Given the turnout at Jon Stewart’s recent “return to sanity” rally, I am sure you have seen bits and pieces of the chaos it brought upon the city of D.C. And yes, I was one of the crazy folks trying to get a spot on the Metro, with my one-and-a half-year-old daughter in tow. And while my husband pushed his way onto the subway (no big feat for him since he spent his childhood riding the crowded trains of India) my daughter and I never made it! Now as I sit in Starbucks, sipping my macchiato and admiring our new Website (thanks to their new free wireless access) all on my cool new MacBook Pro, I compare that event to my own recent return to sanity.
The “insanity” all started several months ago when we found ourselves at a crossroads (pun intended). Our Website really didn’t tell folks who we were, everyone on the team was ready to throw their PC out the window if it got any slooooooower and don’t even get me started on the fact that our almost brand new $500 speaker phone continued to cut off in the middle of every client call. So what’s a type A girl to do? Fix everything – at one time - of course. After all, we are savvy ‘tech’ pros, right? It can’t be harder than figuring out the difference between free vs. commercialized open source software ……right?
So I grabbed my techie hat and got to work. My business partner and I have always prided ourselves in running a lean mean company and not wasting money on flashy offices, etc. So we needed to research the most cost-effective solutions. First up was a meeting with a pal (and past client) who was going to show me how to leverage Joomla to build our new Website. I think his exact words were, “why spent thousands on a new Website when you have free open source software?”. Made sense to me. A fter all we had been “selling” the benefits of open source software to the media for quite some time. A few months into it, my pal was ready to strangle us, and Joomla, while great, wasn’t as easy as I thought. So, we found an actual design firm that could make our ideas a reality and not cost us thousands of dollars. Call me if you want their contact info.
So, next up were these pieces of ….ummm…PCs. Since my open source clients all seem to love their Macs, a trip to the Apple store was a must. After a little convincing, my business partner and I were off to check it out. It was midday in the middle of the week and the store was buzzing. Apple folks were walking around with their shiny iPads and swiping credit card after credit card with their iPhones…what bad economy?
It took about an hour before Shawn and I were walking out with our own MacBook Pros,… me feeling a bit smug and Shawn still a little in shock. “No worries”, I said. “The Mac guy said it could do everything we wanted and we would be up and running in no time.” (Famous last words.) Two weeks later after getting ten different opinions and ten outrageous price quotes, Shawn had not even opened her box and I was lugging around both my PC and Mac. In the meantime, everyone on the team was staring at our Macs with sad puppy dog eyes (and if you know anything about our team, we love puppy dogs!).
After lots of research, we finally found a way to cost-effectively make the transition and with a combination of Dropbox, a hosted Kerio solution and A LOT of headaches, I was well on my way back to sanity. Just don’t ask my team about those dark days, I will deny all of it. Maybe I will start my own “restore your sanity” crusade for other small business owners because let’s face it, politics are nothing compared to switching email servers.