Category Archives: professional life

Life Changes & Resulting Consequences

Mid 2012 brought new medical crises for an elderly family member, which necessitated me taking a great deal of my time and devoting it to her care and needs. This situation persists into 2013 and will remain throughout the rest of her life…and, therefore, mine. So life changes have to occur in my life in order to accommodate this new reality. Since designing optimum systemic organization and streamlining operations is one of my most pragmatically useful areas of education and expertise, I sat down on January 1st and worked through the logistics of operational productivity, including realistic timelines for projects for which I am responsible. What came of it was a very practical and workable solution to the intruding chaos that has encumbered the last few months. It was with much relief that, by removing certain low return enterprises from my schedule, and by focusing on those areas that prove most beneficial to both bottom line and self fulfillment, I was able to create a functional plan based on prioritized projects that enables me to fulfill all new obligations and responsibilities while also continuing to pursue my life work.

When professional life, personal life, and the dire needs of an aging family member seem in conflict, a good operational chart adjusted to priorities can mean the difference between sanity and discouraging life disruption.

Life Update

Life is a bit of a mess, but I’m managing…almost.  Worked on someone’s bookcover which I’ll post over on my art blog zentao.com later today or tomorrow when I get two breaths to “make it so,” doing a bid for a CD package, working on a leafy tee, practicing to play Zappa with Forrest in a guitar/flute duo, taking care of the home front, Mom, the animals, the plants, and trying to get up the gumption to finish a manuscript, something that’s been on hold since before Christmas.  Oh, and I have to prepare invoicing. In a word, I’m scramblingly busy.

Laughing

Recently, someone requested a bid on a corporate website design.  I responded characteristically with a quote and my usual terms. They immediately replied, asking me to repeat what I’d already said in my response — what would it cost for just a mock-up of my design ideas?  I quoted myself and hit send.  I have yet to hear back from them, though I did receive a read receipt.

It always startles folks that they have to pay for me to mock-up a website design idea, but not commercial artwork.  They think that I should do the mock-up for free, like I do book covers, CD covers, and brochures.  Nope.  Here’s why: You’ll take my design, go over to some Indian coding group and have them reproduce it for pennies on the U.S. dollar.  You’ll be using my design and not paying me for my time and ideas.  In other words, I’d be letting you steal from me.

Three-hundred dollars for a look at my ideas isn’t outrageous at all, especially when you can grab a screenshot of my ideas and still head out to some second or third world country to have some starving coder do it for you for a few hundred bucks.

A mock-up isn’t XHTML and CSS, either.  Nope.  Nor is it search engine optimized by my team which is very good at getting your website up in ranking.  It’s a .jpg snapshot of a website that could be, no code included. I’m not in business to give away my ideas and my secrets. If you want them, regardless of where you have it coded up, you do have to pay for it, and, like I said, $300 ain’t much for a world-class idea.

A Lesson on Doers

Recently, an online group decided that they would like to try their hand at commercial work. We’re talking a mix of professional people and skilled amateurs who are pretty dedicated to their avocation. All members are very talented people.

Of the pros, most are actively working, but, with the economy the way it is, it never hurts to have something cooking on the back burner.  Among the skilled amateurs are some people who are looking for work along with those who have jobs or who are retired.

So what happens? When it comes to a test “job” with a generous deadline, what we get are the professionals hopping right in and doing right away while the amateurs most in need of work wind up no-shows or making excuses.

Needless to say, the project is already failed before it’s even started. Odd thing is that, from the onset, a couple of us knew it was going to wind up just the way it did. It showed in the manner in which work was done in the group all along–a couple of initiators, the rest kinda sorta going along when it suited their tastes and their private schedules.

The lesson? There are doers, and then there’s everybody else.

The group? It’s still a functioning group, and I’m sure it will remain so, but it certainly demonstrated quite realistically and inarguably that, when it comes to succeeding in a commercial project, everybody has to hold a professional discipline or it just will never get off the ground.

Slow Down? HAH!

I said I was going to slow down.  Am I?  No.  Just about the time I think I’ve cleaned my plate, somebody comes along who impresses me enough that, when I listen to their aspirations, their needs, hearing a keen integrity and honorable purpose, I’ll say “yes” to.  Then there’s the client who, despite the fact that their business is on the ropes because of the economy, I’ll keep working with.  Sigh.

Totally Disheartening

One of the best printing, matting, framing, and drop shippers of art on the Internet, a start-up called ImageKind is leading its artists down the merry road by the nose.  They keep promising fixes, and the fixes aren’t happening…not even six months after they are promised.  I’m so tired of the “we’re working on it,” and other empty air.  It’s totally disillusioning.  I’ve typed my last over on their forum.  They get it fixed, or I’ll pulll all my ads in their favor.

Yesterday was, in a Word, Interesting.

Yesterday proved one of those days of constant surprises.  It started with a site update that turned into a flurry of wannabe clients using the new forms to inundate me with crazy requests.  Next was the loss of a purse by an elderly neighbor who begged my help. (Found the purse, no problem, and, no, she shouldn’t scold herself.  For heaven’s sake, I forget where I lay my keys three seconds after laying them down.  Wish you could “call” keys like you do a lost cell so you could track them down.)  Then came the call that a little boy very near and dear to us almost choked to death.  Next was the pissed off nineteen-year-old little brother.  There was the student in need of advisement.  And last but not least was this very odd email wanting to know how much I’d sell zentao.com for.   Very suspicious, this last, because the emailer claims his name is John Y Chu, suspiciously close to author, prankster, and friend John Chew.   And of course there’s Dr. Mononculous and the Million Writers Award race. 

I didn’t get much scratched off my to-do list, I went to bed when I usually get up, and got up this morning five hours later than usual to lukewarm coffee.  Still need to make fresh…which is where I’m off to now.  Then it’s back at the list.

Oh, the boys got that 85k+ job — congrats, all.  Good job.  Now to build it.  *grin* 

Like I Said, What Free Time?!

Never fails.  I just about think I’m tidying up the day when somebody drops in with some “needed, necessary, must have ASAP” emergency.  Okay.  Fifteen minutes and some magic with the Wacom, and, there you go, FIXED.  *sigh*  I tell you.  Nobody plans.  Everybody is rushing around doing last minute gasps to meet deadlines they knew about twelve months prior.  If I lived my life like that, I’d never, ever make it.  People…er…Americans, LISTEN UP.

The way to have life under some measure of control is to NOT PROCRASTINATE.  Do NOT put off until the second before your project deadline what you should have iced months ago.  I’m not always nice.  I’m not always HERE.  Then what?  You’re going to wind up with your shorts down around your ankles and your hands too full to cover what needs covering, that’s what!  Of course, that’s always fun for us bystanders, so…carry on.  😀

zentao.com just got updated.  Really.  (Amazed faces.)

Yup, that’s right.  zentao.com, poor child of a too busy webmaster and graphic artist, a website that winds up limping along on old code and outdated everything, finally got a SMALL update.  Front page changed…which might just blow my SE ranking, but, hey, that’s okay, too.  And I put up a 2007 fine art gallery showing mostly stuff I’ve just done this year and end of last.  I haven’t put up the professional graphics gallery yet, though.  I’m too intimidated after opening the drives all that work is stored on.  I have to say, I never realize just how much “stuff” I create on the fly for various projects at hand.  Sifting and sorting what should go on, what can’t go on because it’s being used on this or that client’s website right now, and what I don’t want people to see because they might think I like doing “cutesy”…well, you do see the problem.  Still, wow.  Too many gigs.

Oh, NEW to zentao.com:  There’s also a new art blog there.  Again, I’ll be moving the posts to hard HTML when they get to the second page, but the blog is mostly devoted to me commenting back on some of the misapplied logic that artists wanting websites and promotion feed me via email, telephone, and, very occasionally, face-to-face.  The blog isn’t skinned very nicely yet.  Haven’t figured out or found something that really hits the switch, but I’m working on it. 

Well, What Fun! Steve Yahn.

Success.  NY coordinates with Idiotho…er…I mean IdAho (don’t I?) and we get to speak easy.  What a fun guy!  You gotta read his column, too:  Sage Advice (link will go to archive in a week or two, so click now or pay to read.)

So, we talk the same talk — laughter.  This is good.  Sure beats grumpy wannabe clients who I keep saying “No” to, but they keep hearing “Yes.”  How does that work?

“But, Dawn…”

But Dawn nothing.   Dawn doesn’t DO bait-and-switch websites…which is what they want, though they’re trying to convince me that that isn’t what they’re up to.  (Don’t lie to me.  I can tell.  How?  Noses grow.) 🙂

So, welcome Steve, who has his own Category (called Steve Speaks) on this blog now, see it under Family & Friends.  Welcome, Steve.