The “awesome client” discount

For my best and easiest clients, I sometimes randomly give an “awesome client” discount, just because they’re so nice to work with and I don’t have to hold their hands or do much rework.

It’s hard to get a good feel for who your clients are before you take them on, so sometimes you end up with clients that require a bit more hand-holding and a few more revisions than is ideal.

As such, your fees need to reflect the possibility that each project might take longer than expected because of this unknown. So when you have an awesome client and you don’t have to spend that extra time on the project (and in fact, can finish even quicker than normal), it’s nice to be able to give that money back in the form of an “awesome client discount”. Continue reading “The “awesome client” discount”

Should you give out your phone number?

When I first incorporated my business, I decided that I should really put my business phone number on my website, because people need to get in touch with me if I’m going to get any business, right?

I had secured a Google Voice number solely for business a while before, but hadn’t really put it to much use until this point. It still rings through to my personal cell phone, but gives me the option to disable it at any time (like when I’m on vacation, or sleeping) and to screen calls, record conversations etc.

My decision to put my phone number on my website wasn’t very well thought out though. I prefer to communicate via email for a few reasons: Continue reading “Should you give out your phone number?”

The kind of clients that dreams are made of

I’m blessed to have a number of clients that value our relationship and what I bring to them so much, that they’re sending me gifts, which has helped me to re-evaluate what a contractor-client relationship should look like.

Yesterday, I returned home to a little surprise in the mail. One of my long-standing clients for whom I don’t do a lot of work in grand scheme of things, had sent me a gift in the mail.

It really struck a chord with me, because I realised that I’d had a few clients now who have sent me gifts, which if you think about it is a bit unusual. I’m the contractor and they’re the client. They pay me to do work for them. I’m the one that should be thanking them for their business.

And yet, I’m getting gifts sent to me.

The gift wasn’t grand, but it was beautiful and thoughtful. She had selected some luxury caramels from what I gather is a local boutique confectioner and had them sent to me. I must say that it is the most attractive box of caramels I’ve ever seen and again and it was so thoughtful and strikingly alluring that I’ll never forget it. Continue reading “The kind of clients that dreams are made of”

2014 WordCamp Tampa recap

2014 WordCamp Tampa was unquestionably a resounding success. I jotted down some of my thoughts, both generic to WordCamps and about this event specifically, as well as noting some the main points I got taught on.

This past weekend was WordCamp Tampa: the first of its kind, and I wanted to jot down a few takeaways, both as an attendee and as a speaker. Continue reading “2014 WordCamp Tampa recap”

Engineering on a whole new level

Engineering geekery ahead. You’ve been warned.

Been watching The Fifteen Billion Pound Railway about building CrossRail through London and it just puts my job and my perception of “difficult” to shame. The whole manner of undertaking civil engineering in London with its tiny streets, non-stop and uninterruptible traffic, its myriad subterranean utilities and tunnels, and historic buildings and infrastructure makes me embarrassed to put myself in the same category as them. Continue reading “Engineering on a whole new level”

Some much-needed (and humourous) airtime for net neutrality

John Oliver did an excellent segment on his show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver about the current legislation that cable companies are trying to boorishly shove through Congress to sideline everyday users of the Internet to favour whoever has the biggest pockets to pay for the fastest bandwidth.

This is the biggest challenge the Internet has ever faced and it must be struck down.

My experience on Trial at Automattic

I recently finished my (unsuccessful) Trial at Automattic, but it was such an eye-opening experience, that I wanted to share it with the wider world to show what an incredible company it is to work for, and to see some of what’s behind one of the busiest websites in the world.

Last week, I finished my Trial at Automattic. While I wasn’t successful in my bid to work for a company that I hugely admire, I appreciate the experience and insight that I was able to gain from my few weeks working with them.

How it all began

I’ve been toying with the idea of giving up engineering as my career and moving into web development full-time, as I’m enjoying it a lot more.

My plan had been to do freelancing full-time, but to give up a steady professional salary and benefits for the uncertainty of freelancing is daunting. If someone could pay my salary for 6 months while I build up my workload and client list, I could easily earn well in excess of what I make as a professional engineer. However, I haven’t had any applications for someone willing to do that for me.

So when I read that my friend Dustin Hartzler had recently landed himself a job at Automattic, it turned on a light bulb in my head. I started considering whether I wanted to work for Automattic, and the more I read, the more I wanted to jump right in (I’ll explore the benefits of working for Automattic later).

Continue reading “My experience on Trial at Automattic”

Manage your GMail inbox like a boss

I recently saw a tweet about making your GMail inbox more efficient. I thought mine was already pretty efficient, so I was intrigued as to what ideas he might have. As it happens, he had quite a few good ideas that I hadn’t put into practice, so I took his approach, slightly tweaked it for my needs and I’m loving the new setup.