome managed WordPress hosting company. Ask me about hosting 🙂

Getting Social

Yep, I finally put my business on Facebook and Instagram. I used to pride myself on flying under the social radar, only to realize I was missing out on a powerful and fun way to express my business. I’m excited to finally join the conversation.

Screenshot of Lydia Roberts Design's instagram grid

I joined the Instagram bandwagon

It was a thrill attending and organizing WordCamp Asheville for the fifth year in a row. My involvement in planning took a backseat this year due to travel and other responsibilities. But, meeting with the organizing team is still one of my favorite yearly pastimes and one I plan to continue.

Group of WordCamp organizers stand smiling in front of 2018 banner

The 2018 Organizing Team

I also had the great opportunity to meet so many colleagues this year as well — through gatherings like The Creative League, and as a side effect of the new office. I am incredibly fortunate to live in such a creative town with such kind people.

Plans for 2019

I have set some big goals for 2019. I aim to expand on my service offerings, while getting more focused on my specific packages. And, I’m finally putting a long-mulled-over idea into action this year, though I’m not quite ready to share what that is 🙂 Stay tuned by signing up for my newsletter and thank you for reading!

I send out helpful web tips, case studies, and things I’m working on.