If you want something done …

There’s that old saying, “If you want something done, ask a busy person to do it.” I know that saying all too well, now … I’ve never been busier! However, I’m still not at the point where I’m doing enough business to cover all the bills, yet. But, I’m so busy doing all the work that I don’t know where I’m going to find time to seek out additional work to finally have enough work to pay the bills!

I guess at this point, I have to really have faith in word of mouth and other leads that I’ve been generating to come through and get me past that finish line. It’s a very scary and exciting time, with lots of great work to do and wonderful people to work with. But, I’m definitely feeling the tremendous pressure of trying to find the money to pay bills and knowing that I can’t be in two places at once … I have to either be doing work or bringing in more.

I don’t know how I’m going to get over this hump, but what I know is that I don’t have a choice: I have to figure it out, somehow.

Three months later …


Soon, it will be the end of the third month of my full-time self-employment. On one hand, I’m very pleased–business has been very good–but on the other hand, it still isn’t enough to cover all the bills, yet. Conservatively, I’d say I’m half-way to where I need to be on a monthly basis. Don’t get me wrong, I’m ecstatic about the progress I’ve made in just three short months! I also know that there’s these bills to pay … and I need to come up with the money to pay them.

I’ve been truly blessed with some fantastic clients, tremendous opportunities and an incredibly supportive family. I’ve always had dreams of doing this, but never felt that the timing was right. To be honest, I’m not sure that the timing is right now, either, but one of the things I’ve learned these last three months is that I don’t need to be sure. I’m going to do everything it takes to make this succeed, and if that’s not enough, I’ll just have to find ways so I can keep trying.

I think the challenge for September is to try and figure out what Panoptic is going to specialize in. Being a very broad and varied generalist is making it hard to sell. While I could take on many projects that come my way, it’s hard to explain how that’s possible to a potential client. It also complicates the decision-making process around what leads to generate and pursue. Focusing Panoptic through specialization should simplify the sales process, which could help me achieve my business goals and be able to pay those bills.

Walking the virtual streets, looking for a good time

Now that I’m back to freelancing full-time, standing on the virtual street-corner waving at people looking for a good time with their web projects … it’s been interesting. The good news is that there’s still plenty of work out there to be done. I’ve been looking for work all over the web, and here’s some of my observations:



Elance is the gold standard of freelance project marketplace websites. Sure, there are a lot of jokers out there with “champagne tastes and beer budgets” that you have to filter through, but there’s also lots of legitimate work that people are looking to get done. Competing against foreign currency leverage is difficult, but there are buyers out there who aren’t only shopping by price alone. There’s no coincidence that I’ve made the most money through Elance so far, out of all the various places I’ve tried to source work from.



If Elance is the gold standard, then Freelancer.com is the bargain basement. There’s a constant stream of new projects showing up, most of them not even worth looking at, and the Indian mass-bidders have pretty much automated away the usefulness of the site. Still, I keep an eye on it just in case. I’ve only generated 1/10th the revenue on Freelancer.com as I have on Elance, so far.



Ah, good old Guru.com, there were great projects being posted to it in the late 1990’s, but the site’s functionality hasn’t improved in 10 years and the quality of the projects being posted have also declined. I’ll still check it every now and then, but I don’t expect it to lead to any real work any more.



Let’s not forget Craigslist, the proverbial junk drawer of the Internet. Don’t go expecting to find anything of real value there, but you might be able to turn a few tricks, and there’s likely to be less competition by Indian low-ballers.


Overall, this week has been encouraging and discouraging in its own way. I’m only making 20% of what I need to be in order to stay doing this full-time, but I am getting some decent work and it’s trending upwards. Just gotta keep hustling and shaking, smiling pretty and getting out there.

If you’re looking for short term help, almost doesn’t matter what as long as it can be done remotely, let me know. We’ll work out a good price and I could definitely use the work.

The only constant is change

At 9:30 AM this morning, I was informed that my employment was terminated. Once again, I’m a free agent, and its time to start hustling again. If we’ve talked about work opportunities in the past, now is the time to take those conversations to the next step.

Over the next few days, I’m going to do some deep thinking about what kind of services and products make sense for me to offer given today’s demands. Even with the depressed economic situation, I know that there is still more work to do than talented people to do it – the challenge is identifying what I can deliver better than others.

The second half of 2010 is going to be very exciting and I’m looking forward to crushing it


Suzie, my younger daughter, at seven years old, loves to ask me if I can put songs on her iPod Nano. She loves to dance, and often hears songs at the dance school that she likes and wants added. Today’s request was for Let Me Think About It.

I like the song – the music is awesome. But, after having a quick chat with my wife, we both agreed that the lyrics are totally not appropriate for Suzie to be listening to over and over. She was a bit disappointed when I told her that we didn’t approve of the song’s lyrics and I wouldn’t put it on her iPod, but I did say that I would be looking for a copy of the instrumental version without lyrics and if I can get it, I’d be happy to put that one on her iPod, which made her happy. So, I went and found one on the Intertubes and now she’s got a copy of it.

How can I help friends find better jobs?

I happen to have a fairly extensive network of contacts online, but any time someone comes to me looking for work, it surprises me how I don’t have a “go to” list of people who are hiring. Of course, I don’t spend time cultivating such a list, so it’s really no surprise … but, I think it’s time I start.

Certainly, the employment situation is challenging, but there’s a lot of talented people out there who are either un- or under-employed at the moment. Conversely, there’s lots of businesses out there who still have a lot of work to get done and maybe not a lot of money, but at least enough, to hire the right person if they can do the job well.

I’m not a huge fan of recruiters and hate telling friends to contact one. If I were hiring, I’d rather get a recommendation for a candidate from a trusted contact who simultaneously vouches for the person they’re recommending. Similarly, if I knew someone who was looking for a job, I’d rather put them in contact with someone who can really help them get a job rather than someone who’s just going to submit them as a candidate, along with 20 others from a pool, for a single position.

So, now, I’m going to try and do something about this. Are you in a position to hire people? Are you looking for work? I’m going to play “employment matchmaker,” building these two lists of contacts. I certainly know enough people that I should be able to pair folks up, a win-win for everyone involved.

Either contact me privately by email and let me know what you’re looking for, whether it’s candidates or employment. I’ll handle deciding who to introduce to whom, as appropriate.

Lets see if this can bring about some great opportunities for my friends.