I sometimes think the list of things I can’t 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)
Microsoft Communities and through
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
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
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
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.