Toward a personal blueprint

Last night I was just starting to doze off when I remember that I had left the shed unlocked. I put on my sweatpants and went outside, and was shocked to find the sky afire. The heavens were flashing like a strobe light to the northwest, multiple flashes going off every second, one after the other, making the sky seem like daylight. It was unlike anything I had ever seen. I locked the shed and came back to the porch and sat down for a few minutes, tired as I was, wanting to witness this amazing display for a bit longer. There was no thunder, although for the most part I had no direct line of sight to the lightning itself. Most of it was occuring over beyond the treeline to the west of our property, and I tried in vain to find a vantage point where I could see better. Occasionally a small cluster of lightning would light up far overhead in the sky but I never heard the sound of thunder. It was very eerie.

I tried to capture the phenomena on my phone, but between it’s camera and display, I wasn’t able to tell if I was capturing anything other than a blurry flash of light. I’ll find out later this morning when I show the girls.

I had trouble getting out of bed this morning, and only rose when I heard Elder mulling about in her room. I’ve been having trouble sleeping falling asleep the past few days, perhaps due to drinking too much on Friday and Saturday. I feel rested enough, and so far Elder seems in a good mood, and is actually doing her school work right now so that she can watch a show later.

Last night I wrote a lengthy message to my client, trying to salvage whatever personal and professional relationship can be due to the way that things have been turning out. To be honest, I’m ready to move on. I wrote that we had gotten off on the wrong foot, mostly due to the casualness that we entered into the arrangement. I also felt that charging a fee without a proper contract or scope of work was detrimental. I obviously had a longer time frame for delivery of the goods, and envisioned a perpetual arrangement, but failed to communicate this to them. I again expressed my desire to keep working on the project, explained where I thought the failures were, and tried to provide a way forward. I made sure to end on a positive note, trying not to make this a bad breakup letter. I said that I hoped to see an encouraging word from them on my phone sometime this morning and have a call this evening to continue showcasing and testing the work in progress. If I don’t, then I’m just going to move on.

Sending the note relieved the last vestige of stress that I had been carrying about the situation. I’ve been trying to maintain a clear head about it, but on the other hand I am very disappointed. I have learned a few lessons that have spawned a few requirements that I will need to adhere to moving forward.

  • First, I will need to incorporate my LLC first thing this morning. Everything up until now has been through my sole-proprietorship, but I need to protect myself from liability moving forward.
  • Some sort of formal document detailing the time commitment being made by both parties. I can’t afford to spend thirty or even ten hours in a month for the small monthly retainer that I’ve been charging. If I’m to do more than a few hours a week, then I’ll need guarantees that the relationship is going to continue.
  • Additionally, I’ll need to set realistic expectations about deliverability. I can’t have clients thinking that a fully designed web site is going to manifest itself in a month without frequent feedback from the client. And I’ll need to provide a price sheet detailing the true cost of services (compared to the competition) along with the discount that I’m providing. This discount must be considered against my time commitment. No more overages, unless some sort of annual agreement with termination clauses can be negotiated.
  • Also, I need to set requirements about acceptable communications. I pay a lot of money each month for BaseCamp, and have yet to get any traction among my clients with it. I think I’ll continue with it for now, but it’s my biggest monthly expense right now. If I can’t get clients on board with it then I’ll have to dump it. It’s extremely useful for keeping myself organized, but I’ve got to get clients using it to contact me instead of ping me with text messages. Perhaps some sort of primer will be needed.
  • And absolutely no, no work without some sort of scope of work agreement, even if it is just a memorandum of understanding. It’s just bound to end up with miscommunications and hurt feelings.

I am going to work on fleshing out these documents for the next engagement. It’s time to get to work.

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