It’s a badly kept secret that I am available for blog consultancy. The reason I try to keep my consultancy services reasonably quiet is that my clients often don’t like the advice I give them, even though I suspect they know, deep down, that I am right.
My ongoing micropatronage project is a roaring success. And, given the nature of the material I’m selling, a commodity that many people would have you believe is virtually impossible to profit from, my email box is overflowing with people asking me how they can replicate that success.
After my somewhat considerable fee is agreed, a time and a place are set up and I will meet my client, either face to face, over the telephone or online via webcam, and proceed to give them the best advice I can and answer any and all of their questions.
My fee is high simply because otherwise I would be swamped. If I offered my services for any less than I do I would not have enough time to concentrate on my own projects. Consultancy is a great career if you just want to tell people how to do things. If you want to achieve something yourself, other than the sense of pride at having enabled someone else to succeed, you have to make sure the majority of your time is spent concentrating on sailing your own ship.
Once the consultation commences everything can, occasionally, go smoothly. However, more often than not my clients decide to not listen to the advice I give them and sometimes get frustrated that I cannot give them the answers that they want to hear.
For instance, a recent client was insistent on asking my how he could distribute and sell his own albums on myspace. This was his only business model and the only blogging he had any intention of doing was via his myspace account.
I told him to nuke his myspace account and to start his own blog with a real domain name and professional hosting.
He didn’t like it. He got annoyed. He went away unhappy. He is still on myspace. He still hasn’t got a real blog. He is still failing to make any money.
This morning I had a long chat with a client. They had paid me for an hour of advice. Half way through the hour they asked me how they could monetize their facebook account. I told them to invite all of their facebook clients to read their blog, which they already had up and running quite happily, and then to nuke their facebook account.
When they asked me why I was giving them what they described as dumb advice I told them that I was simply telling them how to be successful online using my own experience as a guide.
After all, what else could I do? I can only speak from my own experience.
My client left the chat session after calling me dogmatic.
I didn’t feel guilty since I genuinely believed, and still believe, that I gave them very good advice. Advice that, had they listened to it, would make them considerably more successful than if they continue wasting their time on facebook.
There is a very fine line between offering blogging advice and dogma. I pride myself on being honest. I don’t endorse any products that I don’t use. That’s why I only carry advertising for AN Hosting, because I use them and trust them. When I am paid to advise someone I tell them the truth as I see it. I don’t waver, I don’t bend the truth to make them feel good and I never simply give them the answers that they want to hear.
If my clients don’t like my plain talking approach and would rather waste their time swimming in a pool of social networking time wasters then that is absolutely their choice.
I can’t help it if they don’t like the truth.
Moving on, in order to lighten the mood a little and because it has been too long since I gave something away in a competition, here is a chance to win a one hour blog consultation, via telephone or whatever online medium is convenient for you.
To be in with a chance of winning the one hour blog consultation simply link to upstartblogger.com, perhaps in a blog post mentioning this competition, and leave a comment below so that I can track the entries.
At the end of April I will draw a name out of a hat at random and set up a mutually agreeable time. How you use that time is up to you. But I can’t promise to be anything other than honest, straight talking, and maybe a little dogmatic.
I’ve taken the plunge, as indicated in Wednesday’s post, and placed an order for a brand new fully loaded HAG Capsico. I have until tuesday next week to confirm my choice of fabric. At the moment the front runner is yellow faux suede, as pictured below, but my head is very close to overruling my heart on the grounds that yellow suede, faux or otherwise, would be incredibly difficult to keep clean and that a muted shade of blue would be a better choice whilst retaining some degree of aesthetic impact.
Earlier today, after my outgoing chair had, literally and figuratively, left the building, I turned my attention to the rest of my home office. Much to my wife’s annoyance I proceeded to move anything that wasn’t nailed down to other rooms in the house so that I was left with a clean sheet, a completely empty room, that could be redesigned as ergonomically as possible.
Back pain, it would seem, especially when the cause is almost guaranteed to be a badly setup workspace, can make a blogger, or anyone who works from home, do strange things.
I now have an empty home office, computer and music equipment scattered to the four corners of our house.
I also have a question rolling around in my head. Does an ergonomic blogging setup result in a more profitable blog?
The answer should be a resounding yes. But until my new chair arrives, in what is going to seem like a very long six weeks, I’m not in a position, again literally and figuratively, to offer anything approaching a definitive answer.
However, despite my lack of ergonomic experience, I’m reasonably sure that the answer not only should be yes but has to be yes. A resounding yes.
An uncomfortable environment will have a negative impact on a blogger’s progress, both physically and mentally. Creativity will be hampered and, in extreme cases, the blogging environment will simply become a place that the blogger avoids, subconsciously or otherwise.
Only time will tell but I genuinely expect my blogging income to increase if I succeed in making my home office as ergonomic as possible. Logic dictates that ergonomics will increase productivity and that increase in productivity subsequently results in an increase in income.
That just leaves one more question. Yellow or blue?
As mentioned in my last post, I am taking a break for a few days.
Will you miss me?
I will not be gone for long – just a week or so. I have decided I need to rest my weary head and recharge my batteries.
Later, pop fans.
(All I really need is for a beautiful girl from Baltimore to fly over and give me a kiss. And of course, I wouldn’t settle for just one.)
On the Fantastic hifi today:
Get Happy – Elvis Costello and the Attractions
If you use a computer for any length of time, especially if that computer takes up a large percentage of your day, you will already know how important it is to be comfortable and properly supported by the chair of your choice. Unfortunately, and particularly in a home office setup, the chair is often the most overlooked and underfunded piece of equipment.
It’s a serious problem. Sitting on a piece of junk while you work can lead to back pain and posture problems. As someone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer, writing music, blogging, or doing anything else that requires sitting down in front of a static desk, I owe it to myself to make sure I have the best equipment I can afford.
My office is quiet, reasonably spacious and decorated in a muted shade of brown. Photographs of my daughter, including a very nice black and white canvas print that my wife bought me for Christmas, adorn the walls. In front of me, on a large and height adjustable glass desk sits a 24 inch iMac. The Apple mouse, which stands out as the only Apple product I have ever used which proved to be totally useless, has been replaced long ago by an ergonomically gifted Logitech work of art that puts the Cupertino offering to shame.
All in all, it’s a very nice setup in an equally nice space and a joy to use.
But my chair, perhaps surprisingly given the amount of money invested in other areas of my office, is a scrappy looking swiveling chunk of wood from the darkest recesses of an Ikea warehouse. It’s falling apart, with one arm literally hanging off where a metal screw has sheared in two. Frankly, it’s one step up from sitting on a wooden box, forcing me to slump forwards over my desk in a very unnatural position.
I’m amazed that I have let this situation continue for so long.
And now, as anyone with the slightest chiropractic knowledge will have guessed already, I have a pain in my back. It’s been there for a few weeks but is getting worse, moving from the middle of my back up through my left shoulder. The shoulder that does all the leaning and twisting as I lurch forwards onto the keys.
Although it may also be time to see a chiropractor it’s definitely time for a new chair.
After a little research it would seem that the default choice for a comfortable and ergonomic desk chair is the Herman Miller Aeron chair. But, as good as the marketing behind that chair is, I’m not convinced that it is the best option for someone who spends a lot of time in front of a computer.
The Herman Miller Areon may well be the brand that many covet but, for anyone who wants something a little different, something with a little spark, something that might even get the creative juices flowing whilst still offering the kind of spine straightening benefits that only a well designed and well engineered chair can offer, there might be a new king in town.
This is the Hag Capisco.
Striking, isn’t it? The absolute antithesis of the Herman Miller Areon. Where the Areon is corporate, regimented and dull the Capisco is independent, vibrant and alluring. Where the Areon is available in black, light black and dark black the Capisco is available in a range of fabrics and shades that will be as pleasing to the eye as the engineering delights the spine.
The work of the designer, Peter Opsvik, pictured below reclining, no doubt, in another of his creations, is already present in our house. Our two year old daughter has a Tripp Trapp chair, a wonderful piece of design that she, and everyone who sees it, loves.
Like most high end chairs the Hag Capisco isn’t cheap. Fully specced, with a headrest and in a non standard fabric, its retail price would rival that of the Areon chair. Now all I need to do is find a supplier who is happy to negotiate a good deal in return for some exposure here at Upstart Blogger. If you are such a supplier then please email me on email@example.com so that we can talk.
In the meantime I will happily peruse the numerous options and fabrics, looking forward to the day when I can sit at my desk without damaging my posture and suffering aches and pains all over one side of my back.
‘But you’re all right, aren’t you, father?’
‘Yes, of course I am, Audrey,’ I told my concerned little dog. ‘I’m just ever so slightly a bit exhausted. The doctor says I have been running myself into the ground and need to have a few days off just doing nothing.’
‘Oh,’ she barked, somewhat relieved, and went on scanning the road ahead for cats.
We passed a new piece of graffiti on the rec’ which read ‘Simo is a homosexal gay’ which made me chuckle to myself – not that Simo is gay; I was aware of that already, but the fact that he is a homosexal gay, which is a damning qualification and singular piece of public information that I’m sure will surprise quite a lot of the local inhabitants.
‘Laughter is the best medicine,’ my doctor had just told me.
‘I know; but what about drugs? Can I have some drugs? Drugs are good medicine.’
‘I can’t prescribe you any drugs, Mr Lawrence – you just need a rest.’
Thus it is I have decided to take myself off to the Kellogg’s Sanatorium in the hills and spend a few days in equable convalescence.
‘But you are incapable of relaxing, father. The experience will cause you to become even more anxious than you are already.’
‘Be quiet, Audrey!’ I told her. ‘Let’s go home and get some work done.’
A young woman in a short skirt was delivering leaflets when we turned into Lansbury Avenue. She was beautiful. I tugged Audrey’s lead and quickened our pace, feeling a sudden and urgent need to return home and prepare for my inevitable eleven o’clock tumescence.
Whichever one you enjoy using the most.