The Deployment Diary

Thursday, April 08, 2004

Starting my own business?

I'll be honest, I've toyed with this idea for several years. Events today may have tipped the scales - well, pushed me in that direction quicker than I would have done so otherwise. I'd just much rather work for someone and get a paycheck, than work for myself and have to set prices, and worse - pay my own taxes!! Any advice from small business owners? Send it my way please ;). I'll be a listening fool ;).

Here's the Story
It's afternoon. I'm in the recliner getting my one hour of recliner time before it's time to cook dinner, clean up dinner dishes, feed animals, let said animals out to go poo, bathe babies, get them to bed and get back to work ;). Either I read, I close my eyes and pray - or spend the time with both babies reclining on either side of me (or a combination of all of the above). It just depends on the mood of the day. Between four and five, it's my quiet time I guess you could say. Today, the activity of choice was prayer.

The doorbell rings. I'm so NOT in the frame of mind to have my doorbell ringing unexpectedly. I answer the door with a look to KILL on my face. Honestly, at times, I feel like the neighborhood charity case. I figured with the news, someone felt the need to stop by and make sure I'm still standing and not a pile of mush somewhere in the house.

So, they ask how my husband is and I say I have no clue. They ask when he will be home and again, I say I have no clue.

"They don't even tell you when they will be back?!"

Umm, no. We have an idea of what MONTH but they get home when the Army says they can come home. At this point, I'm about to rudely explain that MY HOUSE is not THE HOUSE to show up at unannounced when the news coming out of Iraq is so bad and to PLEASE go away!! Honestly, my nerves can't take the damn doorbell these days!!

At any rate, the husband took over from there and said he owns a small satellite company (which I knew) and he recently went to a business conference and they suggested these franchises have web sites. He had heard that I build web sites for a living and wondered if I'd be interested in the job.

Wow, word travels FAST in this neighborhood ;). Only a few people have been interested enough in something other than what we're doing to the old house or Iraq to even bother to ask me what I do for a living lol.

So, I explained my latest project should be finished on the 16th and until then I can't really take on another project. He was very understanding and said he was in no hurry - whenever I had time.

I told him I'd put some information together for him and bring it down next week. He only wants three information pages - four tops. He has his company's logo on disk - no graphic design needed which is good since it's not my strong point ;). I told him $250 tops for up to four pages. It's just business info - address, rates, specials, phone number etc. I explained the purchase of a domain name and that he'd have a monthly charge of web hosting that would be separate from the design costs - he was fine with that.

He said he'd called around and couldn't believe what the firms in the large town west of us were charging. They were quoting him $1,900 to $2,500! I told him that was crazy. That I'm currently doing a $3,000 job, but that included a temporary splash page, designing the site, installing a content management system, incorporating the design into the template, editing the programming to make it do what this company needed it to do. Involved a database and a few separate perl scripts. It's a large job, lots of time and it costs more. But for a standard static three to four page website, we could build that in a night or two and it would not cost him an arm and a leg.

So, I'll get online this weekend and find the hosting plan he needs through the company I use and see how much a domain name is now. He mentioned that every quarter it would need to be updated and he wasn't interested in doing that. I think he wanted to make sure I would be available to update the site. I wouldn't mind updating it for him at all, figure I could charge $15 an hour on that - I'm not even sure what the going rate is.

Thinking Hard About Becoming a Business Owner...
Anyhow, maybe I should start my own business. We have a lot of small businesses in our community and home businesses. The best advertisement is often word of mouth. I could run a small ad in the newspaper once a month or something. I had also wanted to get with the local newspaper and talk them into letting me do something with their website. It's a design nightmare lol. In all seriousness, we have a pretty large tourist interest in our town. When someone finds our newspaper online and it looks unprofessional and "small town," I can't help but think it puts out a negative impression of our entire town. A classy, informative online newspaper would be a much better asset to the community in my opinion.

So, there you have it. Every time I say I'm NOT taking another job, another one seems to fall into my lap. God sure has been good to me this year. I don't think I've ever not looked for a job and had so many sort of materialize out of thin air lol.

I need a name for my business - and I need to talk with the city to see about a business license. I'd like the name to be something patriotic to honor my husband. Or, maybe something with our name. I don't know - do something in his honor that helps our family financially - and then work hard to really make it take off before he gets home. That is, after I finish the bedroom of course - so I have a BED to sleep in again lol. I'd probably be more productive if I got some rest now and then ;).

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