Lesson of Patience and Commitment

Google Analytics

Every morning, more or less, one of the first things I do is check my blog statistics on Google Analytics and Feed Burner to see how I’m doing. This usually serves as either a pat on the back or a slap in the face depending on the results.

Feedburner Stats
double ouch!!

The problem is, I focus too much on this and not enough on staying the course and maintaining a consistent quality blog. If I see that my numbers are way up, I can get a bit cocky and sloppy with my posts. If my numbers are down, I can get depressed and careless with them. This isn’t an exact science or anything, but checking these numbers regularly seems to cause me more harm than good.

Google Page Rank

All the ups and downs is just no way to keep a consistent blogging mood. Now I’m not saying this blog should be drama free by any means. This is the story of my first business venture and that would be neither realistic for me or entertaining for you. The point is that there are enough mood swings when starting a business, I don’t need any more fuel on the fire unless it’s going to do me some good. That being said, I do benefit from tracking these stats semi-regularly, so I’m certainly not going to quit all together. I’ll check them weekly from now on rather than obsessively.

This is something I’m learning as I read my new Guerrilla Marketing book by Jay Conrad Levinson. He writes in detail about the importance of staying committed to your marketing and keeping consistent rather than shifting from one message to the next. Marketing takes time to see results so while it’s extremely important to measure your performance, you really can’t expect instantaneous success.

Create a sensible plan, then stick with it until it proves itself to you. How long might that take? Three months, if you’re lucky. Probably six months. Possibly as long as a year. But you will never, ever know whether the plan is working within the first sixty days.

He goes on to talk about one of his clients that dropped a plan too quickly and failed versus a client who stuck out their plan, even though it wasn’t getting great results at first, and was a big success. It just goes to show that you can’t be too hasty to react and judge when it comes to seeing a marketing plan through. If you know it’s good, stick with it. I enjoyed the following quote from his book, so I’ll share it with you. This is me quoting him quoting Thomas Smith in London in 1885:

  1. The first time a man looks at an ad, he doesn’t see it.
  2. The second time, he doesn’t notice it.
  3. The third time, he is conscious of its existence.
  4. The fourth time, he faintly remembers having seen it.
  5. The fifth time, he reads the ad.
  6. The sixth time, he turns up his nose at it.
  7. The seventh time, he reads it through and says, “Oh brother!”
  8. The eight time, he says, “Here’s that confounded thing again!”
  9. The ninth time, he wonders if it amounts to anything.
  10. The tenth time, he will ask his neighbor if he has tried it.
  11. The eleventh time, he wonders how the advertiser makes a pay.
  12. The twelfth time, he thinks it must be a good thing.
  13. The thirteenth time, he thinks it might be worth something.
  14. The fourteenth time, he remembers that he wanted such a thing for along time.
  15. The fifteenth time, he is tantalized because he cannot afford to buy it.
  16. The sixteenth time, he things he will buy it someday.
  17. The seventeenth time, he makes a memorandum of it.
  18. The eighteenth time, he swears at his poverty.
  19. The nineteenth time, he counts his money carefully.
  20. The twentieth time he sees the ad, he buys the article or instruct his wife to do so.

So for now I’m just going to keep on keeping on and let the numbers do their thing. The stats posted above are pretty much live data. I suspect my numbers are down because I’m extremely busy and not able to post as often as I’d like. I’m not letting them affect me much though. Soo my subscriptions have dropped 50% in the span of a day, big deal, their just silly little naughty numbers, they’ll go back up. It’s all good. Could you excuse me a moment…


…Yep, I’m just going to keep on keeping on!

“Imaginary Business” Cards

business cards
a fresh batch of cards

Well, tomorrow is the big day (small biz fair) and I’ve been spending some quality time tonight prepping. I’ve thought a little about questions I’d like answered and how I will go about discussing my future business and promoting this blog, but today has be a very brain-dead day so I mostly just staired at a blank sheet of paper and drooled.

As you can see, though, I did summon enough brain cells to make some snazzy business cards for the occassion. Now all I need is a business to go along with them. Someday maybe I’ll hop off Mr. Rogers trolly and actually have a real business up and running. But for now, I just have to pretend. Hopefully, I’ll get in some good networking tomorrow and this event will learn me a thing or two. Wow, I better hurry up and finish this memo, I’m getting dumber by the second (brane is done overworked).

Anyways, being that time is such a valuable commodity to me right now (even moreso than usual), and this is an all day event, I sure hope it pays off. I’ll be sure to report back here on Sunday and let you know how it went and what I learned from it all. And that’s all i have to say about that.

Welcome Second Lifers

Second Life Screenshot
Second Life Screenshot

My girlfriend Misty is pretty hooked on the computer game Second Life and was kind enough to advertise my blog on there :). If you don’t know, Second Life is an extremely popular game/virtual world right now. I’ve never played it myself (no time) but like MySpace, I’m convinced they put crack in their code. I need to find out where I can get my hands on some of this virtual crack so I can sprinkle some on my appetizer. Anyways, in this game you can design characters, houses, clothes, storefronts, etc. and actually make real money in the process. From what I understand, people are making some damn good money selling Real Estate, if you can believe that. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! There are tons of business transactions going on everyday on that game, if you can even call it a game. The line between game and reality is getting way too thin these days.

Perhaps I should say to hell with my first life and consider starting a virtual business inside Second Life instead. Somehow though, I’m pretty sure I would wind up in a virtual cube and my character would have to commute through virtual traffic every morning. Then I’d make my character program on his little computer all day. Course then when I wasn’t looking he’d probably download Second Life and start playing and put his character to work in a cube and, of course, my brain wouldn’t be able to process that so it would go ahead and explode.

Hmmm…on second thought, maybe I better stick to my first life.

Update: Second Life was recently hacked! The line between game and reality just got thinner yet ;).

The End of The Beginning

So, where am I at with this thing? Well, I set up this blog for starters. And, I think that’s as far as I’m willing to go. I’m scared to death.

The End!

Actually, it’s moving along quite nicely. My “homework schedule” is now posted in the home “office”.

I feel like I’m back at college. One of the hardest thing has been cutting out TV, but I think I’ll be alright once the shakes subside. Oh crap, the SEASON FINALE of Hell’s Kitchen is on! Where’s the remote? This is not a drill people! To be continued…

Alright, where was I? Oh right, let me fill you in on what I’ve done as far as setting up this blog and beginning the marketing process. This blog serves as a marketing tool for my business, so let me briefly talk about how I set it up. First of all, it is a WordPress blog that I installed on my web server at home. Something Ventured is a title that I felt nicely embodied what it is I am doing. As always though, whenever I think I’m being original, there’s a million people out there thinking the same thing. When I tried to register the name at GoDaddy I discovered there’s already a “somethingventured.com” out there.

As I did a little more investigating, there are tons of sites out there using this phrase. Go figure. I’m unique and original just like everybody else, right? So I tried a few others and finally settled on someventure. I think it works, what do you think? It’s all in how you read it. If you have a half-full glass, it’s “wow, that’s SOME venture you got there!”. If your glass is half empty, it’s “neh, that’s just some venture, who cares”. Or maybe you happen to be drinking a quadruple shot latte or mixed drink and it’s “hey man…some [people] venture…think about it?”. However you read it, it’s a done deal, and I am now officially financially invested in this puppy. A whopping $9.20 too!

Now, the next order of business is how to market my marketing tool. For starters, I setup an RSS News Feed (top right, if you haven’t already subscribed) to run through the all powerful FeedBurner, so I can monitor usage and enhance/promote the feed. I then setup an account with Google Analytics to help me measure traffic to this site. And the first wave of marketing is underway. The search engines are probably crawling as we speak, as I submitted the domain to Open Directory, Google, Yahoo, and other free directories. I linked to it from a few others sites that I own as well as blog search engines Technorati, Weblogs, and BlogSearchEngine. It’s been added to my list of del.icio.us links and I’m hoping others will follow suit (wink). If you use Technorati and want to add this blog to your profile, I added a link in my sidebar just for you.

So, my plan from here is to start participating more in other peoples blogs and get the word out that way. I am also considering posting links in MySpace and other social networking sites. And if you’ve ever heard of the game SecondLife – I may do some advertising there as well. I’ll keep you updated on how my marketing efforts are paying off and new tools I find along the way. If you have any good tips, please comment.


My lovely and talented girlfriend Misty helped me out with the logo. Although she’ll probably never help me again because I was such a pain in the process, right Misty? Misty? Huh, that’s odd, there’s just a note where all her stuff used to be?

Great Wide Open

Hello and welcome to Something Ventured! My name is Zack and this is my personal blog all about starting a professional business. I’m currently 29 years old (this is subject to change), I reside in Portland, Oregon, and I build web apps for a living. This consists of driving to work every day at 6:30am and sitting in a cube until 5pm. I then drive home, watch a little TV, go to bed, and wake up and do it all over again. Quite the rock star life I’m living, eh? Well, that’s about to change. I’m going to take a big risk and roll the dice. I am going to try my hand at being a Web Entrepreneur and start a business. My first ever attempt and I am going to do it all live, right here. This blog will bear witness to all my accomplishments and shortcomings along the way. Good, bad, ugly…I’ll share it all!

Building a web app is my first order of business and the primary focus of this blog. In the process, I aim to be as transparent and informative as humanly possible, without giving away my idea. I started this blog to keep a journal of my efforts, share my journey with the world, and hopefully inspire and motivate those of you in the same boat to take the leap along with me. It’s time to come up with an enthusiastic response to that lingering question: what the heck am I doing with my life? This blog gives me a live audience and provides that much more motivation to follow through and do it right. Make no mistake…there will be mistakes along the way (which I’ll share for your viewing pleasure). I hope this will attract both those anxious to learn the process, like me, as well as those who have been there and can offer advice. If nothing else, I want this to be a good learning experience. If you have good venture tips/tricks/stories, please share.

So now that you know the purpose of this puppy, let me just briefly tell you how I got to this point. After college graduation and living on my parent’s couch for several months searching/begging for work, I finally found a job. And now that I have it, I wonder why I wanted it. It’s now apparent to me that I should have been brainstorming web apps on that couch instead of sending off resumes. But, that’s not how it went down. It’s been around four years now and I’m gradually making my way up the old ladder, although I’m pretty sure it just leads to more ladders. Maybe what I need to be doing is digging holes. This is starting to sound a lot like the game LoadRunner (classic computer game). Anyways, the excitement of being in the real world with a college education and shiny new job has worn off. I am realizing that if I’m not careful I could wind up spending my life in a cubicle, only to retire and upgrade to a nice, roomy coffin. It’s time for me to slap myself out of it and wake up. I need to unplug myself from the Matrix, walk off the set of the Truman Show, wake up the day after Groundhogs Day, make somebody an offer they can’t refuse…something. At very least I need to watch less movies. Seriously though, it’s time for me to make my own way and be my own boss. Any of this sound familiar? Good, then you are definitely in the right place!

Why not step over that line with me? For those of you who already have – congratulations, maybe you can offer us some guidance on our journey. For those of you who are happy where you’re at – congratulations, kick back and enjoy the ride. As for the rest of ya’s – I say it’s time to take a risk. You know the old proverb: nothing ventured, nothing gained? Welp, I reckon it’s time to venture out and find us something. Let’s roll!