Jan 28, 2014
10 notes

My first web design job

allisonhouse:

[Warning: Kind of gross.]

It’s my second week at a new job. Everything is great! I’m in a two-desk office at work, getting good grades, and recently dropped a few pounds. I tell my new co-workers I’m losing weight.

"Spin around for me," my officemate says. He’s 30 and portly. I’m 20 and bookish….

Some men should just stick to living a basement

Jan 27, 2014
2 notes

The What & How vs the Why When Setting Goals

Last year I made a great list of goals that I wanted to accomplish. I accomplished exactly zero of them and I made no excuses as to why it didn’t happen. Mainly because I don’t believe in excuses (I still use them as is human nature), but also because my viewpoint of them was all wrong. Some of the goals were:

  • Make X amount of money on the side.
  • Get a better body.
  • Write more.
  • Be nicer.
Like I said, all good goals. The reason I believe I never reached any of them was because I focused on the what and the how of each goal, instead of being focused on the why. What do I mean? Well each goal already shows you the what so now I’ll include the how.
  • Make X amount of money on the side. Do a project that generates money.
  • Get a better body. Eat better and workout.
  • Write more. Sit down and start writing.
  • Be nicer. Do more thinking and listening, than actual talking.
So far everything still looks normal. I answered the what and the how very easily and that should be all I need to do to pursue these goals, but like I said they all completely failed. This year I have some of the same goals and even though we are only a month into the new year, I’ve done a pretty good job of sticking to them. Why? Because I answer that very question.

Enriching my life

I definitely want to make more money, but why do I want to make more money? I don’t want money to be the limiting factor in my life. I know that with more money (this also could mean living somewhere cheaper and spending less) I can do more of the things that I want to do. Money won’t be the obstacle holding me back and instead will the springboard to everything I want. The less I have to worry about money, the more I can focus on my life and living a rich and fulfilling life is very important to me. See how the goal changes? It went from wanting more money to living a more fulfilling life. Whether or not you think money helps that is totally irrelevant to this discussion. The important thing is the why does a better job of keeping me focused and motivated in reaching a goal than the what.

Write down your why statement

For each of my goals I made sure I wrote down a why statements that I could get behind because the why represents what I truly believe in. If you can’t get behind a why statement, then that goal becomes a little more harder to reach. It is easy to turn away the what statement because I can always tell myself that I’m alright not making more money. Life goes on, but if I try to turn away from the why statement, things get a little harder. Am I really going to stop pursuing this goal because I don’t want a better life? That sounds absurd. Of course I want that and to achieve that means sticking to the goal. When you focus on the what then you also start to focus on the how and that is very draining. How do I get a better body? I train harder. I eat healthier and stop eating all the sweet stuff that I enjoy. Absolutely none of that seems like fun or motivating. I can easily drop those things and forfeit the goal, but with a why statement backing it up that doesn’t work as easily. If you stop pursuing a goal with a why statement attached to it, then you really didn’t want to reach that goal as much as you thought. So next time you set a goal, think about your why statement. Write it down. Keep it as a reminder. It is what will push you through to the finish line.
Jan 13, 2014
0 notes

The Break and The Thirst

If you know me then you know I like to create. Last year you wouldn’t know that though because I did very little creating in the online world, at least for you to see. I did a lot of creating at the day job and some creating on stuff that will never see the light of day. However, I was pretty much taking a break from creating for myself because I finally had to come to terms with something that I’ve known for a while.

I suck at finishing stuff.

My family knows it. My girl knows it. Hell, you probably know it. As a creator it is the act of getting started that is the most fun. Once you reach that 90% completion level though things start to get tedious and boring, but that final 10% is what differentiates the great creators from the rest. I knew I wasn’t prepared to go the final 10% on anything so I made a decision to take a break.

That doesn’t mean I didn’t find joy and fulfillment in other areas of my life because I did. In fact, last year was probably the most stress-free year of my adult life and I never want to return to a life with stress, but I also don’t want to go on not creating and showing the world. So I made myself a deal and that I wouldn’t start anything that instantly entered my mind. Instead, I would wait it out and if it came back to me later and I still had that thirst then I would continue to wait. If it came back again then it was go time.

Of course you can be reading this and thinking it doesn’t matter because I’m still not showing you anything. This post isn’t really for you, it is for me because I need to start being accountable to myself and this blog will be my journal of progress. One being a collaboration which I’m extremely excited about. So ummm, yeah. Let’s do this and I hope you enjoy the show.

Aug 26, 2013
2 notes

Mondays

As I tell the bank teller what I need she asks, “How is your day going?” I smile and tell her she can’t ask me such a question on Mondays. Mondays are always supposed to be shit. I think this is ingrained in us when we are little because Monday always meant you were back in school. Now Monday means you have to go back to work.

Weird thing is I liked school and I like my job so why am I still sticking with the fact that Mondays are supposed to be gloom and doom? Mondays are usually my most quiet days in the office. If shit is going to hit the fan it is more likely on Tuesdays and Fridays.

As I left the bank I thought to myself that it was silly to designate a day of the week as the one that is supposed to suck. What if I treated all days the same? Sure some days I have more freedom to run around naked in the forest than others, but that doesn’t mean every other day can’t be just as exceptional.

What if there were no titles associated with days and instead you just said the day by the number it fell on in the year. For example, today would just be Day 237 of 2013. That changes my whole mentality already. I would never wake up thinking “Dammit, it’s Day 165.”

Now I know I’m falling very close to the self-help, seize the day type of territory, but I’m right. If you are in a decent position and you hate Mondays because of work then find another job. Very, very rarely do people not have the option to go find something better. It’s just scary and more convenient to stick it out and complain and therefore make every Monday suck than it is to bust your ass and find something better. Human nature and all…

Anyways, Mondays aren’t that bad, they just get a bad rep for the stuff we put ourselves through. If anything I’m sure Monday would be the first one at your birthday party and the one have enough sense to just get you a card with money in it. Now Tuesday on the other hand is a different matter.

Apr 24, 2013
41 notes
Feb 4, 2013
3 notes

Mom

When I was very young I was a momma’s boy. I wasn’t whiney or cried or anything like that, but my mom was my best friend. We talked a lot because all I did was go outside and play, so sharing my adventures was always fun. She let me know it was fun to share your life with the world.

When I wanted a Nintendo, she got me a computer. I hated that decision, but in hindsight it was brilliant. I could’ve been sitting in front of a TV playing video games throughout my youth. Instead I was still going outside and enjoying life because there wasn’t much you could do with a computer back then if you weren’t into programming. It planted the seed for my love of computers.

When I was sitting on my ass doing nothing, she gave me the ultimatum of doing karate or playing soccer and I chose soccer. Now I can’t imagine my life without the sport.

She always tried to make me read books because she loved to read them herself. I hated to read, but none of the reasons had to do because of the books. I hated that I read slow (or what I thought was slow). I wanted to breeze through books the way one can breeze through a television show. I also didn’t want to read because it felt like a chore. Eventually when she stopped making me read I began to read a lot on my own. We always had a ton of books at our place and because her interests varied, so did mine. I eventually settled on Fantasy as my genre of choice. She prevented me from being stupid.

Most importantly though she held me accountable for my actions. Due to my ego and thinking I was the greatest thing ever, if something went wrong it wasn’t my fault in my mind. She didn’t accept that attitude. When my grades suffered due to my laziness, she always tried to get me back on track because she wanted my future to be bright. Thankfully, I pulled my head out of my ass and got everything together.

When I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life and experimented with a lot of different online ventures, she always offered words of encouragement. She follows me around online and takes an interest in whatever I do, even if she doesn’t always understand it.

There was a long stretch where I was a lot of things towards her that she never raised me to be. An asshole, a brat, a douchebag. She never deserved it and if I could go back in time I would kick the shit out of myself for every time I disrespected her.

She shaped me and did everything right to raise me. She gave me the keys and allowed me to choose which door I wanted to open to live my life, but also making sure that I didn’t lock myself out in case I changed my mind.

Now she makes me laugh because she is a geek. She makes me smile because her love is constant. She makes me worry because I want to be the one to take care of her. She makes me roll my eyes because she is a Manchester United fan. At times she leaves me frustrated, but isn’t that what parents do? At the end of the day though she is awesome.

Happy birthday, Mom. I love you so much. Always know you did well. Thanks for helping me not become a screw-up. I’m sure the Cowboys will do better next year.

Jan 31, 2013
3 notes

Karma

I use to often wonder why people that do bad things always seem to get ahead. The answer is pretty obvious: they are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead. Nice people can make it to the top, but that is usually a longer path. I know a lot of us will say that the bad people who climb and scheme their way to the top will have what is coming to them, but do we say that because we don’t follow the same actions?

Does an ant have bad karma when you happen to step on it while walking down the sidewalk? What about the rabbit that is minding its own business and suddenly gets scooped up by a hawk? When bad people get cancer we call it karma. When good people get cancer we ask what did they do to deserve it? Maybe the real answer is that nobody deserves it because there is no scoreboard.

If you do a lot of bad stuff to get to the top and end up getting caught, maybe that isn’t karma. Maybe there was just a paper trail long enough that eventually someone would catch you. We like to say that we control our own fates and then turn around and believe that karma (or whatever else) has some control over our path.

By no means am I saying you should go out and do the bad things that may lead to a shortcut in getting to where you want to be. However, don’t sit back thinking someone has something coming to them because often times they don’t and if something does happen to them that is just the way it is.

Are our lives really that different from the ant and rabbit? Just because we have a conscious and can think with a bit more complexity does that mean our lives work differently from any other creature? I know many of us hope so, but that is only because we were given too much power in our heads to think of such things. There are some things we can control and other things we can’t.

I’m not really going anywhere with this post, just something I was thinking about the other day.

Jan 14, 2013
1,511 notes
If you have the power to corrupt, you will corrupt.

If you have the power to corrupt, you will corrupt.

(via marcovhv)

Jan 12, 2013
3 notes
If you don’t build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs.
Tony Gaskins
Jan 9, 2013
7 notes

Happiness

People get nervous when I’m quiet. They think that something is wrong, usually because I’m the loudest person in the room demanding the spotlight. Most of the time I’m just in deep thought. Other times I just like to sit back and observe. Are there times that I’m ever unhappy? Of course there are. That is just part of human nature. I have to go through tiny amounts of rage and sadness to understand what happiness is all about.

When it comes to living a life you enjoy I think it is important to understand what makes you happy. Too often people are quick to say things like money, a nice house, a well-paying job or some other superficial thing. While these aren’t the root causes of happiness they can help take away the things that make you unhappy allowing you to focus on the stuff that will make you happy. Money isn’t everything they say, but those people probably haven’t been in the gutter struggling to gather enough cash to eat for the day. In situations like that, money will lead to happiness because being able to eat makes you very happy.

Having money’s not everything, not having it is.

Kanye West

When it comes to relationships, men can be pretty weird. When we are single we think life is good except for those times we get a bit lonely. When we find a companion life is good except for those times we wish we had the freedom of being single. I’ve been through those phases and one day it finally hit me that having a companion led to more moments of happiness than being by myself. Once I came to understand that it made my life just a little bit easier.

When it comes to working I am going to be good at whatever job I do. Putting out crap work is something that I have come to hate (but something I might have been known for in the past). However, I know my happiest state is when I’m working on something of my own creation, not something that I am being paid for. I think the majority of people reading this follow this sentiment. That means we all should go out and start our own businesses right? Not at all. Will you be at your happiest sacrificing a part of your day so you have the freedom to do what you want the other part of the day without the worries of having money to pay your bills? Some people are and some people aren’t. I’m fortunate to see how both sides of the fence look and they both have provided moments of happiness and rage. It comes down to deciding which side will provide me more moments of happiness.

I’m most happy when I’m achieving. Achieving what? I don’t know, when I’m achieving something. When I don’t look back at the past week and realize that all I did was browse the web. When I don’t look in the mirror and know I let myself go not because I didn’t try, but because I didn’t care. Happiness doesn’t revolve around money. It might revolve around the achievements that led me to making the money. It might revolve around the times when I created something to show the world.

Basically I’ve found that I’m in the fortunate position to control my happiness because I have an understanding of what it takes. I’m not silly enough to believe that everyone is in this fortunate position, but most of us are. Find that happiness so you can live a life you can enjoy.

Jan 2, 2013
3 notes

Shared Resolutions

I’ve never been big on resolutions because I always thought that if you wanted to change something in your life then you should just go about and do it. Why wait for the beginning of a new year? However, I completely understand the need for us to want to change ourselves for the better and it becomes easier to mark the new year as a starting point. I also know that it is easier to achieve goals when others are involved. A team effort is much easier than an individual effort.

Honesty

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Instead of saying that you want to work on the side or start a company or build a new table, but you can’t do any of it because you don’t have the time, be honest with yourself. Either you want it enough that you will make time for it or you just don’t care that deeply about it.

I’m always saying I want to do this or that, but don’t get around to it because I obviously didn’t want it bad enough. I lie to myself thinking that I do, but I really don’t. When I really, really want to eat, I find a way to make it happen. If I’m dying to see a movie, I will look up the times it is playing and drive my ass to the theater.

When we really want something we will go to great lengths to get it. If you want it bad enough you will do it. If you don’t, then you won’t.

It starts with being honest with ourselves.

Communicate

I hear so many people talk about how bad their lives are due to other people. The great thing about humans is that many of us will correct a relationship when we understand what the other person is going through. We can’t do that though if the person doesn’t communicate with us.

Why do we hold back our thoughts and allow ourselves to be miserable just because we didn’t tell someone we don’t like that they leave food out or hate that they don’t follow up quickly enough to a client? I don’t have people in my life that make me miserable because I tell them why they are helping to make my life miserable and if things aren’t corrected they get put out.

Let’s do a better job of communicating.

Care

Or to put it in more of my own words: give a shit. Care about the house that you live in and making sure that it is clean. Give a shit about the clothes you wear and how you present yourself to the rest of the world. Care about how you communicate with the world via Twitter, Facebook, email, text messages, phone calls and face-to-face talks.

It is hard putting 100% into everything because life is easier when we take shortcuts. I’m terrible at texting, not in my ability to respond, but in my ability to actually sound like a person with an education. I’m thankful that The Lady enjoys keeping a clean house. It has helped me appreciate how much better my life is when everything around me is clean and organized. It also alerts me to the how much other people really don’t care about their surroundings when I walk into their place and it is cluttered.

You don’t need to buy expensive clothes, but you should figure out how you want others to perceive you and dress accordingly. You don’t want the world to think you are lazy and a slob, but yet you go to work in sandals, shorts, and your hair is a mess?

Care about yourself. That is the first step. Care STRONGLY about yourself. Want the best for yourself and then let that flow out to other aspects of your life. Too many people stop truly caring and just let everything happen as they will then they want to start caring when something goes wrong.

Fuck that. Start caring now. Start giving a shit about everything in your life. You deserve the best you can get and if you don’t care enough about that then you deserve what you get.

Dec 11, 2012
0 notes

What I learned in my first week of making money

7 days ago I launched Makers { Vault } and I wanted to jot down some thoughts about it for my own sake. The site took me around 6 weeks to build. It wasn’t 6 consecutive weeks of work, but finding an hour or two here and there to get things done. What you see now is probably the 4th version of the site.

Selling

Up until this point the only ways that I had been making money on the web were consulting and advertising. Honestly, I’m not a fan of either.

This was my first real foray in actually selling goods to people. I’ve always hated the term salesman and when people ask me why I don’t go into sales I think it is because I have a negative connotation of it. I feel as though you have to be a pretty damn good liar to sell, but I know that isn’t completely true (for some). I just can’t get over saying all my thoughts on a product or service that I’m trying to sell. If I had to sell web hosting and you came to me with your situation, I would evaluate it and if I don’t find it a good fit for the product I’m pushing, then I’m going to tell you. That means I lose money and the company loses money. Of course you might be thinking that also means I’ve gained someone that now trusts my opinion. Opinions don’t always make money though.

So when it came down to Makers { Vault } I knew that I would only feature products that I myself get value out of. In the short term this means it is much harder to make money because I can’t find a ton of products that I want to promote. I could definitely make more money by selling 100 Photoshop Christmas textures, but I would have no use for such things so I wouldn’t even know how to present them.

Copy

Which brings up my next point: sales copy. Over the years I’ve read books and articles on how best to present a product. While I have taken some of the advice and dumped the rest, I’ve found it easier for me to just put into sensible words what I am thinking. That is why you don’t see “50% off!” or other sales cliches plastered around the site. I write the sales copy as if I’m hanging out with you in a bar. If you like what I’m saying, you will buy and if you don’t, hopefully the copy was interesting enough to entice you to come back tomorrow.

I’m sure the copy could be more streamlined and effective, but I need to have a larger sample size and more data before I dive into changing things up. At the very least I know that what I’m writing now is establishing the brand for the site in the future. Rather nail that down than having to try and clean up the brand down the road due to me sounding like a machine pushing icons.

I let people know what they will get out of the resource and they can take it from there.

Partnerships

The makers behind these resources put a lot of effort into them and they are trusting me to do a decent job in representing them. Respect. Respect. Respect.

Time

Value your time. I have a full-time job, a wonderful lady, and a cute dog. All of them want my time and they all deserve my time. Sites don’t make themselves though, but because I kept things small and not trying to implement every feature under the sun at the beginning, I was able to find a balance that I’m happy with. Expect to lose a little bit of sleep, but losing too much means backward progress.

With the Lady it was important that we had a conversation about my goals for the site and what resources were needed on my end to get things done. We’ve established a routine where we spend enough time together where both of us are happy and I still have time to code and not read Reddit/HackerNews.

Make Money

Making money on day 1 changes your whole approach when it comes to a project. Before when I would start a new community, project, or site, I would simply think about all the great features in the future that I would add where I could make money. For the time being I just needed to focus on building a community or so I thought.

Now that the site brings in money it makes it easier to justify to myself and the Lady the time spent working on it. If you are looking for approval and fame, by all means do everything for free, but if you want to be able to do some fun stuff while making money then make money from the beginning.

I’m Rich

At least that is the general perception people have shared with me. Apparently when you start a site that charges money, people think you are making it hand over fist. I’m not, but it goes to show how few people are quick to charge people. The thought of asking someone else to take the time to whip out their credit card to buy something you’re offering is a huge mental wall that not everyone can climb over.

I charge money because I think I can provide a service that people will value. I’m not rich because of it, but I wouldn’t have the opportunity to get rich if I didn’t take that step.

Marketing

People don’t flock to your site, but they also don’t want to be bugged out by your constant marketing. I probably undermarket the site considerably, but I know I hate being bugged incessantly by people talking about their companies. However, I also know the quiet companies aren’t the ones usually making money.


I’m sure after a couple more weeks I’ll have a bit more perspective on what I could’ve done better this first week and what needs to improve, but for now these are the thoughts that I wanted to get out.

Dec 6, 2012
4 notes
jwphillips:

via

I’ll read anything Ogilvy says and nod my head approvingly.

jwphillips:

via

I’ll read anything Ogilvy says and nod my head approvingly.

Dec 6, 2012
0 notes
This is where I learned my second key lesson: Sell only things you’d want to buy for yourself.
Jason Fried
Dec 5, 2012
1 note
Most people with a big idea, great talent and/or something to say don’t get lucky at first. Or second. Or even third. It’s so easy to conclude that if you’re not lucky, you’re not good. So persistence becomes an essential element of good, because without persistence, you never get a chance to get lucky.
Seth Godin
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