Happy Anniversary, How I Built It!

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One year ago today, I launched Episode 1 of How I Built It, the podcast I started to learn from other business owners. I announced it by telling the story of Il Duomo, which I had seen in person 2 months prior. That’s still a great story that gets at the heart of what I’m trying to do on the podcast: learn from other people. I knew when I launched that it would be successful if I got great advice from people who’ve built great things. What I did not expect was the other successes I’ve seen. A year in, I have over 72,000 downloads. Each episode gets downloaded at least 1200 times 2 weeks after launch. And podcast sponsorships have become a major part of my income.

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Not Everyone Needs a $10,000 Website (and that’s OK)

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Let’s set the stage. You want to take a trip to the Grand Canyon with your family of 4, but plane tickets cost $1000 each. Plus there’s the hotel for a week and food, not to mention other expenses. Instead, you decide to take a few extra days off work and drive there because it would save you literally thousands of dollars. What if someone told you that if you can’t afford to fly, you shouldn’t go? Now think about this: you just started a business and you know you need a website but you can’t afford a $5-10K one. Someone you know says they can make a website for $500 using WordPress and a page builder. Are you wrong for accepting that? I say no.

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You Need to do More than Build it to Make Them Come

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In the 1989 movie Field of Dreams, there’s this iconic scene where Kevin Costner’s character is standing on his land in a corn field, when he hears a voice say, “If you build it, he will come.” Confused, Costner keeps walking, assuming he’s hearing things. Then he hears it again. “If you build it, he will come.” Then again. And again. Eventually he gets the hint, and is inspired to build a baseball field on his land, beginning a journey of catharsis he needs for guilt he feels after the death of his estranged father.

Why am I telling you this? Well, I feel this is a sentiment felt by myself and by others when we build products on the web. If I build it, they will come. After all, it works for Google. But building it, much like in that classic movie, is not enough. It takes a lot more work.

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When You Freelance, Make Decisions & Stick to Them

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I almost called this one, “Trust and be Trusted, but don’t betray your business.” That’s the gist of the next two stories. It’s easy to make concessions when you’re freelancing, especially when business is slow. You need the work and you’re willing to bend your rules a little bit to move the chains, or bump the bottom line, or whatever metaphor you want to use for, “make more money.” But that might not always work out. I wrote this article in a notebook while on vacation, about 1 month before starting the book Start with Why. I’m happy to say this book reinforced the sentiments of what I’m about to share with you: When you make decisions for your business, stick to them.  Continue reading “When You Freelance, Make Decisions & Stick to Them”

5 Things Every Business Website should show on the Homepage

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You have definitely been here before. You’re on a website for a restaurant or store you perhaps what to visit. You look for some information that will help you, but all you see is some blurb about the business, maybe a slider of images, and other miscellaneous information. But that’s not what most people need – especially if the business is a brick and mortar business. And while I’ve written about websites for small businesses before, I’d like to talk about 5 things every business’ website should show on the homepage.

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The Right Way to Explain Your Freelancing Career to Your Dad

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Earlier this week I read an article offering advice on how to explain your freelancing career to your dad. It’s something a lot of young people, including myself, struggle with. However after reading the article, my thoughts were less than flattering. Not only was it bad advice, it was a demonstration of what not to do if you’re serious about a freelance career. If you’re really interested in reading the article, I will link it at the bottom. For now, here’s what I consider the right way to explain your freelancing career to your dad (or mom, or whomever).

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Links Round Up for 04/10/11

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I also did a couple of write-ups for Web.Appstorm.net about Amazon’s new Cloud services: