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A quick note to my past-self

If there’s one thing that now-me would urgently tell past-me, when starting this whole self-employed business, it is this:

Beware of „cost“ focussed clients,
seek the „investment“ minded ones.

Adapt your communication accordingly.

If your services are seen only as „cost“, no fruitful and growing relation will come out of it - and with those clients, no matter what you do, it will not be honored.

If your services are seen as an „investment“ on the other hand, there’s a clear mindset that you will provide added benefit, and this is a whole different mode of operation.

(this orginally was a short burst of tweets, maybe I'll add some more thoughts to this post later.)

SMEgnorance

(The following is my translation of my blog post "KMUnverstand" which originally was published in German and seemed to resonate with quite a few people in my web dev bubble. It surely is full of grammar- and spelling-errors, but I hope the gist of it will come across anyway)

In our small web-studio we have our problems with advertising "hey, we've launched a new web site, look here, it's awesome!".

Because the launch is only a part of the ongoing process, the real work starts after the launch, even if many think that it is the finish line. But, especially with CMS-driven web sites, it needs some time and work by the editors to see if the ideas for the designed components really work as desired. Plus, even right after the launch one is already smarter than before and has many new ideas how to better solve some details than before. Despite the seemingly average life-span of web projects, our clients work with their sites way longer than five years. With the dynamic changes in the "web technology" field over the last five to ten years, this means that there needs to be constant team-work and a regulary exchange between us and our clients over possibilities and new or changed requirements.

Unfortunately, especially in the SME environment that we often deal with, "websites" are still seen as a fixed product. One "buys" this once, expecting it to work "as is" from that moment on until an internal decision in the distant future. So there is a great deal of ignorance and non-comprehension if ongoing maintenance and service shoud be considered and paid. The feeling of unwanted dependence is strong, especially because often open-source solutions seem to be initially "free". Because web packages for 5-10 EUR a month seem to work fine on first glance. If then a monthly support and maintenance package with at least 20 times the price is offered (a budget allowing for only 1-2 hours a month for work on the site), this totally seems over top and something that can be economized and saved. Why bother, the site works as is, right?

Don't Cross The Line

Here's a little sketch I made a while ago to help me decide what kind of projects I'm willing to engage in.
Been near or even under the diagonal line far too often in the past, telling myself over and over again that things will change. No they don't. Change yourself.