My slightly super-secret side business is generating some interest, which is great! A lot of it is still from people I know locally, and I'm actually AOK with that. Personally, I think some of the less tech-savvy businesses in the area would prefer to deal with a web host that has a local presence, so I'm happy to stick in that niche.
Here's what I'm looking at for the month of June so far:
1. Working for my former boss
Yes, the one who paid for the lingerie site...
Anyways, I've agreed to a 20 hour contract to research OpenSource solutions for a project he's bidding on. Also, flesh out the proposal doc with technical specifications once a possible solution is found. If there's time, throw up an example site for some screen shots. He's not really worked with OS before, only high-dollar propritary stuff like .NET and Lotus Notes, so he brought me in to take a look since the client in question doesn't have a big budget. Sometimes it pays to be a girl who can find things...
Once completed, this has the potential to generate another contract to actually create the site in question, and possibly to secure a web hosting contract with the client. But, I don't want to cout my eggs before they hatch, so I'm only including the current 20 hour contract.
2. Working for my co-worker
This gentleman is already a customer: he has a web hosting account and is quite pleased with his cost savings. YAY! He has his own slightly super secret side business, and has asked me to give him a quote on logo design, business card design, and web site design. My current estimate is 13 hours for all 3 projects.
For what it's worth, this is a perfect example of the fact that being a 'computer person' doesn't mean you can or want to do all things computer. This guy is a Lotus Notes and Domino system admin, and is quite good at what he does. He's been in the computing business for almost 20 years. With all that said, he has never gotten into web work. It's not that he couldn't do it, it's the fact that there's a pretty significant learning curve and it would therefore take him a while to get it done. It makes more sense for him to pay someone else to do it and for him to spend his time working with his clients, making money.
3. Referral from my co-worker
Yup, same guy! One of his clients is in the legal field with no website, still using an AOL email addresss. GAH! If you read
This company has been around for over a decade and is well respected in the industry, but the fact remains that it will get harder and harder for them to get new clients if they don't get online soon.
This is still in the proposal stage, so nothing is set in stone yet. It would be the situation where I would build it for the co-worker, he would pay me, and then he would turn around and mark it up a bit to sell to his client. No biggie in my opinion, as I know that he will happily bring future business to me. I'm estimating 10 hours of work for this, since I want to build it in such a fashion that either he or the client could maintain the site themselves.
4. Cambrian House
The link goes to my profile on Cambrian House, the other place I call home online. It's for people who have a nifty idea for a piece of software or a web site, and want to try to get it developed. Also for people who want to work on these types of ideas for a possible payout if things start to generate money. They have all kinds of members, not just tech heads. If you're a marketer, or designer, or just an idea person, you might want to check it out.
Anyways, I've spoken to a few members about possibly hosting their sites. Depending on the needs, I might set it up as free hosting in return for a link to me in the footer and just call it an advertising expense. Some of the others are possibly interested in setting up paid hosting accounts, since I'm offering a pretty unique pricing model by charging a per-unit price for disk space and bandwidth.
Most exciting of all is that what started out as a conversation about hosting a site for a member has turned into the possibility of me being involved in their business as a web master and as the Managing Editor. I'm excited because working in those two capacities would likely earn me a royalty share in the business (well, hopefully!), meaning I would get a cut of the profits when they start coming in. Not to mention the fees for the hosting...
Again, nothing set in stone, but still exciting.
So, right now I've got 33 hours of work locked in, and another 10 hours of work as a good possibility. My hourly rate is cheap since I don't really have any overhead, so those work out to be $990-$1290 in billable invoices. Add to that the possibility of some passive income from the web hosting and royalty share, and things are starting to look bright indeed.