No longer must we be limited to schematic descriptions of what we will build, or tedious cardboard models. Now there is Building Information Modeling. AutoDesk has taken their AutoCad to new heights with Revit and Navisworks. See an example of it’s use on LewisBuilds.com.
When employment is down, one option is to hire yourself out. One can join a group and hope to be hired out for a set duration, thus gaining both some income and continuing to build work experience, maybe even with potential of full time employment. This was a reasonable strategy during the early 1980′s. Or you can hang out your own shingle. I know from personal experience (2 businesses) that it is IMPERATIVE for a truly small business to keep operating and overhead costs to a bare minimum. If you can operate out of your home, so be it. I just re-organized my home office towards making it less a clutter catch all and more a place I could actually discuss business. The next will to be to repaint our living room, also our entry and first impressions location so it is a bit more professional. Next will be to paint the front porch decking and replace the front door (leaking a lot of hot air). Several things are accomplished here. 1) Since I am spending more time at our house, it will be more pleasant. 2) It is work that needs to be done and keeps my potentially idle hands busy. 3) One of my former businesses was to renovate businesses, so I have both the tools, most of the materials and experience to do this both well and efficiently myself (keeps costs down). 4)If I gain some business that requires a longer meeting, my place will make a good impression for my client.
The Small Business Administration has some great advice on starting your small business. I also suggest spreading you risk by submitting resumes to service groups, continue job hunt and starting your business (frugally). Your own business cards will help when you are networking to spread your name around, increasing your income opportunities. I just got handed a Twitter Card. Small, interesting with barebones information it piqued my interest. And they are inexpensive. Get them at Zazzle.com, Moo.com and perhaps others. Moo.com has a mini printed on recycled paper and I am going to check that one out. They come in a package like a skinny pack of gum, so very easy to carry with you.
My friend DD pointed me to an article announcing the imminent death of Dreamweaver. (Darn, I still needed to update my skills to CS4…which is still sitting in its box for these past six months.) Reading further, the author discusses dynamic versus static site design and the ready availability of such free platforms such as this one, WordPress. For instance, I have a fairly decent selection of free ‘widgets’ that can create a more interactive web experience for my readers. Without much experience or sophistication a new user can establish a basic, interactive web presence much faster than I could manually code or Dreamweaver pastiche a design together. Doesn’t mean the design is going to draw you in, however. I think that is where Dreamweaver still maintains it edge. I am however, concerned with where WE are headed. I, and art educated professionals have discussed at length the seeming decline of ‘taste’ coinciding with the rise of UGC, User Generated Content. Your average Joe or Jill, without benefit of 4+ years of design school appears to have a decidedly different take on what is compelling to view, what draws them in. “I know what I like”. How much of formal design training panders to an elite audience I wonder?
And Drupal? CMS (Content Management System)? I confess my ignorance. But research is cheap online. Lynda.com carries Tom Geller’s six hour video tutorial series on Drupal. You can use their one day pass to check it out, or sign up for a month pass for $25. I for one will be checking it out. Gotta stay ahead of the curve