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Preparing for change

© December 2005 Tony Lawrence

Over at my A.P. Lawrence site, we're about to pass a McDonald's style milestone: over one quarter million pages served per month. The server actually has to call up much more than that now, but I only count the "real" pages, not any graphics or other ancillary loads. It may not quite hit that quarter million mark this month, but it will be a stone throw away if it doesn't.

Statistics like that help us track the growth and direction` of our businesses. Dollar volume, net profit and balance sheets tell us where we are right now, but tracking the growth of other things gives us a clue to the future. For example, I know that revenue from web site advertising is about 25% of my total income now, but I also know that it's growing at a faster rate than my other income sources. That tells me that my business can shift toward that rather than the consulting and programming that is currently the main source of income.

The interesting thing about that is that it wasn't expected. I added advertising to the site in hopes of recovering some expenses, but didn't expect it to be a significant income stream. But that's one of the benefits of self employment: unless restricted by a corporate charter that would preclude it, you are free to investigate any new income opportunities that come along. In their embryonic stage, they don't have to bring in much income, because you already have your normal business running. Yet because you aren't tied down by an employer, you are free to give them as much nurture and time as needed.

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