This Small Business Chat update is with Dick Margulis, holder of the “most popular small business chat feature ever” title. He was first featured on 25 February 2012, and his reply when asked where he wanted to be in a year’s time was, “I’m overflowing my office space, and we recently cleared out and cleaned up the basement. I think in a year’s time I may have a spacious office downstairs. One with lots of bookshelves and filing cabinets. That’s one thing about this business: it generates a lot of paper that I have to hang onto“. What happened next? Did he get that new office space he’d always dreamed of? Read on to find out …
Are you where you thought you’d be when you looked forward a year ago?
Physically, yes. I finished the remodeling, more than doubled my bookshelf space, and no longer have piles of books and papers on the floor. The basement had been remodeled sometime in the 1950s as a pine-paneled rec room, complete with bar and pool table. The bar became my no-additional-cost standing desk, which helps my posture, my energy level, and my overall health. Katharine O’Moore-Klopf gets the credit for advocating standing desks on all the editing and freelance lists; I’m glad I took up the challenge.
What has changed and what has stayed the same?
Business keeps getting better, and the books I get to work on keep getting more interesting. The overall thrust of what I do has remained constant: I help clients produce high-quality books.
What have you learned? What do you wish you’d known a year ago?
I’ve learned about the underlying mechanism that connects all forms of autism; I’ve learned a method for becoming a better bowler; I’ve learned about the life of the psychiatrist who emptied the asylums. I’ve learned about the life of U.S. Marines serving in Afghanistan. I’ve learned about the Prohibition era in Detroit.I’ve learned about computer security, computer repair, software for architects, software for plumbing contractors, and software for webmasters. I can’t say I wished to know any of it specifically, and yet I always wish to learn about new and different things.
Do you recall the scene in Three Days of the Condor—the 1975 movie starring Robert Redford based on the book Six Days of the Condor—in which an inquiry is being conducted into how Redford’s character, “a bookish CIA researcher” in the IMDb.com description, managed to avoid being terminated with extreme prejudice by a CIA hit squad? The dialogue between the head of the panel and the staff member who prepared the brief goes like this:
“This Condor isn’t the man his file says he is. Where did he learn evasive moves?”
“He r— What the hell does that mean?
It means, sir, that he reads everything.
Any more hints and tips for people?
I’ve drafted three responses to that question so far, and they’re all so full of platitudes that I end up sounding like Polonius. I guess I’ll have to pass on that one.
And … where do you see yourself and your business in a(nother) year’s time?
In another year, my wife and I will, we hope, be preparing to move into the first cohousing development in Connecticut. Meanwhile, my business continues to grow, and I continue to learn new things.
Exciting new plans afoot, then, and I look forward to hearing how that’s all going. I do love Dick’s list of what he’s learned this year – I should do a similar list! I know a lot more about certain things than I did last year myself; whether that stands me in good stead in my life and career, I’m not sure, but I’m a good quiz team member!
All those contact details …
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