We met my parents for lunch after church yesterday, always fun. I think I did more than my share of the talking, and was particularly boring on the subject of my new website. Following that, and some recovery from said lunch, we had the candles and singing and birthday cake.
My mother said she was proud of my having transitioned to self-employment so smoothly, considering how resistant I was to the idea.
Let’s face it: I’m still resistant to the idea. I continue to harbor fantasies of being offered a steady job by one of my bigger clients, any one of them, really.
Fortunately, I don’t let this stand in my way.
At this point — five months after I first went to the unemployment office — I have things pretty much in place. I still have a couple of software purchases I need to make, but I have the computer, website, business cards, Toggl, appropriate clothing, file folders, workspace, accountant, reference books, basic schedule, and marketing plan. I also have work, the main thing.
My dad told me you can get last year’s software at eBay for a pittance. I probably looked as though he had given me tips on where to get a great price on past-sell-date milk. I always think that outdated software makes it hard to work with others. You can’t read their files and have to email and ask them to send it to you in 2003, which adds that whole time traveler air to the transaction. On the other hand, cheap old software might be better than none at all.
Anyway, I need to move on to the next layer. I need a form for site analysis, instead of starting over every time. I need a template for my reports so they’ll look snazzy. I need data collection systems that aren’t entirely online, just in case. I need a better way to keep track of my business expenses and pro bono work, so I won’t have any horrid surprises at tax time. #2 daughter says I need a better filing system, and she’s probably right. I know I need a better filing system on my computers. The search function allows me to imagine that it’s okay to dump everything into “documents” or “Client #,” and to have multiple files of the same name on the two different computers and to email things from one machine to the other and behave as though that means I have backup, but I think we all know that’s not going to work over the long run. I also have to fax a couple of W9s before getting paid, so I foresee some time spent wandering around the town in search of a fax machine I can borrow.
I would like to be able to go to the Small Business Development Center and say, “Here’s where I am right now. What have I missed?”
Today I have about five billable hours, plus a couple of pro bono jobs to work on. I need to make some soap, too, and get to the gym, and at least look at what’s on the HGP for this week, and of course I have a rehearsal. But I think that I can also get a couple of hours of office time in. I need to do SEO/SEM for my own site this week, but if I also do a couple of hours a day of Taking Care of Business, I should get that back-office stuff figured out.
Back office? I have no back office. I have no minions. My first thought, naturally, is that I need a book. However, I know from experience that books for small business focus on things like payroll taxes and setting up things with letters and numbers on them. None are about How to Set Up Your Files So You Won’t Regret It Later or What You Should Do With Your Accounting Software Besides Invoices.
5 thoughts on “Office and Cake”
One of the bright spots in my own freelance life is the fact that everything I do at my computer is day is backed up every single afternoon not only on a backup disk on the computer but also on an external hard drive. And one of the other bright spots is that I have a backup power supply that will keep me functional for nearly twenty minutes when the power goes off. Recommended.
One of the very dim spots is my filing system, which is thorough but horribly ad hoc. A mess. If I could figure out a way to fix that, I’d try to find time to do it…
I think going to the Small Business Development Center sounds like a great idea. And you are so far ahead of me re: self employment that I can only bask in your initiative and organizational skills. I’ve been thinking I need a new FP website. Do you have any recommendations for free downloadable build your own website software, but let’s hope it doesn’t look too homemade?
@princess_smartypants – Your site looks good, it seems to me. You can get Visual Basic in a free version, or dotnetnuke, if you have the coding skills. You can also have a free trial of Dreamweaver, and work fast. That’s what I’ve done, though I had the design and coding done for me — I just did the words. I have all three of the programs I’ve mentioned, and they’re all easy to work with. My design skills are no great shakes — I’ve had better results using templates when I have to do my own, but you may be better than I am. If you did your current site yourself, then you are definitely better than I am.
I guess of the three I’d suggest Dreamweaver, but I think Visual Basic is the best freeware option if you want one to keep for the longterm.
The “looking homemade” part isn’t the software, in my experience. Most of my clients with unsuccessful, homemade looking websites are using Dreamweaver. It’s a question of skills and training. And probably artistic ability.
I think your hosting is problematic. Not that you asked me. But now that I’ve worked with a lot of folks, I’m completely sold on professional hosting. I’m planning to move Dextr when I have the time and funds. I think the services like xanga and yahoo are wonderful for social and personal things, but there are so many obstacles for ecommerce or professional presence at those places, that it just doesn’t make sense to use them for those purposes.
where should i go for hosting? and do i need to send you another monthly retainer for consulting?……
@princess_smartypants – LOL Not yet. I’m going to send you a link.
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