A Community of Emmets

A Community of Emmets

I was listening to a very awakening podcast today, and I wanted to share it with you.  Problogger.com has been a valuable resource when it comes to creating a blog to help grow your business.  Today’s podcast refers to ordinary bloggers/entrepreneurs becoming extra ordinary.  Simply put, he states, we are essentially a “community of Emmets”.  Emmet being the main character of the Lego movie.  He is an average, ordinary guy who becomes extra ordinary.

The premise of the podcast is how we all have little voices in our heads that make us feel ordinary or tell that we are out of our league when it comes to fulfilling a dream.  I’m sure I’m not alone when say that I too make myself feel inadequate and think to myself, “what am I doing?  I can’t make money outside of my day job.  I can’t sell myself enough that someone would want to spend money on my services”.

We’re not alone in our dreams.  There are countless examples of those who are average but become extra ordinary, simply because they do one thing…start doing.  It was once said that there are 2 things that ensure failure:  thinking and not doing, and doing but not thinking.  You need to find that minimum, low cost, amount of work on your business idea to get the ball rolling.  It might be brainstorming on several great domain names for your future website and then buying a 1-year term on that domain name.  It might be sitting down with a mentor, just to vet your idea to someone other than your best friend.  It can even be online research to know what the market is like for your idea.

I hope you enjoy this podcast.  It never fails that I feel good when I find good, sincere content that help support my own dream.

How to find Craigslist gigs

I am a web developer.  Jobs are plentiful.  Craigslist is a great tool to find jobs, but searches for computer gigs isn’t the easiest thing to when it comes to searching outside your local area.  There are a few sites that claim to allow you to search the entire United States, but all it is, is a Google search.  Not exactly the desired results, as they may not or not be related to your search, and they might not be current.

So what I did (and what I’ll be showing you) is utilize Craigslist to produce results for any city in the country with your specific search.  If you’re not comfortable with editing HTML, you might find this a little hard, but I’ll try explaining it as easy as possible.

Since there is no Craigslist API to tap into, I had to get a little creative.  Attached is the sample that you can build upon.  I will break it down for you, so that you can edit it to your liking.

Extract the zip and then open the HTML file in a simple text editor like Notepad.  You’ll notice right away that there is a small bit of javascript in the <head> section.  There is one line you should look at right away:

var origsearchParam = ‘/search/cpg?sort=date&query=’;

This is a variable I’m assigning with a specific string.  The string is the same url you see when you perform a Craigslist computer gig search.  I’m assigning it to this variable, so that I can form my own url for each city I want to search.  The “query” paramater at the end of this, is where I’ll tack on the term you will be searching.

Next down the page, you’ll see many, many links.  Each of these represents a city.  The link attribute “href” represents where you’ll be taken when you click on the rendered link (i.e. http://abilene.craigslist.org).  Add or remove as many as you’d like for the city you wish to search in.

After you are done, save the file.  Return to the folder where this HTML resides in, and double-click on it to have it render in your browser (i.e. Chrome, IE, Firefox, etc).  You should see a long list of links with a search box at the top.  Enter a search term in the box and click “Submit”.

What you’ll see next will look strange, but I promise, it is normal.  For each city you listed to show results for, your browser will open a new tab for it.  I have about 50, so I have 50 tabs open in my browser.  Each tab will show the results for that particular city for the search term you provided.  At this point you can quickly see if there are any related gigs.  If not, close that tab and move onto the next.

This is a down and dirty way of performing a global Craigslist search.  You can do this for any Craigslist category, as well.

Enjoy!

 

 

How to Turn Your Freelance Side Hustle into a Full Time Job

Recently I was listening to one of my many podcasts, and I started listening to a personal finance podcast that was set in terms of a side hustle.  The interview was with Eric Rosenberg.  It was in line with what I’m trying to accomplish, so I went to go learn more about Eric.

Curious how he made his money through freelance writing, I saw that he participated in a speaking engagement in Alabama.  From the article, you can click a link to go see his video on “How to Turn Your Freelance Side Hustle into a Full Time Job”.

Most things he spoke about I have tried to incorporate into my quest:

  • Get a website
  • Network
  • Find your niche
  • Advertise yourself

I’ve been freelancing for over 7 years now, and at this moment, I have 2 stable clients, both are marketing agencies who need a web developer “on staff”.  While this is good, I could handle more.  I have several websites to help advertise my services, but I don’t nearly spend enough time advertising them.  Maybe it’s self sabotage not to do this (for fear of becoming too busy), but I imagine the transition to full time self-employment would seem more possible once I did.  Only time (and effort) will tell.

How to grow your business with a $1.00 product

Vending Machine

Vending Machine

I was at work the other day, when I entered the break room.  Lined up along the wall was a series of vending machines.  As I looked at them, I couldn’t help but notice that most items cost between $.90 to $1.00.  There is at least 400 items in one vending machine.  If there were no cost involved, $400 would be a nice profit for doing a little upfront work.

Then I started thinking how a paid mobile app costs roughly $1.00 usually.  One of my ideas was to build a mobile app.  The pool of my buyers is much greater than the snack people.

Then it hit me…Why would I wait any longer to build a mobile app?  It’s the definition of passive income.

I have to get off my lazy butt and figure out how to do this…

 

 

 

Think of multiple revenue streams

multiple poles to side hustle

Question:  If you go fishing and were asked if you wanted 1 pole or 5 poles, which would you choose to give you the best chance of catching fish?

Logic would say that the more poles you have, the more chances you have of catching fish, right?  When applied to all possible revenue stream ideas you have, the more you start, the more chances you have of making money.

It seems pretty easy to think this way.  But the biggest challenges that you are going to face are doubt (whether the idea is good) and time (managing multiple ideas at the same time).  Money is a third challenge, because you can only fund each of your ideas to a point.

In my personal experience, being the average guy, I produced a lot of self doubt about the services I wanted to create.  I needed validation.  I sought out those people who were either experts in the field or users of the service, to see if they thought it was a good idea.  I’ll say it again and again, seeking out knowledge is always key.

In one scenario, I wanted to create a Web API for a particular industry, which didn’t have this service offered.  It was a very niche idea, and the idea came out of my own curiosity.  I’m a web developer, so the cost to produce this service would be low.  But I didn’t want to waste time for a personal tool, so I went to industry users and asked them what they thought.  Over and over again, I heard things like “yes, I would use that” or “I think that would be cool to have on my phone”.  Vetting ideas helps reduce the risk of failure, and makes you confident that you have an idea worth building.

Another good idea is to write down your ideas and put them where you can see them every day.  Visually seeing them helps you think about next steps and to motivate you to pursue them.  I personally am a snail when it comes to ideas.  I analyze them almost to the point that it seems unattainable.  But I eventually look in the mirror and say to myself “I’m good enough. I’m smart enough. And doggone it, people like me.”

(Just kidding on that last one.  What I was about to write reminded me of Stewart Smalley, and I couldn’t resist).

For real, though, I remind myself that if I pursued these ideas, the world would still turn and food will still be placed on the table if they failed.  I’m not looking to generate capital investors.  So the real question becomes “why not?”.

“There are 2 sure ways to fail: to think but not act, and to act but not think.”

Entrepreneurial Podcasts and how they help

Gaining Knowledge through Podcasts

I have found entrepreneurial podcasts to be invaluable.

Over the past several years, I have gathered a fairly tight list of podcasts.

Here is my current list:

I try to be a knowledge sponge, because again, knowledge is power.   One day I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts,  the “Retirement Answer Man”.

http://rogerwhitney.com/109-2/

Episode #109 gave me one of those “a-ha” moments.  It was an interview with Mike Kim, a Business Coach (http://mikekim.com).  The synopsis of the interview was this:  over the course of the years you work or have worked for companies, you’ve acquired skills that have converted to revenue in the thousands, if not tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars.  All the while, you’ve made your salary.  Over time you’d acquired hard skills (like programming) and soft skills (like managing customer expectations).  The skills should not ever go to waste, and if you’re looking for a new career, you should recognize these skills and know that many of them can span across industries or professions.  Define them when pivoting to a new profession, and you’ll find that you won’t need to start from scratch.  Maybe even an opportunity to work for yourself (at least, this is how I took it to mean).

As a web developer, I have worked on some super substantial projects over the years.  Many of those projects were ones where I was learning something new.  Years later I know what I am capable of doing and the level of stress I can handle.  As I look to build my own web development business (http://genavico.com), I know that pivoting to that level of change is not a stretch from what I currently do for may day job.  And when I look at how much the market is charging for these skills, I’m very excited to put these skills for use to increase my own personal economy.

I hope you found this helpful.

 

Find a Mentor

Mentor Definition

Find a mentor to help achieve clarity.

Being able find a mentor was something I thought to be difficult.  Being a solo entrepreneur, many would agree that it’s hard to hold yourself accountable when taking steps to strike out on your own.  It’s especially tough when you work full-time and have a family.  I find myself getting frustrated in not taking action to move forward, because with a passion, all you want to do is go, go, go!

Living in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, I have found that entrepreneurship is alive and well.  There is a wealth of information online and people willing to help you.  If you think about it, people in general are willing to help with any need…all you have to do is seek and ask.

I recently did a search for mentors and mastermind groups.  I found an organization called SCORE (https://www.score.org).  SCORE is a nonprofit association dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground, grow and achieve their goals through education and mentorship.  I was excited to find this because it offers advice and guidance from a real person…not just a webinar, paid subscription coaching, or forum based.

I reached out and a local SCORE volunteer contacted me.  He happens to live close to me, so we met at a local Starbucks.  He started off talking about SCORE and his background in the business world.  We then went into my reasons for needing a mentor and what I am hoping to accomplish with my business.  It was a great conversation, and after 1.5 hours, we finished with him going back and translating our conversation into an actionable plan.  I envision he will mostly be holding me accountable through follow-ups.

I’m glad I dig some searching.  I personally work better when I have someone to guide me through the business aspect of a business.

My Aspirations for Becoming an Entrepreneur

Why Become an Entrepreneur?

I stand before you today, January 13, 2017, a 43 year old man ready to bleed everything I have been learning on my journey to become an entrepreneur.  I hope my words strike a cord with you and help you on your journey.  There’s power in knowledge.  I find myself  constantly asking those who have far more experience “how do I do this?”.   Why reinvent the wheel, when people are more than happy to share experiences.  I’d like to be that resource someday…paying it forward.

As a kid I’ve always considered myself average.  I got average grades, I was of average size, average at sports, my family was an average middle-class family, etc.  I didn’t push myself hard because, as the youngest of 4 children, I had people to look up to and resemble.  I was happy not stepping out of the box.  It was comfortable.  Staying on the worn out path and you lessen the chances of becoming a failure.

Now I can’t say that everything in my life has been average.  My wife and kids, for example, are not average.  They are so much more.  I married someone extraordinarily non-average.  My wife has brought out the absolute best in me.  She taught me how to step up and step out.  Over time I began learning that it’s alright to want more from life, and it’s up to me (and only me) to go out and get it.  To many of you “non average” people, this may seem trivial.  But for me, it’s been like acquiring a new a skill!  I no longer feel that stepping outside the box increases the risk failure.  It’s just as likely to increase the risk of succeeding!  Undying love, support, loyalty, and even constructive criticism have allowed me to crack that fear of “rocking the boat”.

Tiger Rock World 2015

What will you gain by following me on this journey?  Knowledge…for better or worse.  My goal is to document my own transformation, and in the process, present perspective on what it’s like to have the desire and motivation to become your own boss.  Yes, I might fall a bit or even fail altogether.  But if I succeed, you’ll see one happy dude.  I have been average.  I don’t want to be average anymore.  You may be average too and don’t know how to transform into a better form of yourself.  Let me help.  Let’s do this…