Monthly Archives: November 2006

Screw Web 2.0 – Make Money with Simple Web Design

When I was in high school, EVERYONE had started a “Web design company” at one point.

It’s such a simple way of making money that seems to have been lost in all the talk of “AJAX” and “user generated content.” Web design is simple. You make a website, someone pays you…done.

A lot of people are caught up in this Web 2.0 mentality crap where you create a massively popular social website or widget, then start making money somewhere down the line. The chances of success in this case are astronomically slim. People also get caught up trying to start some lame business which I think Ramit explains very nicely.

I have never learned how to program or even fully use HTML, but thanks to Frontpage, Dreamweaver, WordPress etc. you don’t really have to know too much detail. Any kid with some simple web design experience can make good money like this.

I used to utilize a guerilla marketing method for web design, and it would bring in pretty good cash for a relatively simple service. Nowadays with content management systems, CSS and all that other dynamic content stuff, it’s easier than ever.

Here is an example of what I would do:

1.) Find restaurants /businesses with no webpage. CitySearch.com is a great place to start. I generally focused on restaurants at the time.

2.) Scope out the restaurant and obtain one of their menu’s.

3.) Buy a domain name with the restaurants name in it.

4.) Design and host their website, including their full menu and some pictures, information about the restaurant etc..

5.) When finished with the website (They still don’t even know I’ve done this)…Contact the person in charge of the restaurant.

6.) Give them the one line sales pitch……”If you like www.TheirWebsite.com, pay me $XXX.XX and $XX.XX for hosting.”

Charging $15/month for hosting would often make me more money than the actual webpage over a few years.

7.) COLLECT CASH.

Designing an entire custom webpage for someone who may not buy is just crazy, so to streamline the process I made a templated page that could be outfitted with a different name for each different restaurant. Just change the name, contact info, opening/closing times etc. and I was done.

Nowadays you can go to

www.TemplateMonster.com and just pick out a fantastically designed web page specific to your field (Real estate, restaurants…) for less than $50 and outfit it with the business name and content….EASY! Like this…

THE BEST PART is this method can be used with mechanic shops, restaurants, lawyers, law firms, dentists, doctors, retail stores, real estate agents…you name it. MOST small businesses don’t always need a crazily complicated website. They often just want SOME online presence to state their location, contact information, rates, menu, open hours and such.

This way of getting web design contracts is MUCH easier than putting out ads on Craigslist or hunting for business….because the webpage is ALREADY made, meaning the buyer sees it, likes most of it…and only minor changes are generally made…..and if they want more changes, then you charge them accordingly. You can upsell services such as search engine optimization, hosting, custom design, changes. This method of selling also doesn’t require you to have an established portfolio of websites.

If the owner totally rejects the offer, ohh well….the only thing lost was $9 for the domain name and a few hours of work (if even). I’d say I had over an 80% success rate selling websites like this.

Essentially this is very simple web design, but it’s ACTIVE SELLING rather than passive.

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Instead of trying to jump straight to opening an online retail store or some other scheme to make money online, this is a GREAT way for someone young or old to get started, and you will learn tons along the way.

Vegas, Wallet, BIDU, Money Update

My planned Vegas Gambling Experiment never reached fruition because the night of my birthday I lost my wallet.

I’ve since cancelled and renewed everything in there, but the lack of credit/debit cards left me powerless to purchase anything…so I only had $400 in cash for the trip after that point. This means blowing $200 on gambling wasn’t an option.

On another note, I did make approx $120 from Vegas, but probably because I’m an extremely boring gambler. I’d put a dollar in a machine whenever I would walk by the gaming floors at different casinos, spin a few times, and the second I double my dollar, I’d cash out. This actually happened A LOT. I swear these slot machines felt like free ATM’s. I’d put in a dollar, get $2….put in a dollar, get $6……put in a dollar, get $15…

Of course I lost sometimes also, but little by little the winnings added up to a decent amount. Odds are if you gamble with your winnings, you will lose them…so unless you get great pleasure out of casino gambling (which I don’t) then it’s pointless.

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As for my lost wallet, it seems someone found it, charged $70 of gas on the credit card, got their other car and charged an additional $40 of gas.

Nothing else was charged. It seems an otherwise honest person, found the wallet and took advantage of an easy situation. I’m sure they also enjoyed the $70 of cash inside. Perhaps they could use some of that cash to at least ship back the wallet.

My business cards which have my websites were also in the wallet…so whoever found my wallet might be reading this right now.

Enjoy the free gas!

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I paid for my Vegas trip from the Spending1 and Spending2 accounts.
–Ticket = $300
–My share of Hotel + Internet charges = $140
–Cash spent = $500
–Total Spent = $940

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I sold my first stock in I don’t know how long. It was Baidu (BIDU). It was kind of an impulse purchase I made a while ago after reading TheKirkReport one day. I put $1,000 on it, and a little later it went down 75%. Instead of being rational and quickly selling this very speculative stock I knew nothing about, I held it and haven’t checked it for a very long time. I saw I was recently up 25% and decided to get out. $230 pocketed after fees. Dumb luck, as I knew absolutely nothing about the stock.

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General Account - $ 4,731
Spending Account – $ 87
Spending Account 2 – $ 42

Investment Account – $ 3,704
Bill Account – $ 739
Permanent Savings – $ 4,891
Charity Account – $ 318
Stock Portfolio Value – $ 11,227
Roth IRA – $ 6,912
Emigrant Direct – $ 5,020
Total Liquid Assets – $ 37,671

Credit Card Balance – $ 0
Business Holding – $ 6,645
Total On Hand – $ 44,316

Looking for a VEGAS MONEY EXPERIMENT

I’m in Vegas right now, and looking for some sort of money experiment to perform.

I’ll give it a $200 budget (Courtesy of Interest.com)

There’s tons of little gambling experiments I can do, but I want something relatively unique or fun.

-Two spins of $100 on black?
-Couple pulls of the high stakes slots machines?
-200 $1 slot machine pulls?
-Sports bet?
-Quick go at the high stakes tables?
-?????

I need ideas!

Phone Gone – Neville Happy

My worst purchase ever is gone…and it took accidentally destroying it to happen.

Since I bought the phone in March 2006, I’ve paid Verizon Wireless $2,117 . This includes the phone, added features, overage charges, taxes, stupid fees and finally my cancellation charge for breaking the contract.

All that money for only 8 months of phone service.

In no particular order, here are the moves I’ve made in this process:

The interesting part is one day after I filed my insurance claim for a water damaged phone, the phone started working again! At this point I had already switched back to Catherine Zeta Jones and bought a regular $50 phone and a $50/month plan. The insurance company has already sent me a brand new phone, so I now have a brand new Treo 700P to sell and recoup some of the money paying for phone service.

Insurance fraud? Possibly….but not really.

I’ve definitely downgraded phones, and it’s not so bad. My new phone (Samsung t509s) makes calls and sends text messages, which is what a cell phone basically needs to do.

I do however feel a bit lost without the appointment feature on the old phone, and text messaging goes A LOT slower without a QWERTY keyboard!

-Nev

Illegal Business Idea of the Day

Possibly the most boring thing I’ve EVER done in my life is online defensive driving. In fact, the one time I took it, I cancelled it so I could take comedy defensive driving for $25 in person.

I’m sure this idea violates many, many, many laws, but it would be cool to outsource defensive driving to India.

You would signup for defensive driving online, go to the outsourcing service and have some kid in India do your course for $2/hour (maybe even less) and you’re done!

Obviously this plan is like Swiss cheese……full of holes.

Personal Accounting, 21st Century Style!

It’s nice to know how much you’ve spent each month in real time. This helps keep your spending in check and is just a good way to keep track of finances. For the longest time I’ve been posting receipts and writing amounts on this dry erase / cork board. No more.

It frequently gets cluttered, is a hassle to tabulate at the end of the month and doesn’t go into much detail about expenses.

For about $200 bucks I bought this thing called Neat Receipts. This system is supposed to digitally organize all your receipts….I originally saw it while browsing Sky Mall in a plane.

I’vebeen using it for a few weeks now, and it’s amazing! The whole system consists of a piece of software and this small scanner which fits neatly on my desk….it’s about the size of a TV remote control:

I was originally going to buy it, try it, and return it…but I’m actually very impressed. Just insert a receipt and the software AUTOMATICALLY reads it, tabulates tax, total price, tells what store the purchase is from, keeps a scanned copy, shows date of purchase and categorizes it!! Online receipts are also very easy to enter in. I was very impressed at how much information the program accurately picks up from each receipt.

You can I can see in real time how much I’ve spent for bills, investments, fun etc. in real time without having to input each purchase in an Excel sheet.

During tax time this thing will be extremely helpful because it basically tells you how much was spent for groceries, investments, transportation etc, and you can easily search for receipts digitally which beats rummaging through a large accordion folder full of them.

I’m sure for most people an Excel chart would be fine, but anyone with a considerable amount of purchases per month would benefit from this little system. This is personal finance for the 21st century!

Pete Coors of Coors Brewing Company

The University of Texas brought Peter Coors to speak last week and I got a chance to attend. He is the current chairman of Coors Brewing Company. 20 minutes before the speech I Googled everything I could about Mr. Coors, and not to be mean, but he wasn’t my type of person.

The business people I most admire are the ones who start with very little and turn it into something great. Pete Coors is a 3rd or 4th generation family member who was handed his company. Of course there is a great amount of work in building upon a family business, but it’s not something I am familiar with or have much interest in. However I would have loved to meet his great, great, great grandfather Adolph Coors who started the whole thing from nothing.

I enjoy hearing inspirational stories of how people took nothing and turned into something despite great odds. However the focus of this talk was how the family runs and passes on the business. Not a bad speech, just not my cup of tea….althought it was rather dry.

After the speech, I didn’t particularly want a picture with him, unless I could hold up the Coors beer can I brought to the speech. This wasn’t nearly bad as the Wild Turkey Whiskey and cigarettes picture with Herb Kelleher!

However I was told by lots of people who had met him before that he wouldn’t do it. Naturally I didn’t listen to them and tried anyways….but I was flat out denied to take the picture with the beer can. I found this funny that I couldn’t take a picture with his own product.

It was a “decent”speech, and a little different…to hear about such an OLD company that is still run by the same family. I didn’t really pick up any useful information to share other than some small company facts which can be easily found on the company website.

Online Business Exceeds the $5,000 Mark

Through some simple marketing and a bit of luck, I’m glad to say House Of Rave received 530 orders this October! Profits exceeded $5,000 for the month which is good news. Hopefully I can successful sustain at least 80% of his profit level in the non-Halloween months. According to my sidebar, I made $1,120 in profit from House Of Rave just one year ago in October 2005, so there has been significant improvement in profits.

This is a new milestone because it indicates I could realistically live off just one venture of mine if needed. Now the real work starts, sustaining and growing these temporary results.

HoR still runs almost the same, just a few modifications that cut out certain steps like manually charging each customer or creating orders one by one. My time should be spent growing, marketing and adding content, not caught up in small details which can be easily automated.

I get paid to write this

My streak of not monetizing this blog has ended. Interest.com (Owned by BankRate, Inc.) is now the official sponsor of NevBlog. This means I get paid to do what I already do….update this website.

Of course in return they want something: Advertisements. This works out perfectly because I hate managing advertisements, and they love it.

They pay is pretty good, but I could easily make more by handling my own advertisements (Doing the whole Adsense, text link and affiliate stuff)….however, BankRate and Interest.com bring something else to the table: Giving me exposure.

NevBlog is part personal journal, part fun, part SEO tool and mainly a NETWORKING TOOL. Believe it or not I’ve met some of the most influential people in my life through this blog. Sounds stupid, but very true.

It’s rather obvious there are now ads all over the place, including two visible above the fold:

I get paid $????.?? per month for allowing these advertisements to be placed on my site, plus I get the additional exposure. Since I’ve already met some very influential people solely through this site, I figured additional exposure couldn’t hurt. The money brought in through this arrangement will be divided up into different accounts just like any other income I make.

Thanks to Interest.com and BankRate.com for the arrangement!

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Current Asset Update (11-01-2006)

General Account – $ 4,631
Spending Account – $ 293
Spending Account 2 – $ 363
Investment Account – $ 2,741
Bill Account – $ 1,039
Permanent Savings – $ 4,770
Charity Account – $ 318
Stock Portfolio Value – $ 11,107
Roth IRA – $ 6,912
Emigrant Direct – $ 5,020
Total Liquid Assets – $ 37,194

Credit Card Balance – $ 0
Business Holding – $ 13,651
Total On Hand – $ 50,845