There are many good reasons to have a day job while toiling away on your true passion at night. Most people don’t realize that; I know I didn’t for a long time early into my career. I used to think that you had to love what you do for a living with all of your heart. Now, I love what my day job affords me to do – comics.
However, your day job should interest you; I couldn’t be a retail jockey anymore than I could be a warehouse lifter because I’m just not interested in it. I know this about myself – I need intellectual stimulation. It is one of the reasons I like design, and especially why I like working on the web. I especially like this because my day job can enhance and enforce ideas I have for my comics.
For example, this last year at the day job has been one of transition – I’ve become manager rather than just a designer. It took me some time to figure out how to keep out of the way, give people the resources they need to do their job, and to keep the flow of information going both ways. When I was just a lone gun, these were all things I handled internally, keeping track of details with sticky notes and in my head. Obviously, this would no longer be sufficient.
Enter Basecamp, a simple and elegant solution to project management (the manifesto holds close many of the same ideals that I have). Basecamp is a subscription based service, where you pay based on the amount of projects you are working on. We are on the top level/unlimited projects plan, and I can say with certainty that this product has saved my ass more times than I can count. The whole thing is set up like a blog for Messages, basically, and you can set To-Do lists and Milestones. It is wonderful.
When I saw that Basecamp started offering a free one-project plan, I signed up immediately. For far too long, I’ve been stressed about my comic releases. I wanted Golden Boy to have been printed and in the direct market by now, and I have many other comic related plans that I wanted to have at least been on the fast track to release also. I realized that the problem partly wasn’t that I couldn’t do these things, but that I wasn’t organizing my tasks very efficiently. Basecamp allows me to focus my efforts so I’m not spinning my wheels like I have been for the last year, and it gives me a view of the big picture. Instead of freaking out over a weekend deadline, I parsed it down into manageable chunks to be accomplished over the week so I could take some much needed downtime.
The best part is that this level of Basecamp is free. Since I’m bootstrapping this “comics business” (this would be what the previously mentioned business plan is for), it is a godsend. When my business grows, Basecamp will grow with it.
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