This Week In Business: Remote Services Edition

This Week In Business: Remote Services Edition

The beauty with a website business is that, at least theoretically, you should be able to have a customer anywhere. Note the 'should'.

In my first year of being full time, all but one of my clients was in Downeast Maine. (And the non-local one I met at a local party through a local friend). I like being in Maine so this was fine with me. But the whole point of an online business is to reach out further than you would in terms of geography. Ideally, I think my lack of remote work made me a bit worried that my skills wouldn't translate beyond my geographic area.

In addition to making a video on the main page of my site (which a few new clients have told me made them a lot less nervous about contacting me) and otherwise proactively seeking out work, I now have multiple remote accounts, and my first ever client I've never met.

I finally set up an Elance profile to be even more proactive about seeking out work.

My friend Dorrie had written me out a bunch of links she had heard on a business radio show a few months ago. The paper has been on my desk since; I had enough work at the time but thought if I was going to reach beyond coastal Maine, this might be the way to do it.

I finally set up an Elance profile a couple weeks ago, if only to have the chance to bid on projects that sounded interesting. I've bid on a small one and, since I haven't heard back yet, I'm guessing I didn't get it. Oh well, you win some, you lose some!

I've been awarded the bid for my hometown Chamber's new website.

I put in a bid for the Chamber of Commerce's website in my hometown of Fort Kent Maine. Months went by (and I checked in a few times) but when I hadn't heard a few months later, I decided to start taking steps to ensure I'd have enough work through the winter. I set up the Elance profile, beefed up my LinkedIn account, contacted anyone who might have leads for me, and bid on parts of larger projects with friends/colleagues.

Too Cute Tuesday: Sailor Bracelets

Too Cute Tuesday: Sailor Bracelets

Every Tuesday, it's friends, a craft, and a cocktail. To get involved,check out the Too Cute Tuesday archives, join Too Cute Tuesday on Facebook, or contact Nicole to start your own Too Cute Tuesday group (it's free and fun, we just like to coordinate!)

It has long been a friend of Too Cute Tuesday Facebook friend Kate to visit Too Cute Tuesday in person in Bar Harbor. This week, she was able to make it happen on her vacation.

We tried to pick a craft that Kate could take home. I'm not sure who sent this in (so if you did, claim it in the comments and I'll credit you in the post!) but I thought sailor bracelets were perfect. Nautical and something Kate could cherish forever... you know, until we started trying to make them.

She came. She attempted. She takes a good craft fail photo. Kate and her attempted bracelet. Oh well, we tried!

Kate to her credit found a nautical themed cocktail to go with the mixers we had on hand. Heave-ho!

Marketing Monday: Time Warner Cable

Marketing Monday: Time Warner Cable

Every Monday, it's an example of a business, non-profit, or website doing something interesting to promote itself online. Got an idea? Let me know!

Now I'm not a big fan on national cable companies but I thought how Time Warner is handling their Disney/ABC negotiations pretty interesting.

They are keeping customers informed via email.

I've gotten a few updates about the current negotiations via Time Warner Cable email (and yes, I opted not to receive anything extra). I haven't unsubscribed because these emails aren't frequent. Also in their favor is they tend to be short and all driving customers to another website if they want longer versions of anything:

They are driving their customers to a separately branded website.

Time Warner needs to keep running its day-to-day operations going on their company website, and these cable negotiations are a small part of what it does. So, for this 'campaign' they've set up a different website for educational (and political) purposes. I appreciate how they have their company name in the sidebar (as in they aren't pretending to be some third party group). But it is smart of them to keep their advocacy separate from their business, at least in terms of branding.

An informative graphic: saying more to people than they'd typically read.

This Week In Business: Better Light Edition

This Week In Business: Better Light Edition

I've gotten a few emails. "I miss your blogs!" I miss them too!

Last weekend, I was in a wedding in Massachusetts and, combined with being busy at work in general, updating my own blog often seems like something I want to do and don't have time. Maybe when I get a smart phone in a couple months, it'll be easier to do these things in transit.

Here's what's going on at Breaking Even Communications:

I moved my office into my living room.
I was most excited about my move from 220 square feet late last year precisely because I could have aseparateoffice and living area. There was really only one logical choice for my 'office'.

Fast forward to months later. Why is my energy so low? My office had one small window behind me and it was not motivating to work in a cave.

So Imoved my desk to my living room(other office-y things like printer, stationary, etc. stayed in the old office). Yesterday morning, I watched a gold finch hover near a flower. I also got a ton of work done. For the whole separation of work and life, I might eventually get a screen to close off the area in the after hours but for the moment, this arrangement is working, and well.

Let there be light, even if it does mean my work space is in my living space.

Too Cute Tuesday: Microwaveable Chocolate Cake

Too Cute Tuesday: Microwaveable Chocolate Cake

Every Tuesday, it's friends, a craft, and a cocktail. To get involved, check out the Too Cute Tuesday archives, join Too Cute Tuesday on Facebook, or contact Nicole to start your own Too Cute Tuesday group (it's free and fun, we just like to coordinate!)

The cake will rise over the top of the cup. Don't be alarmed. OK, directions. Besides, it's Sue's microwave anyway!

My Vinalhaven friend Meg sent me this recipe for microwaveable chocolate cake. Some have called it the 'most dangerous recipe in the world' because basically once you discover it, at any moment you are five minutes away from chocolate cake. Since we had several birthdays in the group in the past month (and I had a really crazy weekend as a bridesmaid), this seemed like an easy craft to relax with friends and get back in the swing of things.

Sam examines her cake. She's a bit skeptical but it turned out delicious.

Sue stirs it up. Yup, that's as complicated as it gets.4 tbsp. flour
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa
1 egg
3 tbsp. milk or half and half
2 tbsp. canola oil
large splash of vanilla extract
(Sue added instant coffee, which was good, and the recipe suggests chocolate chips, which also sound good)

A big mug

Cocktail of the Night: Limoncello (store bought this time)

1. Mix the three dry ingredients in a big mug. Pour limoncello in separate glass.

2. Stir in egg. Then add milk, oil, and vanilla.

3. Stir in extras, if you desire.

4. Microwave on high for three minutes. the directions warned it might go over the mug and it does if you have a shorty mug like I do. Sue and Sam's cakes did not do this.

Too Cute Tuesday: Lobster Ravioli

Too Cute Tuesday: Lobster Ravioli

Every Tuesday, it's friends, a craft, and a cocktail. To get involved, check out the Too Cute Tuesday archives, join Too Cute Tuesday on Facebook, or contact Nicole to start your own Too Cute Tuesday group (it's free and fun, we just like to coordinate!)

The whole shebang started on Saturday night when I got a phone call from my sometimes lobsterman boyfriend. "I'm bringing you six lobsters." It was a good catch day and so Dan got to take some (not a usual thing).

I tried to make my own ravioli dough. At the point, I left to buy won ton wrappers. Problem solved (and stressed diminished) for $2.50.

I began to cook. I made a garlic olive oil sauce and a scallion butter when I got another phone call. "I told Joe and Beth we'd go out with them tonight. Is that ok?"

Of course it was nice to meet some of Dan's friends but Sunday, we also had friends over for lunch who are 'sick of lobster' from serving it to out of town guests all summer. In other words, Sunday afternoon, Dan Dan the Lobsterman went back to fishing for the week and I still had two lobsters and a couple 'sauces' left.

I decided to make lobster ravioli so that I could use what I had created in terms of Saturday evening sauces and try something besides boil and serve. Sure lobster is good boiled (especially with rice wine vinegar and butter!) but Too Cute Tuesday is all about trying new things!

I ended up modifying this recipe on the Food Network for Lobster Ravioli to not have to create the dough (not to say I didn't try of course but see steps below to see where I went wrong). Tonight, it was just me crafting... in other words, nothing stopping me from consuming a large amount of pasta unattended.

My dog is scared of anything: her grooming brush, cameras, and we can now add tasty ravioli to the list.