Regular Unfinished Business co-host Laura Kalbag’s started to work with her partner Aral Balkan on their Indie Phone project. She wanted to hear about Sue and mine experiences of working together for sixteen years, so she emailed her some questions. I hadn’t heard her answers until Laura read them on the show, but I think that made for interesting listening.
We didn’t get through all the questions and answers on the show, so here are her complete answers. I think they offer some insight into what it’s like working together at Stuff and Nonsense for as long as we have.
The sudden closure of Five Simple Steps came as a shock to a lot of people, not least authors like me who are forced to decide on new homes for their books with no notice.
I’d been in Nottingham for the day, catching up with friends including Owen Gregory. Driving home, an idea started to develop. Owen and I worked together on client projects at the time and I trust him to give me an honest opinion, so I pulled the car over, called him and explained the idea. A book called ‘Hardboiled Web Design.’
Although there seems to be plenty of choice, I haven’t found any CRM software that tickles my fancy yet. I need to get better at keeping on top of prospective business though, so the first step was to make a spreadsheet. If it’s useful to anyone, I’m happy to share it. There are Apple Numbers and Microsoft Excel versions in a ZIP file. I’m keen to hear your suggestions for improving it, as well as your recommendations for CRM software/services.
Finally, yes finally, Anna and I get around to the first of two, maybe three, episodes about contacts. We talk about the ‘Contract Killer,’ why we think it’s important to always use a contract and why some people think otherwise. We discuss the essential elements that should go into every contract and why, on top of any legal benefits, how a good contract says a lot about how you do business and why writing yours should be a creative challenge you should relish.
(Don’t miss the gag wheel and ice-cream banter after the show. It’s a scorcher.)
Keith Devon wants to find out how freelance designers and developers handle contracts. So do I, so go spend a minute filling in his survey.
As it stands at the moment, 45% use something like my ‘Contract Killer’ (or the contract itself) and another 9% wrote their own based on it. Although responder numbers are small so far, that’s brilliant. I’m prouder of ‘Contract Killer’ than anything else I’ve ever done.
I know how hard it can be, waiting a whole week for a new episode of Unfinished Business. To make things easier, here are two more creative business related podcasts for you to try.
Even within a business culture of openness and transparency, some things are meant to be kept secret. NDAs, non-disclosure agreements, are meant to help with this, but most NDAs are the opposite of open and transparent because they’re written in the same jargon-laden legalese that I avoided in Contract Killer. So I’ve written ‘Three Wise Monkeys’, a plain speaking, easy to read, open source NDA.
It’s coming up on four years since I published my original Contract Killer over on 24ways. The reaction to it was astonishing and over the last four years the feedback I’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive. I feel very, very happy that so many people have found Contract Killer useful.
I’m glad that people like my financial buffer business post the other day. I don’t think people write enough about the business side of what we do and from what I hear, not enough about it gets taught at universities either. I’m not a very good businessman, truth be told, but I have learned a few things over the years, so I thought I’d start sharing them.
A friend of mine works as an in-house designer. He emailed me the other day with a question that’s come up a few times recently. It’s a question I’m asked by people at various stages of their careers, from students to those, like my friend, who’ve worked for somebody else for a long time. The question? “What financial advice do I have for anyone who’s planning to go self-employed?” Rather than write that advice in an email, I thought it might be more useful if I wrote it as a short post.
My contribution to The Pastry Box Project this month:
There’s no reason why anyone should have to wait more than 24 hours for the money you owe them, especially people you work with.
So the next time you receive an invoice from a contractor or supplier, pay it right away. Don’t wait a month, a week, a day or even an hour longer than you have to. Better still, find out how to pay them before they start any work. That way you can pay them immediately when you receive their invoice.
They’ll feel good and so will you.
(This post was inspired by the experience of someone I know.)
This morning I picked up the phone to (just) Holly, a chirpy sounding lady who asked if we played music ‘within our business.’ If we did, we’d need a license. I told her we didn’t (yeah, shoot first and ask questions later) and she said we’d be removed from their list (whatever that is.)