Resolutions: Part I

3

January 4, 2011 by Leah

December was about as close to a free-for-all as it gets in our household. We didn’t set a budget. Aaron was adamantly against attempting to budget for Christmas because being on a budget makes him feel poor. That said, I think we restrained ourselves pretty admirably (because I did 90% of the shopping and preparation, from agonizing about gifts to baking endless batches of sweets). Still, Christmas as an independent householder couple was a far cry from being able to go over to Mom’s. I’m still exhausted and it’s, what, the tenth day of Christmas? I should have had enough time to recover by now.

We had a lot of company in December, and one unforeseen byproduct of this is that my friends and relatives all have different perspectives on things like money and employment and were happy to act as sounding boards for my occasional whining. (Not that Aaron isn’t an excellent discussion partner, but we tend to agree on what we should be doing and then procrastinate acting.)

My oldest friend, as usual, was the most outspoken of the bunch. It’s her opinion that student loans aren’t a bad thing – sure you’ll pay more in interest if you don’t pay them off ASAP, but the only thing they mean socially is that you’re educated, so it’s perfectly okay to pay them off slowly while striving for other financial goals (home ownership, emergency funds, etc.). It’s also her opinion that if Aaron is going to keep getting moved around thanks to his job, then I need a job that will move with me because my current job search is something of a depressing farce. She had told me this before but somehow the fact that she was sitting in my living room, waving a glass around to punctuate her sentiments, made me pay attention.

I’ve made noises about starting an internet editing business but haven’t really done anything about it. Thanks to Lizza, it dawned on me that what I need is a business plan. This was a complete “kick myself” moment, because I’ve written business plans – excellent ones. I even spent an entire semester in a class called “Entrepreneurship,” where pretty much all we did was write business plans. So why didn’t I think about writing one until weeks after I started thinking about an editing business? A business plan can serve as a feasibility study, strategic plan, and even detailed action plan, all in one living document. It’s exactly what I need; I’ve given myself until the end of this week to get an outline (with deadlines) together.

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3 thoughts on “Resolutions: Part I

  1. Josh says:

    Neat idea.

    Might be hard to distinguish yourself from the bigger online editing services, but shouldn’t be hard operating by word of mouth. How do you plan on establishing your initial clientele? Or managing customer’s projects (email, portal, versioning system, etc.)?

  2. leahkathlyn says:

    Thanks! Writing the business plan should get me clearer answers to all these questions, but at this point I expect initial clientele to be established thanks to family, friends, and former colleagues with the possibility of targeted marketing later on (right now I’m thinking I would specifically cater to people writing admissions essays). The initial plan is to use email to manage projects although I’d like a better platform for ensuring that clients read and agree to some kind of disclaimer/indemnification statement before submitting documents, so I’m considering.

    • Josh says:

      Sounds like a good start.

      I’d be hesitant using email, though. Even Gmail, which does a good job managing conversation threads, I feel is more of a communication tool than an actual collaborative workflow management system. (Buzzword, buzzword, buzzword…)

      What I’m getting at is to consider using a revision tracking system. In my profession, such things are absolutely necessary to allow multiple programmers, working on the same projects/source code/documentation to be able to:
      a) Track revisions
      b) Annotate revisions
      c) Branch between current and previous versions, and merge two revisions with the potential for resolution of conflicts between the versions.

      I mention this for two reasons: first, that it would potentially set you apart from your competitors in that you could provide up-to-date information on current projects, historical information to show the progression of a document, as well as provide annotation for given changes.

      Second, that it’s something I tried to address some years ago in one of my programming projects. I wanted an easy way to track changes I made to stories I would write, and chapters within those stories. There’s other stuff out there now that probably does it better, but the idea is you’d have a system that’d let users submit documents, make changes to documents, and also have you be able to make changes to documents and annotate the changes.

      Something to think about.

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