Monday, May 31, 2010

Finished my first website

Carol's Creature Care

That's my mother-in-law's pet sitting business. When I began taking an interest in starting my own business I was very fortunate that my wife's mother has been running her own sole proprietorship LLC business for the past 14 years.

She's been a wealth of knowledge on the subject. She handles every aspect of her business. Customers, billing, employment, management, accounting, all of it. So when I run into questions regarding any of these things I have someone I can turn to who has real life experience on the subject. In my limited exposure to all of this, a mentor is a lifesaver.

To the site, isn't it pretty? I used Adobe Dreamweaver CS3 for the building. I was lucky to find a great video series that broke the website building process down into simple steps. You can find it here. The Web Learning Series

I was able to build alongside the video to construct what I consider to be a professional looking website. The author of the tutorials does an outstanding job linking one concept to the next where at the end you're looking at a well-designed site. I was surprised in that the hardest thing to complete was the content. Content is a bear.

As I'm sure you're painfully aware of at this point, I'm not the best writer. Thankfully I found the Lorem Ipsum generator to fill in the gaps in my content until later. Lorem ipsum is a gibberish that you can use to populate your website until you're ready to go back and put in the actual content. Gives you the appearance of paragraphs so that you can get your structure complete when you hit the dreaded case of writer's block. Which I tend to perpetually be afflicted with.

So check the site, tell me what you think. In my next couple blogs I'll give you some of the in's and out's of the building process. How I got my vertical navigation bar to work, why I now hate Internet Explorer (die), and how Google outsmarted me.

Happy Memorial Day everyone.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Is Bret Michaels the Antichrist?

"And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast."
- Revelations 13:3

I wonder why he never takes his bandanna off?

Think about it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

How to host multiple sites on iPage

When I registered my second domain on iPage I ran into a problem getting the proper content to the new domain I had put up. Here's a step by step guide to hosting a second domain on the same iPage account.

For the explanation we will have SiteA as your original primary domain, and SiteB as your secondary site that you are trying to get your new page content to. The trick is using the domain pointing manager. Here is how you do it--

Step 1. From the control panel click the File Manager link.

Step 2. From the Manage Files sidebar click New Directory and name it SiteB. (This will of course be your new website name here)

Step 3. From the drop down horizontal menu hover over the Domain tab and choose the Domain Pointing Manager link.

Step 4. This will list your registered domains. On the SiteB list, click the drop down menu and choose Subdirectory. In the Points To box type "SiteB/". Save settings.

Step 5. From the drop down horizontal menu hover over the Website tab and choose the FTP link.

Step 6. Scroll down to the Create New FTP Account and make a new Username and Password. In the FTP (Home) Directory type in "SiteB/".

There you go. In your web editing software now when you're using files for the new website use the login/password that you created specifically to go to your new domain. This way you can't accidently send things to your other website.

I hope this was helpful. If you have any problems leave me a comment and let me know.

Host your Web site with iPage!

A review of iPage

Here's why I chose iPage, a breakdown of what I was offered:

$3.50 a month for hosting
Unlimited diskspace and bandwith
Unlimited e-mail accounts
A free domain name
A money back guarantee
and some Google/Facebook/Yahoo credits.

In my starting a business experience, that deal has been about the best thing I've come across. From the LLC people wanting $750, to a hundred bucks worth of business books, not much has been as pain free as registering for a year with iPage.

My grand out the door total was $50.99. That was a for a year of hosting, one domain, and privacy coverage for that domain for a year. And all that other stuff up there.

I did run into a bit of trouble after signing up. When I first accessed my account I was a little concerned because I was given a login name of myaccountnamecom. So my intitial thought was "oh no, I just registered the domain". I also had a problem where the first time I logged in I was taken to the domain central portion of the website. I was prompted to register my domain name, which I thought I had already done. So I started going through the process of registering my domain name again, but when I got to submitting it through again I was told that that domain name was already taken.

So now I'm bummed out because it appears that the perfect domain name I came up with was actually already in use. I was worried, but luckily they have on-line chat support that I hopped on and within a few minutes was connected a very nice person who told me not to worry, they'd take care of any problems I may be having. It turned out that someone had already registered that domain, and that person was me. I had just gone to a default control panel page, my domain was registered and good to go. I also learned while my login name was myaccountnamecom, the domain I had registered was still just myaccountname, so was working perfectly. I love it when a plan comes together.

I have been with iPage now for a little over a month. I have never had a problem with downtime. Registering e-mail accounts with my domain name was extremely easy. I have only had one problem, and that was figuring out how to have multiple websites hosted on my account. I will post the solution to that problem in my next blog. The two times I have needed customer support I have been helped almost immediately by a friendly person.

I can't say how the service is with any of the other web hosting sites I considered going with. They could all be wonderful. However I can say that I have not regretted for a second my decision to go with iPage. Easy, cheap, friendly, and they sure threw in a lot of goodies to get me to sign up with them. If you're looking for a web host, they're who I would recommend.

Check them out---


Choosing a website host

Quite daunting.

There are so many web hosts to choose from. The first one that popped into my head was Go Daddy. I wonder why, huh? Upon exploring their site I found that they charged around $7 bucks a month for their 'deluxe' plan. It was actually much cheaper than I thought it was going to be. Sold! Right? Wrong, research is everything.

So I Googled up and started looking for reviews of Go Daddy. A simple search of "Is go daddy any good" led me to a smorgasbord of listings talking about how big of a pain in the ass Go Daddy was when it came to customer service and trying to transfer domains. is just one of many that told me to steer clear. Using my keen "where there is google complaints there is fire" operating system I moved along.

So what to do then? Back to Google again this time looking for "best web hosts". Eureka, I had hit pay dirt. List after list of what were considered the best web hosts out there. I narrowed my list down to Justhost, iPage, and Fatcow. How did I end up there? I cross referenced about half a dozen top ten lists and each of these sites always made the list. I then used the tried and true market research test using the "does --insert name here-- suck" google examination. Very little fallout from iPage.

I checked Ipage's website and found the design to be easy to navigate. I'm all about ease of use, I had made my choice.

iPage it was, in my next post I'll give you a review of their product and service.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Rich Dad Poor Dad

There it is, the first business book I ever read. It only took me 31 years, better late than never, eh? So what is in this book? Why it's the secrets of the rich: How they avoid paying taxes, how to think like the rich, and of to make money without having a real job! No more working for the man, much better to generate passive income.

What's passive income? Well in Rich Dad Poor Dad passive income is mostly comprised of real estate and dividend yielding stock. Now I'm sure there are plenty of people in the world making a killing off those two things right now, but everyone I know has lost their collective asses on their house and stock investments in the last few years. So no thanks.

So how do you avoid paying taxes? It's simple, you incorporate! You see, when you form a corporation you get to pay your expenses first, taxes later. I can't believe it took me so long to learn this! Except when I started looking into forming a corporation, it turns out it's not quite so simple. We're actually looking into forming a LLC, a Limited Liability Corporation. Essentially a mini-corporation, but even trying to do this can be quite challenging, and guess what? There are quite a few fees involved with the process. Further down the road I'll share my LLC experiences.

If you haven't guessed it by now, I didn't find Rich Dad Poor Dad to be a very useful book in the aspect of reading it and putting its information to use. It always felt like I was just a few pages away from a big revelation, but when I got there it was just pushed back a little further. Then I hit the end of the book. I even read his follow up book, Cashflow Quadrant: Rich Dad's Guide to Financial Freedom. Also interesting, but again, mostly the promise of great knowledge as opposed to the supply of great knowledge.

So if I wasn't able to read this book and go use the teachings to make a fortune, why would I so highly regard it?

Because it opened my mind. It made me think about business and money in ways that had never occurred to me before. This book was a springboard that has taken me to so many different realms of understanding. Robert Kiyosaki is a fantastic writer of self help books. He gets you excited about the material. It is no wonder that he's created an empire out of this book, his enthusiasm is contagious.

I will not get rich from real estate, I have no interest in it. I will not, at this time anyway, get rich from stock investments. The market scares the crap out of me. I might however be able to use the core ideas of Rich Dad Poor Dad to carve out a niche for myself in the new world of on-line business. I'm trading real estate for advertising, high dividend stocks for affiliate marketing. I've already learned how to incorporate them into this blog!

See that link at the top of the page? It's linked to Amazon, and if anyone clicks that link and buys that book, I get a percentage. That's affiliate marketing. See the Google ads on the side of the page? Anytime someone clicks on those I get a small payment from Google. That's advertising.

When I post this blog and then walk away to go back to my real life, those two aspects will stay here attempting to make me money. Generating me passive income. Does it work? Absolutely, I'm positive that it works. Will it work for me? I have no idea, but I'm learning a ton on the trip.

That's what Rich Dad Poor Dad taught me, that it's the knowledge that is the true wealth. I may make money, I may lose money, but I'll always have access to the things that Rich Dad Poor Dad taught me.

Monday, May 24, 2010

It all started with a dream I had...

An idea. An idea that wakes you up from a sound sleep with a sense of purpose. I had dreamt up a business.

I spent the rest of the night trying to get back to sleep. It was to no avail. Inevitably every time I closed my eyes my mind would wander back to the idea. Twisting it, tweaking it. Filling in the holes. Adding the details that would give it substance. Making the dream, the idea, something I could get my arms around. Something I could build...but I knew I couldn't do it alone. I needed a team.

Team Building

So where do poor, uninformed thirty-somethings who know nothing about business go when they need manpower? Why they go to their poor, uninformed thirty-something friends who know nothing about business. It's no wonder we're all poor, we're all drawing from the same empty well! But while we all may be ignorant in the world of money and business, we do have two strong common traits. Grit and Loyalty. We've got those in spades.

My team consisted of myself and three of my best friends. I arranged a meeting with them and set to work doing my homework. How do you start an on-line business, anyways?

God bless the Internet

Man do I love me some Google. I was able to find quite the bounty of knowledge. If you are reading this blog to try and find your own way, I can't recommend enough the video series How to Start an Internet Business. It's a ten part series that was just dynamite. Why read about stuff when some guy with a pleasant British accent can read it to you? Like I said, God bless the internet.

The First Meeting

Only two of my three new associates came to the meeting. It had taken exactly one week to lose 33% of my new team. Nothing like getting off to a smooth start, huh? What made it even better, they had huge concerns with my 'Big Idea'! If I wanted to talk to someone who thought my ideas were hair-brained I'd have just talked to my wife, thank you very much.

Luckily we had all done quite a bit of homework and were able to bounce around some other ideas. We had good discussion about what we wanted from our business. We set some goals, assigned some tasks, and agreed to meet again in two weeks. I don't know if we were necessarily moving forward, but damnit, we were certainly moving in some direction! As we were about to break Joe, one of my two remaining partners, told us that he had read a great book on business that he highly recommend we check out. That book was Rich Dad Poor Dad. In my next post I'll tell you how it changed my way of thinking.

The Business Quest

Back when I was a kid my favorite computer games were the old Sierra adventure games. King's Quest, Space Quest, Police Quest, Quest for Glory, et cetera. The graphics were awful. I tried recently to get my ten year old son to play King's Quest and he almost bust a gut laughing at how ridiculous the animation was...and it was the remake version!

In 1988 however they were the cat's pajamas, and I spent a huge chunk of my adolescence trying to rescue princesses and slay dragons all while being represented by a stickfigure-like avatar. Thanks to brave pixelated souls like Sir Graham, Larry, and Sonny I started to think about life as if it were a quest. An adventure, something I had to figure out and solve.

I guess I never really grew up, because here I am at 31 embarking on a new quest, a quest to change my life and build my own business. I'm starting The Business Quest, and I'd be delighted if you'd follow along with me. Hopefully this blog can be a road map for those pursuing the same goals that I am and turn into a treasure trove of useful information for starting a business.

Comments are welcomed, advice is appreciated. I guess I should start with off where it all started for me. Let me tell you about this crazy dream I had...