Today, I am reorganizing my account sheets.

It's not thrilling.

Back story, I'm a consultant, and I do all my own bookkeeping. And because I tend to do everything on a shoestring, and generally feel that things I make for myself are more useful to me than things that are commercially available, I don't have any kind of fancy bookkeeping software. I have Open Office, the open source equivalent to Microsoft Office. That is, I have the spreadsheets I've built for myself to track the data I want to track.

My business is simple. I'm in creative services. No overhead, no inventory. Most of what I track is intangible: how many hours I put in on a project. The type of writing, the wordcount. For copywriting especially, I like to put some of these figures together: how many minutes per word did I average? How many dollars per word? The more you know, the better you are at bidding: different kinds of writing, different ratios.

Here's the problem, my record-keeping is inefficient. I have all these different spreadsheets, which means I have to enter data in a lot of different places to keep things accurate, which means I have to remember (with my mind) where all those places are, which means I make mistakes. At least, I can't guarantee I'm not making mistakes. Which makes me nervous. So I've been rebuilding my approach to try to solve that.

On an equally dry note ...

It's tax week. Welcome to the world of small business in the Pacific Northwest: I fill out thirteen different forms a year. The federal government, the State, the city, and my favorite, the public transportation district. Gone are the days of 10-40 EZ; I am a business-owner. Thank God I don't have any employees.

If you are paperwork-free this week, raise your glass in gratitude. If you are drowning in papers of your own, raise it in solidarity. We'll make it through. I think we will. (I think.)

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