How can I help you?

Back in September of last year, I decided I was spending entirely too much time doing things I wasn’t enjoying — commuting for an hour to Berkeley via BART to spend equal parts of my time

  • doing project management on tragically underfunded projects,
  • participating in marathon executive meetings, and
  • digging around a decade-old PHP/Oracle/ActionScript/Perl codebase that preferred to speak XML/XSLT to itself.

What was I doing? What should I be doing? How could I do it?

The following questions nagged at me. What was I doing? What should I be doing? And most importantly, how could I do it?

I also asked several of my close friends if they had work for me. Actually, I put it this way: find me a couple of months of work and I’ll quit my job. Two of the responded simultaneously; I suddenly had two full time gigs starting immediately. Oh boy, was I busy in Q4 2010. And one of those gigs kept going for the first two months of this year. It’s been thrilling.

Meanwhile, I took the advice of another friend to form a corporation (18INT) and build a real business. Why not? I’ve been doing the Internet consulting thing since 1997. Five years ago, I’d made it my aim to understand the operational part of the business. Having earned something like an MBA of hard knocks, I was ready to start something new.

The past five months have been relatively easy if I don’t think too hard about the intense weeks in November when I was working 10 hour days seven days a week. Now that the Facebook game I’ve been helping with is close to launch, I face perhaps my greatest challenge: signing the next big project.

This is a big challenge in a personal sense only. I’ve worked with plenty of people with a talent for selling. My personal style was to overachieve relentlessly and wait for people to ask me to work on something. I’ve learned that proactively asking how I can help works well, too. I just need to find the right part of me that delivers this request in a genuine and non-self-conscious way.

With less work in March than I prefer, I’m poised to ramp up my new business development skills. I hung out at GDC for half a day last week. I’ll be at Web 2.0 in a few weeks and at ad:tech after that. And I’ll continue to reconnect with my favorite colleagues of the past. Lastly, I hope to find the time to be more diligent in talking about what’s going on with me.

My goal is to sign enough work in 2011 that I must hire one or two full time employees. I know there’s more than enough work out there. So, how can I help you?

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