The whole operation swatantra was a great experience. I enjoyed these two months of Operation swatantra 10x times more than my school or college. This was a dream come true. Working and learning from Niall will be one of the greatest experience I ever had. We started Operation Swatantra on Friday the 13th of July and had planned to end it on 15th of September. It worked out as we thought and planned.
Niall will be leaving Nepal on 16th of September. If you don’t know who he is then, Niall Doherty quit his job in 2010 and gave himself a challenge — to spend four years travelling the world without flying. He is also a freelance article writer for Irish examiner. He even hopes to make it to Brazil for the 2014 World Cup. Since Sri Lanka lies on his way to Thailand, he might as well make it for the Finals of T-20 Cricket World Cup. En route, He’ll be launching his first book entitled Disrupting the Rabblement. If you want to follow his adventures then you can check out his blog.
First few days of operation swatantra was kind of overwhelming but later we started to enjoy because we were tackling real projects. The best thing about this project was that we were not only learning to design web pages but we were actually tackling real web design problems of clients.
Operation swatantra was not only about web design. It was also about productivity, excellence, self-discipline, client management, working with deadlines, going the extra mile, attention to detail, being honest with clients, being more productive and drinking ice cappuccino 😉
Niall used to outsource me his projects and I used to get it done before the deadline. That was the time when I learned most of the things about web design. You can visit my website service page to see all those works.
Things i learned during Operation Swatantra:
Actually there are many things i learned during operation swatantra which i can’t consider sharing here. Some of them are as below.
- Good communication with client is more important than web-designing skills. People who refer to good designers are actually referring to their good communication skills and skills to figure out their website needs.
- You don’t need to be expert at anything, you just need to know more than your clients.
- It’s more important to know what’s possible than to know exactly how to do something.
- Always recommend good tweaks that can be implemented in website to the clients about the things which shouldn’t be done the way they want it to be.
Before starting Operation Swatantra our goals looked something like this:
– Goal: Earn $10 per hour each doing web design, at least five paid hours per week, by September 15th.
– Meet 2-3 times per week at a coffee shop and go through a few things.
– Phone timers, always track time.
– Start blogs, post at least once per week.
– Ask stupid questions.
– Teach someone else. Once per week, paying it forward.
– Figure out how to get paid online.
– Read Don’t Make Me Think. Don’t Make Me Think is a book by Steve Krug about human-computer interaction and web usability.
- Earn $10 per hour each doing web design, at least five paid hours per week, by September 15th:
During Operation swatantra we worked for Clients outsourced by Niall and he used to pay us as we wished. Every week during Fridays Niall used to ask us how much we earned and then he used to pay us as much as we earned. For the past few weeks i’ve been working on different projects and we have been able to earn more than $10 doing web design every week.
Searching for Nepali clients was the hardest thing for us to do. Maybe we need to be more persistent than we are at the moment and i’ve learned that persistence eventually pays off. But i’m happy with the results because we were no where near to earning $10/hr before.
- Meet 2-3 times per week at a coffee shop and go through few things.
We successfully met each other 3 times a week at The Coffee in Thamel. We went through few things and made sure that we learned new stuffs every time. I missed this session once when i was suffering from fever. Other than that, everything went as planned.
- Phone timers, always track time.
I don’t have time tracking software in my phone and it can’t be installed. So i installed a plugin in chrome through which i can track my time. Tracking time is really important because we need to make our clients clear about the time we need in order to finish their job. Payments also depend on time. So, Tracking time is really important for getting things done. The plugin I use for chrome is called Task Timer.
- Start blogs, post at least once per week.
I’ve successfully started the blog. I’ve been posting blog posts every week. I’m trying to increase this and make it twice a week in the future. I’m currently struggling to even write one blog post per week to be honest but since I’ve successfully written one blog post per week, this goal has been successful for me.
- Ask stupid questions.
Yes! I’ve asked many stupid questions to Niall. And I was surprised to know that he loved it. I asked stupid questions ranging from productivity, web design, clients, comments, etc. So yes! I asked stupid questions. 🙂
- Teach someone else. Once per week, paying it forward.
I couldn’t teach from the base with in depth knowledge but yes i tried paying it forward by teaching to some of my friends. I’m also trying to help others through email.
I’m still working on this part even thought some of it is already done. It was hard to teach someone else while we were so busy into designing web pages ourselves.
- Figure out how to get paid online.
PayNepal, Moneybookers, AlertPay and all other money processor. The biggest problem is that we can’t use PayPal in Nepal. We need to provide SWIFT code of our banks to MoneyBookers and then they will link their account to our Nepali bank account. That way you can get paid in Nepal.
I haven’t used any of these but there are people who use these services and it works.
- Read Don’t Make Me Think.
Don’t Make Me Think is a book by Steve Krug about human-computer interaction and web usability and it’s the best book to read if you are planning to be a designer. This book was recommended to me by Niall and now i recommend it to anyone who wants to work on web design.
I read this book and figured out common mistakes designers make while designing web sites. This book is really awesome.
Snapshots of Operation Swatantra:
We all worked as a team and the challenging, fun and exciting operation finally ends.
After celebrating the victory of Operation Swatantra Niraj and Niall left The Coffee. Later while I was moving out from there Mac nods his head, smiles and wishes me luck knowing we won’t be there to bother him for ice cappuccino anymore.