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Working out Volo

57 replies [Last post]
User offline. Last seen 7 years 27 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
You sure got networking in

You sure got networking in the AM scene quickly, very impressive. That wife sounds like a precious gem, you should keep her :-)

Makes perfect sense re-using your code, and together with free templates/themes you've got a fast win-win. Sound like the pace and tone are not for the faint of heart or prima-donna types, reminds me that old Harvey Mackay book "Swim with the Sharks - without getting eaten alive".

User offline. Last seen 7 years 27 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
Fight the tersity, what

Fight the tersity, what scares me is that future generations will be expected to fit a cv in a mobile phone text message, "l8r i wrkd @ hp 4 2yr". May God have mercy on our souls.

User offline. Last seen 12 years 3 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
Floodgates are open

Two days ago, my wife was upset with me. She said I was all salesman and not focused on results as far as cash. She said I needed to show her the money. You see, when you are just getting started in a business, you can be over-motivated. You can be researching something too long and lose site of the cashflow goal. You can be all vision and know things will go well for you, but haven't made a dime because you haven't moved that vision into reality. She said I need to come up with $3K in 2 weeks, period.

Well, I have great news. The site's revamped, I've gotten an ad out, and I'm surprised that now I'm getting 50 more visitors on average per day on my site and have received 4 client proposals by email. Two were from AMers (Affiliate Marketers) and I think they don't like paying $50/hr, so I may have to come down a little for them. Two were guys having no problem paying me $50/hr. and their projects are somewhat longer. AM projects, however, are usually far shorter and are for tiny things like adjusting DIVs on their site, installing a page template, junk like that. Meanwhile, I'm already working a gig.

So, all and all, on average once I get rolling here I might be doing two simultaneous gigs a week, two-three quick-hit projects for AMers a week, and then doing AM work of my own such as niche blogging, anime or game sites, etc.

As for my F/OSS project, Volo Milestone, one client wants to actually use that with a customer and wants to pay me to customize it in a couple different ways. He said it was easier to use and work with than RequestTracker (RT). About darn time that someone noticed that.

I have a goal for myself to make at least $3K in 2 weeks. Now that things have been doing well since the ad went out, which merely cost me $10, I might actually overshoot that goal by a long shot. If I play my cards right, I might make 2-3x my old salary. Why did I waste my time in a big corporation?!?

Things might actually shake out here where I work an 8 hour day on average, make twice my old salary, and may even have free time to get large AM projects out like a free dating site, a game site, a reddit-like social bookmarking site, and so on, making money purely on ad revenue.

Today I worked in my sweats, drank water (and actually loved it, which is surprising), and had a far more healthy, relaxing work atmosphere than I have had when I worked in a stodgy old office.

User offline. Last seen 7 years 27 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2007-02-26
Egad lad.

Worked in your sweats? It's an outrage!

The home based entrepreneur must always don an Italian designer suit for fear a client may visit without an appointment.
When gardening, a tuxedo is necessary, but a cardigan and slippers are acceptable for high tea on the lawn with family.
If standards continue to slip how long before one is gadding about in a crude loin cloth, like me?

Seriously though, well done, sounds like your financial logistics strategy is working, grab low hanging fruit for quick cash injection but also keep the parallel threads of medium and long term earners in development. I'm a bit jealous right now actually, but I'll transmute that into inspired in a few minutes.

User offline. Last seen 12 years 3 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
Wait! Wait! It Gets Better!

How about this:

I really now believe that sometimes you have to sink to learn how to swim. Want to teach a guy about how to make it in this world? Throw him in a 30ft pool with concrete blocks attached to his feet and a life preserver floating about 80 yards away.


* Turned down a great paying work-from-home Canonical job. They're nice guys and all, and I believe in the company tremendously, but I just had some soul searching and realized that having my BBerry phone going off all the time with server alerts because of hacker penetration or performance issues -- that wasn't for me. I wanted to move away from sysop work and full-time into web development with PHP. Call me crazy, but that's what I did. My wife was pissed with me at first, but wait, wait, it gets better.

* I made a great friend on the Internet, a mentor, you might say. He was getting out of the PHP biz because his AM (Affiliate Marketing) biz pays so much. He gave me a ton of advice, forwarded his old clients to me, suggested I revamp my site (which I did), had me place an ad for $10, and man was I surprised at the result. Yesterday I had people climbing all over each other to reach me about that ad, even one guy doing a whois to call my house phone, of all things. It reminds me that the world can be a really cool place sometimes. I need to return the favor somehow to this guy, as well as "pay it forward" by helping others. This is definitely ubuntu in its greatest form.

* A multi-million dollar, benevolent CEO, sitting at the top 2% of the ad revenue market (legitimate stuff, no gambling or pr0n) was a regular in a forum I was interacting in. He read my posts like a soap opera, I guess, and found it fascinating how I was desperate, then bit my lip and went forward, then got great success, and then was trying to actually motivate others. He laughed at a few of my posts for how inspirational they were. So, he got a wild hair, contacted me, and wants to inject a good bit of cash into Volo in a sense. It's not like venture capital -- it's a job where I would spend 50% of my time working for him from home in a week on his special projects, doing PHP and AJAX and using other tools, learning the AM industry from the very top, and he and his staff have an endless amount of work for me to keep doing this forever. I will be paid fairly well for the part-time work, and will also make ad revenue commission beyond that, making this an attractive deal. He had me check his references and sure enough, he's the real deal. This is not MLM, gambling, pr0n, but sweet ad revenue. Of course, I'm going to sign an NDA and can't disclose what it is I do, but you can use your imagination to think about how a PHP guy could help an ad network drive up profits. He actually has other PHP guys, but they're doing other projects, and he wants someone dedicated to him. So, look, I wish I could say more, but my NDA will not permit me to do so. I can't even mention the company, and it really doesn't matter.

And why do I tell you this? Because I want you to get out there, mingle in forums and share with others, help others at times, avoid mean people in forums, believe 100% in yourself, go watch some YouTube videos of Zig Ziglar and other motivational speakers, make a plan, work hard for that plan, try to get results each day, and achieve your dreams. And because I'm saying this in a forum dedicated to free software, I mean to use free software to help you achieve those dreams. And believe it or not, I have one client now, my first, who wants me to customize Volo Milestone for him, after 5 years of very hard work on it.

Get off your duffs, there's money to be made out there! Smiling

memenode's picture
User offline. Last seen 11 weeks 1 day ago. Offline
Joined: 2004-07-12
That's so awesome

That's so awesome man!

Interestingly some of what you say actually reminds me of what I'm learning from this guy and also reading in a book "Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. There is so much power in desire combined with belief in yourself, belief so strong that you literally refuse to see the possibility of failure. It is so powerful that it almost reminds of some sort of voodoo magic. Imagine something and it shall appear in front of you, except that it wont just appear, you'll automatically and naturally make it happen yourself! Smiling

And it seems you're doing exactly that. Awesome stuff. Oh and feel free to check out that site. The guy also sells a book "The Hidden Secret in Think and Grow Rich" which comes with that other book (Think and Grow Rich) and some other material. Smiling So if you need even more inspiration and encouragement.. there's some there. Smiling

Have a great day!


Daniel Memenode signature

User offline. Last seen 12 years 3 weeks ago. Offline
Joined: 2006-03-10
Latest: Reality Sets In

Without imminence, there is no transcendence. Right now, I'm stuck in imminence, but it's still good. The reality of being a PHP freelancer is that it is HARD WORK. I've wasted last week with a client doing XHTML/DIV/CSS alignment tweaks that work in *ALL* browsers, and unfortunately I've had to bring up two workstations, one with W2K and one with Vista, so that I could get IE 6 and 7 as well as Opera for Windows, so that I could create the largest compatibility I could. I grew extremely angry when I went to see how much a box of XP would cost me. If you haven't looked at XP prices lately and grew angry, I don't know what's wrong with you. If that isn't a lot of horse poop that XP almost costs as much as Vista, I don't know what is. When I found it would cost me almost as much as simply buying a new laptop, I opted for the laptop. The laptop came with IE 7, which is all I cared about. However, it also came with this despised Vista. I thought I could perhaps waste a few days taking it back to XP, but then I'd have to pay a lot of money for that, waste a lot of time getting the drivers to work right again, and then I have to think I already have a working copy of IE 7 on it. And another thing that disturbed me was that the nVidia chipset on it only has a driver for Vista, and all the Ubuntu (in a VM, mind you) tricks I've tried for nVidia on it have never given me more than a worthless 800x600 screen.

So what is making my life difficult right now are proprietary video drivers, and browsers that don't stick to the standards. Yet, Mozilla is also in the same boat, unfortunately, because in Mozilla supports proprietary things like -moz* in their CSS, and XUL still hasn't gotten widespread adoption and may never get widespread adoption. I mean, with the web, if things aren't started at the W3C, everything else happens almost by freak accident, like Mozilla's support of AJAX, which was originally started by Microsoft.

The bar is raised in web development these days, I've learned. Besides doing all the various backend tasks with PHP and MySQL, now all clients expect you to use AJAX (including sophisticated drag and drop work), sophisticated Javascript (such as treeviews), XHTML Transitional instead of HTML 4.01 Transitional, Web 2.0 design, extremely complex CSS work with DIVs instead of TABLEs (for most but not all tasks), and have a compatibility lab ready to go for all kinds of browser testing, and can test rapidly.

Clients often have unreasonable expectations when they think they can throw all in that last paragraph at you and still think you can meet a two-week turnaround for a phase 1 implementation of a scalable web app ready to be stuck in a web farm in later phases.

Another difficulty is that I cannot afford downtime. I mean, some clients are ready to go right away, while others want to drag you around for a week ironing out the design they're doing in Photoshop (not all clients have Gimp and Linux), or in ironing out the functional spec. So if that's the case, then you have to start advertising for your next gig within 3-4 days before you think your last gig is up. But when do you know your last gig is up? I've obviously learned that you can't go by the original time specification, but how well you are meeting the milestones of the project.

I also found that if I spec something out for 2 weeks, I have to ask for 3 weeks just in case, but will only bill the client for those 2 weeks. Well, with each day you go beyond the spec, it could eventually drag you down to minimum wage. On my very first project, I learned the hard way not to do fixed-bid contracts, and I spent a month of 100% dedicated time for a $1000 gig. Of course, I was eager to get a client during Christmas when no one was really advertising a need, and was eager to get started in my LLC, but that contract was ridiculous. My wife computed that I was working less than minimum wage on that project.

However, as you can tell from my last post, things got a lot better when I learned from that last gig and worked hard, and had a bit of luck, to get better gigs going forward. My current UK client is sensational and it appears I might be able to get a reference from him in my portfolio on my site, as well as more follow-on phases for this project and other projects. His site is fantastic and between he and I we designed something with an exciting Web 2.0 interface unlike anything I have ever done. And our influence came from what we saw on

Besides the things you learn on the job, sink or swim, by actually doing it, the trick is in double-booking and triple-booking yourself in a month and trying to get ahead of your monthly debts. I mean, if you can get 2-4 clients a month, you can earn like $10-$12K right there in USD. Now imagine if you had an ordinary programmer job in an office. They can double and triple book you on salary, and ask you to work nights and weekends during certain periods, and you're stuck right there doing it for the same frustrating salary. But when I double- and triple-book myself as a freelancer, I reap the rewards myself rather than having my employer skim it off the top.

Some may say they won't become a freelancer because they don't like hunting for food and having to work so hard, but what I want to say back to them is, okay, how about the fact that I make $10-$12K a month and then can work hard on every other month? Or, I can tell them that I can make my old salary in just 6-7 months of the year, then take 5 months off on a cruise if I wanted to!

Another survival trick is to gather up a bag of code so that you don't have to recreate the wheel. I mean, if you figure out a snazzy AJAX treeview "control" for the web all on your own, then you can reuse bits and pieces of that as you build a project for the next client. The difficulty is that it takes awhile to do these things.

Another thing I've learned is that you cannot prepare for this industry from your office cubicle job. I mean, you can learn like 50% of it and better prepare yourself by having 3 month's salary saved up, and learn a bunch of skills, and amass a little code library of which you can draw from. However, when you REALLY learn this industry is when you DO IT, sink or swim. And don't wait too long to make that leap, either, because the industry moves very fast. Last year we were testing out AJAX, now everyone expects it. In 2008, we'll have to see what the next big buzz is, and I'm predicting it's going to be mashups by combining various APIs from various websites, and especially things wrapped around Google Maps.

It's interesting to see what's going on in my small little town. I mean, we're darn-near 1 hour away from everything, so we all either own small businesses, or are traveling salesmen, or work from home. Many who start doing the 1 hour commute give it up within about 5 years and either move away or stick to their guns and form a business of their own. So there's pockets of entrepreneurship going on here, and the town council doesn't even realize it and nourish it like they should. I've also made friends with the guy in town who runs a T1 into his house and acts as a web hosting/ecommerce provider + ISP -- so I might be able to eventually land some extremely cheap co-location web hosting arrangements.

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