Saturday, September 02, 2006

FreelanceNerd Project Report - Week 35

Project A: The week started on a positive note with my first Board Meeting (over breakfast in the pub) with a new fellow director as of a couple of week's back. It's a strange feeling being a company director - something that I always thought other people better qualified than me did. Anyway, it's only a title, and as of yet this particular company isn't making any money, and Barry (my fellow director) is paying for me to work one day a week (at a reduced rate in return for a 25% share of the company) on the community website project we've got going. We do have some good interest in advertising on the site already, but the lead time on making any money will be several months, so it's not going to be enough to pay the bills just yet. I feel positive about this venture because Barry has been down this road before with a tech startup and made a success of it. He really does know what he's talking about, and if nothing else it will be a good apprenticeship for me in running a tech start up.

Project B: I'm still trying to get some requirements nailed down for this community website job from a chap based in London. We've never met and he found me through my Google Ads campaign. I offered to meet and he didn't seem interested in that - quite happy to save paying my travel expenses and communicate by email and MSN messenger. All I seem to be able to get out of him is a series of Powerpoint slides and some suggestions for the front end. We've already agreed that I'll do the back end side of things i.e. the stuff you don't see - the database and all the gubbins that makes it work, and we'll find someone else to do the front end i.e. the bits of the website you see. I've got a quote from my contact in Singapore for the front end which seems quite favourable, although I'm worried he's not quite understood the size of the project. I'm communicating with both parties using email and MSN Messenger on this project, and this kind of set up seems to be becoming more and more acceptable, as I've also had a pretty similar arrangement with Project C.

Project C: Is a Brent (North London) based project for a housing association community website. They also found me through my Google Ads campaign, and this week confirmed (by email) that I was going to be given the work - I even remembered to negotiate a third up front this time - something I've not done in the past to the detriment of my cash flow. It seems quite strange that I may never meet these people and only communicate via email. Mind you, when I suggest meeting face-to-face they seem to object on the basis that they'll have to pay travel expenses, etc. If they're happy then I'm happy I suppose.

Project D: Way back in June I went to see a Centre for "at risk" children about redesigning their websites, and since then there have been intermittent battles with trying to find out hosting details, which have all been lost. The only thing I know for certain is that one of the domains was registered with Tiscali, but whether it's still hosted on one of their servers we may never know because Tiscali can't tell me anything about it without either a registered phone number or email address. I gave them both phone numbers I have and both drew a blank. I don't have an email address for them, so I'll have to wait until the proprietors are back from holiday on Monday and see if I can get any further - the whole thing is becoming more and more of a frustration and an embarressment.

Project E: Related to Project D, I've secured some work to put in a network, sort them out with some broadband, get rid of the steam powered ISDN line they've got that is costing them an arm and a leg from BT, and generally set them up with a more secure and organised IT set up. Never done a network / hardware job before, so I've involved a fellow freelancer who's got 19 years of experience in the field - another good apprenticeship.

Project F: Finished this project, finally. It's been dragging on since May because the whole organisation moves at a glacial pace whenever I need them to do something. Anyway, they now have an online shop which I've nicely integrated with Worldpay - another first for me - another string to the bow!

Project G: This one looks now to have been given the last rites. My mainstay has come to an end as the MD has finally decided to recommend that the Board pull the plug on it, and he's asked me to stop doing my 1 day a week on their car insurance website (think but without the traffic). This has really put the cat amongst the pigeons as I now have no guaranteed work except the reduced rate from Project A for one day a week, so I am now embarking on a serious look for a short term contract, possibly working away from home. Not something I relish doing, but needs must and we have bills to pay.

Mrs. FreelanceNerd has just stopped by to turn her nose up at this report. She reckons that only other nerds will be remotely interested. We shall see...