Saturday, June 16, 2018

Blast from the Past

Well, my blast from the past is me. I can't believe I haven't put up an update in four years. I feel like I want to start this up again, so we'll see if I can be committed to posting again . . . so hello to whoever is out there!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Consulting Update

First I'd like to say I can't believe it's been so long since I last posted. I guess I've been pretty busy. I promise to try to post more often! Here's an update in my consulting world.

1. Conference success - For my first client, I'd been working on a conference that took place in July, so that kept me pretty busy for most of the summer. Thankfully the conference went well and there was a lot of positive feedback, so client #1 signed back up for a full year of consulting for their 2015 conference.

2. New staff - The first client also hired someone who could possibly change the amount of work that I do for them outside of that conference. He is still new and the jury is out on how things will go, but again it looks like they will keep me on for the foreseeable future.

3. New client - Just after the July conference, I signed on to do some work on a temporary basis with a new client as a subcontractor, to see how things would go. So far so good, and it looks like he wants me to continue to work with him. See #7 for more details on this.

4. Short beach trip in August - Each year I go to Ocean City for a long weekend. It was good to get away, but not enough time. See #6 below for more details on that.

5. Finding balance - It seems like just 2 clients wouldn't be that much work, but I'm working on basically 2 big projects for each so I feel like I am sort of maxed out right now time-wise. It's been a little stressful and challenging trying to balance the work and deadlines of all these projects and keep everyone happy. I guess this is the work of the consultant. Hence, I had to . . .

6. Cancel my vacay - Due to impending deadlines for both clients, I cancelled a much-needed vacation to Puerto Rico at the end of September. The timing just didn't work. I lost a friend in the process as she was very upset that I didn't go, though it was for a work trip that she had to take anyway, so I don't know why she was such a bitch about it. But I have to make a living, and being self employed sometimes means making tough decisions about personal time.

7. Unexpected trip - Client #2 had a family emergency the week that he had 2 back-to-back conferences that were very important. He asked me to step in and go in his place, and schedule-wise it worked out so I was able to pitch in. He was very grateful, perhaps cementing new opportunities with him. I am not usually able to be that spontaneous, so I was glad it worked out and the trip was very successful. As a consultant, it looks good that I am a reliable back up and can step in with little preparation time and do a good job.

8. Other freelance gigs - In my copious free time (ha ha), I have helped a neighborhood association create an online survey, cat sit for a friend, and helped another friend launch a Kickstarter campaign for her music. We are now working on a PR campaign to promote the Kickstarter project.

9. I've been working on my business name, logo, website, etc. but it's slow because of working on the actual work. This is a frequent complaint of small business owners! I will get there soon, which is good, because you always need to be prepared and market yourself in order to stay in business.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The World of Consulting

So I've been my own boss for 2 months now, my how time flies! I would say things are going pretty well so far. Is it everything I thought it would be? Yes, and no. I love having no one to answer to. I love that I can set my own schedule and do what I want for the most part. I love being outside of the office drama. Here are some surprises:

1. There is never enough time. I thought by not sitting in an office all day I'd have so much more time to get things done. Not so. The days fly by, and whatever time I have just disappears. I am often busier than I ever thought I would be.

2. It is really hard to get up in the morning. I kind of expected this one, as I am not a morning person, but I thought setting an alarm would at least prompt me out of bed. Nope. I am generally up by 7:30 am, which is not terrible, but I wish I could get up at 7. The strict goal I have set for myself is I need to be on the computer by 9 am, no matter what. At least that part seems to be working.

3. I thought I would be able to have lunch with folks, do some networking, etc. In reality, taking time out to do a long lunch means very little work gets done that day, so I don't do it very often cause right now I'm up against some serious deadlines.

4. It is hard as hell to come up with a decent company name. All the ones I really like are already taken, albeit maybe across the country. However, in today's social media world, even if they are far away you are competing for Facebook or LinkedIn page names, Google results, etc. So I still haven't found the perfect one yet. Which means...

5. I haven't started thinking about getting new clients yet. This current contract is gearing up for a conference in July, after which I will have a lot more time. Provided I think of a good name for myself, I need to spend post-conference time setting up a website and networking to get some new clients. Can't have all my eggs in one basket.

6. If I never worked another day I'd be happy, though this isn't quite a surprise either. I hate to say it, but I just find working takes up all the time I want to do other stuff. I have a lot of interests and hobbies and I know my days would be just as full. I'm just too old to really care or be "driven." I just want it easy. Occasionally I take a "day off" here and there and know I could do that more often than not. If only I could win the lottery!

As far as the current contract goes, I have gotten pretty close to the goal that was set for the work that I am doing. I am pleased with where I am given the short time frame. The contract is supposed to renew for next year, so I need to get my act together and get more prepared next time around, do more prospecting, etc. Financially, I wrote my contracts in a smart way, and I put aside a good amount to cover taxes and emergencies. I spent a lot of time the first month talking to my accountant, financial planner, etc. I am trying to be cautious yet optimistic. So far so good. Provided nothing weird happens and my contract renews, I'll give this another full year to develop additional clients and see where this all goes.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Last Laugh: I Quit My Job & I'm Shaking Things Up

I finally resigned today. These past 3 weeks at work have been *so* miserable. My boss has been on a rampage to kick my and my employees' asses. Seriously, last Thursday after a meeting I thought all 3 of us would walk out. An opportunity presented itself recently and while it's a bit risky--consulting--it's a calculated risk. I am making enough money to cover me through the summer, buying time to figure out if I want to fully take the plunge and start my own consulting business, or look for another job. If the latter, I have the time and freedom to look for a job while I have a more flexible schedule for the summer. Work from the pool!

The last 3 weeks have also sucked cause I got rear-ended in my 16-year-old car. For me, that was the last straw. I loved that car, but I have put a lot of money into it recently and just couldn't do more. Long story short, I traded it in this weekend for a brand new car while I still had the employment history to get a loan. We had finally gotten a bonus at work, so I used that as a down payment to bring my payments down to a reasonable level since I knew I was leaving a steady income.

So I have done a lot of scheming and preparing for all of this and I feel fairly confident that I have thought through things pretty well. I have given my accountant and financial planner the head's up and have some ideas of things I can do to set up a nest egg in case things get tight. I cannot wait to soon be free. Everyone at work today said I looked like a huge weight had been lifted. Can't wait until my 2 weeks are up!

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Rant Alert: I Hate My Job

My boss has been wanting to meet for months now for a "marketing brainstorming" session, saying how it would help me, the marketing manager. Well, since I never felt that I needed such a session, and since I know this session will just create extra work that my very small staff won't be able to handle, I have been less than excited about it.

We have too much work now, and will never be allowed to get another person. Work just keeps piling up as we add more and more new projects every year, but no extra help. We can't grow revenue, which is the desire of the company, because we are simply struggling on a daily basis to get the bare minimum of work done. It is fucking joke. My boss is so short sighted that she will one day be forced out the door cause she will never get the performance that the company now requires. I just don't have anything else left to give.

For this brainstorming session, originally scheduled months ago, she asked me to prepare an agenda. I talked with my staff and we sent around an agenda prior to the session. I would never have prepared an agenda, because it was supposed to be a fucking brainstorming session! And because I just don't give a shit. So after I send the agenda as requested by her, she tells me I never should have sent it because she doesn't want people at the meeting to only focus on the items I suggested. Duh!

So the meeting was supposed to be today but got rescheduled to tomorrow. At the end of the day, my boss comes to my door and asks if I've prepared anything for the meeting. I have gathered some costs and samples to share, but I wasn't going to make the mistake of distributing them in advance again. She tells me that she has prepared an entire PowerPoint presentation. WTF? So this is really about exactly what I thought--her way to get us to do more work, and more of what she wants. Not for marketing to find out what other ideas people have. For us to find out what ideas she has to keep piling on the work.

She hasn't worked at a lower level in so many years now that she has no idea how long anything takes to accomplish. She claims that everything "takes her just five minutes." Uh. Yeah. Five minutes because now you're the big boss and people respond. In real people land, that is not the case. I work for the most useless, backwards, archaic place where nothing works, everything takes 5 times longer than it should, and everyone is completely stupid or uncooperative. If I could walk away I would, and I am trying to find a new opportunity. I'm the best manager that she's had in marketing, according to most of the staff who tell me horror stories about my predecessors. Yet she's going to run me off with her bullshit and stupidity. I can't take much more of this complete ridiculousness and one of these days, I will have the last laugh.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

An Update. And, Running Away.

So here's an update on what's going on here. I am still sofa shopping. I can't buy anything until I get my bonus in 2 weeks. Shocking that I even get one, but hey I'm not going to complain. I have choices narrowed down to 3.

No word from Mr. B. It's been 2 months. I guess he's over it.

I need to get out of my job. My employee told me today she doesn't know how I have lasted 3 years. I saw a vineyard for sale. Any potential partners out there? I am only halfway joking. Alternatively, my neighbors want to buy a bar down the street and asked me to join in last night. It really made me sad when I realized how little money I actually have to invest. I really can't take this much longer . . . stressful job, expensive area, etc. I need to do something different but feel very trapped in my current financial situation. I either need to rob a bank or win the lottery or sell my place to escape. Buying my place was the one smart thing I did in my life--it is my trump card and I am seriously thinking about cashing it in soon.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Things I Love: What Do You Think?

For years I've written a random "column" on this blog: Things I Love, where I talk about how people piss me off. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people of authority ask me what I think, and then I make a decision that they immediately negate. Why bother to fucking ask me in the first place? This happened recently with a volunteer thing that I do. The president of this organization asked me what I thought, I told him and acted on it, and he told me to undo it. There have been a few other things recently with this volunteer situation that have made me question whether it's worth my time and aggravation anymore. So they are on notice . . .