Panama (spwebdesign) wrote,

It's not a secret that I can hardly stand my job right now. I find it unfulfilling. My responsibilities include processing visas for foreign researchers, compiling promotion and appointment paperwork for faculty, planning two major parties per year, various minor administrative tasks, and keeping up the Pulmonary Center's website. I have tried to upgrade my position to involve more web design and server/database admin stuff, but so far I have not been successful.

I have expressed a reluctance to change jobs, because I would want any change to be short-term, and I'm not sure I feel comfortable making such a drastic change for only the short term.

Why short term? Because I want to go back to school and get my Masters in Voice. I don't want to be distracted from that goal. Starting a new job would be a distraction.

But then again, I often feel drained stuck in this uninspiring job, and I'm not making as much progress as I would like towards preparing my grad school applications/auditions.

I have thought about trying to make an arrangement with the Pulmonary Center by which I would provide part-time services on their websites and server. I would then leave my full-time position and take on another part-time job, maybe working at a bookstore or something similar. I would use the increased freedom to work towards preparing for grad school admission.

This isn't a great economy to be doing that in, though.

I periodically check for job openings that might interest me. I have seen one perfect job listing, for a PHP Developer in Portland, Oregon. Most of the jobs simply don't interest me or ask for skills that I'm not up-to-snuff at. For instance, too many jobs ask for someone with ASP or .NET experience; I work with PHP. They ask for skills in Dreamweaver, but I code my HTML by hand. A job listing might ask for experience in HTML, SQL, PHP, Perl, Apache, etc. -- technologies I have some to a lot of experience in -- but then also asks for ColdFusion, which I have never had interest in learning. Too many of the jobs are in Windows environments, and I'm not sure I'd want to deal with the frustration of having to work with an inferior product like Windows just because so many ignorant companies would rather pay much more for buggy technologies than use superior technology for free.

Thus, I've given some thought to starting my own business.

Yes, I know I have two small businesses, Molas Online, a retail business specializing in textile art from Panama's Kuna Indians, and SP Web Design, basically a freelance web design company. Neither of these generates a lot of income, though -- the former perhaps $100-$200 annually and the latter $3,000-$5,000 annually -- not enough to give me independence from full-time employment.

Granted, I haven't done the sorts of things I could to make SP Web Design more productive. Those sorts of things would require a larger investment of time and capital.

But I've been thinking: What would it be like to try to launch a small company that specializes in web technologies and would make a viable profit? I can envision taking SP Web Design and expanding it, offering a full range of IT/Web solutions, not just websites, but hosting, database support, DNS services, etc. I would need server(s), a T1 connection (minimum), dedicated business phone line, a physical business location, etc. I would most likely need to do this as a partnership with one or more individuals whose skills complement mine -- I would be the design/front-end expert, there would be a database/back-end expert, a networking expert, etc. We would need capital, which means taking out loans and being in debt for while.

Is this a realistic idea? It would be more fun than working for someone else. It would be challenging. It would potentially be financially rewarding. But is the market for IT companies drying up? And I have no business/financial skills, which is a consideration.

Is this something I'd be able to do as my full-time job while still working towards my goal of music school in the near future, or would one preclude the other?

Do any of you have any experience in this sort of thing? Advice you can offer? Thanks.

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