Tuesday, January 11, 2011 in working at home & loving it

New chairs!

Ron ordered new office chairs for us before Christmas and we picked them up today. They are super-pricey, but very very good. The amount of changeableness on them is insane. you can’t even adjust the car’s driver seat this much.

I think it’s improved my typing as well. It’s gonna take a bit to get used to.

You can see them on the manufacturer’s website here. We bought them at Covey’s though. Pics coming when I get around to it.

I also figured out the right process for using the scanner to make a multi-page PDF so I was pretty high on that today, AND I have four packages ready to mail. Two are Christmas presents.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009 in I'm a computer geek, working at home & loving it

In a word: awesome

So much to tell you , and I’m not even sure where to start.

In our daily work day, we use a branch of WordPress called WordPress MU. It has mainly one dev, a guy in Ireland called Donncha. He has a blog here, and a really nice photoblog here. Over the past couple of years both Ron and I have become friends with him, as well as a few other people who work for Automattic, the company that runs wordpress.com (the hosted version of wordpress). They were in Quebec for a semi-annual retreat/meeting and since it was within what we’re willing to drive, we dropped in. (Well, D asked us if we’d like to as well…. we don’t normally go around crashing parties. Though the cookies probably helped.)

Being able to do this?
This was fun

And this part?
Ron, me, and Matt

The guy sitting there on the right, if you don’t recognize him, is Matt Mullenweg.

We stood around and talked an awful lot about work. It was pretty epic. There’s something inspirational and motivating about the energy of being around people who truly love what they do. We met a lot of other fabulous people, some of whom said, “Oh I’ll see you in New York, too.”

That’s right – Ron & I are also going to New York in November to speak at WordCamp NYC.

And that’s awesome.

Meaghan and Emma went with us, and Emma handed out quite a few Free Hugs, which everyone thought was awesome. Me getting only one pic of a hug? Not so much on the awesome side. 😀

I know this is a brief post, and I am skimming over quite a few details. Some for privacy reasons, but mostly because I know if I start then I’ll head on over to the Freaking Out portion of my brain.

Like I did when I was telling my mom on the phone Sunday. 😀 I can freak out about things after we come back from New York.

Plus? When you meet people you look up to and admire and they say, “Oh, I know you! You’re famous!” well, that is all kinds of awesome.

And more than a little strange. 😀

(NEW YORK! I am going to New York City, in Manhattan, to speak at what is shaping up to be a large conference. WOW.)

Sunday, May 17, 2009 in working at home & loving it

No, you rock

I realized yesterday while talking to my aunt Wanda (yay! she’s awesome!) that I neglected to mention on my *personal* site what Ron and I did over on our *professional* site.

See, I try not to talk about work work work too much here, and as it is all-consuming a lot of the time, you can see I hardly write anything. Hrm. At any rate, I have a couple things to mention.

Ron and I did a redesign of RonAndAndrea.com, our consultancy website. We also managed to put up a handful of portfolio pieces, so you can see what we do.

A number of people have said our domain name is cute. 🙂

Second, I found out last week or so about a site called We Rock WordPress, that highlight WordPress rockstars; people in the WP community who rock. That means, they’re well known and contribute a lot.

Today, I find out that both Ron and I were added. My flabber, as they say, is truly gasted. The company we’re in are not only people we look up to, but some we’re honored to call friends.

And that’s pretty darn awesome.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 in working at home & loving it

Work at Home Wednesdays: Step up what you already have

For today’s WAHW post, I want to talk about quick ways to pull in some funds. I had been tossing around this idea in my mind earlier this week, and a few outside sources all came together to really push home that this was the post to write this week. 😀

Since it is just after the first of the month, I have just been paid for different ad schemes on the two blogs I write. This time, and last month, were big enough I finally stuck my head up and noticed. What changed? Well, let’s have a look.

– I ditched what wasn’t working.
– I added new or different sources of ad revenue.
– I moved things around.

I really also have to state that on this blog (my personal one) I am making more money off it than I was two years ago, and I have HALF the traffic that I used to. So clearly, this income is not traffic based. On the other blog, it is an extremely focused niche topic with a good page rank and a high amount of targeted search traffic. Between them both, the income from them has jumped TEN TIMES what it was six to twelve months ago.

If you’re reading this, chances are you have a blog and you’re at least slightly interested in making at least a small income from it. Kind of like the readers at Problogger. I left a comment on a recent entry of Darren’s, after his poll showed that a large portion of his readers made no money from their blog. I thought that was really quite odd, considering that’s what his blog is about – making money from your blog. I would assume the bulk of his readership is interested in making money from their blogs.

Something was up.

Now, it’s a really good blog, and since I have started following the advice there, my income *has* gone up. Many other bloggers can attest to that as well. So for the readers over there who were not making any money, one thing was clear to me: they were not following Darren’s advice. I left a comment asking basically what was holding them back? What I meant was, what was holding them back from making more money from their blogs?

I didn’t check for responses until today, and had no idea I touched off a bit of a firestorm. Or maybe hit a nerve in some people. Who knows? At any rate, form the rest of the comments it seems like most people had just stuck a tentative toe in the waters and were waiting.

So here’s my proposal: have an objective look at your site. Anything need improvement? if you are just using one source of ad revenue (google adsense, for example) then you are limiting your options. Most ad schemes allow you to run a maximum, and run alongside others. Take advantage of that, but try not to be so plastered with ads you annoy people. There’s a balance: find it.

If something is not working, drop it. Add something different to try that out. Move your ad placements around.

If you have affiliate links on your page, and you have them there because you like the products, talk about it. BLOG IT! This might seem obvious, but when I talked to some other mom bloggers who make money online, two of them said affiliate programs didn’t work for them. Which is fine, really I understand they are not for everyone, but the thing I noticed was, despite the fact I was a regular reader of both their blogs, I had no memory of them ever mentioning what affiliates they had.

Again, try not to be annoying and mention affiliate links in every post, but regular readers should be aware of you have them. Not everyone reads your blog at your site (hello rss reader) and many readers are “sidebar blind”.

There’s another point – if you have everything under the sun on your sidebars (or sidebarS to squeeze it all in) give them a real going-over and clean them up. There’s no point in having 20 ads all over the place if they all wind up getting ignored and most of them earn you nothing or very little.

What’s holding people back? In a nutshell, here’s an overview:

– too many or too few ads
– bad ad placement
– relying on one source of ad income
– fear of ticking off or driving away readers

I’ve covered the first three, and as for that last one – if you run a WordPress blog and you get a decent amount of search traffic, try the Who Sees Ads plugin. This will show ads only on archive & single post pages, and just to people coming from search engines. If they are a regular, they won’t see any ads. (This will be coming soon to all my blogs.)

From a readership standpoint, I use FireFox as my main browser and I have an ad blocker. I don’t see most of the ads unless I turn off AdBlock. 😀 And when I DO see ads on mom blogs, especially for other mom-based businesses, I try to look around and see fit here’s anything interesting and click when I find something.

I was also going to put “lack of knowledge” in there as a reason, but I have found that many people DO know what they should be doing, they just haven’t done it yet, partly because the information is either overwhelming or confusing. Or maybe it’s fear of failure, who knows. Check out your blog, pick a few things, and try shuffling items around. Let it run for a bit them, check your stats and see the change.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 in working at home & loving it

How Moms can make money online – part 3 – the people who can help you

I’m not going to sit here and type up a big list of famous people online or off, or tell you I “made it” through hard work and a little luck, because… ugh, that’s for feel-good self help books. In some senses, I’m still fumbling around like the rest of you, and I sure don’t feel like I’ve made it, but I DO feel like I am well on my way there.

So how’d I get here? Well, the “duh” answer is Ron, so we’ll go right beyond that. There’s a few people I know online who have given me a virtual butt-kicking, telling me I’m too hard on myself, I expect too much from myself and just lighten up already. I have even had this in real-life, and this morning as I wrote down a massively overwhelming to-do list with 26 broadly-labeled items I have to do before Christmas, JoVE‘s voice popped up in my head. And I laughed.

Why? Because a couple of years ago we met up, and as I confided some of our plans (which have bloomed to incredible proportions and possibilities), she told me two important things:

1. Charge more. I’m worth it.
2. Stop expecting to accomplish more in one day than most people try and do in a week.

And when I get too neurotic or angsty or worried or whatever, and I spill my guts all over someone’s email inbox, it’s my friends like Jo who tell me to smarten the heck up and just DO IT already, sheesh. Um. So THANKS! 😀

So list item one for you is your SUPPORT NETWORK. If you have close friends that support you and have been telling you the same things for years, listen to ’em. They’re smart.

Item two: there’s a whole pile of extremely intelligent, witty, caring and big-hearted women out there in the big online world. I happen to know some of them, and a few are even peripherally aware of my existence. Good thing for you, they have blogs with tons of free advice and things you can do.

Naomi at Itty Biz
Wendy at Sparkplugging
Kelly and Lynnette from Moms Mastermind

If you do nothing else, read Naomi’s blog. If the fact she swears bothers you, get over it for a short while. What she says on her site is worth millions. If you have some time and no money, read every post. You will not regret it. If you have less time and less money, start here.

And lastly, there’s you.

In the middle of last week’s acceptance speech from Obama, I turned to Ron and said, “Maybe now we’ve come to the end of the Age of Entitlement and are heading for the Age of Responsibility.” I have to say, it would be a nice shift.

At the end of the day, there’s you. Sure, there’s other issues you have to deal with, some thing you can’t change immediately, but there’s still a lot of things that YOU can DO. (and yes, I realize that’s quite ironic given I started talking about the size of my to-do list).

Money isn’t going to fall in your lap overnight. But you can start doing one or two small things today to start working towards that. Reading those blogs above (instead of fluff blogs for example) is a good start.

I keep thinking of my friend Lisa. She went though some devastating personal issues a few years ago. Today, she’s part owner in a HUGELY successful corporation. The last time I saw a picture of her, she was positively glowing. Why? Because she got out of bed one day, put on her big girl panties and her arse-kicking boots and made things happen.

So put on a fabulous pair of boots, even if it’s only in your mind, and get out there and make things happen. You can do it. 🙂 Go forth and be fabulous.

And with that, I have a list to chomp at.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008 in working at home & loving it

WAH Wednesdays – the freelance freefall

Last night, Meaghan, Emma and I were watching a show on tv and a bunch of people jumped out of an airplane. We talked about how working as a parachute tester would probably suck, and I said if I didn’t have any kids, I’d probably like to go skydiving for the thrill.

I’m sure you’re wondering how that relates to working at home. This isn’t part three of my recent How Moms can make money online series – I still have to finish writing that, honestly – but I had to interject in the series for an official announcement.

Last Monday morning, Ron walked into his boss’s office, shut the door and laid a resignation letter on his desk. “I was hoping you’d hold out until Christmas,” his boss sighed. Ron’s been having a really hard time not grinning his face off at work. To make it an easier transition, as there are some projects he doesn’t want to leave in a lurch, he’s spreading out those two weeks – ten days, really – over five weeks, so two corporate work days a week.

To be fair, he’s not coming home just to “help” me with my work. We passed that point a while ago, and you can pretty much tell we’re in this together. Hmm, that’s probably why we’re known as Ron AND Andrea – you get one or the other, but more likely both. Yes, we’ve planned this for a while – these things always take longer than we think, it seems, but for now, everything is looking very much UP. We have a lot of exciting projects for us both to work on.

For me, I fully realize that most wives, upon hearing their husband wants to quit and get back to freelancing and work on some other projects, would probably freak right the heck out. But the closer we’ve come to this, and now that it’s a done deal, the more I’ve felt… content. Settled. We’ve been sleeping like rocks lately.

In explaining this working-for-ourselves to other people, in offline life, it strikes me that this isn’t new for us, even if it is for others. *This* is what we’re used to, what we’ve done for most of our married life. It’s only been the last couple of/ few years that Ron has walked in the corporate world. Getting back to it, so to speak since it’s a different field, different setup, is the familiar old gear.

We’re checking our equipment, packing our chutes, loading up the plane, just like we’ve done before. This time, we’re jumping while holding hands, in perfect formation.

skydiving by gonzo_fan2007

Photo by Gonzo_fan2007