In week two of self-employment, it has become clear that the honeymoon is over. My dog and I are officially sick of each other. The papers, for which a filing system was created last week, are in a small pile on the couch. Creating systems was one thing, and this week the challenge was to not only keep up with them but to improve them.

In order to hold myself accountable and entertain you at the same time, here is some of what I did/learned this week:

Sometimes softer is better. Soft launching my new site was not only a good kick in the pants but a good way to get feedback. (Not to mention a lot less pressure!) I’ve been posting my blog on my old Typepad account as well as on my new Joomla! website. I’ve been Facebooking and Twittering the new site links in hopes of hearing what people think.

A few people took the time to write to me and tell me the new commenting system was cumbersome and that my photos were not displaying correctly. Of course the site is still in progress but I appreciated knowing what actual users think of it as I, or more accurately my web designers, put the finishing touches on it.

Ask really specifically for what you need. My friend Randy is one of those brilliant people I am always learning from. I was telling him about needing information from clients but was unsure about an efficient way to help them do things like set website goals and think about marketing budget.

Up to that point in time, it is information I have been gleaning from hour-long phone conversations or a series of e-mails. There has to be a better and quicker way, I said.

“What about a stakeholder survey?” Randy asked. “I use them when I work on really big projects to get group consensus on larger goals.” This is why it pays to have smart friends.

A stakeholder survey won’t solve all my problems but it will get me some of the information I need. How does a client supposed to know what I need from them if I don’t spell it out? So I wrote up my own survey and after it is edited, I will upload it to this site.

Think local, the local chamber that is. Today, I did the very grown-up thing of joining the area Chamber of Commerce. I get a a little sign, a web directory listing, an open invitation to networking events, access to a mailing list with over 600 people, and more.

Tonight I was invited to a networking event at which a limousine happened to be donated for our transport. Fun!

So while I realize that most Chamber events don’t involve champagne in a limo, I think this affiliation will be helpful for me.

So Week Two, I feel like I am in a more realistic place and because of this, I feel more relaxed. This is not to say I don’t feel that I’m working hard, but it does feel like I am already working smarter.

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