Monday, January 23, 2012

More thoughts on freelancing

It's been fairly quiet over the Christmas period, workwise. I've spent lots of time in the flat, browsing lots of silly web sites on the web of silliness.

I've been applying for several part-time positions with the notion that maybe a regular gig might help prop up my finances, as well as giving me a much-needed social outlet (and a reason to get up before 9am). It's a delicate balancing act; my current clients like to know that they can contact me anytime and that I can turn something around super-quickly, and I'm aware I might not be able to do that so easily if I'm working a couple of solid days a week. We'll see.. if the right couple-o-days-a-week position comes up, I will probably take it and see how it goes.

I've also experienced my very first dead-beat client recently. Woowee! I am thanking my lucky stars that it's only a small sum that they owe me for (if it was a more significant amount, I would be hiring a hitman). I met with these people a few months ago. They had found me via Gumtree, and seemed like a lovely, if slightly clueless couple who were in the process of starting up a creative business in their spare time and with their own money.

[distant alarm bells]

At our initial meeting we got the niceties out of the way. They talked me through all of their vague and rambley ideas, and I made encouraging noises. They contacted me the following week, saying they wanted to go ahead but could we meet up to talk some more things through?

[more bells]

We meet up again, they ramble some more, ask for some printing contacts, and give me a tiny little starter job which they proceed to micro-manage to death ("we want to use this font, these colours, and it needs to look exactly like this file I mocked up in Powerpoint").


For some reason I agree to a third meeting where the client tells me they want to proceed to the next job, and outline exactly what they want. I say I will put together a quote for their approval, which I do. They agree to let me make a start on the job and I send them some initial designs.

No response.

It's been nearly 2 months. I have emailed, called, and left initially-polite-but-increasingly-pissed-off messages. NOTHING. There have been times when I have called her mobile, only to have her pick up the phone but sit silently on the other end while I fume down the line. Yes, it's only a small amount of cash, but I wasted approximately 4 hours in meetings with these people on the promise of a long-term project and now they're giving me the silent treatment? I'm chasing it up on principle. And rage: my general feeling on this is BRING IT, B*TCHES.

I'm not the timid high school girl I once was.


- Be wary of 'hobby' businesses. Likewise, start-ups. If you do end up working on one, protect yourself by getting a signed contract before you do anything.

- Think about charging clients for time spent in meetings (beyond the initial briefing meeting) - I wasted a lot of time running around to see this client on three separate occasions, only to get stiffed. Charging for that time = less time wasted, as clients have a financial motivation to get their shit together.

- Trustworthy clients are gold. Treat them as such.

- Final lesson: trust your instincts - they're pretty much always right. Those alarm bells are there for a reason.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

David O'Doherty @ Melbourne Comedy Fest

One of my fave Edinburgh Festival comics. Damn I wish gigs in Australia weren't so prohibitively expensive. I need to get a boyfriend in the entertainment biz (Bert? Daryl? Rove? God forbid, Eddie?*)

*Sorry to be obscure, non-Melbournites.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Sunday 7-up

Reading: Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Browsing: Ghetto Hikes
Watching: Ae Fond Kiss
Eating: White Christmas
Listening: Fever Ray by Fever Ray
Visiting: NGV
Wanting: a cute ukulele

Friday, January 13, 2012


2011 was a big year for me - I put a deposit on a flat, settled back in to Melbourne life, started working for myself, joined the Squeaky Wheel committee, dated several amiable losers (and one super lovely guy but it's complicated so please don't ask me to elaborate or we could be here all night, srsly).

So 2012. I'm not really into the resolution thing - I tend to think about doing things as and when they occur to me, on the fly and sporadically, cos that's the kind of lazy ass I am. I already do yoga and zumba once a week, and ride my bike. I already try to eat right - in between sweets - and there's NO WAY IN HELL I'm giving up sugar like some ascetic freaks out there. I hardly drink; I don't gamble, take drugs or sleep with supermodels - sugar is my one and only only vice. Well, sugar and cute boys. Cute geeky boys who wear specs, in particular.

So don't even suggest giving up the sugar and the boys. Take those away and I have no reason to live. None.

So... one random resolution appeared to me one day out of the fuzzy static in my brain. It's a little embarrassing. I can't believe I'm confessing it to the internet.

I decided I would like to learn to play an instrument. A piano seemed like a logical place to start, but they take up so much room and I live in a teensy one bedder, and guitars are really cool but kind of intimidating, and then I saw this clip:

...and I decided that a ukulele would be perfect.

Compact. Cute. Not too hard (don't tell me! I prefer it here in fairy-land). Would look good on my shelf even if I never learn to play it. Won't annoy my neighbours (too much). Fits with my geeky outsider status.

So... I've been looking on ebay. I'm going to buy me a uke.

Sometimes it sucks being single and knowing your life is of little consequence... and sometimes it's awesome.

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

2012: Let's hope it's a good one

I've been thinking a lot about hope recently. How hope for the future is the main thing that keeps people going, and how the loss of that hope, however temporary, can feel like the end of the world; like a dead weight dragging you down, down, down.

On a personal level, my greatest future hope is for a stable relationship, and further to that, to have a family (my definition of 'family' has changed somewhat over time). As I get older and another year passes, this hope has become more distant and cloudy. Sometimes it evaporates altogether, and the weight in my heart becomes overwhelming.

Thankfully, I have found a medication that stops me from sinking to the extreme depths where I was marooned for many years without hope.

On a wider level, I have hope in human nature. Couples staying together despite being dealt all manner of shit (Karleen, I'm in awe of you). A little kid being thrilled to discover a 10c piece in the grass. The good humour of friends. Inspiring documentaries. The comforting huddle of my immediate family; my ever-expanding tribe. Wired magazine.

It's easy to feel cynical about humanity and our future prospects - and believe me, I often do. It's much harder to be hopeful. I have consciously taken a decision to try not to worry too much about the larger problems and to focus on myself and my immediate community; the people I come into contact with every day. I follow the philosphy of those great thinkers of our time, Bill and Ted: 

"Be excellent to each other".

Right on, dudes.

I am starting to learn that we can nurture a sense of hope within ourselves, and that hope can take many forms.

So here we are in the year 2012. I hope it will be a great one for you.
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