Sunday, June 21, 2009

Don't Quit Yer Day Job! Oh, Wait... I Didn't.

Happy soggy Summer Solstice, all. I always have the best of intentions, but somehow the last entire month of spring just got away from me. Now it's summer -- and it's rainy, chilly, and sticky. Did we wake up in Washington State this morning by mistake?

It's been a real roller-coaster ride for me during the past month, and I've spent most of the time clinging on for dear life and screaming all the way down.

First, the good news: I finished a couple of important Web sites, and the recipients are very happy with them. Both clients were just wonderful to work with, and I like to think I've made some friends in the process. Sue deserves many thanks for introducing me to one of them, and for spreading the word about my work. The other client came from Dale, and she deserves huge thanks for that one. I have to finish work on another site as soon as I can, and I have a respectable list of clients in my queue. I haven't really had to advertise yet -- word of mouth is a powerful vehicle.

I have to admit that I'm quite happy with how both sites turned out, and it just cheers me to hear that the clients are equally tickled. One of them told me that his Web site is a huge hit at the local coffee shop -- all of the other early-rising professionals in town hang out there and talk shop, and they've all been to visit his Web site and loved it. Maybe some of that fan-love will turn into more work for me.

Next, the less-than-good news, of the type that makes me wonder whether I shouldn't just hang up my designing shoes and get another stinking office job. I'm getting used to the "Oh, my daughter/student/neighbor/etc. wants to do my Web site, so I've decided I don't need you any more" emails. More power to them, and to the daughters/students/neighbors. I'm beginning to think that maybe those folks would have been more trouble for less return anyway, but I'd be lying if I said that it didn't hurt my feelings just a little.

Then there's the one whom I can tell doesn't like the site I did, but who won't tell me what she wants, either. I would be happy to tweak anything at all, but thus far she's been mum on the subject. She didn't like her old Web site either, which is why she engaged me to redesign it. I haven't lost hope yet, but I have the feeling that it's going to take a small miracle to realize a dime from that effort. I did my level best to match the site to the existing corporate identity, which was probably designed in Microsoft Word circa 1985 -- and maybe that's where I went wrong. Maybe I should have tossed the whole thing out and created something from scratch that looked as though it belonged to this century. Woulda, coulda, shoulda.

Plus I'm getting discouraged about another site that I thought would "just work," but the technical issues are driving me to drink (and alcohol costs a lot of Weight Watchers points). I really, really like the clients and just want them to have their site, but everything I do seems to be blocked, or doesn't work correctly. I can't say "I'm sorry" enough -- nor can I get it working enough. I have to go curl up with some reference books for a while and see if I can figure out what I'm not doing right.

Mind you, I haven't abandoned hope for the stinkin' office job yet, either. I'm still trying to root them out and apply for them -- there just aren't many around. All the jobs seem destined for more junior people (read: cheaper), or are located on the West Coast and they want you on-site every day, or some other reason. The last time someone even acknowledged receiving my information was a month ago. No interviews yet. Even the headhunters have gone silent. One scheduled a call, then emailed to say she was sick and would reschedule... two weeks ago. I sure hope her illness isn't serious.

Sorry to be such a downer, but some days life in the Era of Diminished Expectations just gets to me.