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resource: Slack Etiquette Guide

Slack Guide

So I have been meaning to write this for while now (like months and months) and finally with the craziness of COVID-19 and my clients being forced to work remotely, I have made time to compile this quick guide to Slack based on a few articles I have read and my personal experience over the years.

Get the online version here or download a PDF if you prefer.

#guide #messaging #slack #resources

starting a business: part 2

I have failed.

It is part of life to failure, I can see this so clearly in my son, who at 14 months is failing rapidly, not that we normally name it as such, we call it learning, be it in the sounds he makes, the food he eats or the ‘toys’ he plays with. All of these endeavours sit on a scale of failure to success, whatever success looks like to him (and to us as parents!).

The above is to say that failure is natural to anything we put our minds and hands to, so getting comfortable with failure is necessary in order to succeed. Failure is what led me to this current season of starting a business, failure is saying that I would write a blog post every week (it has been 2 weeks since the last one); failure is trying to do something new, something beyond the current status quo, failure is essential for success.

So without further ado, here is why I have failed to deliver a blog post for the last 2 weeks.

Two weeks ago.

I wrote my first bid to a tender for a project for Film London. They are looking to redesign their website and were accepting bids. I thought I had more time but with a holiday mid-August, I had to rush to submit it before the deadline. I also applied to various jobs that had come up through my existing channels.

I also met with one of my existing clients for a progress report, this went well, it has enabled me to make progress on the project.

Finally I succeeded in deciding on a name and a logo, as you might have guessed we are now called ‘Software Crafts’. I updated the website, designed a logo, business cards and started posting to my new Instagram account. Safe to say it was a productive week.

One week ago.

I finished my first project, a website refresh for alumah and I published a nice instagram post about it here, but again this fraught with failure as this took me half a day to get out the door. Hopefully next time will be quicker! But I got paid for the project already, it feels amazing to have that first paycheck come in from your own work!

I have also had success on getting a contract to fill the gap while I build up my client base, firstly I have been progressing through the screening process for toptal.com, then also I have had a couple of direct approaches from potential projects. I am keeping my fingers crossed for something to start next Monday.

On the admin side of things I have still procratinated in sorting out an accountant, although I am now able to pay myself a salary if I want, yay! I have also switched to Notion to manage my projects, it is looking more promising and pleasant than Asana to date.

Finally, I have managed my second scheduled Instagram post today and I have written this post. Happy days and only 11am! I am thinking next week will be a different style post, maybe something technical certainly less of my ramblings.

#failure #bid #tender #freelancing #business #contracting

review: Oron Amular - The Call of the Mountain

Firstly, the necessary disclaimer that I know Michael the author and that he asked me to write a review. That said all the thoughts are my own and I willingly bought the book with my hard earned cash. So without further ado on with the review!

The Call of the Mountain is a starting point, a teaser, a taste of what is to come. It is the first of three books and I personally hope there are more to explore the world that Michael has built (more on this later). It is a quick read leaving no room, getting straight to the plot but not without sprinkling some mystery and intrigue to leave the reader wanting more.

The book introduces the reader to several characters who each have their different quirks and distinct attributes each with a history that glimpses through resulting in three-dimensional character resulting in page turn after page turn. This is an accomplishment given the book is less than 200 pages and a plot additionally twists and turns in enormous detail taking the reader as a willing participant with the characters on the quest to the mountain of Oron Amular.

Turning back to the world that Michael has built, it has been long in the making. This can be seen from the glossary and maps included in the book, a stable for any fantasy epic. I was also fortunate enough to be invited to the book launch where Michael has his notes detailing thousands of years of fictional history and hand-drawn maps lands and kingdoms waiting to be explored.

To conclude, it is a great book for long time fantasy lovers or for those want to give a fantasy novel a try, I can heartily recommend it as a book to add to any shelf. It is available online or to order at your local book store.

#fantasy #review #book

Starting a Business: Part 2

I have failed.

It is part of life to failure, I can see this so clearly in my son, who at 14 months is failing rapidly, not that we normally name it as such, we call it learning, be it in the sounds he makes, the food he eats or the ‘toys’ he plays with. All of these endeavours sit on a scale of failure to success, whatever success looks like to him (and to us as parents!).

The above is to say that failure is natural to anything we put our minds and hands to, so getting comfortable with failure is necessary in order to succeed. Failure is what led me to this current season of starting a business, failure is saying that I would write a blog post every week (it has been 2 weeks since the last one); failure is trying to do something new, something beyond the current status quo, failure is essential for success.

So without further ado, here is why I have failed to deliver a blog post for the last 2 weeks.

Two weeks ago.

I wrote my first bid to a tender for a project for Film London. They are looking to redesign their website and were accepting bids. I thought I had more time but with a holiday mid-August, I had to rush to submit it before the deadline. I also applied to various jobs that had come up through my existing channels.

I also met with one of my existing clients for a progress report, this went well, it has enabled me to make progress on the project.

Finally I succeeded in deciding on a name and a logo, as you might have guessed we are now called ‘Software Crafts’. I updated the website, designed a logo, business cards and started posting to my new Instagram account. Safe to say it was a productive week.

One Week ago.

I finished my first project, a website refresh for alumah and I published a nice instagram post about it here, but again this fraught with failure as this took me half a day to get out the door. Hopefully next time will be quicker! But I got paid for the project already, it feels amazing to have that first paycheck come in from your own work!

I have also had success on getting a contract to fill the gap while I build up my client base, firstly I have been progressing through the screening process for toptal.com, then also I have had a couple of direct approaches from potential projects. I am keeping my fingers crossed for something to start next Monday.

On the admin side of things I have still procratinated in sorting out an accountant, although I am now able to pay myself a salary if I want, yay! I have also switched to Notion to manage my projects, it is looking more promising and pleasant than Asana to date.

Finally, I have managed my second scheduled Instagram post today and I have written this post. Happy days and only 11am! I am thinking next week will be a different style post, maybe something technical certainly less of my ramblings.

#failure #bid #tender #freelancing #business #contracting

starting a business: part 1

As I venture into this new season of freelancing I thought I would write specifically about the tasks, questions, challenges & choices I am making. I am offically 3 weeks into this so this post will detail what I have done to date.

Week 1

The first step was to register for a limited company with Companies House. Fortunately they have an excellent step by step guide here which makes the whole process simple enough. With setting up a company, comes picking a name, I went with ‘akmiller technologies limited’ mainly because I have this domain (akmiller.co.uk). On a side note I would like to come up with a ‘better’ name soon, but that can wait.

The next item on the list was a business bank account (an yet other piece of plastic!). There are a lot of accounts out there, between the traditional high street banks and the new online/mobile accounts the choice is dizzying. I finally went with Coconut as it has invoicing built into the app which I think will be very helpful once I get the clients rolling in.

Finally I started to get my tooling setup. This included Asana for project management, Forestry for my website, Calendy for meeting scheduling. The list goes on, but they are the main ones I setup in my first week. All of these at about setting up internal processes for myself so I don’t forget anything and to ensure I am delivering on time.

Week 2

I am fortunate that I already had a couple of clients lined up and certainly helped in making the leap less scary. My second week was doing work for one of my clients which includes designing there brand and website. By this point they had provided content for the site, so I started compiling the pages and design options for there logo. I also spent time doing a website refresh for a second client

When I was doing that I was giving my website content a refresh, adding a contact page and a portfolio page. I was also finishing up some pro-bono work for my church related to the podcast feed and backend management platform

Another thing which needs to be done when setting up a limited company is Corporation Tax, VAT if you have revenue (turnover) over £85,000, PAYE to pay people with salaries (even yourself). All of this is something that an accountant can really help with, I had a recommendation from my sister and knew a couple of people myself, but I have still yet to finalise anything.

Week 3

This week was shorter as I had a preplanned holiday, so I spent the time on some internal tasks such as getting testomonials, trying out a couple of ideas and trying out ideas for my own personal logo.

In terms of client work, the client came back with a preferred option but wanted different colours, so I iterated the colours on the logo and started to produce patterns, business card designs and larger logos.

Week 4

I am starting week 4. This week I will be chasing up some decisions from clients, applying to some contract roles and writing a proposal for a potential client. Also I need to pick an accountant, and I remembered that I ought to have business insurance as well. In terms of tooling, I also started to get time tracking sorted out but it is not part of my routine yet. This is another habit I need to build up.

#business