Christian Ross

Even when you know the outcome.

Sorry, a quick little something on my mind that I couldn’t quite fit into 140 characters…

You know those times you need to send that email knowing what the future outcome is most likely to be? Especially knowing that the potential for the outcome to be positive is relatively low? Yeah? Send it.

Example: Today I sent an email finalizing some work done in January that didn’t get paid until late April letting the client know that it was a great opportunity to work with them and to let them know if they needed any help in the future to keep me in mind. After a number of missteps on both of our ends, I’m fairly certain that the client will be deleting my contact info in short order. Do I enjoy knowing this fact? Not really. Was sending the email the right thing to do knowing that neither I or the client probably care too much about giving it another go? I think so.

There’s enough burned bridges in my past to afford me some amount of experience in the fact that in most cases, it’s your turn to call. So whether you’re hovering over the send button, staring at the phone in your hand or sitting in a parked car down the street, the shortest route to closure is to take the first step.

Harvest – Invoicing Done Right

harvest-invoicing

There’s been a steady dose of silence to go around my little corner of the Internet-neighborhood and it’s mostly due to the fact that I haven’t set aside enough time to write.

As I mentioned a while back, I’m about as max’d as I can get business wise and had some success offloading a bit of the work on others.

I’m actually pretty far off from being out of the woods at this point which means that areas like writing and the dreaded business side of freelancing often get back-burner’d.

I was reminded yesterday though how it could potentially be worse. Dealing with collections for my work is a necessary evil. I realize that I have to send invoices to actually be paid for my services but the time and effort that used to go into it was dreadful.

My old system included tracking my time in one program, exporting to spreadsheet and then using a pretty outdated, local-based system to create invoices. It was arduous and time-consuming to say the least.

Add in the fact that I was manually sending invoices by email and having to track and follow up on unpaid invoices all by hand and it usually got relegated to the bottom of the to do list. Only when I saw the bank account get to an uncomfortably low mark did I then realize it was time to do it all over again.

Ch-ch-changes

As the calendar year rolled for 2011, I decided I was going to try and go a different route. I was willing to spend money on a new invoicing/tracking system. I hadn’t fully decided on a local application or a web-based one but I knew I was willing to spend money on the right one.

After a bit of testing, and having to enter time/client/invoice info into multiple different avenues, I found the best solution for me and my work-flow, Harvest.

This by no means is a paid endorsement by Harvest, but I’ve now paid for three months worth of their service (plus the first month free) and I haven’t looked back. (more…)

Creating Time

As Cameron Moll noted – as nimble and flexible as small teams (or one-man-shows) are, there are things they lack in comparison to larger teams. While teams may have plenty of red-tape to cut through, they are afforded the resources to make up significant progress that might be lost because of.

Teams cannot produce more time but they can create more opportunity for time by dividing and conquering or being able to throw more resources at a project. Individuals and small teams will more than likely come to a conclusion at some point that things do — and will — take time and that time is often the valuable piece needed to make the product better.

Five years in, I am slightly better about managing my time and schedule but there is room for improvement. My estimating time for projects could definitely use some help. I often run my estimates short of where they should be when developing for clients and it’s usually because of one of two factors: either I firmly believe that I can do something in that amount of time, or I feel like I need to underestimate a project just to land the client. Neither of which are acceptable solutions. (more…)