Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Serving two masters

The new year is off to a fast start: phones and emails are getting active, projects are ramping up, and the to-do list is accumulating faster than the snow.  At least there’s incentive to work it since the icy cobblestones and cold temperatures are inhibiting bike travel.

Well, not among the true Dutch, but I’m being cautious…

There’s always a backlog of work after a holiday and this has been no exception.  I’ve been through the e-mails and postal mails, replies are all out.  End of month accounting is done, food is back in the ‘fridge, the plants are being nursed back to health.  My luggage showed up on Sunday after two days (they apparently never left Seattle at all until long after I’d arrived in the Netherlands).

And now I’ve settled in with three sets of to-do lists: one of work that has to be done for the contract and consulting projects and another with tasks that need to get done to build the new business.   Five days at the desk, and the asymmetry is becoming stark.

The consulting jobs are my bread and butter today: they provide income, build experience and reputation, are a fun challenge working with good creative folks.  But there are schedules that have to be met and these jobs become my priority. Each evening, their work has to be crossed off my list. No work, no billable hours.

In contrast, the tasks to define and build the medical informatics business take a back seat.  As a result, although the business structure is in place, there is nothing happening with branding , market analysis, to product development.  I still haven’t had time to get the web site up or to have a good brainstorming session about the customer requirements.

I promise myself that Monday, Friday, Saturday for sure I will spend the day on the “real” business.  But each week passes.

It’s getting frustrating,and I’m not sure how to solve it.  The consulting work will tail off within six months, so I need to either be prospecting for further consulting or laying the foundation for funding my main business plan.  It feels like a crossroads, deciding whether things go left or right based on prevailing winds of opportunity, or my desire to build a product and a business.

It feels like new year’s.

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