You want to know more about me - is it safe to do business with me?
Fair enough. I would too, in your shoes.
My life has many facets and interests. The over-riding traits however throughout all of them, are perseverance, faithfulness, and that when I take responsibility for a work or project, it is hard to pry my fingers off - I have always been the oldest sister in charge, or The Responsible One (see brochure).
After I'd paid off my 1968 Nova in 1971, I packed it full and drove off from Saskatoon to London, Ontario, seeking a publisher for my secretly-written novel. That did not happen for decades; but many other things did. For 12 years I was very involved in church and children's ministries - developing my creativity and administrative -leadership skills.
Then - I yielded to Mom's calls and a growing sense of God's will, and moved back home to care for my parents. (I have a book in me about those 23+ caregiver years too, but I don't have time or desire to write it yet). My creative ideas still found places to ooze out, but mainly, I think I learned management skills, and how to dig in my persevering heels. I also produced some family history books, while continuing with children's ministries at church, including directing DVBS for 3 summers.
In the 1990s I read that you could self-publish on the internet, so after Mom died, I re-wrote my novel and saved up for a computer that could go online. I got it in 1999 and I planted myself every day in front of the computer and taught myself publishing, web-design, and to a degree, marketing - plus many other things. I learned like a house ablaze! That was during the 10 years I still cared for Dad.
Before I had my own first site up, I was asked to help Western Tract Mission, a ministry, get an online web presence with a site too. One thing led to another - and another - and another, so that by now I have 8 or 9 websites of my own, and I have built more than 25 websites for others, and maintain and manage most of them. A few are regular clients, to which I give a regular evening of my week.
My novel, Ruthe's Secret Roses, was published as a Print-On-Demand (POD) in 2001, but marketing it is on hold right now, as are travel dreams, while I'm on this business tangent, developing websites, writing content, designing graphics, and still always on a learning curve, as I constantly learn new skills and braid them into my work.
I have taught myself most computer basics, including downloading and installing, both programs and complete operating systems. I can trouble-shoot and fix a number of problems, and even rescue data from a computer that seems to have died. I have four virtual desktops on my screen, and often run as many as four, to eight or more programs at once, switching back and forth fluidly.
Open Source Software - Some years ago I discovered that open source software was much more secure and could do everything and more than a Windows system, so I experimented with about a dozen linux systems, and have settled on openSUSE as my favourite, using the KDE desktop system. I can follow instructions for using command-line operations, but do not feel fully at home in that field. However, with the robust graphical interfaces now in all these programs, it is not absolutely necessary. (Nor have I taken time to learn programming - just enough to adjust code for installation of certain programs such as DadaMAIL).
Research skills - the internet is FULL of information, so one of my most important skills is knowing how to search for answers online when I run into a problem or need to understand something to proceed.
Graphic Design and manipulation - this is one area where I am constantly learning and adding to my skills. I use GIMP to manipulate, or "photoshop" photos and create graphics, such as banners and logos, power point presentations, and print-ready documents and books. I am still learning to create infographcs and vector art.
Layout & Desktop Publishing - I can layout and prepare for publishing; brochures, booklets, books in both, a word processing program, and in Scribus, a layout program, and then export them in PDF. (A bit of interactive PDF documents too.)
Website Design - I have taught myself web-design, using raw HTML code, uploading via ftp, and installing WordPress blogs and CMS systems. I can install php scripts for contact forms, etc., and am a firm believer in carefully crafting the meta tags of each web page to make sure the search engines will find it, thus drawing in more natural and free traffic.
Social Media Management - I have some social media accounts, and understand the importance of using these avenues to promote one's business or website, but I'm still struggling to make enough time to work at it. In time I would like to delegate this to an understanding and skilled employee. This, and the making of videos and setting up/teaching webinars, are the main skill areas I still have to learn.
Write/Produce Content - this is the area of my work where I shine and know I do quite well. Writing comes easily to me, and I understand the power of persuasive text and story-telling on a website. I believe the internet is a Writer's Paradise, for graphics will draw in the eyes, but it is good, well-written text that sells and persuades people to do what you want them to do. Those who want to accomplish anything on the internet need to write well, - or, find and hire writers! Writers who grow past just expressing themselves; and who are able to write to influence others, or on behalf of others - will soon be in demand.
Total Site Management for Clients - I have ended up managing most of the sites I've built for clients so far. This limits my capacity to take on new clients.
More recently I've set up up WordPress content management sites for a few clients in the hopes that they can then run it themselves without knowing how to do raw html code. So far I cannot point to one that is able to do this successfully. (If it were, I could set a site up, then walk away, and take on new clients).
What I have to offer my clients is a good working knowledge of computers, and open source software. I am able to troubleshoot problems, and teach myself new skills online by doing good research and finding the necessary information and training. I am able to manipulate photos and graphics and even design most graphics needed for a website or print production. I design websites from raw html code rather than use 'kit' programs, which gives me greater flexibility and control. With careful keyword use and meta tags, I can see that the site is well-recognized in the search engines, thus attracting visitors.
However, my daily/weekly schedule is too full to take on new clients until I can train employees.
New Clients - Though my unique skills and ability to manage sites for others, often ghost-writing most of the content on their sites makes me a desirable web-designer, it also means that I'm limited by the number of regular hours I can give to such sites, and thus the number of sites I can take on. I have reached my time-frame capacity.
The smart move now - as soon as I can afford to do it - is to hire employees and train them to take over some of my sites and those of my clients. This is my current goal.
You may inquire about my progress toward my goals, but at the time of this writing I dare not promise much. Perhaps you may just stand in line (make your request) and 'take a number' (that is, wait until if/when I can take on another client).
I'm sorry to disappoint. But I'm optimistic; miracles do happen, and God is in charge of my life. He sometimes springs surprises on me!
Just curious to see what kind of work I do? Try putting my full name in Google: "Ruth Marlene Friesen" - and see what comes up.
Not every site comes up, so if it is important to you - just ask me for a list.
How to Reach Me I don't post my email addresses in public places, but any contact form on my own sites will reach me. Then, I'll reply to you. (Unless... your message looks like a spammer's!).
May God Bless and Guide You! Also our relationship if we should begin one.
Like a gemstone, I have many facets, or sides to me. You may explore them through these links:
The Responsible One (my business brochure).
My Financial Principles to keep me ethical
My Life in Photos (for your curiousity)