Business

Self Employment: Year One Recap

I started my first business in high school, making websites for anyone who’d give me a shot. It was a great way to make money that I carried through college, grad school, and my adult life. I even did it full time a little after college, but lack of benefits and the need to learn more forced me to find a full time job. For pretty much that entire time, the stakes were different – and not very high. I didn’t have anyone except myself to support and I didn’t require too much.

That changed when I got married and had a daughter. I thought my chances at full time self-employment were dramatically lower as a result. However, today marks the anniversary of me leaving my full time job to pursue my side business full-time. I’d like to reflect on the first year.

A new favorite travel spot - Cabo

My Summer Travel Schedule for 2018

One of my favorite things to do is travel and speak at conferences, and summer is prime time to do that. Not only is it nice most places in the summer, but lots of great events happen – especially in July. Here’s where I’ll be traveling and/or speaking. If you’ll be at any of these places, be sure to say hello!

How much does it cost to build a WordPress website?

So you need to buy a car. You start by setting a budget and picking a make and model you like. Determine if you want new or used. Do some research online; perhaps you consult a Kelly Blue Book. Then, armed with a good idea of what you need, what you’d like, and how much you can spend, you go to the car dealer. You shop around a bit. But you know for sure, if you want a Ford Fusion, you’re paying between $20K and $25K. There’s a sticker price and most dealers will stay within a few thousand of that. But what about website cost?

“No But We Can Order It Online for You.”

I have a confession to make: when it comes to shopping, I like it a lot more than my wife does. I also really like going to stores and buying stuff…even though with Amazon I can get most things the same day if I order them before 11am. But there’s something about going to a store or a mall, picking out the thing you want, and walking out with it. It bums me out that retail is dying. The news that Toys ‘R’ Us is closing kills me. That store is probably the reason I like shopping so much. But over the last few months, my shopping excursions have been fruitless, and the reason makes it very clear why retail is dying.

Support Me on Patreon!

I’m Doubling Down on Patreon

The first time I learned how to burn a CD was mind-blowing. It was 1999 and YouTube didn’t exist. Most of the web was brochure sites with marquees and hit counters, so there wasn’t a great place for learning how to do literally anything. Instead, my cousin came over and showed me. He brought a blank CD, opened software on my computer, dragged the songs I wanted into this window and clicked, “Burn.” A few minutes later, BOOM. I had my very own mix CD. What jumped out at me the most was how easy it was when someone was there to show me the way. I felt accomplished.

That experience did 2 things for me. It allowed me to have a very successful mix CD business in high school, and it made me realized I just needed to try things in order to learn them. I felt empowered by the fact that someone showed me the way.

I want you to feel empowered too. That’s why I started on Patreon.

Connecting Through Social Media

The Social Media Tools I’m Using

2018 continues my search for finding a good social media management tool. A while back, I wrote about using Buffer Pro and what its been like for me. I’ve since moved away from the pro version, because there were a few things that I really didn’t like about it. The first was how much manual work was needed for me to repeat posts. The other was a pretty terrible bug that voids URL arguments. That means if I had an affiliate code attached to a link, because Buffer adds their own stuff to the end of a URL for stats, I wouldn’t get credit for links, or purchases. Buffer literally cost me money over Black Friday weekend. Today, my setup is janky at best and I continue evaluating solutions, but here’s what I got.

Hosted Platform vs. Your Own Platform: How Do You Choose?

When I was in grammar school (or primary school, depending on where you live), we had a fenced-in slab of pavement where the students could play during recess. It was…kinda boring, but it was highly unlikely we’d get hit by a car. We were protected. There was also this HUGE, open field across the street. On good days, our teachers would supervise us as we crossed the street, to the heavenly field where we could run free. Those were the highlights of recess. We could do basically whatever we wanted, from play soccer, to just run around. We had freedom, even if it was at the expense of a little safety.

Now that I’m an adult, recess is a long missed part of the day. But I still have a similar choice when it comes to a lot of things: do I want to be sheltered & safe, or do I want freedom, even if that freedom lets me break things? A hosted platform vs. something self-hosted like WordPress is one of those choices.

CaboPress: The Business Conference I Needed

When you tell people that you’re going to Cabo San Lucas for a business conference, you get some funny looks. Well, you get one specific look: “Oh sure. I bet you’ll do a ton of work there.” It’s easy to think. I mean, we are in paradise. Our sessions were in pools. We had afternoons off. But let me tell you: CaboPress is the best business conference I’ve ever attended, and exactly what I needed.