It’s FRIDAY!! In college that used to mean soon as it became dark outside I would get jitters to go out. I literally had to go out on the weekends. Hanging with friends, frat parties, clubbing, bowling, art gallery opening, picnics, meteor watching parties, house party…..I ALWAYS had to do something on the weekends, I literally could not stay home or I’d get jittery.
This was probably a remnant of my childhood since my parents were very socially active. I remember through elementary school, middle school, and high school, it was pretty much the norm to attend at least 2-3 parties over the weekend plus other activities.
Friends at school would tell me their family just, “stayed at home and got a movie from Blockbuster and ordered a pizza.” This was LAME I thought, since that was never a normal thing for my active family.
Even after college I kept that pace up…..actually I increased it.
Remove the classes + add some income = party time!
Now all this partying wasn’t just drinking and crazy stuff. A lot of times it was cool events and social clubs and entrepreneur clubs and tech meetups, but it was still an active social life.
However, now that I’m 30 (almost 31), it’s slowed down a bit.
People always say “As I get older I can’t drink as much” or “As I get older I can’t go out as much.”
…..I understand that, but I don’t think it’s fully a function of age.
For the drinking part, physiologically you CAN drink as much when you’re older, but the increased fat, decreased muscle mass, age-related problems, medications, and decreased frequency of drinking (aka lower tolerance) causes this for the most part.
For the going out part, I agree some of it is a decreased stamina issue as you age, but I think a whooollee lot of it is a DESIRE issue.
Let me nerdily calculate this out for you:
Let’s assume I entered college at age 18. I was in college for 5 years (slow track for me).
How many times do you think I went out?
45 weeks a year I did at least two events (extremely lowball figure) = 90 x 5 years = 450 times.
After college from age 23 till 26 I went out 5 days a week probably 45 weeks of the year. 45 x 5 x 4 = 900 times.
From age 26-30 went out maybe 400 times.
…..ok, enough fuzzy math (and notice I was only account for 45 weeks a year not 52….I assume all those numbers are WAY more especially during the crazy holiday times.
THE POINT OF THIS IS:
By the time someone with a reasonably active social life is 30, they’ve been “out” over 2,000 times!
That number kinda blows your mind right??
When I was 23 if someone said, “Hey let’s randomly go out to 6th St!” (austin’s party area) I was sooooo down.
But at age 30 if someone said, “Hey it’s Tuesday let’s randomly go out to 6th St and get drunk” I would probably say ::in nerdy excited voice:: “No thanks I’m gonna sit at home and get some work done then read, then blog, then play with my 3D printer.”
That’s not always true, but it happens more and more frequently as I get older.
But it’s NOT a function of age, it’s a function of experience.
Those two things just happen to correlate to each other.
To prove this….see if you know someone who missed out on much of their youthful freedom. Maybe they got married crazily early then got a divorce when older, or always lived at home with strict parents, or had to provide for their family and never got to play.
When these people get older then all of a sudden come into freedom, they start going out with the youthful exuberance of a 21 year old, even though they’re weirdly old to be acting like that. But eventually they get over it….like after going out 2,000 times :-P
Anyhow, there was no real point to this email other than to present an alternative view of this.
So if you’re not going out as much, it’s not because you’re old…..maybe you’re just not as EXCITED for the same old stuff anymore. And maybe other things in life become more exciting.
So this past weekend I attended a conference for financial bloggers called FinCon.
I honestly didn’t know this existed until a friend said he was going. So at the last minute I decided “what the hell” and tried to go.
The idea of a bunch of nerds who blog about their finances online getting together at a conference made me laugh. FREAKIN LOSERS!!
Then I realized I was one of the first people online to publicly list his finances online……
And that my blog is literally named “Neville’s Financial Blog”……….
So I started to make some plans for headed to St. Louis for it, but FinCon was already sold out, and every hotel within 1.5 miles of the conference center was sold out! (apparently the St. Louis Cardinals was in the finals and the stadium was right next to the event).
Fortunately they had a “ticket exchange” and a “roommate exchange” for late stragglers like to me, so I scalped a ticket and found a roommate to split a room with.
Now I’ve actually been to a lot of conferences over the years, and it’s pretty clear the same thing happens each time:
You get a certain amount of value out of the speakers and events, but you get the MOST value from just meeting other people at the conference.
So if Lazy Larry stays home and watches every speech online and takes notes….he’ll come away with some good nuggets of information.
But if Friendly Freddy actually goes to the conference, and even misses a few of the sessions because he’s hungover……he will still get more out of the conference than Lazy Larry because he’s at the conference mingling, making friends, going out to breakfast/lunch/dinner with all the other nerds at the conference and building up a network of like-minded people.
Anyhow……soon after arriving I realized FinCon is the ONLY place where it’s appropriate to walk up to a stranger and ask “Hi, what’s your blog??”
Even more interesting was that you’d usually have heard of the persons blog.
A conversation begins.
Interesting things are shared.
Friends are made.
Enough babbling, here’s some of the trip in pictures:
A selfie of me on the train (I didn’t know St. Louis had a decent train)? I’m jealous.
This was my roommate Romeo, who was more responsible than me and made proper room plans ahead of time!
Pretty quick you meet people you sort of know already through their blogs and make friends:
Billy and Steve…..I’m taking a wild guess they’re probably talking about blogs:
Pat Flynn was such a cool guy. I’d read his stuff before, and it was great hearing him talk and getting to know him better.
The St. Louis Arch. I saw it 20 years ago with my family. The building on the left was the Hyatt where everyone stayed, and the arch was LITERALLY right out the window, a very cool view!
Naturally I took a handstand picture under the Arch:
On Friday night there was a party at the Hilton in this super-awesome rooftop club/restaurant thing they had. It had complete panorama views of the city, the Arch, and overlooked one of the final games for the Cardinals.
It was so cool to hear/see the roar of the crowds from above!
This next picture won’t mean much to anyone else, but I’m including it here so I remember this: Derek Halpern waived his speaking at the conference and instead told them “I’ll speak if you spend all the money on an open-bar closing party.” After that party was done, a group of 30+ people were trying to get cabs to a different place, and logistically it wasn’t working out very well.
Out of the clear blue, a big-ass party bus pulls up, opens the door, and a woman holding a giant can of Budweiser gets out and goes, “Need a ride??”
We all pile in and get a ride to the bar we were trying to go to.
I ASSUMED the woman worked for Budweiser and this was some promotional stunt. Turns out it was a church bus and the driver was just trying to make extra money! It was just one of those funny moments where you think, “That couldn’t have worked out ANY better!”
Then Patt Flynn showed us that he can dance really well….
And then some of us had a fancy-chmancy Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse dinner (get the filet):
And that was FinCon! Sincerely, Neville Medhora
P.S. While I learned a lot from going to the sessions, the main benefits of these conferences comes from making new friends and hearing stories you otherwise wouldn’t just sitting behind a computer.
Now I wish there was some more time for me to hang out in Austin, but this weekend (Oct. 24th – 27th, 2013) I’ll be going to vegas for a small copywriting conference.
It’s going to be between 50 and 80 people, and some of the copywriting legends like John Carlton and Joe Sugarman will be there. THIS is a huge opportunity to hear some of the really big-time guys speak….but more importantly……hang out with them for the whole weekend on a personal level.
I also happen to be taking one person WITH me to the conference for free. If you wanna be that person, register here: (Monday is the last day to enter, I’m picking the winner Tuesday morning)! http://www.kopywritingkourse.com/vegas/
I’ve sold a crap-ton of things online over the years. Physical stuff, digital stuff, services, software…..so I know a bit about this.
But a lot of people still have trouble trying to sell even ONE thing online.
But don’t fret, your Uncle Neville is here to help you out!
So awkwardly come sit on my lap, and I’ll quickly explain the 4 different ways I’ve personally used to sell stuff online (depending on your situation):
I’ll make each of these quick-n-basic.
Even if you’re NOT planning on selling something online right now, I suggest you read this email and save it for future reference (or forward to someone who can use it):
IF YOU’RE SELLING: an ebook, Excel file, video, piece of software….. (Setup time: 5 minutes including sign up).
The best and fastest way to sell a single file type of product is GumRoad. It’s retardedly simple (is that politically correct to say anymore)??
When I would sell my class notes in college, I sincerely wish I had something like GumRoad, because it totally automates the whole paying/delivering process.
You see….the DELIVERY process is always hardest. I could easily accept PayPal payments, but then I’d have to manually send people their purchase through email. GumRoad does all of this without you lifting a finger.
All you do is upload the file you want to sell to GumRoad, set the price….and you’re literally done. Wanna see it in action??
I did a project called the ProblemSolvingChecklist which was a veerrryy short PDF document meant to sit on your computer desktop.
All I needed to do was collect $10 from people and send them a PDF file. GumRoad was PERFECT for this. You can see it here:
(this image is just linked to GumRoad directly where people can buy)
Even if I wanted to sell it through email because I have low website skills, all I have to do is include this short link, and it’ll take you directly to the sales page:
I sold hundreds of these through GumRoad in this manner.
GumRoad Pro’s: Insanely fast and easy to use. Amazing for selling/delivering individual things. GumRoad Cons: They don’t accept PayPal.
IF YOU’RE SELLING……a small amount of something or consulting services: (Setup time: 5 minutes)
I’d suggest PayPal for selling ANYTHING in small amount. You can put little buy buttons anywhere on a website or email, and pretty much EVERYONE already uses PayPal. Usually when buying a digital product I PREFER to pay with PayPal since it’s super-easy to request a refund if needed, and I don’t have to enter my credit card info (not concerned about safety, it’s more a laziness thing) :-P
Like if I made pet hamster costumes as a hobby and wanted to sell them myself, I’d just stick up a PayPal button, like this:
Just go to PayPal –> Merchant Tools –> Make Button
….and you can set the price and style of your button to get paid!
(btw…I knoowww I knowwww I spelled “Hamster” wrong).
So STILL TO THIS DAY I have some old digital products that are sold through PayPal, and not integrated into a fancy delivery system. I get the persons order, and manually send them access through email. Don’t be afraid to be ghetto!!
IF YOU’RE SELLING……a bunch of physical stuff: (Setup time: 1 hour)
If you want a legitimate eCommerce STORE on the internet that sells a lot of items, has a built in shopping cart, inventory tracking etc….then I would suggest using one of these three:
NOW…..I know you’re gonna want to compare them all, but you’re too lazy. FORTUNATELY your old Uncle Neville has you covered, and has extensively used all three of those platforms (I’ve used a ton other too, but these are the best services I’ve seen).
Shopify by far is the easiest and most intuitive to use (and the fastest). It’s also got a huge app store so you can tack on functionality as needed.
BigCommerce and Volusion were both very good….but much more clunky to use and modify. They were just “harder” to use that Shopify in general.
*One thing I loved about BigCommerce was it’s digital delivery. You can deliver digital goods and it was VERY VERY seemless. With Shopify I’ve had to find some work-around apps that don’t integrate quite as well as what BigCommerce has.
But if you’re just selling normal stuff, I’d highly recommend Shopify
(I personally picked Shopify for my NevBlog Store).
IF YOU’RE SELLING…..a book. (Setup time: 5 minutes)
Amazon.com is THE place to get a book…..so why not put your book on there??
It’s SO FREAKIN EASY TO SELF-PUBLISH A BOOK nowadays. Especially through the Kindle platform.
And just a side note, every time I’ve released a book, the Kindle version greatly outsells the physical version. Usually on a 3-to-1 ratio. Other author friends have told me the same findings.
So the Kindle version is usually cheaper, but you sell SO many more books. And it’s all digital, so there’s no worry about shipping.
You can take any story, blog series, or article you’ve made, and turn it into a Kindle book. Just save it as a PDF file and upload it to http://kdp.amazon.com. BAM….you’re a self-published author! See my recent book on amazon:
In addition to Kindle, I also used CreateSpace to make this book physically available, but so far the Kindle version has FAR outsold the physical version. I personally prefer the physical version, but the people have spoken!
Bonus places to sell:
You can now start hosting specific things on specific services. These services offer you a marketplace to sell in, and also handle the payment stuff for you (kinda like eBay does all the work for you). Here’s a quick list:
-Selling an educational course? Upload it to something like Udemy or Skillshare.
-Selling designs for 3D printing? Upload your designs on Shapeways.
-Selling unique crafts? Post your stuff on Etsy.
-Selling your computer skills? Post yourself on eLance.
The downside of these services is you lose some degree of control of how you sell your stuff, because you gotta play within their rules. Obviously they also take a cut of your sales. But these are great tools to use if you don’t have the skill or desire to take everything in your own hands.
So there you have it my young child (you can get off my lap now)…those are a couple ways to start selling stuff online quickly.
Don’t over think stuff too much though. You can almost always just use a simple PayPal button to accept payments for damn-near everything.
Old Uncle Neville
P.S. If you tell me what you’re trying to sell in the comments, I’ll respond and give you some advice on where to start! Or just lemme know how YOU’VE sold something online quickly, I love hearing those stories and techniques.
P.P.S. I made this entire blog post from my pool! I hosted an “8am-early-morning-creative-writing-session-from-the-middle-of-the-pool” party. It’s awesome to sit and write around OTHER people who are writing also. Fun mixed with productivity! Image credit to Corina. There were 5 of us working out of the pool for 2 hours:
My apartment in Downtown Austin has officially become a manufacturing facility!!
I got my new MakerBot Replicator 3D printer and setup it up this week. Here it is sitting on my kitchen counter:
After setting it up and handling a few minor technical issues, I tried firing it up and printing something that was on the included SD card. First thing I printed was this stretchy bracelet. Here it is layer-by-layer being printed out in PLA plastic:
Finished product. Took a little less than 15 minutes to fully print:
Take it off the built plate and it’s ready to wear! That’s what I liked about the MakerBot Replicator2….it doesn’t have any messy cleanup process (a lot of 3D printers use powder or plastic-resin to make stuff which has to be cleaned off). It’s super sturdy and can be stretched:
Like I previously wrote, I wanted to print something that couldn’t be made through most manufacturing processes, so I printed a 3D shot glass! It’s got this internal structure that’s useless, but makes the shot glass look cool and “3D printed”.
Here it is halfway printed:
Ready to drink!
I was shocked by how sturdy the shot glass came out. The settings were on super high quality, so it took 1 1/2 hours to print, but the build was extraordinarily strong. I doubt you could even smash that thing with a hammer (I tried and failed). Very impressive strength.
Next thing I printed was this cool looking candle cover. Here it is fresh out of the printer:
Stick a tea-candle in the middle and it gives off this cool effect……and I manufactured this thing in my APARTMENT!!
The next step was to see how long some real “manufacturing” would take. So before running out of the house for a few hours, I quickly added some random items to a file and hit ‘print’.
I put 5 3D shot glasses, and 1 stretchy bracelet, hit ‘print’ and ran out of the house. Here was the very beginning phases of the print:
After a few hours (I left the settings on super-high…..so the print took longer than it should have):
8 hours after hitting ‘print’ these were waiting for me at home:
Overall I’m super impressed with this thing. I mean, the technology still sucks right now compared to what it’ll be in the future (being able to print circuits and whatnot), but this is an awesome learning experience.
I quickly learned to use the MakerWare software for loading objects to print…it’s super-simple.
Now I’m going to start learning some 3D modeling using Blender. That will be a tad bit harder, but more rewarding since I’ll be able to make my OWN things and print/share them.
Your Top 5 Influences (10 minutes)
This is one of my favorite concepts:
“You are the composite average of the top 5 people you hang around.”
This doesn’t mean your favorite people to hang around, it means the people you LITERALLY SPEND THE MOST NUMBER OF MINUTES WITH PER DAY.
So if you live at home with your parents, just by the nature of that arrangement, your parents will be some of your top influencers. Or if you have a husband/wife….they will be one of your top influencers.
So take a look around, and write out who your top 5 influences are (aka who you are physically around the most): 1.) __________________ 2.) __________________ 3.) __________________ 4.) __________________ 5.) __________________
Are those people the kind of people you wanna become?
Are they as successful as you wanna be??
Do they have the kind of attitudes about life that you want???
Are they going to places you want to go????
If you’re hanging around a bunch of losers with crappy attitudes…..it’s likely you’ll pick up those traits too.
If you’re hanging around a bunch of positive people with great attitudes and ideas……it’s likely you’ll pick up those traits too.
So check your list to see who is negatively influencing you, and try to cut down the time you spend with those people so they don’t take you down also.
Simply GOING to events that interest you will help get some momentum going. I started to skip a lot of tech events and conferences….and this bad, because those usually motivate the hell out of me (meeting other people doing cool things always makes you work harder).
I still use a physical calendar to track all my stuff like this:
I went to my bookmark bar of “Austin Events” and started adding things recently.
All good spots to start: Meetup.com, Yelp.com, Craigslist Community.
Wanna go to tech meet ups? Then search “tech meet ups Austin” (or wherever you are).
Nearby universities generally hold a lot of cool events.
I have a whole bookmarks tab of websites/museums/charities etc that hold cool events.
Re-connect with friends by giving to them
Next thing I did was throw a small party (not a typical party though). I only invited 1 or 2 other people.
It was called the “Early Morning Blog Post Writing Party From Nev’s Pool Party!”
The rules were:
We start at 8am
We go to the shallow end of the pool at my apt
You bring your laptop
You write a blog post from inside the pool
I wanted it to be like “having your own writing island.”
So me and Billy (Forever Jobless) hit up the pool at my apartment at 8am with laptops for a “Blog Post Writing Party”! It may have been the nerdiest party in the WORLD at that moment!
I’m literally writing this post from the pool right now!!
It was actually damn fun, and Billy even said:
“I got more writing done today than I have in 4 months!”
If there’s any Austinite’s out there interested in joining me for this every once in a while, lemme know.
Changing your living space
I think changing your living space often signifies changing your life in some way.
I bought a super-kick-ass “Float” desk from HumanScale a few weeks ago, and it just arrived.
It’s awesome in several ways: 1.) It can quickly adjust to any height with a small lever. 2.) The work area is clean, all-white, and HUUUGGEE. 3.) The engineering behind it is awesome (it uses a counter-balance system that uses the weight of the stuff on your desk to move it up and down)….yet it’s all hidden inside the desk and you’d never know it. Basically it’s like a desk Apple would make!
It’s super-neat to go from standing to sitting in less than 2 seconds with this desk. Sometimes I prefer moving around and standing, but sometimes sitting down is necessary and more comfortable.
Screw all those “Standing” desks…..this one can do both!
The large size of the desk isn’t really conveyed in that picture. I’ve had it for a while now….and I can honestly say it’s been an awesome investment and really helped with productivity!
Also in the “changing your living space” department…….I needed some art for the loonngggest time but couldn’t find any. So I sat down and ordered two of the BIGGEST pieces of art from Ikea I could possibly find. I stuck one of them over a boring white wall above my bed:
It doesn’t look that big in the picture, but that picture is HUGE. It’s like 6.5 feet across.
I’m also making sure I make the bed every morning. I learned this trick from Gary Halbert:
Make your bed as SOON as you wake up in the morning, and you will already start the day off with a small win!
“Messy bed, Messy head.”
Those are a few things I’m doing to “get my mojo back”. Most of these things are more to mentally-psych myself into being productive once again.
Perhaps if you’re going through a period of time where you need this, you could take some inspiration from any of these tips.
P.S. From my last Superpowers post, these people won NevBox’s: Dave, Dave H, Allen T, Jacqueline P, Robin W.
Thanks Sithana for helping me decide. I’m sending YOU one too for that!
P.P.S.Comment on this post with actions that helped your snap out of a sluggish phase in your life….I’ll physically ship 5 commenters NevBox’s (worth $97 each…and you can’t even buy them if you wanted to). Not only that, but your comment might give some poor soul trying to “figure things out” an idea that could change their life!
P.P.P.S. Please share/send this to anyone who could use a little “jump-start” in their life.
So get this, a few weeks ago I took a 3D printing class!!
I haven’t learned any new skill in a while, so I thought this would be a fun nerd-activity.
I’ve been fascinated by 3D printing since around 2007, but only now are 3D printers become semi-reliable enough for home use.
Anywhoozle…..I Googled “3D Printing Class Austin” and found a place called TechShop that holds them:
This TechShop was connected to a Lowe’s hardware store, and you can pay a monthly membership to use all the high end machine and manufacturing tools there like this:
The class I enrolled in would teach you how to use a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer. You can see the Replicator1 (left), and Replicator2 (right):
Our instructor mainly showed how to use the cool-looking Replicator2:
The first step was to learn the software, so we all downloaded pre-existing .stl files from the internet and loaded them into the 3D printing software. Here’s the little toy octopus gettin ready to print:
Once the file is sent to the printer, it starts printing out small layers of PLA plastic less than 1 millimeter thick. Once it’s done with that first layer, it moves up and prints another layer. It does this hundreds of times until a full object is printed out!
Here’s the printer in action using orange plastic:
After about 15 minutes of printing a REAL OBJECT WE DOWNLOADED FROM THE INTERNET CAME INTO EXISTENCE!!!
Now I’d been wanting a 3D printer for a long time, and after taking the class I was dead-set on getting one….so I made a quick internet order for a MakerBot Replicator2.
I ordered a couple of spools of plastic filament and the MakerCare Insurance (because there’s like a 99% chance something WILL go wrong with the machine in less than a year).
I’ve also started downloading the printing software and experimenting/downloading objects from the internet.
The first thing I want to print are these 3D shot glasses which would be impossible to create with a lathe or laser cutter:
I also just for fun wanna print a gun….now keep in mind it’s just a mold of a gun made out of shitty plastic with no moving parts….but the CRAZY thing is the file I’m printing from actually includes all the parts to make a gun (assuming you had a high-precision metal-printing 3D printer you could possibly make one):
I also downloaded a bunch of other random cool stuff from Thingiverse for free.
I dunno exactly where 3D printing will go…..but the ability to create and print out highly complex objects from your home is going open up a WHOLE new plane of creativity like Apps did to smartphones.
It’s so cool to imagine that from my apartment I can manufacture things. I mean….crappy things for now, but the technology will soon get better-and-better to the point where we’ll all be able to print out highly complex objects, machines, and circuitry. SOOOO FREAKIN COOL!
Since I left college I’d always been trying to learn something new at all times….and lately I haven’t, so getting this excited about something new is very refreshing :)
I usually like giving myself only a maximum of three goals, but there’s no particular time-frame for them (which personally helps me).
So this month I’ve divided the goals up into week-long chunks. I’m testing how this will work:
WEEK 1: Apartment modifications
I’ve always been only semi-satisfied with my previous workspace at my current apartment. It was small, my legs would always hit the desk…and for some reason I was just LAZY at this desk.
I was thinking this amount of money for a desk is INSANE since you can buy a nice desk for waaaayyyy cheaper….but this desk had unique engineering, simplistic elegance, and can easily go from a sitting-desk to a standing-desk in 2 seconds without moving stuff off the desk.
WEEK 2: NevBlog store up and running
I’ve got so many different products and things I sell, but all in different places. Need a place to consolidate that a bit. Also need some semi-advanced functionality for some of these things, but I don’t want to build that myself. So I’ve started using Shopify to build a NevBlog store.
For a few days I was just CONSTANTLY comparing Shopify, BicCommerce and Volusion to see which platform would suite me best.
BigCommerce actually had the functionality I wanted right out of the box, but was more bulky, hard to modify, and less intuitive to use (but it did have a lot of very good features I liked).
Shopify was lightweight, SUPER easy to use. It didn’t have the same digital delivery capability as BigCommerce, but I’ve found some work-arounds.
WEEK 3: Products ported over.
I’ll have to go individually through each offering I have and make sure it works with this new store.
WEEK 4: Start life-changer NevBox.
To be announced :)