(… and, yes, business is good!)
I’m now in my third month of being self-employed after leaving AOL and things are looking good. I am very thankful for everyone who has been incredibly supportive of me, starting with my wife and children who have been awesome. I’m fortunate to have a large network of friends and clients who have helped me find work and I don’t know what I would have done without them.
Ironically, several years ago, my friend (and at the time, client) Terri-Ann told me that I should have gone independent, that “work will come to [me],” but I just wasn’t prepared for that kind of risk. But, years later, I’m pretty sure she was definitely right. I may not have been ready at that time for other reasons, but I am blessed to have met so many great people along the way. I know I don’t say it often enough: thank you for everything.
Having said all that, it’s now the middle of January 2007. For now, I’m using Quicken 2006 for my invoices and it’s working out well. The irony of being a web application developer is the classic “shoemaker’s children” problem: Panoptic’s website looks like crap. It didn’t bother me as much before, since it was only a part-time thing. Now that it’s my primary business, I really want to pay more attention to it. In the upcoming weeks, I’d like to:
- Create a more professional logo for the Panoptic brand
- Clearly define what Panoptic’s business is
- Create business cards for myself
Long ago, I’d created and used some business cards that I designed myself, but never really took it seriously. Again, it wasn’t a problem, because folks rarely asked me for them. However, lately, I find people ask me for my card a lot. Having to say, “sorry, I don’t have any,” makes me feel awkward–unarmed, almost naked. I’m sure it’s equally hard for potential clients to take me seriously as a professional if I don’t take my business seriously enough to commit to having business cards, right? So, I’m going to make some. It’s time.
I don’t have the cash flow yet to hire professional brand and identity management folks, but if you’ve got some time to spare and would like to help out for free, I’d gladly accept the help. If you’re good at what you do, I’m sure folks will want to know who you are and I’ll be happy to hook you up. I’m also sure that as my business grows, I’ll have paying work to send your way: business networking is a fantastic way of finding work! Lets help each other out.
To everyone else who has left AOL, I wish you all the best of luck. It’s a small world out there, so keep in touch and lets all do the best we can!
Great to read you are establishing yourself. Find it funny about the business cards. Name, phone #, email and mantra seems to suffice and all for about $9.95 but well. Anyway, I am thinking of about establishing a chicken coop (not kidding) in my NY home. Not doing the dirty work myself but helping establish the person I currently rent the house to. Could have some fresh eggs soon. A first step into organic farming? Who knows.
I like openair.com for billing. It’s $12/mo which might be pricy compared to a one-off like quickbooks, but its emailed/web invoices are awesome and I think save me $12 in time a month of dealing with paper/postage/mailing. Having always-on data entry (for when you’re onsite) helps me better capture billables.
I wouldn’t rush to add to your fixed costs, but keep it in mind.