Saturday, January 31, 2004

I called this blog "The Numbers Game" because I thought that best summed up what business actually is. I now realise that I was spot on. I've placed a few ads for the Ebook Library, and I've dropped several hundred flyers. But I've had only a few hits to my site now. I haven't sold any of them yet. I wasn't expecting to make a million overnight, but I was hoping for a little more response than that!

It seems to me that you've just got to keep slogging away with it and do an enormous amount of promotion before it really starts paying dividends. (Or paying anything at all, for that matter!)

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

As I gradually get my head around this whole capitalism thing, I keep seeing all these opportunites for making money.

For instance, there must be millions yet to be made in combatting spam. Obviously, spam filter sales are booming. But the filters are not entirely effective. There's still a lot that gets through. I was thinking, surely there would be a lot of busy people who would be willing to pay for a complete spam riddance service - that is, an actual person to go through their accounts occasionally and delete the unwanted e-mails that have gone through?

Obviously this would be hard to sell, since the client would have to have absolute certainty that those people were trustworthy. But I think you could do it. Market it right (particularly to corporations) on a big scale, with all your staff given some sort of honesty certificate from the appropriate government department. There'd be megabucks to be made there, I reckon.

You watch. Someone will do it - if they haven't already.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Just a couple more thoughts on technology: It's amazing how dependant I am on it. And I think I'm also mildly addicted to the internet, as many people are. When that link to the information superhighway goes for whatever reason, I get quite tetchy. (I don't fall aprt of course. I can always go for a walk, or do some writing on my PC - but even that requirtes functioning technology!)

So I do think that a lot of this new economy is being driven by a kind of addiction. There is a (very mild) thrill in logging onto the internet that is a big part of the attraction. You're connected to this vast, amazing network. When you're off it, you're kind of alone, in the wilderness.

There's also a real sense of urgency about getting on it, staying on it, and keeping up with it. It really is a whole new way of living, and it's only going to become more intense, immediate, and (in some ways) demanding.

Friday, January 16, 2004

It was ironic that my last post was about how cheap cyber-technology is, because today that very fact came in handy. When I woke up this morning I switched on the my PC and logged on to the internet, as I always do. I grabbed my freshly brewed cup of cawfee and placed it on the desk next to the keyboard. But being still decaffeinated, and a little dopey as a result, I spilled the cup on the table and over the keyboard.

I freaked out because some ran under the main body of the hard drive. I immediately shut it down and mopped up as much as I could. Everything seemed okay, but when I started typing again the "caps lock" button kept beeping when I pressed it, signalling some sort of short-circuit.

I decided to leave the keyboard to dry, thinking that once the coffee had evaporated, there'd no longer be a problem. But this only made things worse. I really started to panic then, dreading that maybe it was a hard drive problem.

But it was easily fixed. I just went into an Officeworks and got a new keyboard for only 20 bucks. Everything works fine again. And I can breathe a helluva lot easier.

I do find that having a very, er, delicate metabolism (typical arty type) these little things can really put me off balance for a while. But the great thing is that PCs being assembled as they are, all that needs to be done is to replace the defective piece.

Even if I the whole thing were to clunk out at once, I could get a whole new (or at least refurbished) PC with Windows 98 for under 400 bucks, and be up and running the next day. So, I shouldn't worry at all. (Petty that I should, actually.)

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Was just having a surf through some online stores, to see what kind of computer hardware is available. I was gobsmacked at how inexpensive so much of it is. And it looks like it will keep getting cheaper still. Great for people like myself, who can set up their own home offices at next to no cost.

I am consistently amazed at the brilliance of these machines. I am typing this on a PC I bought for about $200, running on Windows 95. I can do pretty much everything I need to do on it, yet I'm practically 8 years behind everyone else!

I can only begin to imagine what technology will be like a few years down the track. My intuition - or what little of it I have - tells me that the continual reduction in price will have to end soon, and then eventually reverse. But apparently that's not going to happen, at least for a very long time. So it's all good news, really.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

It's another lovely day in Sydney. I'm feeling optimistic about this new venture. And I've been thinking generally about the difference between working for yourself and others:

It seems there is a very different mindset required if you are to freelance, or go into business. You have to be a much more self-directed person than most.

That is, in many workplaces, your involvement is kind of passive. You are told what to do, how to do it, when to do it. You go to work at a certain time because you have to. If you don't, well, you'll get the sack!

I can see the appeal of this. It is very limiting, but then kind of liberating, too, because there are a whole pile of decisions that you don't have to make. So, when you get home you can concentrate on your family life, hobbies, or whatever.

Working full-time for a big organization is kind of like being a member of a church, I think. Your day is filled with activities, and you are well rewarded at the end of your service. (With a job the rewards come weekly, in the form of a paycheck; with religion, it's at the end of your life, when you go to heaven... you hope!)

But the downside is huge, too. People definitely need to develop, and change. And their inner desire to define themselves on their own terms (that "self-actualization" stuff those sixties' shrinks were always on about!) doesn't ever go away. So to continually ignore it comes at a real cost. It's like suppressing anger - after a while it eats away at you inside and becomes an ulcer, or tumor or something equally hideous.

So, to stop that from happening requires a lot of courage. It also requires pragmatism, because - let's face it - you've got pay the rent and eat. You can't just pursue some dream without any regard for these basic responsibilities. Some do, of course, but they don't last very long!

I think the main thing that people want to get control of first is their own time. So, selling stuff from home satisfies that aspiration for a lot of people - at least for a while.

Then, of course there's finding something you enjoy, or are enthusiastic about. That's another challenge in itself.

I've been lucky in this. I've always enjoyed writing, and have managed to make a few bucks here and there selling articles and stories freelance. But I haven't been able to actually make a living from it alone. (Well, not for any substantial length of time, anyway.) So, the mail order looks promising in that regard. Unlike with writing, in which you have to create a whole new piece every time, you can sell the same thing over and over again - and you don't even have to make it in the first place!

This very obvious - but pretty radical - difference is something I'm still trying to get my head around. It may sound strange, but for some reason I find it hard to believe I have the right to sell something I haven't made myself.

(Obviously, I've got to get over that little hurdle, and soon. Or else I'll never make a cent out of this!)

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Hello readers. I'm a writer and (very occasional) performer in Sydney, Australia. I'm in my late thirties, and though I do have a part-time job, and supplement my income with writing and comedy gigs here and there, I'm still frustrated by my inability to earn more money.

So I've decided that I have to change my attitude to the whole concept: get proactive, rather than reactive; be my own boss, not a servant; try to make money, not just earn it.

Since this is somewhat of a change of direction in my life, I thought it would be worthwhile to write about it. I mean, I might find that the whole effort was doomed from the start, and go back to what I know. But even if that occurs, I'll still have a few thousand words to describe the debacle, which some people might find amusing (and which I can use - and perhaps even sell - some time down the track).

So, that's basically what I'm about, and why I'm writing this blog. Hope you enjoy it.

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