About me

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About me


I haven’t always been a coder…

When I first left school in Burnley, Lancashire, back in 2003; I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I was completely unprepared for the real world and I was also completely unqualified. I did however have a dream; I wanted to be successful. I had always been interested in computers so I attended college (which was the logical next step) and studied ICT. Alongside my Foundation GNVQ, I also studied and passed the European Computer Driving License (ECDL) which at the time was a popular sought-after qualification in computing. I did well at college achieving 93 and 99 percent on my examinations resulting in a letter from the principle commending me on my results. Not only did I enjoy ICT; I obviously had a knack for it too.

I accidentally built a career in Health and Social Care…

In 2005; I turned 18 and was offered a full-time job in Health and Social Care. At the time I was desperate to live independently and stand on my own two feet in the world. The pay was twice what most of my peers were earning and I loved the fact that I could make a difference in the lives of the people in which I was supporting. Within two years I had been promoted from apprentice to senior care worker.

I got into Uni…

Now living on my own and managing to pay my bills I moved to Preston. I wanted to be nearer the city and most importantly as a non-driver (at the time), I wanted to be near decent transport links. After a few weeks of being in Preston, I applied to the University of Central Lancashire to study a degree with a foundation entry year. It was in this foundation entry year where I studied in the second and third semester combined honours in computing and Web and Multimedia. This is the precise moment I fell in love with coding (and coincidentally my partner of now almost 12 years).

After my foundation entry year, I progressed onto my Bachelor with Honours degree in Interactive Digital Media. Throughout my time at University I worked within Health and Social Care; predominantly around this time in low and medium secure mental health units and with people with learning disabilities in the community. In May 2013 as I was preparing to submit my final pieces of work for University my grandmother (mother) passed away in my arms after a short illness. This had a significant impact on my mental health and caused me to take a little time to come to terms with the loss. I was determined to complete my degree and was granted an extension. Unfortunately, however; this meant that I did not graduate until December 2013.

I developed PTSD…

After finishing university I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, brought on by the passing of my grandmother. It turned out to be one of the best things that ever happened to me. Being a determined and resilient person; I refused to be held back by my mental health. I was adamant that I was going to fight it like it was the flu or a bad cold. I was not going to be beaten by what had happened to me. It was here that I discovered mindset and mindfulness. Mindset and mindfulness taught me that I may not be able to control my circumstances in life, but I am able to control how I react to them. I learned to value myself and I also learned how to set, follow, and achieve goals. This was instrumental in what happened next.

I started my own business…

In 2014 I started volunteering for P.A.N.D.A; a children’s charity set up by my partner and sister-in-law to support families of children living with neurological disorders. My role was to manage the team when Alison and Sarah were out of the office and to manage the marketing, web design, graphic design, and web development for the organisation. I remained working in Health and Social Care throughout this on a part-time basis to cover my bills. In 2016 after P.A.N.D.A sadly had to stop for funding and personal reasons I started my own business.

At first, I was Millar Designs (a small freelance web designer); I was then 35ml Media (a small web design agency); and finally, I was The Kick-Ass Donkey Group Limited (a small marketing agency which provided everything a startup needed to get set up in the digital world).

In hindsight, I made some pretty monumentally poor business decisions. Firstly, I grew before I was ready too. Secondly, I allowed others (business advisors) to influence my business decisions. Thirdly, I forgot to trust my gut instinct. These, however, are all lessons learned and are part of what has shaped my growth and learning today.

I became a prolific learner…

As with anything I’ve done in my life; I’ve always given it 100%, so naturally, when I started my own business I knew that I had a lot to learn. University gave me a solid ground knowledge of Web Design, but the more that I delved into it; the more I realised that I had a lot more to discover. Additionally, as a new business owner with very little business experience, I also had to learn about that too. It was around this time that I started to read up on Project Management. I learned about Lean, Agile, and PMBok methodologies and how I could use these different techniques to improve my own business operations. I learned about JavaScript, PHP, and even a little about Python. I learned about Linux and Terminal and the Open Source world. I even learned basic bookkeeping and how to write a proper business plan. In all honesty; I felt very much like I had learned nothing at University with how much I was cramming into my mind since leaving. It was then that I discovered that University; had in fact; taught me how to learn!

I built a professional network…

Building a business also meant building a professional network. I attended networking meetings across Lancashire and connected with thousands of other business owners. I became quite skilled at speaking with people from all walks of life and learned a lot about health and wellbeing from my many specialist health and wellbeing clients. I have remained in contact with many of them since retiring my business in 2019 and know the best people for almost any task whether it be a beautician, an electrician, or a systems engineer; the many people in my network can solve almost any problem together.

So what’s next…

Currently, I am doing a little freelance work whilst working in Health and Social Care; I am however ready for my next challenge. My decision for leaving the world of business was a purely personal one; and revolved around my need to have a stable income and the ability to switch off when I’ve finished work. As much as I enjoy my job; I am ready for the next challenge and ready to add value to a web development team. I have a strong work ethic, varied skills, and am proactive about my own personal development. I am determined, process-driven, and open to new opportunities. If you feel that I would be a good fit for your organisation; please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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