Category Archives: Blogging

How to get published on anything

Back in college, to write for The Daily Texan (#1 college newspaper in the country) you had to:

  • Generally be in certain classes
  • Apply for the job
  • Go through interviews
  • Submit writing samples
  • Be a “staff” writer for a year
  • Get promoted up to a writer

I wanted to publish some business-related stuff in the newspaper, and  all that BS above seemed useless and time consuming.

Figuring that EVERYONE who applies says, “I want to write for you guys”, I tried the opposite (kind of like this mentality).

Before I ever talked to ANYONE at the organization, I went ahead and actually wrote out three full, quality articles. I even went out and got quotes from experts and copied the typical newspaper-story format.

I then printed out four copies of each news story and brought them along with me for my very first talk with someone at the newspaper.

I literally walked into the office and asked, “Who do I speak to about publishing something, I’ve got articles ready to go.”  The person in the office was a little intrigued that I had ALREADY written the articles BEFORE I’d even made an arrangement and took a quick glance at them.  Deciding they were decent enough, he walked me over to the “Special Features” editor and told him I had three good articles ready to go.

Now a newspaper has to pump out quality content every day, that’s hard, and I somehow KNEW they would accept my articles quickly, but I didn’t realize HOW quickly!  They asked me to come in later for an editing session….me and editor sat down for two hours brooding over every sentence (a process I didn’t really like), and the 1st article was ready for print that week!

BAM…I was a published newspaper writer in two days :-)

The next several articles were the same story.  Editing session –> publish.

Some good advice Linda?

Sweat Proof Undershirts?

I’m rummaging through my old Gmail records looking for traces of “Silverback Apparel” and found several emails dating back to 2007 and 2008.

The next instance was pretty recent, when Jonathan Oullet contacted me saying I kind of helped inspire him to start a company.

However I’d like to tell you another quick story before we proceed (don’t worry, it all goes together):

My Downtown roommate kept talking about manufacturer high end and sweat proof undershirts as a business….and I immediately raised a crooked eyebrow at the idea.  However he CONSTANTLY talked about it and researched getting shirts made with silver thread (or something like that) which reduces bacteria, smells, sweat etc etc…and even “double fabric armpits” and all sorts of odd features.  (This is seriously a true story).

So one day I sat down with him and did some quick competitive research (aka I Google’d it). We came across very few places that had anything like he wanted to make, except one: Silverback Apparel.  It was kind of an “Awww-shit” moment for my roommate who realized someone had beat him to the punch.

Nevertheless he was glad such a product existed and wanted to buy some.

I still thought anyone so interested in sweat-proof undershirts was INSANE.

Annnnyyywaaysss….

About one week after we realized some guy had already made these shirts, Jonathan Oullet left some comments on NevBlog  and contacted me via email about his company I “partially” inspired…SILVERBACK APPAREL!  He designed and manufactured these super-high-end undershirts and was selling them to really high end stores.

I was flabbergasted I had TWO nutjobs in my life that were obsessed with sweat proof undershirts!  <— awww…link love.

A few emails later and Jonathan sent me some samples of these undershirts.  I honestly didn’t think I’d be impressed.

I WAS WRONG!!

I’m LOVING THESE SHIRTS!  You see, I live in Austin, TX. and it’s hot as hell during the summer.  On some days, even just walking around my back tends to sweat through my shirt.  In fact I don’t wear colors like blue so I don’t get massive sweat stains all over my shirt.

The first time I wore one of these undershirts, I just wore it around as a t-shirt to do errands.  I got in my car (which had been parked in the blazing sun) the whole day and did all my errands.  I noticed something weird: My back wasn’t sweating like it normally does.  My (under)shirt also didn’t feel dirty like most shirts do after walking around on a hot day.

Maybe all the bamboo and silver thread the shirt was made of actually worked?  I also noticed the armpits were double-fabric, as well as the entire back of the shirt (so even when I did sweat I couldn’t feel it AT ALL on the back of the shirt)!  I didn’t realize at first how many “extra features” this shirt had.  It also just felt really damn comfortable.  I also would brag to friends, “I’m wearing a $60 undershirt!”  ($50 plus shipping for the high end stuff).

This post wasn’t a paid post, I just genuinely like the product Jonathan created.

This is why I risk posting biz information on this blog even though some people might copy it.  I think it’s hella cool he got at least SOME inspiration to start a business from me.  Kind of makes me feel all warm inside (but NOT sweaty!) <–wow…that was a lame joke.

Doing Handstands with Tim Ferris

I don’t consider Tim Ferris a HUGE celebrity like Elton John or Lance Armstrong, but I do consider him a big celebrity in certain circles.

Most of the people I know have heard of Tim Ferris, or at least occasionally read his blog….and if they’re even semi-nerds, they DEFINITELY know him.

Ok, typing this is boring, I’m jumping to the pen:




It was actually pretty fascinating to hear him talk about his quick rise to fame…and how it was no accident.  He used a lot of VERY CLEVER and untraditional ways to get his book out there…and it’s amazing how well it worked.

I have a new found respect for him.

It was also  very cool that some very high up people at the conference during their speeches said how The Four Hour Work Week changed their lives! I previously thought the book was meant for not-very-big-time people…but I was very wrong.

I’m feeling adventurous

I’m doing something right now that might be really fucking stupid:

I’m going to publicly name something I don’t like.

I’m going to publicly denounce something that might be totally my fault.

I’m also going to say something that MIGHT be better just left unsaid.

Posting something like this has been on my mind for a long time, but I think it’s sudden re-emergence is a combination of being a little ballsy from having to blog everyday, and re-reading a fantastic post Adam McFarland wrote.  <– Go read that and the comments.


Let me jump right in then explain (before I start getting rational and cancel this post):

There are two companies I do not like.  One is called RaveWorx.com and another is RaveHaven.com.

These companies were both started because of me. Not BY me….but because of me.

I love to share information to some extent.  I enjoy it because it gives me something to do, and in the process it often helps people.  So a while ago I created a six part series about how a business I created called HouseOfRave works.

Now there’ve been MANY clones of HouseOfRave, but most of them never get fully setup.


RaveWorx.com:

This was started by a guy named Karl Weinmeister who lives in Austin, TX. (which is funny because I live here too).  A few years ago I saw this “rave products” website sprout up (nothing wrong with a little competition)…but a little research showed that the same Karl Weinmeister who owned the website WAS ALSO A VISITOR TO MY BLOG.

Innntteerresstting  ::strokes beard::

I dug a little deeper and noticed he’d been involved on NevBlog through the comments and through direct email correspondence with me (he asked questions about how I setup my drop shipping business).  Now he “all of a sudden” had the exact same type of business.

I rang up Karl (someone I’d never directly spoken to) and told him over the phone, “Hi, this is Neville.”  He was stunned…but knew exactly who I was.

We met up for dinner a few times and talked.  At least if I have a competitor I’d rather be on good terms with him.

I was glad my post had helped fuel Karl’s foray into starting his own business…but flat out copying my model…not cool in my book.
Did he do anything illegal? Technically no.  I freely posted all that information out there for free.

RaveHaven.com:
A guy named Haroon Saleemi (who also was a reader of my blog and asked questions through the comments) popped up with a website called RaveHaven.com one day.  I dug around and found out he had a blog.  His blog was documenting him starting some businesses.

His 1st business: RaveHaven.com = Based off my HouseOfRave.com

His 2nd business: PartyRhino.com = Based off my BodyMonkey.com

It was almost HILARIOUS to read his blog posts about “How he came up with selling rave products online” without mentioning me.  After I left a few comments on his website, he stopped blogging.

When I called Tarun, he pretended he didn’t know who I was, but quickly dropped that charade.  He then said, “Well, you shouldn’t post what you do online.” Maybe he was right. Perhaps I should just hoard all my useful information to myself?

Anyhow, he was moderately cooperative with me (although not as much as Karl).  I made it very clear that he was not to use any of my original photos or videos or copy.  To his credit, I’ve never seen DIRECT rip offs of my site….although there has been been VERY obvious “renaming” of his products to reflect mine, and he once did a re-design of his website that used the HouseOfRave slogan “Light Up Your Night”.  I called him about it…and to his credit, he changed it right away.

SO THERE YOU HAVE IT. Whether it’s rational or not….those are some people that kind of ruined blogging for me.  There have been a BUUUNCCH of HouseOfRave copycats….and probably the ones I should be most worried about I’m not naming.
While I’m being all honest here, I may as well try to list my subconcious fears of some of these copycat businesses:

  • I probably fear them a little
  • I don’t want them to make them more motivated to improve their businesses
  • I don’t want to reveal any big secrets of mine that have improved sales
  • I don’t want to reveal time-sensitive secrets that give me a competitive advantage

Here’s a little excerpt from a comment I left on Adam’s post that inspired this post:

I admit I put up a guide which essentially shows you step by step how I built House Of Rave….however it’s meant as a LEARNING tool, not as a “How to copy me” series. The VAST majority of people who email me about that love the post because it inspired them, and they went on to create a similar MODEL businesses, but in a totally different industry. That’s FANTASTIC that a small series of posts I did helped someone start a new chapter of their entrepreneurial life.

Yea…I’m Vain

…and therefore I occasionally search Google/Twitter for mentions of moi.

It’s always awesome when someone you really respect says something nice about you :-)

His link referenced this.

Blogger to WordPress Alexa Effect

I figured transitioning from Blogger to WordPress on March 1st would have a significant effect on my traffic and Alexa rank, but it actually went pretty well!

A ton of old posts are still mis-directed to wrong URL’s which just go to my 404 error page, however it seemed traffic quickly recovered in a few days:

I really hate the Google Analytics versions of my NevBlog stats because I have many pages and files that ARE NOT setup with the tracking code….also visitors to my XML feed don’t get counted, and those are a pretty significant chunk of traffic.

The actual server stats look more like this:

ahhh….that’s more like it!

Here were some basic stats right before the switch:

Stats on 3-1-2010:
NevBlog Alexa: 173,357
Yahoo Pages Indexed: 761
Bing Pages Indexed: 3,170
Google Pages Indexed: 670

Stats on 5-11-2010 (today):
NevBlog Alexa: 148,440
Yahoo Pages Indexed: 1,204
Bing Pages Indexed: 511
Google Pages Indexed: 890

So it seems I actually went up in Alexa ranking (although that’s probably due to writing more often) and it’s EASIER for search engines to find me with WordPress.  I think what really helped with Google (my main source of traffic) was a great WordPress plugin called Google Sitemap Generator which let Google automatically know where all my pages were.  Anyone with a WordPress blog needs that plugin.

Well, I’m off!
-Neville (The guy with a bunch of readers everyday)

I’ve moved…

…from Blogger to WordPress. It’s hard to believe I stuck with Blogger so long!  I loved Blogger, but they kicked all FTP users off.  I’m happy for that because it finally forced me to make the move and it’s great for Bloggers’ business (why use so many resources to support such a small sub-section of their clientele)?

It actually feels kind of like a real life move.

THE GOOD:

  • Updating WordPress is WAY easier.  I used the self-hosted FTP version of Blogger, which means anytime I want to update anything on the main template, my ENTIRE site is erased from my server then re-uploaded via FTP…EVERY SINGLE TIME.
  • Customization and Plugins: There’s a plugin for pretty much anything on WordPress.
  • Migration was easy with the newly improved Blogger to WordPress tool (included with WordPress).  There was also great 301 re-direct method I used (Shout out to Adam for notifying me of this helpful BlogBloke post).  It’s not perfect, but it worked about 75% of the time to re-direct old posts to new posts (like this).

THE BAD:

  • Adsense revenue went down from roughly $12/day to $3/day (probably because I currently have one ad instead of three).
  • I can spot a WordPress blog from a mile away.  They all have a relatively generic feel to them, even the cool looking and highly personalized themes.  The Blogger template felt old, clunky and ugly…but it was unbelievably easy to navigate the site I felt.  I’ll try to add some of the user friendliness back in.
  • Traffic dropped just slightly since people across the internet were getting to my site via broken links….but this is just a personal blog so who cares.  You can always access the old NevBlog by taking any URL and adding /old right after the nevblog.com.

I purposely got a template that maintains a relatively narrow reading area because I like reading like that.  The old Blogger template let me have images:

The new WordPress template can handle images only slightly bigger:

Anyways, enough blog talk.  If you see any weird issues, please notify via comments.  I’ll be continuously updating the template for the next week, but feedback is greatly appreciated!

-Neville


—UPDATE—

Small interesting side note, while trying to quickly finish up this post, the library closed and I got locked in.   Me and a homeless guy had to break out of the library!

HOLY FREAKIN CRAP What Happened??

Don’t worry, I’m just migrating from Blogger to WordPress, so this weekend you most likely will see a bunch of wonky formatting, dead links and other weird things going down on NevBlog.

Cheers :-)
-Nev