Whew! It’s been a while since we’ve updated you on our progress toward starting our businesses and quitting our jobs; we’re definitely overdue. I actually recorded a video update since our last update but I wasn’t happy with the outcome. The lighting was so poor, I couldn’t bring myself to post it here. But I’m using a new video camera and I’m still learning how to best use it. Anyway, we’ve got a lot of catching up to do and I want to start with a little background before I get into specifics.
My computer has been getting progressively more feeble over the past 6 months. It finally got to the point where I was struggling to do almost everything because my computer was getting so slow and flaky. So I finally decided enough was enough and I bought a new computer (a high-end Alienware computer, BTW). My old computer was also an Alienware but I had it for several years. Presently, I’m still working on porting over everything from my old computer to my new one, so that’s slowing me down a bit, but my computer is 10x more powerful. So this change will pay off very soon in terms of productivity while on my computer.
Tammy and I recently spent a little more than a week visiting my family in Michigan. It was totally a blast and we ended up getting addicted to Rock Band. Sometimes, it’s great to step away from your projects so you can get a fresh perspective. On that note, we have some exiting news, but Tammy will cover that in a separate post soon. I’m certain that you will understand why it’s exciting and it also may help you take a big, meaningful step that you may be struggling to complete. Keep watching for this important post! Okay, now for the business progress update. Here’s what’s new since our last update:
Some email marketing services, like AWeber, require a physical mailing address to be included with every email you send to your subscriber list. I’m guessing this is to hold you accountable and prevent spamming. Anyway, Tammy and I didn’t feel comfortable using our home address, so for privacy reasons, we picked up a couple of P.O. Boxes from our local post office to use as for our business addresses. Cost: $42/year for each box.
Testing Drop-Ship Suppliers
Tammy is looking into the possibility of selling physical merchandise related to her niche, and has been learning about drop-shipping. She recently tested a couple of drop-shippers by placing orders that were then shipped directly to her customer (in this case, her mother). She was then able to see how their whole shipping process worked, and judge their timeliness, packaging, accuracy, etc. to see if they would be good suppliers. Turned out to be a worthwhile test. One of the drop-shippers messed up in the ordering process, the delivery process, and the billing process.
A Couple of Quitters 2.0
A while back, we bought and installed Headway Theme for both of our business blogs. Since then, we’ve become serious Headway “junkies” and can’t stop playing with it! We also can’t resist redesigning this blog, now that we see how easy it would be to do that with Headway. Tammy has already started working on the redesign. It’s probably going to look very similar to how it looks now, only it will be a bit sharper and we’ll then have greater flexibility to further customize it whenever we need to in the future.
As I mentioned above, I did another video update but it was way too dark. I was beginning to worry that I would only be able to make videos in my office on sunny days during the certain hours when the lighting in my office was at it brightest. However, while in Michigan, I discovered a mode for dark conditions which brightens everything. I’m hoping this makes a difference in the next update. Also, there was a high-pitched ringing sound that some people complained about in my first video. I didn’t notice it until my second video because I turned my computer off so it was quiet in the background. To remedy this, I bought a clip-on mic for my shirt. I’ll try it in the next video and see if this takes care of the ringing sound.
Blog Design Woes Coming to An End
In this part of the update, I’m going to be doing a little soul sharing. I think it’s very important for you to get the full and honest story. I know that some of you who come here on a regular basis are interested in leaving behind a job that’s making you miserable or maybe you just want a career that allows you to be home with your family and that’s why you’re keeping tabs on us. You’re following the journey of a couple of regular people…people who are just like you, and if we can do it, than you can to it. And in spite of our recent obstacles, we’re not giving up! So I’m not holding anything back because that’s why we started this blog…to share our whole story–not just the good stuff. I find that many people who start online businesses only share the good stuff on their blogs while totally glossing over the obstacles they faced. I suppose they are trying to build credibility so they can pimp their affiliate sales by showing how successful they were and how they never had a single problem. But most normal, everyday people will run into some hurdles and headaches in the process of starting a life-changing Internet business. Whether or not you’re also working a full-time job, you’re going to face some challenges, but you’re also going to get through them…as long as you never give up!
In the past, I’ve shared the frustrations I’ve been having with trying to design my blog. I’ve been trying to create what I originally saw in my mind but due to the technical challenges, primarily not knowing how to code my design into my blog, many steps have been excruciating. I began making concessions, like simplifying some of the eye-candy, like the pencil-sketch effect I was planning to use, and many Da Vinci-styled touches, among others, while still attempting to create something that resembles my original idea as closely as I can with a limited blog-coding skill set. The more concessions I made, the further away from my original design I strayed. But I fought hard to not stray too far and this has only caused one more delay after another. Yes, I am a bit of a perfectionist, and this has become my own undoing. Time after time, I’ve read posts in the Internet Business Mastery Academy forums from new members who tell about how they launched their blogs a month after joining the Academy while I’m still plodding along, mired in my own visions of greatness. Some people are making money while I’ve been making myself miserable and pushing my dream of eventually quitting my job further away from me. Adding to the delays caused from my unwillingness to be flexible in my blog design, a few months ago, the company I work for at my day job started working overtime…TONS of overtime…about 18 hours per week….after week….after week. So now, my disorganization has crashed head-on into my overtime leaving me with even LESS time to work on my blog. To be honest, I became disheartened and began to get bogged down from too little sleep and too much overtime. Progress on my blog came to a screeching halt. Even though I hit a rocky stretch of road, I knew I would never give up, I just needed to get my head back into the game and refocus on my end goal–making enough money through an Internet-based business so I can quit my day job. Then, we had a major breakthrough…
While the Headway theme makes it really easy to set up and customize the basic elements of a blog, some of the “eye candy” I wanted on my blog required some basic coding. Our lack of coding know-how has always kept us from doing our own blog design. With A Couple of Quitters, we ended up just paying someone to design it for us based on a mock-up I created in Photoshop. But we don’t want to do that with our new blogs. Recently, Tammy ordered a couple books about HTML and CSS. She also started using the Firefox plugin called Firebug which allows you to view any website’s HTML and CSS code. Armed with just those basic tools and Headway, Tammy has learned how to do some pretty sweet customizations to our blogs. Now, almost every challenge I throw at her regarding the graphic elements of my blog, she’s able to figure out how to do them and implement them into my blog. It was at this point that I started making great strides in the graphic elements of my blog so that the design really started to take shape. Not only the graphic elements, but Tammy has begun to understand how to do just about anything I could want to do with my blog. This, for me, is a major breakthrough.
Big, Exciting News About Finally Launching Our Blogs
Even though we’ve made big progress with blog design, our perfectionist ways go beyond the graphic elements of our blogs and as a result, continue to cause more delays in the completion of our blogs and finally our official launches. But Tammy and I have found a way to totally smash through all remaining obstacles and neutralize the perfectionist tendencies that keep getting in our way and slowing us down. This is radical and also very powerful…and it’s something that ANYONE can do. Yes, Tammy and I have set an official date for the launch of our blogs. However, the details surrounding how we’ve crushed all obstacles is the topic for a separate blog post. So keep watching. Tammy is in the process of writing all about this. It will blow your mind. Stay tuned…
- I will purchase and install Photoshop CS4 on my new computer
- Tammy and I will both be working our little tails off so we can complete our blogs by launch date
- We’ll both be writing content for our blogs
- More Internet Business Mastery Academy studying