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i DiD iT

Monday, 16 September 2013 by Irene Hoofs


{image by Marjon Hoogervorst ... my legs on my couch in our Singapore apartment}

I (finally) did it ... and it feels so goood! Time for Champagne to celebrate a new, refined and fresh look for Bloesem Living. I really hope you like it? I know I do ... not least because I designed, coded (with the exception of one page that is...:)) and built the new templates in typepad completely myself! You know me ... after so many years of reading Bloesem... I am normally not this immodest, certainly not looking to take centre stage... but in this case I am happy to make an exception ... and just wanted to let you know that a non-tech savvy – although now very tech-savvy … - blogging mom pulled this off!

Why you might ask would anyone in her right mind put herself through such a painful process… putting in more than 12 hours per day for long periods of time… well, I certainly did not volunteer for it... and you are right... this whole thing has been quite an ordeal to be honest...

I started out by doing the seemingly sensible thing… after making the design templates in photoshop for the new site, I hired expert tech-builders who, suffice to say, could or would not do what I thought we clearly had agreed … so another lesson learned the hard way I guess…

With hindsight it is difficult to imagine how I could not have seen the signs and perhaps I have been too naïve and certainly to trusting… so here it goes... some after-the-fact very basic wisdom and pointers from me when you are about to spend a bunch of money and time on 3rd party service providers… all of this appeals to common sense but it is easy to throw caution to the wind in the spur of the moment, so “bloggers beware”:

i.) Make sure to vet your service providers. Ask for references, then actually speak to them about their experiences. Yes you want to hear the good and the bad.

ii.) Don’t be tempted to pay 50% or more up front! Even when working with other freelancers who of course may be light on financial resources themselves. I still think anything between 10%-20% down payment is more than enough. Yes, you work on the basis of trust, but there has to be a balance. Make a payment schedule that ties with agreed deliverables. As a client, you have a right to see draft deliverables, within agreed timelines before further payments are made – and stick to the plan.

iii.) Don’t be a dummy! (I behaved like one for some time until I found I wasn’t one!) … there is much more that you can do yourself. Educate yourself even if you think you don’t have time. Yes, the learning curve will be steep but it is worth it. AND it will save you time and money later.

iv.) And, essentially, only hire service providers that are “better” than you… by that I mean, as is the case with hiring employees, there is absolutely no benefit in hiring anyone who pulls you down… the only way is up ... and your service provider should lead the way.

v.) One more thing… being a perfectionist (and I am sure you are too…) building this site myself, I had to accept that some things will not work to perfection, be it the design or tech specs, so a few happy mistakes or errors will remain but that is OK! See it as a sign of 'Handmade' and a sign of any proper DIY project I suppose … :)

Furthermore, I think this episode has for better or for worse hardened me a bit as a “business woman”… and perhaps that is a good thing… after all I do run a business and there is nothing wrong with taking a more business oriented approach to things like this. Freelancers like you and me should protect their businesses… businesses that are so precious to us and that we have nurtured along with hard work for many, many years.

My husband tells me I have now become “anti-fragile”... a term coined he says by this Wall Street guru who wrote a book with the same title... so, what does it mean? In the face of adversity, you are not only robust and survive, you actually thrive...! I kind a like that... I feel a bit anti-fragile today... and I do hope the feeling lasts... at least for the rest of the day…

Tomorrow will be blogging business as usual at Bloesem Living! ~ irene xoxo


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