Tuesday, December 01, 2009

It's All About the Business

I didn't do it. I didn't even try. Well, I WANTED to try so I signed up. But NaNo was a NoGo this year. I didn't write word one. It was all about the VWE website and let me tell you, it was truly all consuming. Calling the company during the day when I could to ask a question here. Logging on to the online support at night to ask a question there. I now have a favorite support person, I have contacted them so much. Her name is Hazel (I really think they are using pseudonyms) and she is on at 6:30 in the morning. Hazel is one smart cookie and the only one I would truly believe if she said there was no way to do something I wanted to do. Everyone else - just about - has proven to me that if they say it's not possible and if I even suspect it might be, then I am right, they are wrong and all I have to do is keep studying the problem. I can think of a least 2 times when someone said I couldn't do something, then as they continued looking for the answer or verifying it with someone else, I figured out the way around it. Yeah. I'm pretty proud of that. If you could see all the button and links and fill-in-the-blanks I had to deal with, you'd be proud of me too and doing the happy dance with like we were Pigpen's long lost cousins. This website project proved one thing for sure - that I am primarily a big picture person. I need to know the details AFTER I know the overall goal. But inside the working of a website template, all you see are details. It's a puzzle with no boxtop to guide you.

Thank God I love puzzles.

You see, our website is powered by StoresOnline. I won't bore you with the details of how we came to work with them but I can tell you this, we do not regret signing up not one little bit. We LOVE it. Now, that being said, it is a TON of work to get your website up with them because after all, unless you pay them to do it (and you can if you have a small fortune), you are the web designer and developer. So you better bring your imagination, your time and your patience or you better not come at all. I didn't watch TV for about 2 weeks during the most intense part of this thing, except to watch Nip/Tuck. Had to keep up with my show. But otherwise, my DVR overfloweth.

The things we can do with this site are more than what you see online right now. Have you seen it? www.vwepuzzles.com. Yeah, baby. I'm plugging away because that site represents about 2 months, late nights, early morning, lunchtime phone calls and loads of juggling my job and my website work to keep it all going because the site had to be done the day before Thanksgiving.

There were way more pictures to find and resize than anticipated. Lots of copy to rewrite because suddenly it just wasn't good enough. Lots of people to solicit for testimonials, which we should have gotten when we first did the jobs for them. (Those are slowly trickling in as we talk to people one on one.)

There was inventory to figure out and math - yes, math - as we worked on the pricing and payment methods. If you can see it, read it, click on it, my hand was in it some kind of way in order for it to be there. Sometimes, there was frustration and hours just doing one seemingly little thing. Sometimes I hummed along checking off one thing after another as the site started to take shape.

Part of the reason I am particularly thrilled with this site is because this was truly sweat equity. The price we paid to have this service was the sweetest ever. And it's far from done on that front because the homepage is not the homepage that will eventually lead you into the site. What I have there now is my own doing because I refused to let my deadline sweep by, but there is a graphic designer working on a special homepage that will allow us to have something a little less busy and a little more visually interesting for people to see. She is a very busy designer, however, with the added skill of teaching and she has been very much in the world of teaching so that my homepage has had to take a backpage until she is free again.

But that's OK. I'm still happy.

And now we have the work of maintaining the site and growing it from there. As we do that, there are more custom jobs we are working on and as we do that, we are finally prioritizing our creation process. Things simply are not as streamlined as I'd like them to be and it's time to get the wrinkles ironed out. I want to say what I mean and mean what I say and drop the stupid added explanations of why we can't do things the way people would like us to. That means Bizzy Girl having some meetings on her free Mondays. That means me better organizing our customer information as new people take us on and others become repeats. That means us taking more risks and even finding out about one risk that's not risky at all. If we get a shot at doing that one, I will happily blog about it and share it with the world.

This year, Bizzy Girl and I said this was a do or die year. Something changed in us and we have been more driven than ever. I suppose we simply aren't going to let things die because it took so much of our life to create it in the first place. And it feels good. The business is picking up and the dream of doing this full-time (aloing with my writing) becomes even more real to me.

And now, I need to get to my office and package up the most recent set of completed puzzles so their owners can get what they have been waiting for. After that, the next round of puzzles wait for me to get them going. Oh, and the church newsletter isn't going to edit itself. Don't I still need to get the greeting card order filled? I need some sleep.

I had a dream that a recent vending event would net us three new custom jobs.
We got three new custom jobs.

I told a friend in her first trimester that she would be having a girl because I wanted that for her.
She told us today that she found out it's a girl. (Yes. She wanted it for herself too.)

If you say it AND believe it AND work for it, it can happen right? Right.

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