Setting Up a Site for my Father

Throughout my life, my parents have helped me every step of the way.  They were there when I needed money to pay for college, there when I put a down payment on my first home, and there to put money away for their grandchildren for their education.  Out of all my friends, they are the most supportive parents and I am so blessed to have them in my life.  So, when my father let me know that he wanted to setup a website to showcase his photography, I jumped at the opportunity to help him out.

We sat down one Sunday afternoon and discussed what he wanted for a website, and I took copious notes while we spoke.  I asked him some questions as to what features he wanted on his site and whether or not he wanted to be able to sell his photographs online.

Once we figured out the details, we sat down at his computer.  I asked him for suggestions as to what he wanted the name of his website to be.  After he rattled off a couple of names, we did a domain name search to see if any of them were available.  As it turned out, one of them was, so we registered it right away.

I am planning to work on his site for the next couple of days, and I should be able to get a rough prototype before the end of the week.  It has been great collaborating on this project so far, and I love to have the opportunity to spend time with my father.  I just hope that the site I create meets his expectations.

Buying a Spin Bike for Our Son

As parents, we have had all sorts of gift requests over the years.  Our kids have asked for everything from ponies to spaceships, and we have accommodated most of their requests.  Some of them were too outlandish, but for the most part, if our kids asked for it, we tried to get it for them.  So, when our son asked us for a spin bike for his birthday, we decided that we were going to get him one.

After I finished my phone call with him and took a moment to think, I realized one thing:

I didn’t know what a spin bike was.

Being a guy, I would never admit to something like this, so I decided to go online to see if I could figure it out.  I discovered a spin bike was an exercise bike that was designed to help cyclists stay in shape over the winter.  It took me a bit to figure out how to word my search, but I was able to find a site that had home gym spin bikes reviewed.  Since I didn’t have any experience buying one of these bikes, reviews were going to be essential for me to figure out what to get him.

The bike should be arriving in a week or so, which will be just in time for his birthday.  I really hope that I picked the right one out for him.  I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he opens his present!

Learn Something New Every Day

I commit a little bit of time every day to learning.  Since I am an entrepreneur, it is important for me to continuously absorb ideas and information that I can use to make my business stronger.  While the information that I consume today might not be applicable to my situation now, it may help me sometime in the future.  One of the ways that I make sure to learn something new every day is to keep up with the latest business news.

There are lots of places where you can learn about what is going on in the world of business depending on which medium you prefer.  Many people still count on television programs for the latest insights into the business world.  Others prefer newsletters or magazines.  Personally, I am a big fan of websites to find information applicable to my role as an entrepreneur.

One of the sites that I visit on a daily basis would be The Startup Magazine.  Their digest caters to the entrepreneur and you can find articles relating to your business, no matter how large or small it may be.  I love learning about challenges and how another leader solved that problem.  We can learn a lot from other’s experiences, and this site is one to keep up with.

If you are an entrepreneur, I would encourage you to learn something new every day.  Whether you use what you learned today or not, it will become part of your knowledgebase that you can draw upon anytime a challenge arises, and will help you solve your problems.

Business Networking is Key to Our Success

business networking The company that I work for is primarily geared towards the business to business model.  We create stationary products that are shipped directly from our warehouse to businesses around the world.  Since we don’t have a traditional storefront, we count on our ability to network with other organizations to generate sales.  Recently our sales have exploded because of a new business networking platform.

We joined Business Networker, a business networking site with the intention of building new relationships with other businesses from around the world.  The key here is relationship building, as forming good rapport with other companies has always resulted in more sales.  We chose this platform as it was geared towards cultivating relationships between companies, and we haven’t been able to find any other sites like it yet.

Interaction was going to be important if this was going to work for us, so we had a dedicated staff member assigned to keep our profile up to date, answer customer questions, and reach out to form new connections.  We chose Stacey because of her proven success with our other social campaigns in the past.

It didn’t take long for us to see some traction from our efforts and then the sales started trickling in.  I would expect that we will see better results once we populate our online storefront on the site.  This has been a very profitable venture for us so far, and we are thankful that we joined Business Networker when we did.

If you are a business looking to grow your bottom line, make business networking one of your priorities.  Sign your business up over at to get started.

Working for a Service Contract Provider

Being a service contract provider can be a very lucrative business.  Service contracts, or extended warranties, are policies which are sold on major appliances, electronics and vehicles that provide a guarantee of repair, maintenance or replacement on a product beyond the warranty provided by the manufacturer.  These policies come with an additional cost, but many consumers feel better having the peace of mind knowing that their investment will be taken care of if there is a problem.  Working for a service contract provider has taught me a lot of how this business works.

The idea behind an extended warranty sale is simple – we are betting that the product will not need to be repaired within the time of the service contract.  Ideally, we never have to pay out on any of the warranty packages that we sell, but from time to time, we have to.  Now, I don’t want to sound like we don’t want to pay out on the policies that we sell, rather the failure of these types of products has historically been very low.  It really is a numbers game, and we calculate the cost of the service contract through a complex mathematical formula.

For those times that a customer does make a claim on their extended warranty, we have a Service Contract Reimbursement Insurance policy in place to comply with state law requirements.  In fact, there is a Service Contract Act that we have to follow which outlines all of the requirements that we need to satisfy in order to provide our service.

Working within the industry has taught me a lot how things work behind the scenes and how service contract companies operate.

What Would you Do if you Won the Lottery?

There are so many questions that race through my mind every evening while I am trying to sleep.  I often fight with bouts of insomnia, and during those moments where I just can’t rest, my mind goes to work, thinking about an endless number of things.  Recently, I had an intense debate with myself (all in my head) as to what I would do if I won the lottery.

while the first thing out of most people’s mouths would be all of the things that they could buy with their new-found wealth, I look at winning the lottery in a different light.  Instead of thinking about what possessions I could have, I think about all of the people that I could help.

Changing lives would be what I would use my wealth for.

For example, if I won the PowerBall lottery, I would help my in-laws out.  They have always been bad with money, so I would buy them a home and a vehicle so that they wouldn’t have to worry about some of the most basic necessities.  But I wouldn’t give them a pile of cash – they would just waste it.

So, ask yourself: what would you do if you won the lottery?  Share your responses in the comments below.

Finding Home Brew Supplies in NZ

One of my hobbies from my days in college would be brewing beer.  I was introduced to the art of home brewing by my college roommate Steve.  His family owned their own brewery, and he had lots of experience crafting the perfect beer.  At least at the time we thought it was perfect since we enjoyed our creations on the weekends while partying.

But now that I am a little older, my tastes have changed.  I have been honing my skills for years, but since I have moved to New Zealand, I have had some issues finding supplies for my hobby.  I don’t live close to any stores that sell the products I need to create the beer I drink, so I have turned to the internet in an attempt to find a supplier.

After quite a bit of searching, I was able to find a company that sold supplies for homebrew in NZ.  They deliver right to my door, and I can order product whenever I have time to sit at the computer.  It is very convenient for my busy lifestyle, and they have been very quick to get my orders to the door.  I would definitely recommend them to my friends.

I Love my Birthday Present

When it comes to my birthday, there are not a lot of things that I like to talk about.  As my birthday approaches, I become grumpier as I know that my friends and family will remind me that I am a year older.  Being reminded of our mortality is perhaps the worst part of birthdays, and I could live without that.  I will have to admit that I love receiving birthday presents.

So when my grandmother came over to my house yesterday carrying a handmade basket, I didn’t know what to think.  Did she finally lose her mind and buy me a basket?  She seemed really out of place carrying a basket in this day and age, and as she handed it to me, I realized that she was using it in place of a gift bag.

She told me to open it, and that is what I did.

What I found inside was something I would have never expected from her.  She had put together a little photo album of our lives together, and there were pictures of me as a baby in her arms, and it continued right through to her birthday this year.

It was the best birthday present ever.

Though I hate to admit it, I might have had some tears.  No one had ever done anything as wonderful as this for me, and it really reminded me that she has been so good to me over the years.  I love her.

Converting Files from One Format to Another

One of the biggest challenges I face as a writer is that all of my clients have different needs when it comes to the file format that I deliver to them.  Some of them prefer that I deliver a PDF file to them, while others would like me to provide them audio files.  Their demands are endless, and as much as I get annoyed with their requests, the core of my job is customer service, and putting their needs first is what matters.

I had a couple of options when it comes to having access to the necessary software to fulfill their needs:

  • I could install all of the software on my computer
  • I could find a way to convert the files without having to install programs on my computer

My biggest concern was keeping my workspace minimalistic as any kind of distraction could get me off track during my writing.  Time is my biggest enemy, and any distractions that take me out of the bubble that I am working in is bad for my business.

So, I decided to find a free online file converter that I could use for all of my file conversion needs.  It was hard to find one that could do everything that I needed it to do, but I did when I found Convertio.  All I would do is chose what format I had and what I wanted to convert it to – and that was it.

It was super easy.

In fact, I would recommend the service to my grandmother if she needed to convert a file.  Learn more about how it works right here:

Placing Handmade Ornaments on Our Tree

Over the years we have done many different things with our Christmas tree.  We started out with a little three foot fake tree, and later on moved to a real tree when we had kids.  But over the course of the last decade, our ornaments were pretty much always the same, store bought Christmas decorations.

But not this year.

After my mother took a trip to Hawaii this summer, we have a whole new set of ornaments to put on the tree.  She brought back three boxes of handmade sea shell ornaments.  They will change the entire look of the tree that we have been accustomed to, but I think this change is good.

It is about time.

While there are still a couple of weeks until we get a tree and decorate it, I will have to think carefully as to what we are going to do for the lighting situation on the tree.  Our blue Christmas lights won’t go well with the new ornaments, so I will have to do some shopping.  I don’t know exactly what will work the best with them, but I am sure I will find something that works.

I can’t wait to see how the tree will look when it is all setup.  I know it will be beautiful.