Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Where are my IT and Payroll Departments?

This is my business logo and opening page for my website....
99.8% of the time I love being a samll business owner. I love the work that I do, it has purpose and meaning for me. It's powerful to support a group of people in their learning process and to see them embrace healthy and caring ways of being together and to see them realize that they are able to do it - they are not dependent on someone else! It's great to have colleages, also small business owners, who are my closest friends, who I trust implictedly to do the level of intense work that we do together. I love the diversity of people, groups and cultures I get to interact with routnienly and the diversity of skill sets that I need to have at the ready to do my work well.
I even like doing much of the infrastructure stuff that is required to keep things moving along and have gotten quite adept at doing graphic design for my handouts and other materials, managing software and getting it to do what I need it to do, managing billing and bookkeeping, etc.
However, there are those rare moments when I wish I worked for someone else - where I could turn over some of the infrastructure things. This past week or two has been one of those rare times.
My computer is acting funky. I've done what I can in dealing with the operating system. Now its time to call in the Geek World guys to help me out there and squeak some more time out of my computer.
The company that hosts my business website and controls my domain-driven email went bankrupt two weeks ago. Their services started going off-line left and right. My colleagues and I found out about their bankruptcy only throug a competing company attempting to win over our business. After many attempts to contact our current company, we've found out its true. So, we are each scrambling to move our websites before that service goes off-line, our sites are gone and our clients have no way of contacting us electronically. I've never moved a website before, so I have no knowledge base on which to draw. I suppose it might be easy in theory, but we're each finding lots of snags as we attempt to move our sites - interfacing with the domain holder, the old host and the new host - and all of these folks are the kings and queens of using the jargon of their trade. About Friday afternoon the realization hit me - I could slowly keep prodding through this process, learning as I went and get my site up. However, I'd be learning skill sets I'd likely not need again for a long time. A placed an email to someone lots more web savvy than me and asked if I could hire her to move the site. She's hitting lots of snags too, but at least knows how to untangle them!
Thus I've pieced together my IT department. (-:
Now, onto payroll.
One of my long-standing clients, a state agency, had not gotten me a check in a timely fashion. I give clients the standard 30 days post-invocing for pay me. 30 days came and went, no check, then 37 days, then I make contact with the agency - "gee we cannot find it, let's trace back the paper trail and see what we can figure out." 45 days have now passed, "I think we've found the problem." 50 days now pass and the check arrives happily in my mailbox - without interest for late payment figured in! Imagine, for a moment, those of you employed by someone else - how we just take for granted that our paychecks will be auto-deposited or placed into our hands on the right day and now imagine that employer being 20 days late in getting you your paycheck - this is the one less-than-joyful part of self-employement. Thank goodness for a wonderful internal ally at he agency who kept nipping at the heels of the fiscal agents to figure out where the check-cutting process had goteen caught.
So Monday (yesterday) morning arrived. I am thrilled to have gotten the payment issues worked out, have the website more underway, have a computer maintenance appointment scheduled for mid-week and plan on now focusing on my client work and hopefully getting caught up on time lost dealing with all of the above last week. HA!! We had no electricity for nearly 4 hours yesterday - a good portion of my office work time!! )-: A power pole had caught fire from a falty line in the next block - lots of drama with fire trucks, police vehicles to block the street and utility trucks, pulling out the old pole, putting in the new and restringing wire. I had enough charge in my cell to at least conduct phone business yesterday while I had no computer access (yes, I have a laptop, but my files were on my desktop).
I thought, if I worked for an organization, at least I'd have colleagues around to keep me company while everything was down. (-:
Finally when the power came back on, I had two hours for work until it was time to take the girls to the dentist.
Today, ahhhh, keeping my fingers crossed for uninterrupted work time. I've already gotten lots done and taking time to blog is my little "reward."
I'm back to being happy to run my own business again.....

1 comment:

Liza Lee Miller said...

Oh boy do I hear you. Greg works at home and for himself too. Thankfully he's totally up on the IT stuff but the bookkeeping stuff -- accounts payable. Man, that is a full-time job, I'll tell ya. His clients LOVE to "forget" to pay him. I tell him that OTHER businesses add penalties when payments are late and he's even tried that (along with incentives for early payment) it rarely works. Sigh. Hang in there! On the power thing, well, one good thing about living in the mountains with trees that drop branches on power poles is that we have a generator so we can keep working with no power. Still . . . it's never easy, is it?