One of the big elements of wanting to do something new was to stop the flow of daily mail, much of it being bills. I hate the paperwork side of the business – so much so, I hate invoicing my own clients even though it means money for the firm. I’d be much happier in a barter environment. You do this, I do that: we’re both happy.

By leaving the office-lease world, we’re not paying utilities, phones, fax, Internet service, trash, recycling, security and rent. (I’m sure there is more.) The thought of not having to deal with each of those every month is a 20-pound stone that I no longer have to carry with me. I’m excited and energized just by that alone.

What I did not realize, however, is how painful it is to tear myself out of that system. Nearly every utility or vendor hosed us in some way. Or –worse! – I’m still dealing with them two months later, STILL not yet released from their sharp, digging talons.

My mistake was to actively trying avoid these issues. I waited until the week we were moving out to notify all of the service providers. My thought was this would avoid stranding our clients by having our Internet or phones turned off too early. I had no faith, from experience, in the accuracy of any vendor. Turns out many require 30 days notice to end services, which I find hilarious since it took them 30 days to get things running in the first pace. So in essence, we’re not using their services, but they’re charging us. I should get into that racket. (But it’d probably be more paperwork.)

Mail issues have been rampant: paychecks and other incoming mail have been held hostage by the USPS for weeks, and I’m still correcting our address an average of three times a client. 

Just like most other business owners can likely say, the phones have driven my frustration to a whole new level. With the other service providers, we were able to cut the cord and wave a prolonged goodbye. The phones? They linger on. After a ton of searching, I found exactly what a gypsy studio needs: an online service that would answer a single line and then treat our multiple cell phones, on different networks, as extensions. Technology triumphs! (Except that it doesn’t. That scenario still isn’t happening thanks to issues porting our number.)

The worst moment of the extraction from the office has to be that the morning our “we are moving” postcard arrived to all our clients, our land-lines were incorrectly shut down and our phone’s message said “the number was no longer in service.” EXACTLY the type of nightmare I was trying to avoid.

There’s much more to the story, which is ongoing, but you don’t need to read my line-by-line crucifixion of such an easy target as the phone company. In short, our online phone service still isn’t working, but I guess I’m happy in the meantime. I’m getting less bills to deal with when the mail does arrive, and our clients are still calling with work – though how they keep finding us, given these troubles, I have no idea.