Solo and Loving Every Minute

Solo and Loving Every Minute


Serving Deliverables...On A Platter

 

Even if your final product isn’t digital, such as graphics or code, you and your clients can benefit from having as much stuff online as possible. Email is still a great way to communicate, but it leaves a lot to be desired as a delivery tool. Sending attachments can create all kinds of headaches—from the files being too big, to having to resend files every time there’s a change.

 

Client extranets can save you and your customers an appreciable amount of time by providing a single entry point to things like schedules and documents. If you have a .Mac account ($99.95 per year, www.mac.com), you already have what you need to set up the simplest client page. You can save files in the “Web” folder of your iDisk and they’ll automatically be uploaded to your site at homepage.mac.com/username.

 

BaseCamp (subscriptions from $12 to $149 per month, www.basecamphq.com) has taken the Web by storm. Companies of all sizes have forgone more complicated and costly extranet solutions for this simple, elegant tool. A powerful Web-based app, BaseCamp goes beyond serving files. It takes care of one thing that is nontrivial to set up: managing user accounts and permissions. Within minutes, you can have a secure place for you and your clients to share files and project information. Brilliant.

 

8 Final Tips for Financial Independence

No matter what your business, here are some tips for managing your cash flow and staying on top of your game.

 

Don’t be shy. Talk money up front and set expectations. Most customers want to know how much things will cost before they make any decisions. Besides, everyone knows you’re in business to make money. And if you don’t bring it up, why would anyone else?

 

Get it in writing. Never work without a signed contract. It’s a lot of work to take someone to court, and you won’t get very far telling the judge you had someone’s word they’d pay.

 

Account for all hours. Even if you don’t bill for your time, or do work that isn’t billable, it’s a good idea to see where the time goes. You might find out you’ve spent 20 hours to close a 25-hour project.

 

Don’t spread yourself too thin. Freelancing especially can be feast or famine, but don’t let it cloud your judgment into saying yes too often. A couple 80-hour weeks here and there, for a rainy day or extended vacation, is OK. But take on too much and your work will suffer.

 

Get what’s coming to you. As a business owner, you’ll find all kinds of tax deductions you never had before. Familiarize yourself with as many as possible. Stay on top of things by paying your taxes quarterly. Even if you’re an accountant yourself, it’s still a good idea to hire one.

 

Don’t skimp on your tools. If the biggest, baddest Mac is what you need to do your job, better, faster, and cheaper, then get it.

 

Don’t shortchange your professional development. Like an overused knife, skills can dull over time. Even a deductible junket like a trip to the Mac Expo could clue you into a new revenue opportunity. And finally...

 

The Worst--and by Worst, We Mean Greatest--Bad Business Domain Names of All Time

 

For these really, really unfortunate accidents of phrasing and juvenilia, you’ll almost have to force yourself to go back to eighth grade. But once you do (and we guarantee you, you will) you won’t be able to see anything but names that clearly would’ve benefited from some sturdier focus grouping.

 

www.smartassess.com

www.dicksonweb.com

www.ihavegas.com

www.nycanal.com

www.webone.com

www.gotahoe.com

www.cummingfirst.com

www.molestationnursery.com

www.ipanywhere.com

www.penisland.net

 

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jmlconrad

Our company is small but growing fast, and outgrew our Excel timesheets. We are now using Pacific Timesheet On-Demand (http://www.pacifictimesheet.com) for the last few months and it has really streamlined time tracking, time report and billing. We added payroll integration last month to integrate with our Lawson system, and have seen near 100% adoption across the company.

I hope this helps!
Jamil

Pacific Timesheet - Web Time Tracking Software

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CK Low

Thanks for the great article on managing a home business. You really nailed it by covering the topics no one tells you about - the back room stuff which supports any business endeavour & pitfalls to avoid. I wish I had known some of this stuff when I started my freelance business a few years ago.

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Joel Mueller

LLC stands for Limited Liability Company (not corporation).

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Scott B in DC

It is a very good article, but is there any way to print it in one shot and not multiple times? There should be a print option that would give us the ability to print the entire article!

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Lostgame

I'm starting my own small business and this article is seriously invaluable to me...thanks, guys!

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RIk

I love the opening photo -- my congrats to both the thinker-upper (Robin?) and the shooter (Mark?).

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