Two web artists. One amazing company.

Articles tagged: Business

Stahp "the Internet" from sabotaging your work time

from Sarah Prasuhn on December 7, 2015 05:05am


Reddit. Facebook. Twitter.
Git. Trello. Email.

Yesterday's tabs and windows stare back at you offering two paths to start your day: productive work time OR casual meandering through all things internet (evil whispering) that no one has to know about.

Choose carefully, because once you start down the (now literal) click hole can be hard find your way back. We all do it from time to time, but I've created a way to break the cycle of getting lost at the start of my work time and you can to.

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To hourly or not? How Block Billing is Changing EVERYTHING

from Sarah Prasuhn on August 4, 2015 11:55am


Everyone bills hourly, and as it turns out just about everyone hates it. This process makes clients feel cheated, and agencies exasperated.

At the end of the day there's usually at least a hint of disappointment in both how long it takes to get paid, and/or how much it all came to.

You come to expect that you are going to be disappointed 99% of the time. So most of us just cross our fingers and hope the project doesn't become hell for everyone at the end of the month.

But this makes zero sense. There is so much more we can do to change the way that we run our consultancies, and so this summer I began experimenting. (Note: Blocks for September are starting to book, so if you think this is for you at all, get in touch.)

I've considered block billing for years, but thought transitioning would be some dramatic ordeal. You know tell ALL the clients, change ALL the forms, and it was some work...but the start...the start was so so simple...

A little column in a table of rate options. I'd heard that competing against yourself was a good thing. So, I decided to list three price options for some new potential clients. Block billing just happened to be one of them. I even did this for a well established client, and guess what it worked there too!

The client ALWAYS chooses block billing. It's been kind of awesome. Because it turns out client's like to have a general idea of what they're getting too.

Would this work if I only offered block billing? Probably, but even then I would give options, control is such a fleeting thing on a web-project for clients give it anywhere you can.

Would this scale? If you scale the size of the block, say a week, this works well for even larger agencies. In fact I learned it from watching @brenandunn who's advice is aimed at consultants, but scales quite nicely to agencies as well.

The goal of block billing is to make the focus on the features of the project not on the time spent. This way the website, the users, you, AND the client all win. If the focus is only on the time spent, it's very easy to lose perspective quickly.

So here's how it works, and the awesome results.

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Running Your Agency/Tech Company like a Factory is Destroying Humanity: Part 2

from Sarah Prasuhn on May 11, 2015 12:45pm


In case you missed it Part 1

Very carefully I cut the letters out of the magazines that are strewn across my table. My fingers covered in glue, I lay them out one at a time on a piece of heavy duty paper, a message for the CEO of my friend's company. A message to save humanity:

"Your company is following the startup lemmings off the cliff, do you care?"

-- Anonymous

Every year your agency or startup is throwing away thousands of dollars, because you follow some very bad habits that reward mediocrity and egos. I know because as a CEO of even a tiny company, I've watched you bleed and wanted to hand you the bandage.

At Shomeya I am the CEO and the Project manager, when I fuck up and put my programmer in a bad position I see how it effects his work AND his home life. I feel every late night, and regret every poor choice when I said yes to the client, because I deal with the results.

So I learned to adjust Shomeya to make better choices. And the good news is these choices can scale because they are based on something we all deal with no matter what the size of our payroll; human brains.

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Running Your Agency/Tech Company like a Factory is Destroying Humanity: Part 1

from Sarah Prasuhn on April 22, 2015 03:10pm


I'm running endlessly through the woods, as far away from Silicon Forest/Valley as I can. Facebook has collapsed, so has Google, so has everything. A post-social media, free internet, apocalyptic world has ensued and all of the developers have gone into the woods to escape the aftermath clutching their now worthless laptops. In my dream all the CEOs of the software companies are in a room patting themselves on the back for giving it a good go, while the world falls apart in the aftermath of their self-focused existence.

This may have just been a crazy post White God viewing dream I had, but it touches on something real. Something that as a consultant for multiple companies I see all the the time.

And it's killing me. It's killing your company, and you're too busy getting beers with your funders to notice. Meanwhile your developers, project managers, and everyone else that is the core of your business is slowly burning out until they rage quit and go somewhere else to start it all over again.

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Web-Consulting's Dirty Little Secret

from Sarah Prasuhn on April 9, 2015 01:05pm


It's the day after a launch and your client calls you in a sheer panic. Traffic is not as high as they'd like! Why aren't their new social media features paying off? Don't you know what you're doing? And to top it all off the site is slow! You need to fix this now.

As you listen to your client yell, you drift back in time to that first meeting where you both are posturing and laying down the ground rules for each other. Business as usual planning out the new details with excitement and anticipation.

And then the moment comes back to you. The moment when you said nonchalantly, "We can do that feature, but it may cause the site to slow down. Why is this feature so important?" And the client, also nonchalantly said, "We just need it, our competitors all have it." And you both went back to going over the other features on the list, not realizing that you had just wasted thousands of your client's dollars and hours of your life on something that most users don't give a flying flip about bringing almost zero value to the world, all because everybody's doing it. This is how the business just works, and hardly anyone ever questions it.

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When Success Starts to Feel like Failure

from Sarah Prasuhn on March 2, 2015 01:55pm


Last week was awesome, sort of. I hit all the numbers on my guide launch I was hoping for, and then promptly got the stomach flu. After two years (lots of running in circles) of working through this process of launching I did it!

Now it could have just been being sick, but I ended the launch wanting something more. And the reality is this isn't the first time I've been down after a success.

Does that ever happen to you? You get so excited about something and launch it? Then the next day you wonder if you could have done better, or you aren't sure where to go next. It's happened with our clients, we work so hard, we push the code, we launch on time, and then the question of "Now what?" lingers.

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The Incredible Power of Failure

from Sarah Prasuhn on February 20, 2015 02:30pm


"I really thought it would look...different.." the client on the other end bemoans. "And users really seem confused by where we put the login..."

This was ALL per their request. The login, the layout, everything they HAD TO HAVE. You protested gently, but hey you have to eat and it's their website.

But you knew that they didn't know what they were asking for, you knew people aren't born knowing what their website needs, and everyone tells them they have to be. Unfortunately User Interface decisions are not fake it until you make it for most people.

And when their website failed, you became the code monkey. Because of the precious EXPENSIVE project hours they spent on making, and remaking, decisions that really bring very little value to anyone in the long haul.

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Failure to Launch: The Myth of the Missing Map

from Sarah Prasuhn on November 24, 2014 04:00pm


It's all about perspective when it comes to launching. We always think we need something more, that missing set of instructions or special ingredient that will propel us to finish. That special person, few moments of sanity, or foolproof plan.

But at the end of the day, while those things may encourage us to make the choice to take action or bring balance and clarity, they never change the fact that we won't make it anywhere until we start the journey. We could be waiting at the bus stop thinking it's the only way we'll get there, when the whole time we could have been on the train.

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How to Level Up from Nice Guy Dev to Awesome Guy Dev

from Sarah Prasuhn on November 19, 2014 02:05pm


If Barbie I can be a Computer Engineer taught us anything it taught us that Stephen and Brian are nice guys. They just want to help, they know how to fix it, and they are there just when you need them to be. And worst of all they don't mean anything by it.

So what's a nice guy to do? You care, you retweet the awesomest feminist blogs, you were ON it during #gamergate. But on a human interaction level how does it go? Here are some ways that you can level up from just that nice guy that I don't call out on everything, but who secretly makes me sad, to awesome guy that makes my day well...awesome.

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Hiatus & the Final Frontier

from Sarah Prasuhn on October 20, 2014 01:53pm


In case you haven't heard the news, Shomeya is on Hiatus for a bit. Mike is working full time at Puppet Labs, and I've been busy having daughter #3 this year. We're still open for a few hours here and there, but it's mostly been a year of reflection.

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