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I sometimes think the list of things I cant or won’t do is longer than the list of services I offer. Because I do not have to support myself with my business, I have always had the luxury of being able to turn down work. I have never had—or wanted—a full-time business, and since my husband retired in June 2003, I find I am becoming even lazier and more loath to take on paying work. In addition, I do a lot of volunteer work, including spending many hours a day providing technical support to users of Microsoft Word as a Microsoft MVP (Most Valuable Professional) in Microsoft Communities and through AllExperts.

But I’m also the quintessential “girl who cain't say no,” so chances are if your project interests me or you sound desperate enough, I will take it on. Here’s what I can and can’t do for you.

What I Can Do

  • Copyedit and proofread your writing. I not only provide this service without charge on all jobs (indeed, you would have to pay me more to keep me from doing it), but I can also copyedit or proofread material (hard copy or electronic file) without typing it.

  • Type your book or article manuscript—although there’s not much call for this any more.

  • Prepare camera-ready copy (CRC) for a printer—everything from one-page fliers to books. I can start from scratch (handwritten or rough-typed copy) or use your electronic file.

  • Convert your CRC to PDF to be sent to your printer electronically.

  • Scan your photographs and insert them in your document; this is appropriate only if the output is to PDF, as I am unable to print them in such a way that they reproduce well from hard copy (CRC). For logos and other line art, output to print is satisfactory.

  • Prepare your letter or document for mailing—and even mail it.

  • Write your document—some of my clients like to just tell me the gist of what they want to say and let me put it into words. I’m not up for ghostwriting an entire book, but I have composed letters, brochures, and fliers for a number of clients.

  • Do online research or fact checking to verify references in your document.

  • Read your mind—or at least this is what some of my clients think I can do. As a teacher I became adept at reading poor handwriting, and as I become more familiar with my clients’ business, I am often able to figure out what they mean even when they don't express it clearly.

What I Can’t (or Won’t) Do

  • Prepare artwork. I’m not an artist, so I don’t attempt any design work beyond sticking in bits of clip art. But I can scan your existing logo and include it in a document, and I can copy a layout you like or execute your sketched design of a flier or poster.

  • Type résumés. Except for established clients, I don’t prepare résumés because (a) a really good résumé requires the skills of a personnel professional as well as a typist, and (b) if I can complete the job quickly, I’m not adequately compensated, and if the job is complex, it may end up costing more than it’s worth to the client.

  • Send faxes. Yes, I have a fax machine, and I do occasionally send faxes for established clients, but this is not part of my business and I don’t have an established price structure for it.

  • Photocopy documents I did not prepare. I don't have a copier, so I don’t offer photocopying services separate from other work. I can, however, print extra copies of your document, or I can make copies for you (at 5¢ a page) at the copy shop I patronize.

  • Provide consulting on any computer-related subject for a fee. I provide peer-to-peer assistance online (as indicated above); this advice is offered free of charge, and I am not interested in getting involved in paid consulting. My expertise is in producing finished documents, not creating templates for other users.