I wouldn’t have guessed the diversity of calls I get in My Entrepreneurial Life as a Microsoft Office VBA Freelancer. Earlier this week I received a call from a very nice lady in another part of the country asking me to fix some VBA code that her late husband had written years ago. The job required extracting data from a csv file and then populating several Word templates. In my normal PC world this would be relatively easy.
There’s a problem though, she’s a Mac user and I’ve only coded in Windows. I do some research and yes, Excel VBA for the Mac should run the same (I learn not always). Also she’s running office 2011 for OS that was October 26, 2010 nearly 10 years ago. Further She’s afraid to upgrade her OS because her old programs may not run. She is right. I do some looking and learn Office 2011 will not run on MacOS_High_Sierra, or later.
We talk a bit and I discover she’s used another developer on the website portion at $150 per hour. I look at the site and it’s pretty simple (yikes! I charge $50 an hour). Since I have no idea what a web developer charges I google it and discover.
‘Reasonably skilled freelance web designers make about $75 per hour. This figure can vary though, according to CSS-Tricks. Website Builder Expert estimates that the cost to design a website is $30 to $80 per hour and the cost to develop it is $100 to $180 per hour.’
I write the the first portion for testing and tell her it will be 4 hoursin total to do the job. In reality it will likely take longer but I refuse to charge her for my learning Apple/PC differences. Plus I walk away with another skill. We have a couple iterations and do some debugging on the phone.
I discover a few things:
1. On my PC the file path is:
On her MAC it’s:
“Macintosh HD:Volumes:Customer:MAC Job:Data.csv”
2. There are some VBA Object methods not available like .HasText (could it be the old office version?)
3. Mac does like the ChrW characters and says they are unreliable.
4. Access isn’t compatible with the Mac and even if she had FileMaker I didn’t.
Late yesterday afternoon send her the latest version. Within 20 minutes she sends back a email. ‘Yay it’s working’. Yay Indeed! I am overjoyed as I wondered could I pull it off. Developing on another platform adds complexity.
In the midst of all this a prior client calls has me on the phone for 1/2 hour and I then write a little ditty for him send him the code and bill one hour. Based on the feedback from this forum I bill if I’m teaching on Goto meeting or WebEx (sharing screens).
In all this I am reminded just how much I like my life as a VBA Freelancer: helping people, solving problems and the diversity of the VBA challenges I am fortunate to see and of how my VBA coding skills continue to grow.
Raymond Mills, M.B.A., M.S. has spent over 20 years of his career as Accountant, Investment Bank and Credit Card Technical Auditor/ Data Analyst. His specialty was using Excel to get Big Databases including Teradata, Oracle, Squel Server and Sybase to give up their secrets.
Ray has said “I love nothing better than using VBA to unleash the power of Microsoft Office.”
If you have a challenge with Excel, Access or Word and would like to speak with Ray,
You can get his contact details by clicking here: Contact Me