I wrote to my Big Client yesterday to ask for a start date, and he responded that he was glad I had asked him that, because he couldn’t at this point predict a start date and I should quit waiting for him.

My phone conference with the prospective client was postponed till today, but I had a request for a proposal from a skydiving outfit in another state, and this morning I had one from some decorators in Sydney. I offered last night to help with the website for the Master Chorale, so that gives me two pro bono projects. I figure I can do them with scarcely more effort than is involved in proposals and meetings with prospective clients, and they will look good in my portfolio. Maybe I can take them off my taxes. At the very least, it’s for a good cause.

It was a good rehearsal last night. I stood next to my old friend Egypt. I was very happy to see her, and it was nice to catch up, but she has a harsh voice, so I don’t like to stand by her in rehearsals. Not only is there the matter of listening to her, but I also fear that the director will think it’s me.

#1 son is working on the same piece I am; the student choirs are joining with us, the grownup choir, for an enormous cast of thousands sort of performance. #1 son says that choir is nerve-wracking. I asked whether his director, whom I think of as a fun guy, calls them out and embarrasses them. No, but he might, my son informed me. He is always standing there in fear of what might happen next. He also feels that he has pitch problems, by which he means he’s not sure what he’s supposed to sing, since he can’t read music well and is standing far from the other basses. That’s not what I mean by “pitch problems.”

This business of proposals for prospective clients, to return to a probably boring topic, is rather fun. Very often I can see the problems right off. One of the Xangans once asked why her group didn’t come up when someone searched for “London group” and I was able to say, “It’s at least in part because you don’t have the word ‘London’ anywhere on your site.” However, when making proposals for prospective clients, I don’t really want to tell them the immediate things I see. They might implement the one or two quick things for free, fail to see the changes they want, and dismiss the value of my Dark Art work without ever giving me a proper chance, or indeed paying me.

If the Australian design firm decides to go with someone cheaper, though, I’ll be tempted to email them and say, “Oh, okay, I understand that you hired the inexpensive person from the Philippines because you couldn’t afford me. Let me just tell you what a problem your alt tags are.” Until then, I guess I have to be mysterious.

I have eight prospects right now. I am going to have to make files for them, I think. I suppose I will have hordes of prospects as time goes on, and I don’t want to be saying, “Ah, yes, are you the one with no keywords in your meta language, or the one who chose words like ‘inspiration’?”

It is at times like these that I think it would be better if someone were paying me a salary to do these things. True, if all eight decide to hire me, I will earn more than if I had a salary, but it could well be that none of them will hire me, and I will not even be casting my bread upon the waters, because I’m not telling them what I see in their web sites.

When jobhunting, you have to figure that only ten percent of your applications will result in an interview, and only ten percent of your interviews will result in a job offer. You could therefore easily spend a hundred hours in preparation and only end up with one job. However, you only need one job. For self-employment, I can spend 30 minutes on a proposal for a job which will only last a couple of hours anyway.

I do this for Client #2’s clients with whom I subcontract, and they are very impressed. I should probably charge him for that.

But I can’t charge anyone for the proposals I’m currently doing. Maybe I’ll use them for case studies at my marketing blog once my website is at last live. Or write them up as examples in articles which I then sell to someone.

It’ll be a punishment for their having chosen some less expensive person in the Philippines.