22 July 2006

An odd sort of week

I've not done much that could be described as concrete. It's been a period for pottering. On Wednesday, my graphic designer dropped by my house - we lunched on quiche in my back garden, nattered about personal stuff and also about our future work plans. I'm much clearer now about where I want to go workwise than I was when I started freelancing early last year. He also can see directions to head for. Then we got down to the nitty-gritty of my new website. We sketched out a rough site map and talked about a few ideas for the look. He's off on holiday now so his assistant will start the building work.

Next day, he mailed me a quote. I was shocked at the price, even with the very generous discount he was giving me. I decided I needed some time to think about it so I didn't ring him back straightaway. He caught me on the hop next morning by calling me... We know each other well enough so I was honest with him about my feelings on the price. It's not that I can't afford it - I can. I just hadn't expected a simple site to be so pricy. He was kind enough to agree to do the same amount of work for my own budget. We settled on the new price fairly quickly and I was happy although I felt guilty for bargaining him down. I promised to do the copywriting for his own website revamp at an equally bargain price though (which means I'll probably end up doing it for a fiver an hour!).

I don't know why I'm being so antsy about the website. Someone else built me my original site more than a year ago and I never paid for it. Not from lack of trying - he put a design together, I liked it but it needed some tweaks, he went away again to do them and I never heard from him again. I sent several e-mails and left several voicemails, all unanswered. I became increasingly desperate to get the site up and running. In the end, I sent the nearly-finished pages I had to my graphic designer and he tidied them up and then I found someone to host the site (the original bloke was supposed to arrange that). I got it all sorted within 2 days - the tweaks were done for free and I only had to pay the hosting fee. I then e-mailed web designer no. 1 to tell him it was out of his hands but that I would pay him for the work he had done. He never replied!

I've had a free site for a year and in a way I'm quite glad because, over the last 12 months, my freelance business has taken off in unexpected ways and I've outgrown the original site.

So, that's all sorted - it should go live during August.

I tried to call the publisher of the mag I'm going to edit - he's too busy putting the current issue to bed so we'll talk next week. In the meantime, I may have solved the Mac problem. I need one to work on the mag and someone local has offered to sell me one for a few hundred, as long as it's compatible with the apps I need.

I caught up with my book-keeping again. I wasn't happy to discover that the bank took £7 off me in charges for a payment from my Dutch client. I need to sort that on Monday. I think I need to get a PayPal account, as I've also been asked to do a Lithuanian website overhaul and I want to be sure I'll get paid.

It's been too hot all week to work hard anyway - I was quite happy to potter. Summer is always a slack time in my trade, for some reason. I've used the spare hours to look through the new reference books I bought. I now have up-to-date copies of the New Oxford Dictionary for Writers and Editors, the new Oxford Spelling Dictionary, a new and better dictionary of banking and finance and the latest copy of the Oxford Guide to Plain English.

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