Monday, August 28, 2006

When it Rains...

A bunch of things to quickly jot down. First, in response to my last blog post "The Check's in the Mail" -- it was certainly Murphy's law at work, it took an entire week after that post for checks to start to come in. The day the first check came in I landed two new contracts for websites, along with the respective deposits.

On the subject of rain -- apparently Orange County, NY doesn't do rain halfway. Another few inches over these few days.

My business agrees with the weather -- I had 12 incoming jobs (that doesn't mean they'll all go to contract, or all go to contract at the same time), two of which went to contract as I mentioned above, and one established client called me with several rush jobs. Feast or famine, but nothing steady! Yay!

I've been a networking fiend lately. You can find me at Orange County Chamber of Commerce events, BNI events, Orange County Women's Professional Network events, Orange County Networking Alliance, Toastmasters, etc. Anyone in the area looking to network, I'd love to hear from you.

On those notes, I have some work to get through then I'll have new information for my portfolio, clients page, etc.

Good luck out there!!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

The Check's in the Mail

I've been busy this month, but as I always say "This month's work is next month's money." Whether a 15 day billing cycle or a 30 day billing cycle, with or without a late fee, and so on, by the time the job is done and billable, and then by the time you get the payment and take it to the bank, it's next month.

Last month was really rough. That means this month I'm terribly poor. I've gotten at least 3 new awesome clients, all giving me repeat work, and all paying me on-time. But there's still this cash flow problem.

So here's how the day goes: If I don't have a morning business networking meeting, my 6am to 9am slot is taken by email, breakfast, and catching up on news and potential work. If I have a project that has loose strings, I tie them. Ship out something I said I would have on their desk by morning. Surprise a client with something done ahead of schedule -- those are the best. Sometimes something inspirational came up while I was asleep and begs for my attention. This month I actually get to sleep in -- my son's at my mom's house way far out of state, so I can sleep til 7:30 if I don't have a morning business meeting.

From 9am-12pm I return calls, do job intake as needed, follow up on people answering their morning email, send out invoices, catch up on accounting work, work on billable projects due by the afternoon, etc.

Sometimes around 1pm I have a business lunch with someone. Other times, I take a long lunch break since I was up since 6am and I've hit a 6 hour mark for working during the day.

At 2pm I check the mail. This is the important part of this rant.

From 2-5 I'm doing billable projects, answering phone calls from late risers, and checking the news feeds again.

Now, back to 2pm -- when school is in session, more like 2:30pm, when my son gets home. The mail comes around or before 2. I think. No one really can tell if or when the mail is going to come. Or when. Sometimes it's here around noon. Sometimes it's a little late. But most days if we check for mail at 2-2:30pm it's here. It's my one chance for exercise every day. About 1/10 mile round trip walk to the mailbox. :P

Today the mail isn't here. The mailbox is empty. My wallet is filled with cobwebs, the banks are about to send me threatening letters, every bill under the sun is about to come due, and I had to beg my utility provider to PLEASE waive my late fee. I open the creaky door to look again. Empty. A third time? Yep, that mailbox sure is empty. I stand in disbelief squinting against the sun and look down the block. Surely the postal person is coming. Late over a latte or ice cream? If there are packages, the postal worker is here around 10am -- other days before 2pm.

How do you deal with an empty mailbox at 2pm. 2pm is perfect -- enough time to drive to the bank with that check that finally came. 2:30 is pushing it. At 2pm if the mailbox is empty, you have to run back to the mailbox at 2:30pm, wallet, keys for the car, checkbook in hand -- ready to flee to get to the bank by 3.

I hate being desperate.

But what if it's still empty at 2:30pm?

You begin to wonder what's going on. There are a billion outstanding invoices. People say the check's on it's way (it went to the accounting department, it was sent...), but I get enough junk mail, don't I? Why would it be EMPTY? The days where it's all junk mail, at least I know the mail CAME. Maybe the answer is more junk mail. Publisher's Clearing House? I was just thinking to tell the credit bureaus to stop giving my info out to credit card agencies looking to get me in debt to them. Save your paper! but now I can't tell whether the mail came today or not. Is there a check? I have this daily Schrodinger's cat syndrome when I open my mailbox -- is my bank account doomed to die or will it be resurrected for another week? Maybe I can convince the postwoman to leave me a post-it saying "Sorry, none for you today!"

I worry that maybe someone's beating me to the mailbox. An ol' game of bait and switch. That's not today's mail -- it's yesterday's mail. I'll get today's mail tomorrow.

Maybe I can blame it on my kids. It's all my kid's fault. If I didn't have kids, I wouldn't have bills, and I wouldn't need to charge people money -- I'd do it all for free and liberate the world from lame static websites in the name of the tech revolution! Somewhere there's a flaw in that logic, but in my panic over my bank balance, I guess I'm not thinking clearly.

This month's work is next month's money. I'll be bluddy rich next month. Rolling in it. I better have enough work next month to get me through October.

In the meantime, what's the best source of snail mail spam?

2:30pm. It's still empty.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

The benefits of natural lawnmowers

Mowing lawns could be hazardous to your health.

Take a somewhat out-of-shape person, give them insufficient liquids, 85 degree (Farenheit) or higher temperatures in the late day sun, about an acre of lawn and a mower and you have a recipe for disaster.

Make that person pig-headedly stubborn about getting the job done in one continuous grueling bout of sheer testosterone and you have heatstroke.

I'm not writing to extoll the virtues or dangers of heatstroke. I want to leave that to the experts.

I want to extoll the virtues of natural lawn mowers.

No more gas guzzling noise polluting mulch making hay spewing 1.5 horsepower rack-n-pinion steering (*cough*) bag-toting machine fury!

No. Just a little fur, some neighborly tolerance, and patience.

I have several lawn mowers. Woodchucks. Rabbits. Deer. If it weren't for the sheer overwhelming SIZE of the lawn, woefully seeded with absolutely useless grass, I probably wouldn't need a lawn mower at all. Give me ground ivy, chickweed, mint, wood sorrel, plantain, dandelion and cleavers any day over 100% useless indigestible grass. While we must have grass, since it's not my lawn, then at least we have our natural lawn mowers. I even have photos -- I've just been too bloody lazy to put my photos into the blog. I have to actually get off my butt and do it ;)

These lawn mowers have many myriad benefits:

  • they're eating what most people hate anyway. The woodchuck and rabbits specialize in the little plants between the blades of grass, like dandelions -- the ones the mechanical mower misses anyway. The deer eats young grass -- enough deer and there's no grass to mow in the first place!

  • instant composting. As these critters graze, they leave behind yesterdays morsels in a ready-to-use form. Bonus: herbivores don't have i-coli bacteria. The compost is ready for your soil, worms, and all other manners of nitrogen-hungry life

  • They're cheap: (what!! No nested lists GRRRR)

  • You don't have to pay at the pump

  • you don't need to buy or maintain machinery

  • you don't add extra wear to your car fetching mowers, oil, gas, parts or taking it in for repairs

  • you no longer need to buy fertilizer

  • You don't pollute the environment

  • When these lawn mowers break down, they biodegrade quickly -- no need to get them hauled away in the trash and have them take up room in a landfill

  • they replace themselves

  • they provide hours of amusement and possibly food and exercise to your pets

Anyway, here's a billion blessings to our lawn mowers -- they're welcome here any time -- as long as they stay the HECK out of my garden.

[tags]critters, environment, grass, dandelions, plantain, wood sorrel, gratitude, humor, woodchuck, rabbit, deer, rant, expenses, garden, lawn, recycling[/tags]