Author Archives: Matt Warren

xp logoOver the last few days my computer has been crashing constantly.  Firefox has been hanging and basically making everything rediculously frustrating to use.

I belive that the hard drive is on it’s last legs.  But since it’s a Hitachi I’m actually pretty impressed that it’s stayed alive for this long.  In preparation for a crash I’ve been doing scheduled backups for the last year or so.

All the mis-behaving from Windows has driven me back to Ubuntu.  One great thing that I’ve noticed about switiching is how things have already been set up for me.  With the Google toolbar and Google sync for Firefox everything that I’ve done with Firefox in Windows is synched to my Linux install.  My bookmarks, and history are all there.  Because I use online tools for most of my day to day work everything is easily accessed from Linux.

Everything I need to work on my blogs, and business ideas is either online or there is an application that is easy to find that will work in Linux to do the same thing.

With the help of Google the transition to Linux has been pretty seemless.  Hopefully I won’t have to boot into Windows again anytime soon to retrieve anything.

Of course I’ll be switching to Mac very soon at which point I won’t have to worry about my hard drive crashing at any moment.

DiveJust 10 days into the Thirty Day Challenge and I’m already hooked on the idea of becoming a serious internet marketer. I’ve found a number of people out there that have managed to make ridiculous sums of money online and I want a piece of the action.

Even though I’m still just a beginner learning the ropes, I’m jumping a head of the process.

Setting up the auto-deducting $100/week to use for investing in business ideas has probably been the best move I’ve ever made. Now I don’t feel guilty about purchasing a gadget or paying for hosting to try out a business idea that has the potential of a return on investment. As a result I’ve picked up a few domain names over the last couple of months and explored many different business ideas.

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The marketing strategy for a company is vital to its success. The marketing strategy that I have defined for HalOtis is to leverage the online world to create most of the awareness of the company and website. Over the last few weeks I have read a lot of material about marketing and found that there are very impressive ways to market for free or low cost.

It’s important not to forget about the classic media. My current strategy for offline marketing for when it comes time to use it is to use a PR firm to outsource any publicity and media. I don’t plan on becoming an expert in PR any time soon so it’s best left to those people who are already experts and can quickly distribute press releases, and contact the media on my behalf. It will be exciting when I venture into this.

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I’m in the market for a new computer, and my eye is on the new iMac. In fact I’m not even considering a non-apple product.

I love computers. I’m a full time programmer during the day, and then after work I spend a serious amount of time working on various online projects. In my years I’ve exposed myself to many different operating systems. I’ve used Linux extensively as my primary operating system for several years and loved it. At work I use a variety of Windows versions to great distress. I’ve worked on some really old and new versions of various Unixes over the years. All these have given me the perspective of where the strengths and weaknesses are in various operating systems. Continue reading

I hear the same complaint all the time, post-secondary education is too expensive, students are drowning in debt. They want the government to come in and lend a hand to subsidize or even pay for the education completely.

I attended a university that had one of the lowest costs of any in Canada. There was still a healthy contingent of students upset at paying $1500 for 5 full-time courses for 4 months. At the same time, the buildings were in need of repair, the classrooms needed upgrades and they couldn’t attract new professors. They should have been charging twice what they were. Eventually I transferred to a University that did.

Recently I took a night course; it was $2000 for the equivalent classroom time as one university class. It was a bargain.

Education is two things.

  1. An investment – in yourself, in what you can become, in the money you will make from the knowledge you get at school. It is an enabler that has a measurable return on investment.
  2. Enjoyable – It’s fun to learn new things, be exposed to new ideas, and try to expand the greater public knowledge. There’s an emotional happiness that you get from learning new things that you’re interested in.

The problem lies in the fact that there are many people out there are not financially savvy by the time they finish high school. They cannot evaluate their choice from the financial perspective and end up in financial trouble.

To make matters worse most people I knew had no idea what they wanted to do in post-secondary. The advice was usually something along the lines of

“Well, what do you like doing, and take a course in that”
or
“Just take a general first year and decide later”

That is the worst advice ever.

If you’re going to spend money and many years of your life with this education thing you’d better make sure it’s worth the investment. If you like psychology, talk to some people in the program and see how easy it is to find work in the field. You’ll quickly find out that some fields are completely useless until you have a masters or doctorate. Then a 4 year program becomes a 6 or 8 year program before it is useful. Is it worth 8 years of your life just to get in? What’s the typical salary for those positions? What’s the cost of Tuition start to finish? Finally how long will it take to pay off everything?

What are your goals in life? If you’re ultimate goal in life is to have a nice home in the ‘burbs with 2.5 kids, a nice car and the occasional vacation then you’re going to need money. Make the right choice out of high school and you’ll save your self time and money and reach that goal early. The wrong choice could add years to reaching your goals, if you reach them at all.

It takes time to evaluate the options. So make the time. Don’t just jump in. Make sure that anything you do is worth the costs.

keyThe day six task for the Thirty Day Challenge was to gather some numbers to find an “umbrella phrase” within each niche. We had already gathered search numbers using wordtracker to estimate the number of people making a given search. The next step is to take some of those search terms and look to see how many results are returned in a Google search.

What we’re actually finding is the gems. If there is a good search term out there that a lot of people are looking for, but there’s not a lot of pages out there that are positioned to take advantage of it then there is a good chance that the pages we write and optimize for Google will show up high in the search engine, and get lots of traffic. Continue reading

I’ve narrowed down my list of ideas to these 7:

  1. Motorcycle maintenance
  2. custom belt buckles
  3. web games
  4. felt hats
  5. model rocketry
  6. digital SLR photography techniques
  7. go cart racing

While taking notes about these. I’ve been using Google Notebook to jot down my thoughts but to organize things I’ve found that using a spreadsheet (on Google Docs) to be the most productive.

A spreadsheet provides a bit more structure that should be helpful when it comes time to start comparing these ideas to find the best ones. Quickly being able to scan through everything will help cut a few minutes off the process at least.

I can’t wait to see what Ed has us do next.

In yesterday’s videos for the Thirty Day Challenge Ed was using Google Trends to analyze niche ideas.  For one example he looked at the seasonality of a topic like Trout Fishing.  It occurred to me that there are many things that are seasonal. 

One thing to consider when looking for ideas is what season you’re in.  The challenge takes place in August.  What are the things people are typically buying in August in the US?  Things are getting busy for all those people going back to school in September.

That’s a huge market and now is a good time to try and fit yourself into it.  What are some good niches within that market worth investigating?  I’ll leave that to you to think about.

What other markets are busy in August?  Leave a comment.

Light bulbThere is a secret to finding good ideas. There is a process and frame of mind to have that will result in you having an explosion of ideas to pursue further.

Ideas are the starting point for all great things. For me the idea of having a nice passive income is driving me to more ideas of how to do it. But finding ideas that solve the question of how can be difficult. Here are my tips for getting answers to those vital questions. Continue reading

I’ve been doing some reading on methods for promoting a website, and one of the best ways is to sponsor a wordpress theme. So I’ve decided to do a bit of clean-up on my theme to make it ready to share with the world.

One of the difficulties I found when looking for a theme was that there seemed to be very few with a variable width content panel. I’m hoping that this theme will find some users on other sites and will help me improve it further.

Over the next week I’ll get it all ready and hopefully it will be ready to go by next weekend.

Thinking it might be a good idea for your WordPress site? check out http://codex.wordpress.org/Designing_Themes_for_Public_Release