Relocating

26 03 2010

New Mexico moving, originally uploaded by cjc4454.

Not me. God no. Michael and I may never move again. Certainly with our recently purchased home’s value still looking at water over its head we could not sell our home any time soon.

No, my blog identity is relocating.

Why??? I hear the distressed cries. (Amazing how you are all managing to make that sound like vague disinterest…just kidding.)

Here’s a story.

A few weeks ago I had lunch with a friend, and was mentioning how conferences filled with fellow speech therapists tend to make me nervous. I’m just not as earnest as they are, and it make me a little unsettled.

And he said, very frankly, “That’s because you don’t love it.”

And believe it or not, I had never thought of it that way. He’s right. I like it, I’m grateful that I discovered it, I am pleased that I’m good at it, I’m very very happy that it allows me to earn a good living. But I don’t love it in a way that allows me to immediately bond with others who do it, and I don’t have that passionate advocacy for it that makes conferences and publications exciting. And that may have been part of why the idea of the business is exciting to me, because then I get to do some of the things I’m good at (presentations, teaching) that are more about other skills of mine than purely the SLP ones.

But then the friend went one step further (’cause that’s the sort of guy he is) and said, “You love writing.”

And he’s right. Again. We hate him so.

But Lori, you say with your vague disinterest, you write here, right?

Right, I say. Write? No, right. I wrote it right the first time.

I started writing here about the business, or more the process of the business, and some of those things were funny.

But then I started the Martha Points page, and I fell in love with that. I’ve only written a handful of them, and I’m really enjoying it, and people seem to be quite entertained by it.

And I’m in a quandry right now – there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things i want to do. There simply are not, no matter how I do the math.

I need to work at the day job to pay the bills. I need to work on the business a few hours every day to create it. I still need to put food on my family. I have a home, and some hobbies that stoke fires. And while writing is one of my favorite things, writing this blog, writing the blog for the business (yes, there is one) and writing the Martha page is just too much. As is maintaining the blog, trying to promote it, etc.

I can’t do it all.

I hate that. I want to do it all. I want to do it all in grand style and with fanfares and sparkly clothes.

But – as much as it pains me and is a violation of the oath I took as a member of the Psychotic Working Mom’s League of Unattainable Perfection – I cannot do it all and do any of it well.

So, I decided to focus on the Martha Points and have created a blog that’s just that. And as part of that, decided that I was going to go ahead and spring for the camera I’ve been wanting to try and make the stuff that I’m writing there funnier and more relevant with photos that I take (as opposed to the ones I mostly use from various photo-sharing sites.)

So here’s the new page: http://marthapoints.wordpress.com

I hope you’ll read there, and share if you like what you read.

I’m keeping this blog open, I may come back to it some day, and may post here when something really pertinent to the business happens.

Evolution in action!





Alphabet Soup

23 03 2010

SQL is short for squirrel, yes?

And DNS is text-talk for donuts.

And CNAME is….well, I really don’t friggin’ know.

I’m not used to be totally and utterly out of my depth. Jack of all trades, master of none, right? That’s me, of a sort. I read a lot, I have a very good memory for what I see and hear, I’m really good at context clues.

All of these things have stood me in good stead for most of my life. I can build a jumbo media cabinet with doors and hinges. I installed a hardwood floor. I can sew enough to mend most of my own clothes or throw together a costume. I know what the infield fly rule is in baseball.

But last week, while trying to activate my web hosting package so that an actual website can live there, I just about drowned in acronyms.

It started easily enough. “Enter credit card.” I can so do that. Amazon.com, ridiculous-crap-I-dont-need.com and chocolate-stuff-that-makes-you-happy.com have all prepared me well for this part of the transaction.

But then somehow I didn’t have my domain name (which I have already registered with this service) and the hosting package that I wanted (at the same service) communicating. In that desperate, romantic sense. They were aloof. Ignoring each other. In denial about the others needs. This was going to be a problem for me as I REALLY wanted the website I just spend a rather large sum of money on to actually live at the domain name I purchased specifically as the name of the business. I just had to get these crazy kids together.

I did, eventually. It took some random clicking, and I may or may not have also registered a site to sell unmatched socks in the Czech Republic. I’ll deal with that another time.

Then later, I wanted to register my site with Google. That seems like a good idea, right? That Google know about my website? I think that sits up there with sound business thinking like, “get a phone,” and “remember to send bills for services rendered.”

But Google, in their uptight way, wanted to make sure that I OWNED the domain name in question. Because people are running amok trying to register other people’s domain names? Apparently there are games out there I just don’t get.

To prove that I own the domain name I want to register, I had to create a CNAME and point it to a specific DNS of Google’s making. Or, maybe I had to create a DNS and point it at a CNAME. Or it’s possible that I was supposed to create a DSM and NNAE it to a pointer. Or maybe I was supposed to buy a pointer and hunt duncy names with it.

I couldn’t figure this out.

I read the wiki on the hosting site.

I read pages at Google.

I read more words that I didn’t understand than I have since the last time I tried to read Madame Bovary in the original French. (Spoiler alert – it sucks in the original French too.)

And eventually my eyeballs fell out and rolled across the carpet.

I sent a plaintive email to my web developer apologizing for not being able to fulfill the quest that Google wanted to send me on. She sent back a kind reply that said basically, “There-there, poser geek-girl. I will deal with Big, Bad Google on your behalf.” (Only a lot nicer than that.)

The only comfort I could find was in knowing that this what a normal person feels like in a hospital.

I may not speak Web, but I sure as hell speak health care.

And I’ll translate for you whenever you want.





Superheroes Welcome

22 03 2010

caseysbdayCIMG1317, originally uploaded by marymactavish.

I’m typically a girl with a plan, a goal, a raison detre, if you will.

This sounds like a good thing, as it means I tend to accomplish a lot, but it isn’t always. When I don’t have a plan I tend to feel a little lost and purposeless, and I have limited ability to look at my life with any sort of Zen-ness. And when my plans don’t go the way I mean for them to – and it does happen that way sometime – I really don’t function well because the sense of failure tends to resonate around me.

(This is the soft underbelly of well-behaving over-achievers. I almost never got in “trouble,” which means the few times I did it, it felt like the end of the world, and I almost always succeeded in what I tried, which meant I did not have the necessary emotional fortitude to cope when I failed. Two sides, coins, blah blah blah.)

But anyway, back to plans.

A few months ago, while home with child o’ needles when he was sick, I was sitting on the bed, surfing around, listening for pleas for ginger-ale or mac and cheese, when a feature came on the news about 4 young men who were traveling the country trying to fulfill every goal on their own personal “bucket lists” and encouraging others to do the same.

And that thought stuck a while, and I hopped around websites wondering what sorts of things people might put on such a list. And I thought about what I wanted to do, and I was pleased that I had actually done a lot of those things. That, I suppose, is one of the bright sides of always having a plan.

One notable item that was not on my list was skydiving. Although it had been, once upon a time. As a child it was something I wanted to do, until I was old enough and then I changed my mind. As a woman newly-divorced I briefly sought intense experiences and considered this one, although more for being able to say I had done it than any true desire for the experience. Or, that’s not quite true – I really wanted to experience free fall, and I really wanted to experience floating over the earth in a parachute, I just really didn’t like jumping out of a plane and plummeting towards the ground part.

But then there’s this place here: http://www.iflysfbay.com

Which is a giant vertical wind tunnel. You can hop into the wind and feel, a bit, like you’re experiencing the free fall part.

The above photo is a group of intrepid birthday-party revelers who joined forced to celebrate my brother’s 40th. That’s me on the right hand side of the photo in blue doing the muscle pose.

For one minute and 12 seconds, two times each, we each stepped into the wind with an instructor and tried to maintain the right body position to stay suspended in the airstream. It was hard – the wind pounds at your shoulders, the noise is intense. But when you get your balance just right – there you are, floating, riding the wind. On my second go I found a really good position and opened my mouth to “whoop!” Bad idea – drool goes a-flyin’ if you do that, but that was funny and then I had hard time not laughing.

I’m really happy my brother wanted to do this, I had no idea such a thing even existed. And I love tasting life, taking big bites and testing the flavors (there are those who might argue that jumping into a wind tunnel instead of jumping out of a plane is actually taking a nibble so I could spit it out if I didn’t like it, and to those people we would say, “shut the hell up.”)

And right now, when the business is taking twice as long as I thought to set up, when I’ve hit my first major setback with the articles of incorporation, I needed this. I needed exhilaration, I needed to remind myself that I’m good at momentum, and that I am brave. Me and all the 10 year-olds there at the other birthday party.

But you know, these kinds of things are actually easier when you’re 10. You are blissfully unaware of consequences or failure. You can still be president, you can still be a zillionaire, you can still do anything on any list you could ever write.

It’s a lot harder at 42. But I’m trying.





In search of a Legal Eagle

19 03 2010

Gavel, originally uploaded by barman6.

So, there has sadly been some drama with my attorney.

And not in the steamy-daytime-soap-opera-type wherein I discover that my attorney and my sister (I don’t actually have a sister) have been conducting a secret liaison while my attorney prepares to defend me for the self-defense murder of my sisters ex-husband that I commit while trying to rescue my sister’s love child by the local business mogul, who the crazed and jealous ex-husband had kidnapped and was holding for ransom.

Nope, nothing so juicy.

Not juicy, flaky.

And, as MIchael has said, flaky is a good quality only in a breakfast pastry.

So now I’m in a massive regroup, and trying to answer some questions on my own.

For instance: Will I need to change my EIN when the company converts from sole-proprietorship to corporation?

If there’s a 40 day window for filing the DBA, is there also a 40 day window for the business tax license?

If a client neglects to pay me, can I picket their business while swinging around a large rubber chicken and yelling “Cheap?” Can I subject their receptionist to endless knock-knock jokes?

Will the infernal revenoo services take exception if I take deductions for business massages?

Actually, that last question may be more appropriate for my accountant, who to date has steadfastly avoided any breakfast pastry impersonations.





Although I don’t have a beard.

18 03 2010

 

Yet. I don’t know what happens to my Martha Points if I grow a beard because I assume that it means I have abandoned personal hygiene along with with the maintenance of my house.

Which is: AAAAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!

Yep, that about sums it up. Precise. Direct. Unambiguous. I like it.

And the tension in those forearms? I don’t have that kind of definition, but I could definitely give this gentleman a run for his money in the tension department. In the forearms. In the forehead. In the forebrain. You name it.

So today: Ordered the new router, called the city planning department to find out where I go to get my zoning clearance, trip to Costco to get the accounting software, locked in on the EIN and EDD website for tax ID numbers, gave the green light for the final invoicing for the web developer.

Tomorrow: Upgrade the webhosting package, start defining the autoresponder accounts.

Next week: I actually have a lot of work at the day job, which is okay as I barely have any work there today (why I can take all the field trips).

A plan, a plan, I do so much better with a plan.

I still have to sort out which permits I have to complete now, which ones can wait until the incorporation docs are filed, so I can avoid doing anything I shouldn’t do if I should happen to stumble across some business once the website is live and I can start sending out some actual “hire me!” business communications.





Growing Creativity

17 03 2010

Let your creativity grow!, originally uploaded by kelsmith1992.

I had this discussion with Michael last night.

Michael and I often have discussions. This is one of the (many) benefits of having a loving, supportive husband who likes to talk to you.

I recommend it. Doesn’t have to be a husband, although the cuddling is an extra bonus, but I do recommend having someone (husband, wife, reason-for-being, friend, pal, confidante, interested toll-booth worker, hair-stylist or intuitive dental-hygienist) available for idea bouncing and general emotional reinforcement.

If you find that you do not have anyone like that in your life, let me know. I’ll fill in temporarily, ’cause everyone needs one.

But back to the point. (Man, can I ramble, or what?)

So I’ve been going here a lot: marissabracke.com

This is the Can-Do-Ologist that I’ve mentioned (still have “Hire Marissa for something” on my list of business objectives). So I often go and read her blog, then link to other things and bounce around various websites reading various things from other “solopreneurs.”

And what I see are these amazing, funky, quirky, creative web-sites that speak to me on a personal level. I love them. The humor resonates, the “conversation” the author is having with you is very engaging.

And then I look at my own website, and it is not of that sort.

And I fretted about that, and was feeling un-creative, un-funky. In fact, I was feeling bland, boring and banal (alliteration purely coincidental).

But then, I thought about my market. My market is mid-sized tech and medical organizations.

Mid-sized tech and medical organizations are not funky, creative or quirky.

Individuals within the company may be, I hope I will get to communicate with those people. But as a whole, as Michael reminded me, businesses once they reach a certain size also reach a certain level of homogeniety related to business identity and communication.

Which means, if I want to be taken seriously, I need to at least introduce myself using that language and adopting those “cultural” mannerisms.

But I won’t love doing this if I abandon creativity and quirky-funkiness (or, funky-quirkiness, if you’re reading right to left), so I need to work in some somewhere.

I am writing the business blog in more of my own voice.

My little brain-teaser download has some of my humor in it.

And when I do trainings and seminars, I really can’t help but work myself into it. It is, I think, one of the reasons people like my presentations.

So I’ll get to be myself eventually, but taking my own advice from my mutlicultural communication seminar, I need to introduce myself in a way that makes sense to the people I’m meeting. Which is a little more formal, and speaking a more corporate language.

And truly, you should really be exposed to the real me in small, controlled doses anyway.





Reboot.

16 03 2010

Lego Reboot Britain, originally uploaded by Rain Rabbit.

It is possible, of course, that there will be several posts like this one over the life of a business. Reinventing, reinvesting, etc. etc.

But today I need to have a strategic planning meeting.

Participants include myself, a cup of coffee with a picture of a bird, a bottle of magnolia scented hand lotion, and whatever cat happens to hop onto the desk.

And you know how these things can go, tempers can flare, words can be said…I only hope the coffee cup doesn’t storm off in a huff and post nasty things about me on Facebook.

So, incorporating. Didn’t happen. I was under the impression that those documents had been filed the first week of February and that I should be hearing back any time now.

Didn’t go that way. The articles are now, as I type, sitting next to me on the desk so that I can mail them myself. And I’ve been told that the Secretary of State is currently running about ten weeks on processing time.

Just. Not. Ok.

(The coffee cup is getting nervous…When I emphasize things by separating words with periods, it means that I mean business.)

Soooooooooo……..

I think I’ll make a list. I do it so well, and all.

So I will register the business as a sole proprietorship, then revise the status when the business incorporates. (My accountant really didn’t want me to do this, which was why I was waiting.) I just don’t have a choice. I’ll have all the infrastructure stuff ready in the next two weeks, and I’m not going to wait another EIGHT before I try to start finding business. I wanted to be earning income by now, at least a little, to offset the salary that I’ve given up.

The website is almost done, the tech stuff can be sorted in a couple days, I have three or four documents to file with the county, a business bank account only takes a day, and buying the bookkeeping software only takes a trip to Costco.

Today I can take a deep breath and not freak out the coffee cup too badly. Friday evening – when I got this news – I was less balanced.

The coffee cup would be writing a tell-all memoir for sure.








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