So Client #6 has a great big enormous site. My little niche of helping small businesspeople make their websites into worthwhile marketing tools is completely unrelated to Client #6. The Chief Technology Officer called me to discuss contract work.

I can’t say that I was completely on top of things in the interview.

“What tools do you use?” he asked me.

I was entirely unprepared for this. The truth is, I use things like searchbliss and marketleap and the free tools at SEOmoz, but I was afraid that this would sound bad. I also thought it might sound bad if I admitted that I hop around using free trials so I won’t have to pay for any tools.

Later on, he mentioned a tool that he uses, and I see that I can download it for $87. I may do so. I also may not do so, but be prepared to claim that I use this in future conversations of this kind, so as to avoid the awkward silence as I try to imagine what a seasoned professional practicioner of the Dark Art might answer in this case. I’ve signed up for the free trial.

He also asked how I track my link campaigns.

I do it on paper.

It seemed very likely that this would not be the answer a true Computer Girl would give. However, it is the true answer. “I just use a log,” I said lightly. I also said something about being willing to follow his preferred practices.

There was also the question of my rates. I went to a lot of trouble to find out the proper answer to this question, and was rather proud of myself for delivering it briskly as soon as I was asked.

Now, this is a completely fictional answer. I haven’t charged anyone nearly that much yet. And Client #6 confessed that it was more than was in his budget.

Since it is a fictional number, and more than I have ever made, and more than I think anyone ought to make, I immediately accepted the counter offer in a happy voice. I think I should work on this. I mean, I may know in my heart that I never made as much as they offer me when I was teaching, but maybe I should learn to sound hesitant and as though I’m doing them a favor.

I’m going to work on that.

I guess I must not have sounded like a complete idiot, because he hired me on for a week, half time. At the end of the week, he said, we would see about going on for a couple of months, and then we’d scale back to one day a week for maintenance.

However, I went after that (since I am still waiting on those documents from Client #2) for a nice long walk and contemplated solutions to Client #6’s problem. There were poppies and honeysuckle and quaint little bridges, and I came up with what seemed to me to be good ideas and came right home and sent off some preliminary thoughts to Client #6.

He promptly sent me a contract for two months. I am pretty exultant over this, I can tell you. I can bank half what I make, and be relaxed for the next several months while I seek other clients.

At the moment, I have one large client, Client #6, who is paying me enough to live on over the short term. I also have two fairly large clients, #s 2 and 4, who will, I think, have steady work for me, though not as clearly defined as #6. Then I have my Lite clients, #s 1, 3, and 5. I think they’ll cover books and yarn for me. I have to figure out how to have enough work, but not too much at the same time. I have to figure out how to invoice people and pay taxes.

I have to figure out a new schedule that includes housekeeping, knitting, and dinners.

However, I don’t think I can really consider myself unemployed any more. I will still go on interviews if any of those places I applied to should call me, but I think it is time to get my Plyer of the Dark Art business cards made.