Today I am tackling my first website proposal. Yes, I have managed to run a growing business for years without writing a single proposal. There have been pluses and minuses to running a business this way, but if I've come to the point of writing one, then it's obvious that the pluses are not overwhelming.
And so I am staring at my screen. It's worse than writer's block. Way worse than writer's block because I haven't had the misery of writer's block since I was four and that was because I had a limited vocabulary. I consider myself so lucky in that avenue or merely just practiced. But writing a fiction story is different than writing a proposal. When you write fiction you throw words on a page and then you get out a red pen and decide where they really should go and what they really should say and in the end it's not such a big deal because it's all made up...one giant lie that people have to buy and enjoy. But a proposal... this is not a lie and there are some real $$$$ that are exchanging hands there and there are some real issues that need to be tackled in ways that I'm not quite sure yet how I want to handle. And...and... well, I have to put all that on paper and sound intelligent at the same time!
Am I having a panic attack? Yes, and you can bet that every other designer does too when they write a proposal. Oh sure, I read their websites and they all sound pulled together, but really they are doing the same thing I'm doing right now: drinking coffee, chewing on their pens, wondering if there are more pressing tasks that they could be doing instead of this proposal. The biggest stress of writing these damn things is identifying ALL the problems upfront to avoid scope creep and putting a dollar amount to the proposed work. It's like getting ready for your second date. The first one obviously went well. You sat. You chatted. You liked each other enough to decide to possibly work together. And so now you are looking to create a workable situation for both parties. It's a lot of looking at calendars, current workloads, future workloads, determining who is responsible what part of the project, and how long each piece will take. It's is taking all the unknowns of the future and trying to turn them into the knowns. I almost feel like I'm making stuff up because there is NO WAY to know the future.
But I do know projects. And so I have been writing what I know about this project at the same time as I have been writing this post. Yeah, it's like a half page right now, but it's a start. After all, this is my first proposal and well, it's not how we start but how we finish, right?