October 3, 2011
priming the pump
Running your own business means you’re always looking for work. I sometimes get a reprieve from constant sales when I’m in the middle of a months long project, such as the current one for the genetics testing laboratory. As the end of that project is now in sight, it’s time to prime the sales pump again.
I need a retainer for my next project by December 1st. In the 13+ years I’ve been doing this, there’s been a few immutable laws. One of them is that it takes two months to find, sell, and start a new software project, which means I have just enough time to do this. I’ve got October and November.
At the start of a sales cycle, pretty much anything is possible. The beauty of software is that I can pretty much target an industry of choice, using the tools of my choice, aiming for that most desirable of states: gig bliss.
I’ve been really enjoying Java EE 6 during the genetics testing gig, so I most definitely want a project using JSF/JPA/EJB and friends again. Luckily, these tools are very much in demand these days, by companies in all industries. Given my past experience on three large-scale medical projects, it’s likely I’ll be targeting this industry again, simply to ease with sales. It also helps that medical companies typically have ample budgets and ample need. I’m also very interested in combining my non-profit educational aspirations with a for-profit software gig, so I’ll be targeting the education industry as well.
Beyond Java EE6, I’m very much interested in returning to semantic web technologies, since all signs point to Web 3.0 being about ready to really take off. It’s been 8 years since I first started working with those tools, and roughly 4 years since I stopped using them, so there will be a lot of catching up to do.
I’ll also be looking for a project of sufficient size that I can work with two or three other developers. My solo work on my current project was fun for a while, but it really does get a little old without chaps to chat with in IRC throughout the day. Ultimately I make less money this way, but everything else scales much more nicely.
So, where to start? First thing is to finish my company website revamp I started a few months ago, since the thing looks about ten years old, which it is. Updating the showcase with information on more recent projects, updating the people page, the tools page, etc, will help greatly with first impressions.
After this I need to make a new sales brochure, both print and PDF, to convey the benefits we’ll bring to a project and what we’ve done. Often working on a brochure helps galvanize the new sales rap.
While doing both, I’ll be doing recon on prospective companies, entering their information into my leads database, which is part of Storymill. When I’ve finished feathering my nest (the website and brochure), it’s time to start sending emails and making calls. With an hour each day for two months, I’m bound to find not just another gig by December, but a fun, profitable, and meaningful one.