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.


1 comment:

  1. The next day it was all junk. :P You just can't win. LOL

    If I just stop looking the mailbox will be bursting at the seams with payments. I know it.