Some 4am Notes On Project Management, Deadlines, and Freelancing
I’m up because I’m up. I was feedburnering people’s blogs, I was doing what I needed to do to make sure that everything happened correctly for my clients, and that the deadlines that I promised would be met. I was working on people in order of the amount of money that they paid me…in lieu of the order of my promised commitment. That’s not what I want to be in. I’m grinding them out LIFO now, and it is well…with my soul.
I go through these cycles, not often and I don’t really sweat it. I don’t sleep, it’s 4, and I’m fine with that. I am reasonably awake for the time of day, and I plan to power through and drop dead around 10p. The challenge is to not brag about being up all night to the people I have to see. We’ll get it figured out. I’m going to the gym in an hour, just for the novelty of getting there in the morning as it opens. It’s interesting noting my physiology, and what different things, different experiences do to me.
Right now, I don’t have any problem getting work. I’m grateful for that in this economy. My business is steady and picking up every month. GenuineWife is even happy about it. I’m not perfect–I’m reinventing the wheel too often, and I have to quit it. I’m working to diversify out of the FIRE (FinanceInsuranceRealEstate) business. (Though I still have a lot to give). I’m too eager to do things, but I’m defining what I want to make. I’m learning a bit about how I work, though. I thought a tool like Basecamp would change my life. I dig Basecamp a ton…and I like the tool. It doesn’t change my life if you don’t recognize how you’re fundamentally wired. I’m not wired to multi task, I’m wired to single task or have a couple things in order to do. “Support” isn’t my strong point.
I need fewer, bigger, projects. OR, I need a PM to grind the details and to continue to create the process. Because I was worried about some impending doom, and hungry Jack…everything that I could do, I basically took in every paying client that I could find. Anyone that didn’t have a huge credit risk or sell Porno, I took in. And I kept cold calling, drumming up business. That meant that I filled Basecamp up and had more to do. And less, overall, was getting done because I was getting ‘where’s my deal’ IMs/calls/emails. The week before thanksgiving was the worst, and I think I let lots of folks donw.
The reason I took half the work I did wasn’t because I liked it…it was because I figured new and more and better work was never coming… I still have the Ohio Scarcity mentality–that if I don’t really crank, I’ll die. But, the quality of my delivered stuff went down and (B) the deadlines got missed. And deadlines are the only the currency that I can trade in. Right Right Now’s core premise is hitting a deadline with a fiduciary level talent. I spent the last two weeks really hammering details of little projects. Doing blogs, instead of pursuing my muse. And I felt better. Each time I got to close out of Basecamp made me smile a little more. Going from 18 to 12 to 9…feels good, and then having the big projects under “my” company instead of others…felt better. Each one loosened the noose around my neck and away from that doomfog that comes to cause procrastination.
I’m not out of it, but it’s managable, and I no longer worry that I’m never gonna get control again. I got a lot handled and controlled and now I’m in a position where I feel like if I can’t take new work soon, I’ll be able to work ON my business (getting my website done, getting a core cadre of freelancers vetted, getting more of a sales process/bidding process).
I wanted to make some cumbersome thing, but right now, I think I will do the projects 60-40 with 10% going to a PM, 30% going to me, and 55-60% going to the person that executes for me…provided they execute at the grown up level and need little folllow up. This is a draft–I’m sure I’ll revise it, but I’ve got a welcome freelancers letter that I think works well. (See it here) It’s got some of the Ohio Scarcity that I wanna avoid in it, and so I’ll have to keep thinking about it.
I was going to do it in some more complicated/less transparent way, but I don’t really want bookkeeping hassles. I paid a bunch of people this week and it was stupid. I’ll noodle that over the holidays. I want to be different than a contract house, to honor freelancers, and to make sure that a business runs well. I can sell jobs, no problem. A straight percentage does things.
My friend Laura talks to me about really minding my store and keeping all expenses down. She laughed at my willingness to pay paypal’s vig when authorize had a lower one. OK fine. But really, instead of maximizing every single dime I get, why not really work hard. Not having to think about stuff, not having an extra password and an extra loop to process is well worth it to me. I have plenty of tools, kludges, and places to ‘check’ as it is. If paypal charges more, but I have less to think about and a 60 day chargeback window, I’m a happy dude.
Anyway, if you’ve got a project due it’s on its way. I’m not taking in new work till I get my current stuff completed, my muse launched, etc. I’m cafinated and going tothe gym now.
Scheduled this for 7:34. Only two weeks and 8? working days left this year. One week & one day till Christmas.