Monthly Archives: March 2007

And it Grows Again

I love having him home full time. It really is cool. We are learning to work together in ways we have not before, and our business is showing potentials that it did not have previously.

But to realize those potentials, I’ll have to eventually sacrifice having my husband around as much. I can structure our business to a certain extent to allow for it, but not completely – at least, not without limiting things too much.

Balance has a different meaning. Balancing different things than I had ever considered having to balance. It is funny, I always thought I’d like to have Kevin home, but had never really seriously considered it. I mean, it was such an impracticality and such an impossibility. Now that it is a reality though, I am selfish about it. I like it. I want it to continue.

But to realize awesome potentials, we have to decide what is truly important. And it isn’t always a matter of black and white. Sometimes it is more a matter of finding out how to adapt things so that you can find creative options for hanging onto the best parts of one thing while achieving an acceptable level of something else.

I am speaking in obscurities, but when our next venture launches, it will make more sense.

I figured it had to quit sometime…

Since the first of the year, business has been booming. Beats me why, it isn’t like we are doing a lot that is terribly different than what we’ve always done. But suddenly, stuff that never worked before is working, and patterns that have held true for 6 years are no longer predictable.

My website websites – the ones that I use to promote my services – have NEVER pre-sold a client. They’ve been a great support to active selling on our part, but that is it. That is changing, and we are now getting calls from people who know what they want, and from whom, they just want to know the details of what it will take.

Work we did years ago is suddenly paying off, in big ways. A site we built on commission is paying way better than we could have ever anticipated. There is no way we should be able to get by right now financially, and yet we are. And without stressing over it either.

Opportunities are coming out of the woodwork also – chances to teach web development courses, new contract opportunities that stretch us in new directions, JV opportunities that have the potential to pay very well, and more things that we could not have expected or planned for. But the funny thing is, we ARE prepared. Some of these are things I have been wanting for years, but did not quite know how to go about getting. And now, with no effort on my part, they are dropping in my lap.

We started radio ads this week. This has been a long term goal. We did the math ahead of time, and knew that with radio ads, they build power over time, so it could take 3-4 months to know whether they were really effective or not. We budgeted a certain amount of money for three months. Then we calculated how much work we’d have to get as a direct result of the ads, in order to justify continuing.

The ads started running on Thursday, on a VERY limited schedule (all we could afford). We got a call Friday, from someone who had heard the ad ONCE. He is fairly certain of what he wants, and it should not be difficult to close on the contract. This is statistically unusual. I mean, with our kind of service business, you don’t just start to advertise and have people come flooding in. We expected that it would take a few weeks before we got a call at all. And we only need two small, or one large contract to justify the entire three months of advertising.

I started thinking about the local competition though. Many are home offices (not a problem, so are we!). A few run ads that have a little “oh, and we do web design too” sort of tag line on the end of an ad for other services. There is not a lot of radio advertising being done for web design. And our ads are distinctly different.

They target a particular market. They say what we specialize in. They are friendly and informative. The other local ads mostly aren’t. They just basically say “we do web design”, and that’s it!

Our first ad stated that we specialized in small business and startups. Our next ad will have a slightly different focus, and we’ll keep the original one running too. We didn’t even put a phone number in the ad, we just gave our URL. Next time we might add a phone number, I’m not sure yet. And I’ll record the first two, then Kevin will record a couple, so that we have male and female voices doing the ads.

So here we are, buried in work. Part of the reason we are buried is because we are in a growth phase, and we are adjusting to a higher level of output, while we still have two people who are learning essential skills – they are not at their peak level of productivity yet, and in fact, are nowhere close. But we are getting more efficient by the day. We are also streamlining and systemizing repetitive tasks, so that we are able to do more in less time. Very important since we don’t charge by the hour, but by the job.

An in the midst of that, we are stepping up our advertising. But that is what you have to do if you want the work to be there when you need it. Some of the work that is coming in now is work that we started trying to get last summer. And if we don’t advertise now, the work we are doing is likely to dry up, and leave us with nothing in two or three months.

We gotta be doing something right. Sometimes I’m not sure quite what it is that we are doing right, or why it worked now, particularly, but it is an exhilarating wave to ride!

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.