I'm sitting here, alone, on a Sunday afternoon at DINO's studio. It's cold and wet outside, a perfect day for reflection.
We've been doing projects together, as DINO, for the past couple of months, but Em has only been able to put in part-time hours as she completed her obligations with her prior employer. Her last day of work was the 15th and she started full time at DINO last Monday (although she couldn't help herself and came in the weekend before her first DINO day to get caught up on project work and set up her space).
Today marks the end of our first week where all 3 of us are doing DINO -- so in my mind, this is truly the first week of DINO, regardless of what's happened before. I feel like something powerful clicked now that we can physically locate ourselves in the same place during the day, finally.
It's been a busy week, indeed. I haven't had things this intense in a VERY long time. What's encouraging is that I'm not feeling burned out (well... yet). If anything, the intensity is giving me an energy I'm feeding off of.A great moment from this week:
I was really excited by how quickly we were able to mobilize to put together a proposal for a kids' iPhone game; we went on that sales call together and it was a lot of fun and satisfying to come together as a team. I think we all stepped it up to squeeze in what amounted to a decent sized set of projects in between all of the other work we had on our plates.
There was some basic office reconfiguration as Em got her second monitor installed on her drafting table and we managed to hook up the printer so we can all actually use it rather than emailing documents to the one machine that was configured correctly. Aaron consolidated a lot of extra craft supplies so that we could donate those to our friends and landlords at Sprout.
Em and Aaron made multiple trips to Pearl to stock up on some great paper and art supplies (an incredible sale!).
Em has been a powerhouse all week - business cards, document templates, and an initial set of designs for our website. She's been helping with project management and will be doing PM for upcoming clients.
I pulled some long hours trying to finish off a couple web projects that have persisted through the New Year while also handling a few sales leads and getting a contract out to a new client.
Aaron continued his solid track record of hitting milestones and getting great compliments from clients about communication; he's building playables and solving some memory issues for the codenamed "Awesome Safari" project.
I can't speak highly enough of Pipelinedeals.com. I have a dozen or so opportunities at various stages being tracked through this service, and I would say I haven't even scratched the surface of its utility. As I refine some of the funnel processes, I should be able to scale up my efforts in business development and really start to take advantage of having a central, simple tool to manage strong communication with both potential and active clients.
In fact, over the past few projects, we've been developing processes and templates which, over time, we think will both increase our capacity but also help us move projects along efficiently with a higher quality client experience.
We're technically operating through my old consulting business (where I was sole proprietor), but we have a couple of pressing potential contracts of a larger size that we do not want to sign w/o at least an LLC in place. So Em is handling setting up our business structure and administration (legal registration w/ the state, bank account, etc.)
We have a number of client projects coming due in the next couple of weeks, so that'll be dominating Aaron's and my time. In particular, we have 2 web projects that are due this week, an iPhone app to be submitted for a client on Monday, deliverables for 2 other apps, and a kick-off for a new client. The iPhone game we're developing ("Awesome Safari") is due in a couple of weeks (can you say "Crunch time"?) We manage our projects in Basecamp and it's been a lifesaver.
The encouraging thing is that if we can deliver some results for our active clients this week, our February is looking strong - the pipeline is full and converting better than expected, and we have a couple of interesting opportunities that may allow us to focus on fewer and bigger projects.
We do have a speculative project we'd like to work on, but we had to have a conversation about what's currently on our plate, on our radar, and what we could realistically accomplish in a short time. We'll be making a final go/no-go decision this week and we'll definitely blog about it, etc.
Finally, we'll be putting in some effort on getting our website live and blog posts flowing.
Last night we all went out to celebrate our first week. We toasted the long adventure ahead over margaritas and delicious burgers at Christopher's.
I'm very happy to be taking on this journey with good friends; the upcoming year will be filled with uncertainty, really awesome successes, and some terrible letdowns. We can't know when those high and low moments will come, but when they do, I'm confident in my partners' capacity to celebrate and survive. If the upcoming weeks are anything like this past one, we're in for an amazing ride.
We'll be attending the Mobile Monday, MassMobile, Drinks On Tap developer's meetup tomorrow night. Come say hi!
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