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Friday, October 21, 2005

The ABC's of employment in web design

A is for attitude. I was told I got the job because of my attitude, and apparently my attitude was the primary reason for my leaving as well. However, while I was told that "bad attitudes are not allowed in the office, they must be left at the door" my boss did not practice what he preached. (Who truly does?)

B is for business. I learned a lot about how to run a web-design firm while I was there... but not how to run a business. In fact, quite the contrary: I learned how NOT to run a business. For example: taking one long weekend a month to go sailing when you have clients whose problems you're ignoring (and whom you haven't even informed of your absence) is a no-no.

C is for Clients. Clients are the backbone of a service-oriented business. Without them: you have no business. It is not good PR to let clients think you're ignoring them. (Or to blame it on your secretary when it's really YOUR fault that you didn't get back to them or whatever)

D is for determination. I have been propelled forward in my determinaton to run my own business and not have to put up with someone else's malarkey again.

E is for Example. I believe that if you're going to sell websites, first and foremost your own should be a shining example. To this end I created a new site devoted solely to that purpose. Clients are put-off by a crappy site.

F is for fun. If you're having fun with what you choose to do for a living... it's not as strenuous as it is if it reaches a point where you're not anymore. I could not live for long with a job that was mundane and routine. When it's no longer enjoyable, it's time to consider a change of strategy. (Like a ship must change course on occasion!)

G is for guts. You have to have guts to make it in any business... if you don't: you'll never get out of the gate.

H is for happiness. Happiness is not as elusive as many profess. The truth is we are all as happy as we choose to allow ourselves to be. Working at a job we hate is a sure-fire way to avoid happiness.

I is for ineptitude. It cannot be hidden, and is only magnified by any attempts to do so. Ignorance should not be confused with ineptitude, as ignorance can be remedied with sufficient education, but ineptitude is often an ingrained ambivalence revealing itself through disinterest in one's work... leading to sloppiness.

J is for J.O.B. This has been defined as "Just Over Broke" which is truly what most paychecks leave you after all your concentrated effort. Rather than make what you can then figure out how to live on it, why not choose how you want to live, then do what you must to support that lifestyle? When the rewards are satisfying it's much easier to maintain discipline and press forward.

K is for kind. It is essential that you be kind to yourself, or you will be less inclined to do likewise for others. When you have treated yourself well, it extends to the world around you, and makes you want to treat others with kindness also.

L is for lies. Lies are never good... and when you tell others that you didn't do what you told them you would because of your secretary, that's just plain lame. Own up to your inadequacies, and overcome them. When you lie, you're truly deceiving yourself more than anyone else.

M is for management. Management must be applied, not implied. Someone has to take control of the situation, and if no one does, everyone loses.

N is for necessity. The old adage, "necessity is the mother of invention" could not be more accurate. In fact, if it were not true: you would not be sitting at a computer reading this right now.

O is for office. While offices are important, it is essential that more office space than necessary be avoided. The extra expense of the additional space could be put to much better use paying someone to telecommute for more hours than you would be able to afford to pay them if you had to maintain another office and its ancillary equipment.

P is for payroll. If you have fewer than five employees, it's ludicrous to have a payroll company or an employee devoted exclusively to payroll. It makes much more sense to hire each individual as independent contractors, responsible for their own taxes, etc. until the business can support the additional expense a payroll entails.

Q is for quick. When you're in the business of creating and maintaining complex web-stores for high-end clients who are accustomed to raking in thousands of dollars daily through their sites, it's not an option to be "unavailable" in case of emergency. For those people, every minute their site is inoperable has dollar signs attached to it.

R is for reliable. Set a schedule and stick to it. If people feel that they can never find or reach you when they need you, they'll move their business over to someone else. If not now... eventually. Loyalty only stretches so far!

S is for style. Style can often compensate for lack of talent to some degree... but all style with no talent will get you nowhere. If you have a lot of style but no talent, your best bet is to partner up with your opposite: someone who has lots of talent but no real style.

T is for tools. We all know that there are special tools for every job. If you have a preference for what you want someone to use, make sure they have it. Don't skimp on this, because it will give you headaches in the end if you do.

U is for unreliable. If your clients continuously get the run-around every time they try to reach you, they'll soon peg you as unreliable, and before long they will be someone else's clients.

V is for vision. It requires vision to propel a successful business through the murky depths of consumer demand and market saturation.

W is for willingness. With willingness to put forth the required effort, an incredible amount of cooperation can be obtained.

X is for the variable x. Your income is x. X can be big or little... but it will not grow without either dedicated effort or unbelievable luck. The latter is so rare it's not likely enough to rely upon.

Z is for zero. Zero is the number of times someone has ever succeeded without making any mistakes. You may want to re-read that. The fact is: we all make mistakes. We're only human. But focusing on the mistakes rather than the solutions will get us nowhere.

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