Sunday, December 30, 2007

I'm not alone

Why did the "The 4-Hour Workweek", by Timothy Ferriss capture my attention? Am I a sucker? Maybe! But I'm not alone. I'm happy to report that I'm not alone in this adventure. It is nice to see other people are as intrigued by this book as myself.

The two sites that I'm aware of, and both of their "owners" have commented on this blog, are as follows:

Diary of a Four-Hour-A-Weeker

As far as I know, this is the first person to start blogging their efforts with the 4HWW principles.

The 4-Hour Workweek Journal

This person started his adventure shortly after I started mine. He sounds shockingly similar to myself - 30 something, married with children, software professional, burnt!

I look forward to watching the progress of each of these individuals. Do you know of other people blogging their journey? Let me know so that I can add them.

This begs the question: What is it about this book that is causing people like myself to write about it? Is it the lure of the minimal work week? No, at least not for me. For me, it's the idea/promise/hope of getting my life back. It's the escape from what I currently know and experience. It's a best seller for a reason - and I think that reason is that most people are absolutely sick of their current situation.

I think people identify with the problem. The book does more than just describe the hell that most of us live in. It describes a solution - with plenty of information to get one started on achieving the solution. It is useful. It's powerful enough that people like me are writing about their experience. I know others will join. We should start a club!

I look forward to making new friends - friends that understand my situation. Friends that share an interest in finding a solution. Friends that ultimately want more from life. I wish everyone attempting to reach the 4HWW success! Cheers to success!

Saturday, December 29, 2007

First Half of January

I'm taking TWO WEEKS of vacation from my employer so that I can focus on a few things:

  1. I have managed to fall behind on some critical paperwork that needs to be addressed. I have to go through past records in order to be able to complete these tasks. Man, I sure wish I had that virtual assistant! I am terrible at doing administrative type of junk that bores the hell out of me. It isn't that I'm not capable, it's just that with so many other, more interesting things on my plate, I PROCRASTINATE on some of the important things that must be done in life. PAPERWORK - YUCK! This two weeks will give me some time to get these done. I'll follow the 4HWW principals of FOCUS to achieve these tasks as quickly as possible. With no business meetings, email, etc... then I should be able to sit down and knock one or two of these tasks out each day until they are done.
  2. My Project: The real intention of me takng this vacation is to work and focus on my project for which this blog is designed to report progress about. That's one of the reasons I had hoped to have more info from my Contract Manufacturer by now. I remain positive that he'll have me the info I need by early next week. I'm going to focus really hard on getting my business plan done. I will need help with this from people who are more experienced than myself, but I at least want to get a draft version of it together that I can take to some people I know with money and hope they think it's as great as I do so that I can get some initial investment money to cover some up-front costs.
  3. My Project: Prototype - I need to work on the web aspects (software design) of my little project. It need not be perfect, but I would like to have some raw functionality so that I can demo it when I present my business plan to potential investors. I tend to be a perfectionist with software development and will have to be very disciplined so that I don't get stuck on little tasks that take a lot of time with little value. This goes back to the 80/20 rule. In software development, you can get 80% of the work done in 20% of the time (or less). It's that final 20% that kicks everyone's ass. It's important, but not for purposes of developing a prototype. I'm not a graphic designer - so my prototype may look a bit rough in the begininning. I can outsource that aspect but my goal for the coming weeks is to have a semi-functional prototype that can be demo'd to the right people. Wish me success!

Contract Manufacturing Update

As you can see, I already messed up on my objective to make a post every day - even if minimal. I won't let this deter me and will attempt to get back on track.

Yesterday, I was supposed to get an update from the contract manufacturer that I have solicited for input on costs associated with getting my device to market. He did give me an update, but it wasn't exactly what I was hoping for! Strike One!

I actually am pretty tolerant of people and businesses, to some degree. More than anything, I want communication on progress and I did receive this. He has ordered a sample that he wants to re-engineer for my device and is waiting for it to get into his hands. I suppose I can't complain too much about this. I'll trust that once this device makes it to him then he'll be able to give me an accurate quote. I prefer accuracy over haste - so no worries.

On another note, I was presented with YABI (Yet Another Business Idea) yesterday. It's a great idea too. Time Management will become key for me in the coming months. FOCUS, FOCUS, FOCUS...

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Contract Manufacturing Meeting and...

Today turned out to be rather informative! I had the conference call with the Contract Manufacturer and they actually gave me an idea regarding my physical device that I was not aware of! Turns out, they have decent experience in this field and really opened my eyes to some possibilities.

They are going to have information to me by this coming Friday with respect to a quote. I should know my initial startup costs associated with getting this thing built, along with per item fees for orders in various quantities.

I like the fact that this company opened my eyes to a device that will actually make my product BETTER! How I missed it in my various levels of research is beyond me, but I did. Since the device already exists and since they have familiarity with it then it looks like a slam dunk. The "off the top of my head" number was very reasonable and I anxiously await seeing it in writing. I trust their past experience will allow that number to be pretty close to accurate.

I'm so excited!!! Can you tell? Action, Action, Action. I am so proud of myself (brag) for taking the first step and actually contacting someone for additional information. It makes this task seem so realistic and possible! My spirits are high right now and I can't wait for Friday when I get some numbers to plug into a business plan and start figuring out the pricing model.

Did I say I was excited? Oh yeah...I did! Keep coming back - this is going to get good...soon!

Today was a great day!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Epiphany (not really) and Merry Christmas

What a great Christmas day with our family. The kids really enjoyed themselves.

I had a slight epiphany today as I was thinking through my little project.

First, I found an extended function for the product that fits nicely with the overall concept but may allow me to reach an even larger audience. Must have been the Christmas festivities that made it ring true in my head!

Secondly, I can market the physical gadget with or without the web site. Since I previously mentioned that the physical device already exists on the market, and I just want to repurpose it a little - why not sell it (or at least attempt to) to the people already buying these gadgets in the first place? My initial feeling is that the gadget is going to be a faster deliverable than the actual web site. The design of the website won't be horribly difficult. The content is the tougher part. It will take time to put all those pieces together. Fortunately, these are parallel tasks - one of which I MUST outsource (the manufacturing of the physical device). The second I will participate in during design and development, but then outsource the content creation. The final packaging must be coordinated, but I can package the actual physical device seperately if it gets completed sooner and then go through a secondary packaging process later for the combined product.

Enough for now, will describe more as we go through the process. I just wanted to get this out for todays minimal post.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Eve

I can't fall behind on my first day! My goal is to make a post each and every day - even if it isn't much. Tonight was spent at a family and friend Christmas Eve party. Lot's of kids this year and it kept us busy. Merry Christmas everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Free Idea: Mashup for Affiliate Accounts

It wouldn't surprise me if such a thing already exists, but if not, here's a free one for the taking (I won't do it):

Create a mashup for managing affiliate accounts! I just started this blog today, and have already created four DIFFERENT accounts for the few products that offer affiliate programs that I put on my other posts. That's amazing!

If you don't know what a mashup is, then this task may not be for you. For general consumption, a mashup is basically a consolidation/aggregation of data from disperate sources (usually web sites/databases/etc...) that can be displayed in a manner that achieves (a) greater functionality, (b) easier navigation or (c) any number of other things to make life easier.

I can see how a pro at this could spend their four hours a week just monitoring their affiliate programs! LOL...not me! But wouldn't a nice web page that brings all the data together in one view be wonderful for the pro's out there?

Anyone familiar with such a thing? If so, let me know. If you build it because of this suggestion then please also let me know so that I know this didn't end up dead in cyberspace - don't worry, I won't ask for anything in return!

Web Hosts

For low budget, quality and reliable uptime, I recommend GoDaddy. They hosted our business web site for over a year. I also use them for domain registrations. The cost is unbelievably low and the customer service is very good.

If, however, you choose to develop your website in Ruby on Rails (as I have done), then you will want to pick someone else to host it. I tried to get ours up and running on GoDaddy, but it was an initial offering for them and I had troubles. I went to another, smaller company. This smaller company specializes in ROR hosting and are responsive to email inquiries. Beware: No phone support. This is a major drawback, but thank goodness they answer their emails more than twice daily! :-) The company is Rails Playground.

Logo Design and Graphics

A few additional tools related to getting your professional image up and running! For our other business, we used the following and I was very impressed with the results.

I was very hesitant at first. It cost us ~$300US and was well worth the expense. They gave several "drafts" of logo designs they came up with. We went back and forth a few times and were happy with our final revision. The logo is very professional looking and was designed quickly. The customer service and their system is setup very efficiently. I was very pleased with the outcome.

Shutterstock provided all the professional looking images for our website. They have a huge assortment of "stock" and we just picked out several that we liked. We then gave them to a graphic designer that worked on the overall layout of our site (color scheme, navigation, etc...) and he made them fit right in with slight modification. It's a pay service, but we thought it was great.

Product Idea

While Anonymous in nature, I will review a few details for those who have an interest in knowing about my product:

  • It has to do with food. However, it isn't a food product.

  • There are two major aspects to this: A website that will require a heck of a lot of content (yes, I will unquestionably outsource the content aspect of the site) and two, a physical device. This device, to some degree, already exists. However, for sake of my marketing, I need to repurpose it slightly. Because the device already exists, I'm hoping a contract manufacturer will be able to replicate it without any engineering junk from me. I am not going to modify the core product - I'm just going to change the way it looks and give it a new purpose in life. I need this because my customers will need to get setup as easily as possible. I want a complete "packaged" solution. Failure for me to deliver this device would mean that I leave my potential customers to have to acquire this on their own. That would make things too hard for them. One stop shopping is what I'm after.

  • I expect to partner with other websites that already offer content that will be of value for my product.

  • I expect to sell A LOT OF THIS!!! I'm not talking hundreds. I'm talking TENS or HUNDREDS of THOUSANDS! In fact, I might be selling myself short with that estimate.

  • I expect to make money from the initial sale of my product, plus from web site content (ads/content/etc...) and from Affiliates that offer complimentary products to mine.

  • My product will be easy to sell at fairs, online, door-to-door and on QVC or other type of infomercial system! Hey, doesn't that sound exciting??? Perhaps one day you will even see my product in stores you visit! Are you wishing me success?
  • My goal is to have it ready by May, 2008. If I can do it quicker then great, but that's my "no later than" target date.

That's it for now! Check back often for updates!

What I have done to date

If you haven't read the Introduction yet, please do! To the right, you will see categories, then introduction. Click on it and read first.

Now that you have read the introduction, I want to give a really quick overview of what I have done to validate this experiment to date. You may well be aware that I'm less than a week into this adventure and I will start posting once a day for status updates. For now:

  1. Read the book "The 4-Hour Workweek", by Timothy Ferriss. I finished my first complete read-through on the night of Friday, December 21, 2007 - the third day of ownership.
  2. Started reading the book "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David Schwartz. I purchased this book on Saturday, December 22, 2007. As of now, I have only read to the end of page 74. Will start reading more tonight, starting on Chapter Four.
  3. Contacted a Contract Manufacturer. You know I have an idea. You know I have no clue how to bring it to market. I suppose the first step is to figure out how much the physical device will cost. I have a conference call setup with them on December 26th. I don't know what to expect from this call. I already emailed them the details of what I need, but it's probably too generic for them to give an accurate quote. This is the FIRST company that I have contacted for a quote. I will contact at least three more companies. I found the company from a link in Tim's book (anything you need manufactured....). This very well may be a task that I offload to a VA when the time is right. For now, I'll do the initial grunt -work and then let them shop around. I need to put a business plan together and knowing how much this thing is going to cost me to have manufactured is a huge missing link. BTW, I haven't started the Business Plan yet - it's only in my head.
  4. I did some prototying BEFORE ALL OF THIS, for what I think is the most difficult aspect of the software design. I spent probably a few days on it, but just an hour here or an hour there - not full days.

That's it! Pretty much starting from scatch. As I do and learn more I'll let you know!

Open Source Software that I use

I mentioned Ubuntu and Asterisk in a different post, because it related to an easy and nearly free PBX solution. In addition, I find the following tools valuable:

  • MySql - Open Source relational database software. It's fantastic and behind some of the largest internet sites in the world.
  • FileZilla - Open Source FTP/SFTP software.
  • Putty - SSH to a linux box from Windows. This is great for gaining access to your hosted servers from a client PC running windows.
  • PocketPutty - Same as above, but from your Windows Mobile/Pocket PC device. In my case, Treo 700wx cell phone.
  • Ruby on Rails - Open Source Web Development framework built around the MVC (Model-View-Controller) design pattern. Hey, it's great in my opinion and I built a solution for our company on it in no time.
  • TightVNC - Like PCAnywhere, but Open Source. Remotely control other computers from this lightweight, low-footprint tool. Note: TightVNC is built upon VNC.
  • OpenOffice - I use this to avoid licensing costs from Microsoft. When starting a small company, you have to save as much money as possible. This was a tough one for the kids - because they all use MSOffice at school. They have gotten used to it though! One very valuable feature that I like about it: I can save all my documents to PDF NATIVELY, without having to use Acrobat or some other print driver. It does a good job of preserving the format from MS Office documents. It's not just a writer, but also a spreadsheet tool that works very much like Excel, a presentation tool, etc...
  • Thunderbird - An Open Source Mail client. Hey, this isn't as good as Outlook (IMHO), but it does the job. Besides, I don't have Outlook! I choose this tool over Outlook Express.
  • RadRails (now Aptima Studio) - Development environment for Ruby on Rails development.
  • Apache - Open Source Web Server. I don't know the current market saturation, but if not number one then number two behind IIS.
  • ... If I come up with others, then I will make a new post for them. If too many others, then I'll consolidate into a new post. I think this is it for now. BTW, I'm ONLY putting down items for Open Source Software that I use, or use regularly! The list of tools available via OpenSource is AMAZING and my list doesn't even touch the surface of what's available.

Why am I using Affiliate Links

You may ask yourself: Why am I using affiliate links? My explanation below:

  • Amazon: I'm writing about a book and providing my insights to the books. If someone decides to purchase any of the books that I have links to then I think I should be able to monetize it. The purpose of this blog isn't to get rich making money on click-throughs - it won't happen. It won't provide me with enough income to buy diapers for the babies. However, anything I am able to make is certainly welcome.
  • AdWords: Why not? It will be interesting to see what kind of ads they eventually put on my blog based on my content. If any of you click on any of them then it will be extra pennies to me.

Finally, there are (or will be) many links that I provide for products that I believe in that will not result in any compensation to me in any way, shape or form. Either because they don't have affiliate programs or because I'm unaware of them. If I post something of value and can make money from it then great. If not, it's not going to stop me from posting links to things I find valuable. e.g. AccessLine, Ubuntu, Asterisk, More to Come...

Why Anonymous?

I expect that anyone who reads this blog will first question my decision to be anonymous. In no certain order, here are my reasons:

  • The product is anonymous until I launch it. Clearly, I don't want anyone else going to market faster than I'm able to. Once the product is launched then I will make clear what the product is. I don't have much spare time (yet) so I may work slower than 99% of the rest of the population.
  • The reason I remain anonymous is because I don't want anyone knowing who I am yet. Rest assured, I'm not famous. I'm not affiliated with the author (yet) in any way, shape, or form. I'm just a guy who wants to put his work to use and see what the outcome of my efforts might be.
  • I don't want my employer to know who I am. Wow, if they actually found out then it would mean I had some momentum. However, I need not have anyone scrutinizing me at this point in time. When my product is launched then I will reveal myself.
  • I don't reveal the name of our other company that is already running because I don't speak very highly of it! It almost drove me insane, but it does provide income to our household that we desperately need.

That's it! No major cover-up, no big mystery. It's just my preference for the time being.

Phone System for the poor...FREE, almost...

I'm a big believer in Open Source software, and some of the best software available today is open source (Linux, Apache, MySQL, etc...).

As we were starting our service business two years ago, which shouldn't be recommended to anyone :-), I needed a phone system that would work in my home. As mentioned in a previous post, we use AccessLine so that we can have a remote work force. However, I needed something that would allow me to have multiple lines within my home that would all be tied together, allow transfers, etc... Also, before I knew about AccessLine, I had already gone down this different path.

Asterisk - It's an open source PBX system! With very little money (just hardware which is very inexpensive), you can have your business up and running with a full-fledged PBX. We have one vonage line and four land-lines from our cable provider running into an old computer that's only purpose in life is to route phone calls. You can do some VERY fancy stuff with Asterisk. We use it for bare minimum functionality but it works great. You can also set it up so that it can support your entire remote workforce too, but I am just too afraid to put it on the outside of our firewall. Thus, the multiple systems (Asterisk and AccessLine). The actual software is found here: You may want to check into Asterisk@Home as well. Apparently, it is now called TrixBox (as I found out when trying to get a linke to their website). Here ya go: Asterisk@Home

BTW, we have found success running it on the Ubuntu distribution of Linux. It gave us problems ONE time in TWO years and that's because I had debug logging enabled and didn't realize it and the disk ran out of free space! Other than that, it's been a great performer! An entire history of inbound and outbound calls are stored in a database for your archival purposes.

Hope this helps...

Remote Phone Service Provider / 800 Number Vendor

In the book,The 4-Hour Workweek, the author gives a list of tools that are very valuable when starting a business and/or trying to work remotely. During the other business we setup, I had to have a remote sales force and customer service department. For our business, we hire people to work out of their home. The goal was to not have people tied to our residence since it was a home based business.

We have used AccessLine for a few years via an OfficeMax partnership. With the exception of a few minor glitches along the way, we have been pretty happy with what their service offers. We can have up to 16 (I believe) extensions plugged into the automated system. When customers call our 800 number, they are presented with an IVR type of situation. Press 1 for this, 2 for that. If you know your parties extension, press XXX. For each of the automated options, you can supply a number for it to go to (cell, landline, etc...). They can be the same, or different. You can also have failover numbers. So let's say someone is trying to reach Sales Associate "Jane Doe." Jane Doe doesn't answer the phone in her office/home/whatever. I can configure this system (very easily) to let it ring her line "n" number of times, if no answer, ring to my backup line or go to voicemail.

With our service level, which I believe is $99 per month roughly, plus per-minute charges for the 800 line, we don't get extra voicemail boxes. Therefore, we have just one company voicemail box. As people leave voicemails, they get sent to an email address for our company.

This company is not listed in the book, but I can vouch for them and am happy with the service. When we have had problems, their tech support is pretty decent. During two years, we had one period of time where our phones were down for an entire day. Hopefully it doesn't happen again. While the silence was nice, it also meant no money coming in.

I hope someone finds this of value.

Why this blog? Important Background Information...

Hello to anyone visiting this blog, if there is anyone out there reading! The purpose of this LONG post is to provide some adequate background information as to the rhyme and reason for this blog.


At the end of November, I found myself on a mini-vacation / business trip. With a few drinks in belly, I found myself engaged with another vacationer. Note: This was the first vacation I had been on in a few years and the only reason it was possible is because my employer sent me to this lovely place for business and I extended it by a few days and flew my significant other on a free ticket from accumulated airline miles.

This person inquired about my profession. I told him I work in the software industry and have had a few different roles within it. This peaked his interest. For he had an idea and wondered if such an idea was possible to implement. The idea fascinated me - it is a GREAT idea that I think will be quite useful to a large audience. We exchanged numbers and continued to hang out a bit over the course of the next few days. I thought for sure we would become business partners as we had discussed. Sadly, I have called this gentleman four times since that vacation, sent him a couple of text messages and my efforts to make contact have been for not. I cannot figure out why he will not return my messages, other than perhaps his wife is upset that he so openly shared with me his idea. It's really rather quite puzzling.

With that in mind, I have a few choices:

1) Let a wonderful idea be left in the hands of a person that may / may not ever do anything with it.

2) Continue to try to reach this person and hopefully become engaged in a business partnership from which we both benefit.

3) Proceed down the path of bringing this idea to market without him. If he should respond early enough in the process then I'll be happy to include him because it was clearly his idea that got me all excited.

Since a month has passed to no avail, I'm choosing option three from above. I sincerely hope that he will make contact with me or return my voicemails so that he can be appropriately included.

I have had many ideas in the past that I have failed to implement. I even have a patent pending (for over four years now) and have done nothing with it, except pay nearly 5K in attorney fees. I desire to not sit on my laurels again and let a great idea pass me by.

This is how the journey began. I spent minimal time prototyping what I thought would be the most difficult aspect of this project from a software design point of view. After successfully finding a workable solution, I began to play in my mind with various add-on ideas, etc... that would make this idea even more valuable. Other than that...nothing else was done up until December 19, 2007 (only a few days ago).

I have no clue how to launch a product. Otherwise, I would have done it with many of my past ideas. I have no clue how to do much other than be a very hard working person with a lot of perseverence. Marketing? No way. You name it, I can come up with a million excuses as to why I have done nothing to scale beyond my hourly, individual contributions. Enough! I have to break past this barrier.

This led me to a google search for a list of the top Entrepreneurial books. I don't recall the source of the list that I finally used, but I wrote down the names of five books and ranked them in my order of preference. My significant other was going to the bookstore that day for some Christmas shopping and I asked her to get two of the books. If the store didn't have my top pick, then move down the list until one is located.

As luck would have it, the store had "The 4-Hour Workweek", by Timothy Ferriss. That's the only book she came home with because she had a 20% off coupon and figured she would just go get one of the other books the next day - after all, I can only read one at a time, right?

I sat down that night and started to read this book with great interest. It took two other sittings to complete it. I must admit that I read it word for word, but rather quickly. I did not do the excercises or any of the additional reading. My goal was to get the concept of the book into my head and then go back for reference and exercises later.

I completed the book on Friday, December 21st. Within the book, Mr. Ferriss had some additional recommended reading. I took that list with me on Saturday to the book store and came out with "The Magic of Thinking Big" by David Schwartz. That was last night. Currently, I'm at page 75, the beginning of Chapter 4.

Why am I writing about all of this? A few reasons, really:

  • At the time I decided to put "The 4-Hour Workweek" on my list of books to consider there were roughly 510 amazon reviews, most of them positive in nature. I didn't find anyone with actual testimonials (though I didn't read the entire list of reviews). I found people who said it works, but failed to back it up with any substance. Perhaps they are just false-promoters??? This leaves me skeptical. There may be information out there, but I haven't taken the time to search that hard. It doesn't matter for my purpose anyway. If I write about my adventure then the outcome will be the outcome. Good, bad or otherwise. It will be for everyone to see on a step by step basis - from the very beginning. Note: I am NOT affiliated with the author of this book in any way, shape or form. I never even heard of the guy until reading about this book. This will be able to be independently verified by anyone so inclined to know when I decide to reveal my identity and my product.

  • If I blog about it then it will ADD to my motivation to actually do something - i.e. Action. I'm typically more concerned about what other people think of me then what I actually think of myself! Sad, huh? However, it's true, so I'll leverage my weakness.

  • The added benefit of blogging my experience is so that other people can benefit from it; either positively or not. My success or failure in this adventure should not be used as the sole reason for purchasing (or not) the book, but it will at least explain my journey. Many of the reviews on Amazon say that he skips important details, that it's harder said than done, etc... My journey will be well documented and if important things have been missed then you will see them as I encounter them.

  • I may actually get good feedback from anyone viewing this blog. I may have hurdles to get over, advice needed, etc... and would appreciate any useful information to posts I make that may help keep me motivated or keep my product on target.

As Mr. Ferriss suggests in his book, I am using the brain-vommit (I think that was his term) approach to writing this blog. This serves a couple of purposes: 1) It gives me an out for not being an expert writer. I'm a software engineer, not an author of reading material. Therefore, I openly accept any criticism for my writing inability. 2) Most of my posts (including this one) will not be proof-read by me prior to posting. I'll type and what ends up here stays here. That will save me huge amounts of time and allow me to actually complete my goal of writing on a very regular basis (once per day is my objective). There may be days where I write almost nothing at all. If I force myself into perfection mode then I'll tire of trying to do this and I will spend too much time on it. Besides, I can always go back when I'm done with my experiment and edit or clarify necessary bits and pieces.

Below is a bulleted list of thoughts I have regarding this book:

  • If anyone could come up with an excuse to NOT follow this book then it is me. I have six children (4 full-time, 2 part-time). I don't wish to travel the world, but I do wish to enjoy my life more and spend more quality time with my children and things I enjoy.

  • I am not sure where middle or upper class lines are drawn these days. I earn a strong income but am still broke. I live literally paycheck to paycheck and for months have not had enough income to make all my ends meet. Divorce, living location, a thousand kids, mass consumer, and many other factors play into this misery I find myself in. It is all self-induced. I have worked like a madman my entire life and have not enough to show for it, despite having earned over 300k for 5 years straight. That's just sick! I don't make that income now, but I once did. Regardless, I have always been the rat running aimlessly on the wheel and I am absolutely finished with it. We'll see how this goes, but some of the reviews suggested that you needed to be middle-class, have savings, etc... to make this work. I don't believe that to be the case, but we'll see what happens as time goes by. All I know is that I'm at that nervous breakdown point and have been there for at least two years. I used to think positively, but following my divorce I have slipped into a very negative mindset. This has affected everything around me, including my income. I look forward to being back in the positive thinking situation again.

  • I will not follow the book religiously, because I feel some things are inapproriate for me personally. The book is filled with great information and suggestions. It also has some things that go against my grain, but not that I fault the author for. For example, I prefer to win by effort, not loopholes (e.g. Kickboxing champion). I will not deceive my current employer even though I follow the logic in the book. I work remotely already and I treasure the freedom involved with that. For as long as I collect paychecks from my employer then I will give them an honest days work. Even if I become more productive, that's for their benefit. I don't have set hours of operation. I travel a lot and I work much more than 40 hour weeks regularly. If I need to perform a task for my project during "normal" work hours then I will do so. This is the trade-off of not having set work hours. My employer will always get out of me what is expected (and more) for as long as I collect a paycheck from them. My goal, therefore, will to get my product launched and enjoy the shortened work week as a result of that. I will not check email only twice a day for now. I cannot realistically do this. That would be like telling a Customer Service Rep or a Sales Rep to only answer calls or check voicemails except once or twice a day. It's not practical for my position. However, I will limit my email addiction to once an hour or once every two hours. This is tremendous progress from where I currently stand on this subject. I get way too much email and my treo checks for it every 10 minutes. It's a huge distraction. If I find that I can get away with doing it less than every two hours then I will make adjustments as necessary. The list could go on, but this is what comes to mind right now.

  • I am of above average IQ. That said, I've made some horrendously stupid decisions in my life. I can mentally grasp all the concepts of this book and I have the capacity to explore and problem-solve. This is an advantage. Intelligence and action don't equate, however. I must stay focused on my goal, not be deterred by failures or negative feedback that is sure to come and I must PUSH through the non-trivial tasks instead of saying "this is too difficult..." As Mr. Schwartz suggests in his book, I cannot fall victim to "excusitis."

  • I have an addictive-compulsive personality and suffer from very little patience. I don't use illegal drugs and I realize my patience issue and am able to work with it. My personality type has created problems for me in my life, but it has also contributed to some of my successes. I'll use this to my advantage for this effort and attempt to curtail my patience issue so that it doesn't set me back.

  • I have a very deep and broad technical background. This will help me where others may struggle. It could also hinder me if I don't let enough of it go to other people. Since my current money resources are very tight, I'll do as much as I can so long as it doesn't hold me back from achieving my goal.

  • Two years ago my significant other and I started a business with absolutely no experience in the field. It's a service business that she still runs. I had to step out temporarily to attempt to stabilize our income. The business, by most accounts, is very successful. However, my overhead is very high so it put us into quite a financial pinch. She continues to run this, but one day we will either shut it down or sell it. If you read this book then you will understand why. Long story short: It's a service business! ;-) We run this out of our home (and it's also setup for remote people, but more on that later). We have five phone lines coming into our home. Our phones turn on at 7:00am and off at 9:00pm. This is crazy. They ring all day. The phones actually create anxiety for me. Some people may think this is a good thing - but our product isn't one with a fixed price and is very difficult to outsource. We have tried in the past with two different companies and it was miserable outcomes. Forget about everything else - this business has to go when we can afford to let it go. The point of this, I guess, is that I have already got some experience in business that should help. Corporation is already established, tools are already in place, etc... I'll go more into detail about this in a later post or category called "Tools" if this blogger account let's me do it.

  • I'm already familiar with PPC marketing. This doesn't mean I'm good at it! I gave it a whirl a few years ago. As I said earlier, I'm not a marketer! I found myself spending more money in adWords costs than I did in click-through commissions. To be fair, I gave up rather quickly and didn't enjoy it very much. I had no passion for it but gained the experience of understanding how the process works.

  • This list may grow as I continue making new posts. At some stage I'll try to consolidate things into categories if it gets too hard to follow. To repeat, I'm not focused so much on form right now, but more on getting thoughts out of my head and into a tangible place where I can review it later and from where others can gain insight from my experience.

This was a long post, I expect future posts to not be of this same length. If you are reading this then thanks for coming and expect this blog to gain more value as time moves forward. Right now, it's not of too much value to anyone. It will be in time.