Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics


Posted by shannonclark on September 25, 2002

Busyness and Business

hope I spelled those correctly…

It looks likely that not only do I have a contract project for myself for the next 4-5 weeks (on the East Coast), but that I have two other contract projects for my employees to work on while I am out of town!

This is a very, very good thing – but also means that I am very busy – lots of little things that I have been putting off suddenly can not be put off any longer. From the clearing of the piles of unread documents from the surface of my desk, to the sorting of various magazines into “need to read”, “read and want to save”, “read and throw away”, or “don’t even bother, just file ye’old circular file”, the management of the pile of new business cards sitting in piles around my desk – some get rubberbanded into other piles, some perhaps get filed in my rolodex, and most should also be scanned into to my electronic contact databases (especially if I might need them when not in the office!).

Traveling for business is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it means that I have a paying customer and a good project (or projects) to work on. On the other hand it means that I am out of town and away from friends and family for much of the week – it also means that I will be living out of a suitcase, eating dinners out (but I am thus on an expense account – which is good for one’s life budget), and it means that my time is less free and less available.

Not that I do all that much “social” activities in any case – but it would be nice to hope that that will change in the future – that in the future I might have someone to take out to dinner on a weeknight, or see a movie with, or just “hang out” with (which according to something I read recently is how people define dating these days – you “hang out” until you reach the point of “going out” or something like that… not sure if I get it).

But, on a very positive side – if all three of these projects go through and we are successful, and if this is the start of a positive trend towards more and more of these type of projects (decently paying good sized projects for clients who can afford us) – then my businesses may be turning a corner – which in turn means that I personally may finally be slightly less stressed out about my finances (and my company’s finances – making payroll each month is not a fun thing).

It does also mean that I will not be attending too many networking events in the next month – which does in turn mean that my opportunities for meeting additional potential clients do go down somewhat.

Counteracting this however, is the positive effect of having recent happy customers – which are a very useful and powerful marketing tool when you are talking with a potential client. Rather than saying something like “we’re a consulting firm…” you can say “just last week we worked on a similar problem for a client of ours who was very happy with our solution, lets talk some more about your project and if you like, I can put you in tough with our very satisfied client…” much more effective.

It also never hurts when trying to get a client to make a decision to say something like “we’re on projects for other clients until …” – enhances your value in the marketplace to be able to show that other clients are paying for your services – and getting value out of the relationship with you.

On a personal front though it means that I have to value my time very carefully over the next few weeks and months – if I am working for a client and traveling nearly every week then I will have less time available for online communities, email exchanges, or just meeting friends for coffee and discussion about something.

Not to mention time spent on other pursuits such as my own writing – or, shock of all shocks, dating someone (knock on wood that tomorrow’s date goes well).


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