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2014 Review

As last year falls away and a new year rolls in, I’d like to share with you a glance back at 2014. This will be my last post on this blog, as it moves over to


Landmarks, Happenings of Note 2014

Writing this list, I can hardly believe that all this happened in the past 365 days. I am very grateful, and hope for many more such years.

  • First draft of second novel and 8th edit of first novel, launched fiction page, failed to finish first novel
  • London Book Fair
  • 2nd in UK Catan Championship in May, 4th in Catan @ UK Mind Sports Olympiad
  • Got allotment in June, plenty of gardening fun
  • Visited Ardley, Cambridge, Dartmoor, Peterborough, Plymouth, Salisbury, Wales
  • Built computer with brother for his birthday
  • USA in July, Seattle, Portland, Yosemite, San Francisco
  • Proposed to Alice atop of Glacier Point in Yosemite
  • WDS2014
  • VegFest Vegan Conference
  • World Catan Championship in Berlin, placed 39th overall
  • Managed event as volunteer at St Albans Literary Festival
  • Saw Ibrahim Maalouf perform at Southbank Center
  • Saw Akala perform The Ruins of Empires
  • Meditation Classes
  • Flotation Tank sessions
  • Made fresh pasta, pizza, jam, crumble, strudel etc.
  • Veggie August
  • Designed ‘Nut Bars’ for reliable organic food source
  • Gave up refined sugar
  • Advised on first full launch of theme @ EpicPlugins
  • Advised SmugPup and helped launch
  • Pivoted EverClients, wrote a new vision
  • Wrote 10+ WordPress plugins, mostly as Joint Ventures
  • Sold nearly 1k copies in 5 days in one JV launch
  • Sold several domains, registered far too many more
  • Many great meet-ups, meals, evenings spent with friends and family

EverClients: As Freelancers We Can Change The World

EverClients – Pivoted to Serve Good-Willed Freelancers

Books, Podcasts, Talks, Videos

In 2014 I read 25+ books and skim-read several others. I’m happy to say that I abandoned several books before I hit their half-way mark, letting crappy books go in preference of better writing. Life’s too short. John Steinbeck, Huxley, Hemingway, and the amazing Frank Herbert lit up my year. Having never read such fiction, I have been blessed by finding as many great works in a single year as I have. I also really enjoyed The Little Prince and Stoner, who both hide life lessons under their respectively different hats.

Read the rest : 2014 Review »
Posted in Business, Life, Looking Back, Projects, Publishing, Software, Travel, WoodyLabs, Wordpress Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Do you track your time?

… I do. I use Toggl, but there are many other good solutions.

Below is an excerpt of my latest article, written for the EverClients blog. It’s the third in a series I’m roughly calling “Hacking Freelance”, and it goes in to the detail of why we should all track our time at a computer, and how!

Time Tracking for Freelancers

Why Should Freelancers Track Their Time?

Freelancing is more connected to time than any other type of business. A lost hour freelancing affects your weekly earnings directly. Luckily, as freelancing continues to grow across the US and Europe, a stable of software is being built to assist solo-workers and small businesses.

Arguably we all benefit from better time management, but this post focuses on the currently available time-tracking software specifically targeted at freelancers, ultimately ending in my review of the top five time-tracking options.

On top of lost billable time, (and therefor money), working time as a solo-worker can easily get messy. Twenty minutes on an email to a prospect, fifteen on a skype call to a client, 47 minutes finishing off a deliverable, (if you get to finish it.) Then your significant other walks in and asks you to put up a shelf or take the dog for a walk…

Read the full article

Posted in Business, Life, Web Technology Tagged , ,

EverClients – More Work For Freelancers

This week I’m opening the doors over at EverClients, and I thought I’d post here for the freelancers which hit this blog. EverClients is a daily lead feed, you sign up, pay monthly, and then each and every working day you receive an email which has a bunch of high quality work leads in it. I’ve designed the service to take the pain out of the front end of being a freelance designer or developer. The finding of work.

A fantastic side-benefit I never expected EverClients to provide is that it actually builds a habit out of bidding on new work/finding new clients. By building the process into your freelancer day, customers have told me that it gets done way more regularly than usual. It becomes “Check email, bid for 30 minutes on select work from EverClients, get on with billable hours.” – Where before it would be easy to forget for a few days and then be high and dry once your current job finishes.

I’ll also be writing a collection of articles for freelancers over at the EverClients blog, I’ve started with Why do freelancers get droughts and will cover most of the topics that I know plague freelancers. Ultimately I hope to write up into a useful e-book for Freelancers everywhere, as I’ve seen that the number of us freelancing each year is hugely rising.

EverClients - Leads for Freelancers

EverClients – Never Search for Freelance Leads Again

Posted in Business, Projects, Technology, Web Technology Tagged , , , ,

Checklist Plugin for WordPress

It’s a new year and with a new year comes lots of new developments 🙂 I’ve launched my fiction page (first novel to be released in may) and I’ve written a few new plugins (as well as a software as a service for freelancers – coming soon!)

Checklist Plugin

This is a quick post about the first of the plugins. Checklist Plugin (@

Posted in Projects, Web Development, Web Technology, Wordpress Tagged , , , , , , ,

2014 Plan: Futures.

Read this on Medium ]
On Saturday I posted up my 2013 review, sharing part of my ongoing attempt to bring order to my life and self. Below you can read the forward looking equivalent, my plan for 2014. I’m publishing these here for you to read and to help me to concrete their facts in my self image.
2014 will build on the compound results of last year and years before, positive and negative. Through these reviews, plans and other life functions I am trying to bolt down as much of what is within my control as I can, I’m confident that through conscious awareness of self we can be content in ourselves and a positive addition to the people we encounter. We choose our futures, whether consciously or not.
This is just my outlook, and here is my plan for 2014:
Goals for 2014
  1. Launch Book (My sci-fi novel) and recruit my first 100 true fans
  2. Build a regular monthly income of £8k+ through a SaaS or other low-maintenance business (WordPress plugins?)
  3. Get a mentor
  4. Guide student (read padawan) to setting and achieving 1 big goal
  5. [Bonus points for] Great North Swim
  6. [Bonus points for] 12% body fat
  7. [Bonus points for] Win UK Catan Championship
To Learn/Hone in 2014
  1. Launch Marketing & Email List Building
  2. Writing
  3. Consciousness, Rationality & Philosophy Generally
  4. Networking
Planned Actions/Rituals/Habits to build:
  1. Organise Wilderness holiday (boating, camping, hiking)
  2. Organise America trip (WDS 2014!)
  3. Organise 1 x other secret trip
  4. Organise Bold Book Launch
  5. Read Daily
  6. Meditate Daily
  7. Play Loop Daily
  8. “Friday Tidays”
    1. Clear back all tabs – read/save or close
    2. Cull all new projects/domain names started this week that aren’t coherent to vision or provable
    3. Delete, Act on or file the weeks fragmented notes in Evernote
  9. “Soul Saturdays”
    1. JRE podcasts
    2. Akala, Lowkey
    3. Find more epic enlightened music, books & film
    4. Do good
    5. Amplify Others Good Signals
  10. Regular, positive influence in family & friends lives
  11. Float monthly
  12. Record metrics & log achievements, books read, happenings monthly
  13. Visit my Dad once a quarter, minimum.
  14. Quarterly refresh of actions/rituals/goals (avoid short term re-addressing in micro)
  15. [Bonus points for] Chess Night Mondays
  16. [Bonus points for] Tai Chi Thursdays
Health Specific Commandments 2014:
  1. Eat slower, be aware of all consumption. Chopstick eating
  2. Minimal Alcohol & Crap food intake (95% clean diet)
  3. MED exercise to feel fit
  4. Ice baths fortnightly
  5. Kill sugar & sugary things
Personal Commandments 2014:
  1. Always be the better Woody
  2. Absolutely No Debt
  3. Absolutely No Punishing Self
  4. Always Win-Win
  5. Always include a margin of safety [20%+]
  6. MED life (Minimum Effective Dose)
  7. Simplify, Simplify, Simplify
  8. Eustress not Distress
  9. Life Experience > Money/Objects
  10. Don’t rush. Act at calculated pace, with confidence
  11. Spend less than you make, ensure 10%+ is always safe
  12. Focus on a singular metric for each pursuit
  13. Go hard. Be Bolder. I am at home in the stretched extreme of attempts
  14. Use stakes to ensure goal completion
  15. Avoid moving or other stressful/energy consuming subplots – focus, make smaller circles
  16. Channel excess energy to avoid bad habits
2014: Diligent growth in business, book and network. Investment in philosophy and amplifying good signals. [Try titling your year – its fun!]
 * * *
It’s scary to put this all “out there”, which is a silly false fear, so I had to post it. In the future I intend to write a blog sharing thoughts on my journey and a software to help us find structure in this perceived chaos, I’m not there yet and I’m conscious of potential pitfalls ahead but if your into conscious self analysis and exploring this stuff join me here, you won’t here from me unless I get it out and its super legit.
Watch this space, 2014 will see this blog archived, my sci-fi novel launched and future posts split between a new “Author” site and perhaps a Conscious Thought blog. I intend to keep writing novels until I succeed and I’m happy however long that takes. Either way this blog will stay up only as an archive, so catch me @woodyhayday or for new stuff. Lets see what happens!
Thanks for reading this, Stay Awesome.
 * * *
P.S. A word on the format of my 2014 plan: This is as it left my head, do you have a better format or some interesting input? Care to share your 2014 plan or 2013 review? Drop me a comment below or get in touch via this page. I’m here to optimise self & share!
P.S.S. I use “commandments” without intended religious connotations. I’m into self governance and basically I mean serious rules.
Read the rest : 2014 Plan: Futures. »
Posted in Business, Code, Life, Looking Forward, Projects, Publishing, Web Technology, Writing Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

2013 Annual Review

2013 was a turbulent year for me, but a great one. Tons of experiments, growth and realisations. Building upon the habit started last year with my 2012 review I’ll share some highlights of my close-of-year self analysis below. My review of 2013 turned into a mammoth document again, I’d been saving up thoughts and lists and it’s taken a few days, still, I enthuse you to try reviewing your time, it’s a worthwhile process and gives useful insight.

Note: With big intent for 2014 I will be moving to a new blog where I can be more focused and share only the big great/painful stuff, it’ll focus on concious self development and will be the future home of this kind of post. Visit for up to date info on this. For now, back to last year:



In 2013 I read 2x more books than in 2012, I’ve been intentionally amping up my reading. 2013 was a fantastic year for inspiration and looking back over the list of titles I’m glad to say that most were solid reads. Autobiographies gave me great inspiration for living and learning, with a smattering of modern thought tethering it all to today. I was initially looking for role models I could gleam advice from, seeking to replicate – but I ultimately found so much more in a lot of these books.

Here’s my 2013 pick, I can’t recommend these enough:

  • The Authentic Swing – Steven Pressfield. Epic reading for any writer.
  • Andrew Carnegie Autobiography and Gospel of Wealth. Inspiring autobiography, though I was told by the museum guy at the Carnegie Birthplace Museum in Dunfermline (I visited this year!) that the book Andrew Carnegie by David Nasaw is far more accurate, as the family published the former after Carnegies death and so it’s edited with rose tinted glasses.
  • My Life and Work – Henry Ford. Epic story of perseverance, a wealth of information for any modern production business/entrepreneur, especially software houses.
  • My Inventions – Nikola Tesla. Tesla is a total hero. This autobiography is made up of essays originally published in a magazine, he talks at length about the concious and imagination. A great man, I shall definitely read more.
  • The Time Machine – H.G. Wells. Reading great literature is rewarding, even more so when it’s an authors first book and it happens to be amazing. Reading the quick preface at the start of this book was inspiring to me as a writer.
  • The Art of Learning  – Josh Waitzkin. Dudes amazing, just read it.
  • Psycho Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz. More interesting stuff on the concious/subconscious. I’ve developed some useful practices from this one.
  • Plato’s Symposium. There is some fantastic philosophy in this book, on love and education and learning.
  • The Richest Man in Babylon I’ll reread this book every year. Keep your revenue streaming!
  • $100 Startup – Chris Guillebeau. If your building product online, read this.
  • Rights of Man – Thomas Paine.
  • Purple Cow – Seth Godin. Be different as a core principle.
  • Startup Playbook. Hundreds of good coffee-table nuggets.
  • John Maynard Keynes Biography. Interesting character was Keynes!
  • Four Hour Work Week (4HWW). Another annual read. This year I looked at 4HWW with fresh eyes. I keep reminding myself that Ferriss wrote it after a fairly big financial success, and that the first big hit might take longer hours. I’m building Efficacy into my days though despite this, I now work MED 6 hours in two 3 hour stints.
  • From third world to first – Lee Kuan Yew. Long, dry but interesting. Learn how a modern government could work. Certainly none of them work effectively from my point of view, but there’s elements here which could improve them ten fold, if we can get enough determined men like Lee Kuan Yew to take office.
  • Without Their Permission – Alexis Ohanian. Dude co-founded reddit, you have to read what he has to say 🙂 A pleasant book with a good call to action and a solid message.

[None of these are affiliate links.]


Talks, Podcasts, Videos, Music

Glad to have found all of these. Thanks to the friends who’ve shared links and the authors that have lead me to find them. The Joe Rogan Experience podcast is the most coherent thing to my vision of my own existence I have found all year, props to Joe for having rational conversations that tip the balance to positive. Add Akala & Low Key to the mix and I see a future.

Akala – Find No Enemy


2013 was a full year of “work”. I consulted for ~3 months, building several WordPress plugins and a few web app prototypes, after which I became CTO at SAM, building the MVP there. Towards the close of the year I’ve now reset my goals and started working on the future of StormGate and Woody Hayday, in business terms (I’m looking for software problems to fix & finishing my novel!)

Social Gallery – Social Gallery moved in to the Epic suite of WordPress plugins, it’s since gone on to continue to sell well and is constantly in the “top sellers this week” section on CodeCanyon. It’s now beaten 2k sales and is on its way to 3k.

SAM – Social Asset Management ( – I joined SAM as CTO in March 2013 at inception stage and spent six months building the first MVP. SAM is a platform for media professionals to find and manage Social Assets (tweets, instagram photos etc.) in a modern, coherent way. It’s at the leading edge of innovation in the market and I’m glad I took it to MVP. I got to stretch my legs with almost all of AWS, and up to date JS. I moved on from SAM in October but I am confident it’s going to be a big success, definitely one to watch. James (CEO/Co Founder) continues to be an inspiration.

Writing/Other/Futures – In the last part of 2013 I began experimenting with a few options. I started working towards releasing my sci-fi novel in 2014 (perhaps August – click here to get notified), but for bread and butter I’ve been working on some software projects (SaaS for freelancers, authors and many other ideas!). I also finalised a joint venture that will begin in January. I’m keen to keep a fairly open field until I find something which matches my desired conditions.



We didn’t intend to travel that much in 2013, what with moving house, twice. We started in Belgium, moved back to Hertfordshire and still fitted in West Wales, Edinburgh, Dunfermline (Carnegie!) Great Yarmouth, Amsterdam (IBC2013) and finished the year in Romania. I couldn’t think of a better place to spend some time than Sinai with good friends! Now we are back in the home counties we are having lots of great evenings out in London and a few good talks too, it was a highlight of 2013 to go to four Akala gigs, his last featuring Low Key especially.



Time Management

In 2012 I started logging time I spend on a computer against projects. This was in part for consultancy billing but developed into a total analysis of my time spent. In 2013 I logged every minute I spent at a computer, tagging the time against a project (I used Toggl, which is excellent.) The process was interesting, as are the results. Doing this is definitely a solid step towards efficacy in your everyday life.

Time logged: 2871 Hours 54 Minutes

Or: Average 55 hours a week / 8 hours a day!


Here’s the distribution of my time – the big blue section is SAM, the other projects seem to share out quite evenly!

  • Email took up way less time than I had expected, totalling around 53 hours (just over an hour a week!) – I had been purposely lean on this in 2013, trying to avoid all “busy work”. Success.
  • “Lunch Reading” took up a bigger chunk than I had expected, though was still less than most people traditionally spend on lunch breaks.
  • I spent more time in the gym than I remembered!
  • I spent less than 100 hours playing computer games (Command and Conquer, Battlefield) – Again I was trying to keep lean here.
  • Several little projects produced fantastic returns per hour overall. I wonder how this scales.


2013 Summary

2013 was a long year. I’ve shown a fraction of it here, but the years busy turbulence has stretched time and stretched me. I happily chalk the to’s and fro’s of 2013 up to necessary change, it’s been bold but I’m in a better place because of it.
We’ve moved house twice, one of those times was across two countries. I built a hardcore MVP, a log cabin, several app prototypes, landing pages, documents, desks and relationships. I sold Social Gallery, I mentored. I blew the dust off my sci-fi novel and started re-editing. I hope these achievements will reinforce in me my capacity to build, deliver, persevere. I am not an idle man. Achieving my intent may take me several attempts in micro, but in macro it’ll resolve. As I ended last year thinking on “persistence” so do I this year. Persistence and Perseverance will mark 2014 as the foundational year to my next era.
I’m grateful for all 2013’s happenings and challenges as much as its successes. Above all else I’m grateful to my family, friends, to Alice and to my unknowing inspirations & life guides: Carnegie, Ferriss, Ford, Guillebeau for their awesome business minds. Tesla, Waitzkin and Pressfield for reminding me to be me. Joe Rogan, Munger, Molyneux, Hancock for their needed rational address. Akala, Low Key & Braintax for their soulful reminders to do good.
 I’ll not say anything about 2014 yet, but I’ll leave you with my thoughts at the close of this year, these are personal, but I wanted to share them anyway.
  • Stay True to your Self Image (You have no choice, ultimately, the subconscious will make you. The alternative is distress.)
  • Plan for Chaos
  • Take Big Decisions Slowly
  • People can be Mediocre & Corruptible, but the world does have Good
  • What seems disparate, fragmented or hard in the micro can make sense in the macro
  • Have the next project rolling before finishing the current
  • To stay content I have to channel my hyper amounts of energy effectively
  • Floatation Tanks Kick Ass.
  • Let it go. Discipline.

Have an epic 2014, do good and be your awesome self.

Read the rest : 2013 Annual Review »
Posted in Business, Javascript, Life, Looking Back, Music, Projects, Publishing, Software, Technology, Travel, Web Technology, Wordpress, Writing Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Social Gallery Acquired by Epic

Social Gallery WordPress Social Lightbox Plugin

I’d like to announce that Social Gallery – the Ultimate Social Lightbox plugin for WordPress has been acquired by Epic (announcement here.) It’s been fantastic to build Social Gallery up as a product and a useful tool, having sold over 1500 copies and many, many add-ons it’s been very well received and helping it grow has been a ball.

Thanks to each and every one of you who has used and promoted Social Gallery – you’re all awesome.

Epic Plugins is a great home for Social Gallery, it fits nicely into their growing suite of fantastic plugins, I thoroughly recommend checking them out – each and every one is hand crafted by Mike – the chief of Epic Plugins and a top dude.

Posted in Business, Looking Forward, Projects, Web Technology, Wordpress Tagged , , ,

The Flexibility of Freelance: Web Designer Magazine

I’ve written an article which is in this months Web Designer Magazine. If your a freelancer or are interested in Freelancing you can read an excerpt below or you can check it out in the magazine!

Freelancing is hitting new heights. More people than ever are leaving traditional employment in search of self-directed consulting. Whether you freelance or hire this can have profound effects on the way you do business.

Freelancing can open up new markets, change prices and costs. Freelancing can develop much more talent, talent which can be easily accessed and verified through growing marketplaces.

I’ve spent time on both ends of the client-freelancer relationship. I’ve hired freelancers and I’ve freelanced, I still freelance at StormGate for a portion of my time.

Freelancing is becoming a career choice; lots of people are breaking off and setting up shop, but whether you’re a veteran consultant or you’re just starting out, if you approach freelance work with a youthful exploration you will uncover fruitful connections. Likewise as clients, freelancers can be more than just hires; they are often hard working entrepreneurs and can offer other business value.

As a freelancer you have decided to offer a boutique service. What you are producing may be boring business logic or beautiful branding; whatever it is there is a very distinct value beyond its delivery.

Your customers have come to you for an exceptional reason. They like what you’ve done before. They have chosen you over others. Winning freelance jobs has become like battling through an interview process and successful freelancers must win jobs week after week.

In a way freelancers are employees of multiple companies, but far from the traditional, 9-5 sense. The bond between freelancer and client is tenable, once established it’s often as strong as any employment contract. Freelancers can feel an affinity with a company; arguably they represent a new form of stakeholder. As freelancers and as clients we are a lot more connected than we think.

My piece ends with a call for freelancers to play their position, the word Free in Freelance is integral!

As clients self-starting freelancers are invaluable, what’s more they could become employees, partners or students.

As freelancers we can be flexible where big companies can’t, we can care more about progress than profit, we can invest in ourselves and we can freelance for happiness.

There is flexibility in freelance.

Follow me on Twitter @woodyhayday to read more stuff like this in future, I’ll also refresh this blog soon so it might move to a new home 🙂

Posted in Business, Web Technology Tagged , , , , ,
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