Solo Shops (and how to stay that way)

Facilitated by Justin Miller, Code Sorcery Workshop, LLC, @incanus77



Notes from @lawduck:

Topics - Getting Started and then methodologies/logistics.

Getting Started/Getting Out:

Why'd you head out? *Wanted to be independent *Wanted to create something

Where you start: Plan in advance if you can; working in an organization is a great opportunity to build name recognition and credibility. For the most part, employers are happy to send you - there's a dual value for both the future indie and for the company you're working for.

Planning to head out: *Pick your community or market. Identify what the target is. *Blogging and speaking at conferences is always good.

Blogging can definitely generate leads - @znmeb - still have to ask for $.

*Network the bejeebus out of your target community.

CHECK IN with your folks, conferences you've attended. Volunteer - it may lead to getting paid.
CONTRIBUTE. Give information. People will still trust you as an expert.
The reputation of expertise comes from demonstration - articles, tutorials.

(Brief sidebar on law - blah blah blah)Margins make a difference (true to all indie contractors). Overhead is evil! But, perceptually, is there a problem with not having the office?

Answer: no - just meet at their space, rent a conference room, create a virtual office (say, at Cubespace!).
Home all the time, though, can suck. You're not in the right zone sometimes, and you can have Kubrick-esque moments dealing with just you and your laptop at home.
	So, Twitter as coffee break.
	Find space (like at Cubespace!) that you can use & get a sense of an "office"
	Everything's individual, though. Find your comfort.

The Pressure to Grow:

What happens when people approach you and say "Do this cool awesome project that's bigger than your capacity!" - what's the answer if you truly don't want to assemble a team?
It's a question of choices:
	If you truly don't want to assemble a team, or pay employees, you can price yourself out of the job (i.e. bid waay too high).
	Honor your skillset - if you can't project manage, don't subcontract.
	Consider the risk to your reputation. Deliverables, quality, etc.
	BUT: consider the benefits to your reputation - maybe getting a big win with a team of cohorts will make an enduring mark in the community.
If you do want to take it on:
	Know your strengths and weaknesses. Pick people accordingly.
	Present the subcontract pieces to the client.
	Put your teammates through the mill FIRST - i.e. don't wait for a high-priority project to "try someone out."

Administrative and Operations Suck:

Phone calls, invoices, accounting, back end office. It's a pain in the ass.
Systematize.
It's sometimes good to get The Guy on the phone.

Never, ever, ever:

Start without a business plan.
Start without six months of savings.
Work without a contract.
Work with a contract that you didn't review with the client.
Accept pay that's not pay - cash speaks. Don't do ALL the hours of work for a slice of something. "Why would I want a minority interest in a illiquid company?"
Work for your friends.
Fail to research the company that's approaching you.

The Economy now: how we doin'?

Adjusting rates.
Worrying about getting paid.
Cautiously optimistic.
vz4.txt · Last modified: 2009/10/26 07:13 by akfarrell