The making of "your home"


#1


first picture I can remember I've used on this project

Past year of 2014, I took of a sabbatical to try and figure out some new new way to have an income other than getting jobs. Through my blog and other postings you might be able to see that attempt a little bit.

One of those attempts were at working with computers online, as that is my speciality. I've tried many different kinds of freelancing, but they're all too competitive and that didn't really work out. One of those freelancing, though, came out of nowhere in December. Months before I had subscribed as a squarespace specialist, despite having experienced it only on a couple sites, mine included. And I really had given up on trying that as well, but suddenly they did accept me.

And people started to ask me for quotes. An average of 1 email per day. The first month nobody wanted to close the deal though. I insisted for a bit more, without changing a thing on the business, since that was no business yet...

Then, in January, out of 10 quote requests, 1 or 2 would close the deal! Now we're starting for real! I even made the landing page, to try and minimize how much I had to explain the business on each email:


it changed a bit over time

It was not the first time I was freelancing at all, I've worked on this kind of market for at least 10 years. But this is the first time I'm dealing with quite smaller clients, and many of them. Despite all my experience, it is still mostly new to me.

My first mistake was calculating my prices. Maybe that was for good, because maybe the price I need to charge (which I now calculate at U$123 more than double my first price of U$42 per hour) would be too much to get even those 5 to 10 people per month. I wouldn't know, I've only changed it this very week!

There are too many calculations evolved into getting to this price. For one, I noticed I just can't charge for anything else other than "perceived work done". At first I thought that could be around 50% of all work actually done, but it's more like around 10%. So, supporting and handling customers, marketing, business plans, fixing errors, all that represent around 90% (per experience) of all work I have to do and I can't charge it, it basically has to be "free".

I don't really care to offer "free" work. One of my attempts past year was working on entertainment. Theater, cinema. And my plan for that was making most of my stuff free, much more than 90%, because I knew if it was to really work I could make a living, and that's all I needed. Same thing here, but in here I won't be able to sell advertisement nor ping little money from less than 1% of millions of consumers who'd pay something.

So I still need a way to keep the business going.

Before changing my prices, I thought of going other routes. An idea came from one of my favorite movies, I Heart Huckabess. At the very beginning, the detectives say they work on a "sliding scale", a term I haven't heard before or since. I went on to research about that, as I found the idea very interesting. It had a lot to do with offering advert games (another of my plans), and selling stuff in it, with varying prices for different audiences. Both ideas are basically tapping into the concept that there are different levels of rich people: the ones who seem to not care about money (whales), the ones who have enough to look like they don't care (sharks) and the ones who have barely enough to survive but still can pay something (tunas).

But a sliding scale is too difficult to implement and maintain as you'd then need to categorize each client to properly charge them. Or it could turn into offering everything for free and accepting varying donations, but I just don't have enough volume for that to work.

Another plan would be investing into much heavier marketing and see if I could get more clients. But even if that would work, I wouldn't be able to maintain my "low" price (and the quality of service).

So everything was getting just too complicated for me to manage all solo and I decided to basically give up this business. It never really flew off the ground, it is still an not self sustaining experiment.

And, before closing the doors, why not, just raise the price and see if it works. So I did. Now I'm giving it a least breath.

Maybe using these forums instead of zendesk for supporting can help it work, building up trust of new clients. Maybe I should try and film a viral video. Maybe I should make a dedicated brand instead of using my old one. I don't know and I believe almost nobody really do know.

By "success" I mean "financially freedom" or "getting enough income to live by without needing to rely on employment". Most success cases out there are made out of pure luck, even if they won't admit it not even for themselves. And the other cases are made out of many failures (like this one attempt of mine) but still requires too much luck. Almost everyone who did succeed won't admit it, but there are enough who do say it out loud "I'm lucky" and that's enough for me to reinforce this belief.

The only formulas for getting steady income that do work evolve at least 10 years of dedicated work and investment (such as medical doctors or civil engineers), something I could never get by, so my only shot is to keep trying my luck. And I guess I'll keep doing it every time I have enough willpower.


I guess I am a bit bipolar (a kind of depression) but then again, who isn't?


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#2

It's been almost a week on the new costs, and business are not doing well right now.

It was no good before either, specially in the first month, but it was a little better.

So I've decided that after next April 18th, I'll have to choose (again) to either close this project or change it radically again.

Still hoping to find better solutions...


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#3

10 days before the due date and I've already decided to do a small change.

I'll keep it on the side, opened, with the current pricing, but a different approach...

Yes, I'm talking about the:

Workforce Hour!

In fact, that's what I've been charging all along, since the very beginning. How much time I believe I take to write that code, considering as if I were the ultimate expert on it. This is just my attempt to formally define it.

If it's something I already know how to do it properly, kudos for me, I don't take any extra time doing research and fixing bugs.

If, however, it's something I certainly can do with the help of internet and my good researching powers, well, all that extra time spent is for me and on me. I believe there's nothing to charge there.

So even computer programming, researching, supporting, developing, engineering, scientific background checking, communicating, talking, etc... I mean everything else that's not that ultimate expert work, for good or for bad, is free of charge as well.

I think this simplifies everything, makes the cost fair and enable me to sustain the business given enough clients.

Now, if only I had enough clients... smile


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#4

Also adding now a more explicit comment on how I'll try my best efforts to keep every code I wrote open sourced.

This means you might be basically paying me to develop something novel to you (at least from my point of view) and to everyone else!

So, what's the advantage? Why should you do that?

For one, you will be the first one to have it.

Then, you're actually paying cheap for it. Usually I take way more time than I charge to develop it. Because I can then implement it for lower cost to the newer paying customers, which adds to paying the extra development time costs. And partially because I do enjoy going there, but that's the whole reason I even work with this to begin with! stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye

Also, keep in mind, even if I didn't do any of this, any code I write for squarespace that's not specific for the developer platform using the squarespace API (I have in fact not worked with it this year, for instance, and I have only done squarespace work - so this is all job I've done this year), in other words, all javascript, html and css code I write, due to how websites work, will be publicly available anyway! Yes, all that code necessarily is open for anyone's browser to interpret and render the page, and there's no reverse engineering needed to grab it. In fact, I only make it slightly more organized.

Finally, it's not so easy for anyone to just copy it anyway. However, if anyone else do ever wants to copy it (you may want to copy 'em as well), there could be signs showing where it was used first. Well, at least in the page source there will probably be links pointing ultimately to that. Or eventually even a google search will lead to the origin. So, if anything ever "explodes" in any direction there, anyone have ways to track down the origin. Or we can prove what came first (thanks to the public first published date there).

I suppose all this could be summed up in the workfoce hour there. But I hope it's good to try and make this more evident. boy


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#5

The workforce hour is dead.

It was too confusing and non practical. I couldn't make it work and charge appropriately.

In fact, this is the second time I'm killing this "startup". Or at least its business model. And probably last time I'll try to make it work, up to December at most.

I'll now be much more practical:

build your home page
Starting U$123 get support to make
your website with this specialist!

  • 1 day projects start at U$984 as a minimum upfront payment(*).

  • I'll give a refund if I need less time at a rate of U$123 per 1 hour, same price as small tweaks.

  • (*) 1 day means 8 hours, at a rate of U$123 per hour, always paid before the work done. Bug fixes are free forever. I won't work beyond the time paid.

  • Common time frame to start a project goes around 1 week after the required upfront payment.

  • Only after the first payment I will be able to analyze the project deeper and properly. That analysis, like almost any other work done, counts as payment.

  • If you're truly not happy, you can get a full refund! No questions asked. That's my guarantee.

  • Of course, the full refund requires you won't keep anything for you as well. We can negotiate each case.

That's the core of this last change. Let's see how it will go now. +1


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#6

It's now officially dead.

The new model got 0 traction. I hardly got any requests or even questions, despite also using Adwords now and getting 2k clicks. Not a single customer and just about 2 or 3 total emails this month.

On top of that, I've decided to move into another direction for my life, many things have changed and all I can say in case you're reading this and you're really interested in hiring me to help you with your site is: try it. We sure can talk. But as always, please, do read first. wink


Pagination for shop page and pages width