Blog

It’s all going to be fine


And hey
It’s all going to be fine
I put worries out my mind
I always must remind myself
The struggle is divine
Society draws lines
But, they are not how ones defined
Relax and give it time
It’s all going to be fine

Bumpin’ Uglies

I get caught up in moments then say and do dumb shit, feel like I’ve gotten better about it with age but, goddamn I get defensive when I feel attacked. I hurt people’s feelings that I care deeply about without even blinking … I’m a real prick.

I’ll work on it … gotta take it all in stride. Think anything today is going to matter in 10 years? Think the wrong shit you said to a loved one will? I’m guessing the wrong shit you said will matter more than the actual circumstance. Guilt eats the soul for decades. Families are for life, everything else changes with the wind.

Ya know what grinds my gears

Ya know what grinds my gears, Tim? (Yeah, Dylan … I’m borrowing this). Garbage day…

So, I’ve been been working on building better habits… right.

  • Wake up at 6:30
  • Drink water
  • Do Laundry
  • Save money.

This week was pretty much shot after the show Sunday night. We got home at like 4 am, Monday or whatever and I slept until 2. But, I totally was still on top of it. I got up a few hours earlier Tuesday, a few earlier Wednesday… So Wednesday night I’m going to bed at a decent time and remember that it’s garbage day.

I’m already plopped down on the couch eating a cold chicken strip and a half tub of Cottage Cheese, fixing to go to sleep. (I’ve been on a cottage cheese binge. idk why.)

and I do the most dangerous thing, “shoot, I’ll be up at 6:30. I’ll run it out in the morning”. Yeah … fucken no… the sun rolls around Thursday and I was not one of the active observers.

The stupid thing is, I’ve done that so many times that I totally know better … that’s why the alarm is set for the 9 PM the night before. Even if I did get up at 6:30 every Thursday for the rest of my damn life, this 33-year-old bone sack would still be wandering around drinking coffee, being grouchy, wondering if it’s time to poop yet.

Basically, I grind my gears. I’ll do better next week. Thanks for reading.

How to boil a frog

Today was rough! I had the thought earlier while driving, didn’t write it down but, How to boil a frog:

If you throw it in hot water, it will invariably just hop out. If you let it warm up slowly though, it will sit there until dead.

It’s used as a metaphor for things that follow the quote, goes something like “that which you tolerate creates your reality.

I can’t remember where it comes from, it seems applicable to life today though. lol.

I’m starting to see where this is going, the first couple days are pretty low hanging fruit … after those it gets to ramblings, and now it’s desperation. I’m going to get through this if I can.

and on the third day

Again, I had no idea what to write today for a bit. Actually, Monday and Tuesday were quite easy comparatively. A short aside, this post isn’t about investing …

I started investing again just before Teddy was born. Saving roughly 1k through winter. I’m down roughly $100 (so not a great investor. lol.) But, people keep asking my opinion on individual stocks … which I’ve always found odd, you can snag funds that return at least 10% per year if you’re patient enough. A couple of my current ones are 20% dividends only. If they fall out within 3 years that’s all that cash.

Moving on, I get trapped in these conversations because I can read a balance sheet. I had taken some online courses so that I’d know how to run my businesses and now I’m apparently The Guy, lol. Which is silly, nearly anyone can. or could. Once things are in ratios it’s easy peasy though … and tbh I find it pretty fun. Even though there are very few things that I’d personally invest in right now.


What this post is actually about though, is the Parable of the Talents.

I know I’m not on good terms with the church but, the story begins with three servants. All three were given some talents, and talents being a measure of wealth. One had 7 one had 5 and one 2 …

The first servant, put his talents to use and gained multiple talents along the way.

The other servant did equally well. Gaining some talents and thus riches.

The third hid his talents and did nothing, for fear of losing the talents.

I think it’s silly that I’m asked about some things but, I think it’s part of life’s journey … I wouldn’t have even started saving money if I hadn’t gotten involved with a group of friends who started talking about available opportunities.

Take it all in stride

The splinter is the cost of the wood

Bumping Uglies

I wouldn’t have this website if I hadn’t started work as a designer at the Richfield Reaper. I wouldn’t have a web hosting company if I hadn’t had this website.

I wouldn’t have a house if I didn’t have a family, and if we hadn’t had some hardship.

The separation

On the religion note again though, I think it’s pretty silly that people will rush to aid the Catholic church but, wouldn’t give a dollar to a homeless shelter or something. I’m anti-religious at best … probably even sacrilegious. However, I think there’s value in being spiritual.

Simple acts of kindness, contributions to society, small donations to things you care about. Whatever it is. I think that we can all agree that there is more to this life than dollars … and this is coming from a satanic asshole. lol.

Whatever, I couldn’t figure out what to write today, so if you made it to here, thank you. It’s a modge-podge of shit.

If you are in fact looking for stocks

  • MJ – Marijuana ETF
  • CGC – Canadian Marijuana company
  • CRF/CLM – 20¢ dividend per share, 20% if bought at 12. (Get 70 share’s so that it’s compounding your shares monthly.
  • NWL -Still spicy! ~$15 a share right now with a nearly $52 high. Appointing a new CEO after the second quarter.
  • MRRL – REIT with staggered dividends …

That’s it for today, decent scatter ass post.

Tuesday

Wull shoot. It’s Tuesday. I’m sure I had something to write about today but, I haven’t a clue what that is.

The show this weekend was awesome … If you haven’t seen Bumpin’ Uglies or Joey Harkum I strongly advise that.

My beautiful bear snagged us up tickets for my birthday … then we nearly forgot the tickets. We ran late most the day, ended up paying some $20ish for parking downtown, way too much on fast food, snacks and everything. But, Soundwell wasn’t one of them. Beers were only 5 bucks and the bartender knew my name and what I was drinking by the second time I came up. I tipped the guy almost as much as my tab.

We met some weird people as customary at these shows. lol. and my social butterfly-self offered them a ride home. A tad regretfully when the female started yelling out of the car window. Like “Shutup bitch this ain’t even your car”.

She invited us in for a foursome a few times, which we politely declined. Nice girl but, even though I was inebriated I still had priorities … like getting home and taking a nap.

You see, she was at the show with her drug dealer. He’s into reggae and stuff and so when she invited him to the show he migrated from Idaho to SLC for the night. I’m pretty sure he ended up raped? Maybe murdered. I don’t know, they didn’t accept my Facebook friend requests. lol.

My Monday started as most days after a fair binge. Trying to remember what you did so you can beat yourself up for it … but, I was pretty well behaved I think. So far today, I’ve laughed about this turtle
https://www.facebook.com/joseakahito/videos/1387548684718834/UzpfSTUwNzQ1NTE3ODoxMDE2MjE0MzMwMzUzMDE3OQ/

Anyway, that’s my day two of this daily blogging thing. I can’t think of anything else.

I’d rather people hate me

I’ve been listening to tons of podcasts and things lately … Seth Godin talks about daily blogging. To get the mind working, and if you don’t share, you’re just storing all the shit up and not doing anything with it.

I get some crap from people on social media and whatever for the things that I say … and I think this quote sums up my thoughts pretty well “I’d rather people hate me for who I am than love me for who I’m not”. This single idea sums up an argument I had last week.

and for a giggle, I’ll add “Just because you are bad guy, doesn’t mean you are bad guy.

I have a list of people that I think opinions matter, maybe ~10. Yet, like everyone, I get wrapped up in “What if” “it’s not good enough” or any number of those other 3am voices beating you up. I’m going to just … go out on a limb and say that, even if your work is subpar to you, the world isn’t going to end …
“The sun came up on all of us today, a common event.”

It takes hundreds, sometimes thousands of tries to get something right. Thomas Edison tried something like 10,000 times to build a lightbulb.


I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas Edison

Who wants the embarrassment of failure though … Who isn’t afraid? I think the most successful people in the world just try to dance with that fear … idk. Anyway. I’ll post tomorrow if there isn’t the fear.

New endeavor, website hosting

I’ve already spammed this all over social media but, I’ve started an endeavor in website hosting, Best Website and Hosting. I met a new friend sometime in … about April, and we’d stay up late gaming, chatting and whatever. One night, I was complaining about work as one usually does when working late. I’d mentioned something about having to pay website hosting fees and hadn’t made anything on it this year. To which he replied that he’d host my sites for FREE. lol. Now, that was intriguing enough but, one thing led to another and next thing I know, we’ve got a whole freaking server.

After that, it was SEO time … and I might not be the best at SEO and such but, I know a thing or two. So then we gathered up a few domains and got to work. It turns out that some of them that you’d think are really competitive aren’t really.

It didn’t just happen overnight. We’ve been working on it for a couple months. We needed some software packages that aren’t terribly cheap. But, after spamming some links and such in forums I can happily say that we got our first real customer last week :). It’s not enough to cover the fixed costs yet but it’s really exciting to launch new things and have them finally work.

There’s still a ton of work to do. We’re hoping to get more subscriptions as quickly as possible but, we realize that these things do take time. We’ve got the Facebooks, Twitters, and a blog. There’s still plenty of CSS work to do on the site itself but, for now I’ve been focused on sales and getting the ball rolling. He’s doing all the server admin stuff while right now I’m kind of floating. We’re potentially seeking salespeople when we figure out the reseller stuff and I know that if it gets moving too much I’ll need content creation help but, so far so good!

I almost typed “have a great week” but, realized that it’s mostly over. So have a great day or night or whatever. Thanks for stopping in!

Links

Site

https://bestwebsiteandhosting.com/

Blog

https://bestdomainhosting.org/

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/BestWebsiteandhosting/

Twitter

https://twitter.com/WebsiteBest

How-To: Pricing Your Design Service

I’ve noticed quite a few people asking about pricing their design services. For many freelancers just starting out, it’s a HUGE question. They see these well experienced designers charging hundreds per hour … thousands for logo and branding projects. On the flip side, they see people willing to do large design projects for only a few dollars. Experienced designers know what their time is worth, and have much higher costs than someone with a laptop on the kitchen table, and in some areas of the world you can live on only a few hundred a month.

Deciding what your time is worth can be difficult, especially when just starting and with no information to go off of … however, much easier numbers to find are published by the bureau of labor statistics, census.gov and things of that nature. Average income for designers was something like $60,000 I think last I looked but, just starting out … or in higher or lower than average economic areas, how do you judge what you can, or should charge for your design service? We’ll dive into that in this guide. To follow along download the sheet from https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/14ZI5xl07SGNYHkbCvxSlzoOHjimA_-rmwPKqkQWmQHo/edit?usp=sharing

First, what should you make? This is more of a general question and can vary widely based on your location and experience. I’m located in nowhere Utah and though, I’m educated and have a significant amount of experience but, my business is new … Federal Poverty Line for 2017 in a 5 person household for 2017 is $28,780 … We’re going with that because it’s the most ambiguous, yet accurate number I can get and because I believe that anyone that is working full-time should be at or above federal poverty level.

annual income and hours
Edit your annual income and hours as needed

Next, we need to figure out how many hours that you’re working. In the US a regular workweek is 40 hours but, the real question is … how many of those are “billable” hours … in my instance, I check work related emails for around … 20 minutes per day, and then check my bookkeeping on Friday’s … I try to get a new blog post up every week or so and on the 23 of the month I spend an extra maybe 30 minutes pulling funds from different accounts to pay bills. The reason why this is important, is because even though you aren’t billing those hours, you are working … and it needs to be subtracted from your billable hours so that you can arrive at a decent cost per hour.

fixed expense
Edit your expenses as needed, these are rough guesstimates of mine

I’ve broken fixed cost into monthly and annually. These numbers can be a bit deceiving actually because, if we don’t meet our fixed costs we aren’t making anything at all however, accounting for them in our bid per billable hour is the easiest way for me to break the cost down and spread it over clients throughout the year. Otherwise, you’d just charge your first client in January the $3,000 of your fixed cost, and enjoy profits all year. You can see on the sheet, I’ve got some subscription costs, I kick out some money to Adobe and Lynda, then I’m just guessing $20 on some pencils, paper … that’s probably more like $10 but, whatever. Marketing, I’ve been trying the Facebook ads, they have some very affordable options for about a buck a day. Every year I buy some camera equipment, I have some computer upgrades, you can only run on a hard drive for a few years before it starts to get scary. You’ve got to account for backup equipment too. This stuff adds up quite quickly. Now, add up all of our fixed cost, and divide that by the annual working hours. Which gives us a “Machine Cost” of $1.93 per hour

variable expense
Edit your variable cost as needed, mine are very low.

On to my lowest cost but, I’ve talked to people in Texas with power bills in the thousands. You might need to do either, some hard core math, or some pretty decent guesswork here. My power is $0.05 until I hit so many kwh, and $0.08 after that per month … but, my computer tower alone uses 800 watts, and each monitor uses a couple hundred. I also have photography bulbs that burn 100 watts each while on, and charging camera batteries and such? My guess was just to go at the 8 cents per hour … it seems pretty negligible but, that stuff adds up quite a bit after the years, and should be included … Some people even get 10 cent raises and get excited.

Project expense … I’m going to pretend that I’m printing a $40 business card project $10 shipping. Business cards don’t generally take long but, sometimes I can get a bit fussy with layout, kerning, color and things. So, between taking the order, sending it in and everything I’m going to say 3 hours.

project expense
Add on your specific project expense

Notice the numbers to the right. The first one, Break-Even, is what you need to get before you make any money, this is the amount that is going to pay the costs of ordering the cards, paying your 3 hours of electricity and the contributed fixed expense. Billable project income is what we make given our target income of $28,780 divided by our billable hours.

target based bid
This gives you your target based bid, this is what you need, this is the number that you need to achieve your income.

This gives us a target based bid of $102.15. This gives us the amount that we need to charge for the job to achieve our target income, assuming we can fill all of our “Billable Hours” with paying work.

Now, I often see people talking about Value Based Bid, and I’m actually going to entirely avoid that. If we’re “Value Based Bidding” for a mom and pop antique store who is making little to nothing, you’re adding value but, it’s not going to matter much. If it were truly value based, you’d be paid $10.

What I will talk about however, is a what I’m calling a “Value Added Bid” now, this might seem odd at first but, hear me out. If you’re designing a business card for Nike, or some huge organization, spending 3 hours of time and only $40, you aren’t going to charge the $102.15 … Well, that’s what you need to hit your revenue target, right? However, Nike brings in millions of revenue per year. This is an area where you’ve been sought out for your expertise from a business whose pocketbook deserves high quality work at a premium price tag, so you add monetary value on to the project.

value added bid
Value Added Bid

This might be an area where you’d want to look at some prior income statements to arrive at a number. Nike had revenue of $32,376,000,000 dollars in 2016. Did a business card generate these numbers? Probably not, but, I’d be willing to guess that business cards do play a role in helping generate those revenues. Let’s add some value to that, I’m going to say that maybe … $100,000 of their billions is contributed to by business cards. Now the question, how much should you gain from that? Well, firstly I wouldn’t only be spending $50 on this card anyway, I’d be getting the best beautifullest card I could find but, 10%. My guess is that they’d take this bid of $10,102.15. If they didn’t they’d either counter offer or you’d be negotiating in some way. You’ve got numbers now, you know exactly what you need to break-even, you know what you need to generate as your own income. Rather than guessing and throwing numbers at clients, you should be able to more informatively negotiate your value, cost and price. Good Luck!

As always; like, share and subscribe via e-mail or any of the social media buttons above. Have a wonderful week!

Fiverr; The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Yes, I’m on Fiverr … No, I’m not doing your $5 logo

I just got an invitation to “Share My Success Story” on Fiverr … I can’t entirely say that it’s a success story but, I have made some money and found some clients through Fiverr that are irreplaceable.

I set up an account on Fiverr a year and a half ago now, I hadn’t seen any work for a while and was getting very discouraged but, I set up a few gigs and … waited … It took I think 3 months to even get an order, and within a week or so afterward I started getting an order a day and it became a fairly regular source of income. Which, when just starting freelancing, it was impossible to even break even some months.

I’m not designing logos, in fact I’m not designing on Fiverr at all. I can not afford to design anything effectively for $5 or even $10 (the prices most Fiverr users have become accustomed to) but, there are many things, that some people can’t do themselves. Like re-sizing images and things … basically, anything I could think of that takes less than 15 minutes between downloading, working, and uploading. So yes, quick work, and work that doesn’t require ongoing relationship or direct knowledge of the business though, the work does lend itself to relationships and such.

It was fantastic, things were going swimmingly, I had at least some sort of consistent work daily. It was pleasing to be working when there was no work. The troubles started a few months in, and I really started to see the system as … what it is … Here is the good, the bad, and the ugly … of Fiverr.com

The Good

Customers

The range of buyers is fantastic. I’ve worked with all sorts of people working on app development projects to all the way to print projects … odd sorts of things like coloring hundreds of silver jewelry gold for what I’m guessing was his drop shipping business, helping him expand his offerings (and probably earnings). People from all over the world working on all sorts if things. It’s pretty neat really.

Website

The website is pretty straightforward, at the base it’s like … a reverse job posting, you put in something that you’re willing to do, and people hopefully search for your service and buy it. The site has a forum style chat interface, where you can review messages from clients in basically a chronological fashion.

Forum and Podcast

The actual forum, is for the most part a friendly and helpful atmosphere. Obviously, there will be trolls everywhere but, for the most part the forum is clean.

Easy Money

This seems silly, easy money … but, how much time and money do you spend LOOKING for new clients, like … probably a few hours a week or more when it’s slow, when you have a steady stream of small projects, you wake up some days and are already at a gross revenue of $20, during a time that you’d normally just be sipping coffee and checking emails.

Easy Payment

Incredibly simple, you just put in your bank or Paypal information, and you’re set. The third party direct deposit thing does take an extra buck per transfer but, that’s a pretty minimal fee compared to some.

Variety of Projects

I don’t know about you guys but, I get tired of doing the same thing over and over again. If you’ve got a couple different gigs, you’ve got some variety … you can be getting new different projects all the time.

Promotion

Spending on advertising and spamming your website and things is basically done for you on Fiverr. They’re actively posting a variety of advertisements and services pretty much 24/7.

 

The Bad

Now that we’ve gotten the good out of the way. Let’s move on to some … unfavorable bits.

Buyers

Yes, buyers are a good and a bad thing. Like anything public there are some bad seeds. These buyers are after the absolute best quality product for the absolute least price, and will screw your Fiverr seller experience if they don’t get it. We’ll get in to some details a bit later so … Let’s keep going.

 

20%

Fiverr takes 20% of EVERYTHING, in fact there have been times that I’ve flat out moved a project off of Fiverr. Which does break the TOS but, when you start talking hundreds of dollars and thousands of images, there are just better ways to work than a slow clunky forum with limited uploads and such, so not only does the bid increase but, the pain and time factor increase at least 10% on large projects. More on the pain and time factor later.

Limited Control of Orders

This seems odd, since I just talked about the awesome variety but, when people are just browsing around clicking on Buy Now, you’re likely to get someone who doesn’t know what the hell it is that you’re even offering. Guess what, then you’re left to mutual cancellation, and that affects your search ranking and your percentage of completed orders. So you lose. More on this in a bit.

 

Hold on Funds

I’m not sure that you guys have researched the time value of money, or if you guys have bills that need paid but, sometimes getting paid yesterday would have been great. Fiverr takes two weeks to clear EVERY order. By the way, most businesses consider credit cards EASIER and FASTER to process than cash so … as silly as a few pennies might be, you’re getting screwed out of whatever your highest interest account is for two weeks, if that’s the late fee on your electric bill. That might be a lot.

Over-Saturated Market

As with any online service, there are literally hundreds of people on Fiverr that will do pretty much anything for the $4 bucks. The “designers” still get me, like the last logo I designed took two weeks, I underbid and LOST money. Yet someone is willing to pair a font and a stock photo (which could end in a lawsuit for said company) for only a fraction of my last bid.

Monopolization of Featured Sellers

Now this one … sucks … though it seems to be getting better. Getting that first page is not going to happen for a new seller. The people that get the first page have been doing a bit of something under the desk for quite a long time, maybe since Fiverr’s inception.

 

Mobile App

The mobile app sucks. It’s hard to find buttons that you need, sometimes if the keyboard is up you have to tap around the screen to figure out how to send a message, and the stupid thing will ask you to leave a review EVERY TIME YOU USE IT for all of eternity.

Buyer Bias

There’s a strong buyer bias, in the words of the orange guy, hugely biased. Even on a mutual cancellations, say the buyer purchased the wrong thing or a service that you don’t provide, the seller gets penalized, not the buyer.

The Ugly

Now, let’s explore the truly ugly side of Fiverr.

Black hat

There are literally TONS of these per day, and I’ve reported a few with decent success but, I’m only one man. People will request and people will provide service INCLUDING: Breaking IP laws, removing watermarks, stealing other people’s work… etc; And forging documents. One request a few weeks ago even had some bit about replacing text in a legal marriage document. Like, who the hell does this and feels good about themselves? This isn’t really even Fiverr related but, more the bottom of the barrel community that it’s found itself in. This is a people problem. people that are after a quick cheap buck, and people that are after quick cheap service, both aren’t above lying and stealing to get it.

Cancellations, Review Structure, On Demand Marketplace

This is how I lost a few hundred a month revenue from Fiverr, and why I don’t offer any subjective type service. One bad review doesn’t only mean that you have a loss in the review percentage on your profile, they also throttle down your traffic, and show you behind other similar services.

When I first started I’d browse the buyer requests section. Sending out bids on things that I’d do. One day I happened on this woman’s pregnancy announcement photo, it was poorly framed, de-saturated and cold, there were branches poking out everywhere … it was by an actually rather enticing creek, and though the photo was shot on full auto, she did have the raw. So I took the photo and for a $10 bid, I probably spent 2 hours on it, cleaned up the branches, warmed it up, cropped it for better framing … when I sent it to her I said that I’d spent more time than intended, and i’d worked entirely non-destructively so we could reverse whatever.

She didn’t like it, no real descriptive reason, so I dropped the saturation a bit and slid the light balance back a bit … Next day she finalized the order, and gave me a negative review. I asked her if I could refund the job, which even with the cancellation is significantly better than the negative review, and she declined. Dropping my monthly revenues by a few hundred per month. Truth be told, she probably ended up using the photo anyway.

In fact, there have been a couple orders where it’s been completed exactly to specifications, and the client will say that they think they’ve ordered the wrong thing and request the refund … On Fiverr, you’re screwed if you don’t, the negative reviews will honestly murder your ratings and traffic. For the small job, yeah way better to take the small loss than to suffer the big loss anyway. That’s why I won’t do big jobs on Fiverr.

Communication Issues

Fiverr, is basically a backward job posting board, you post your gig, and wait for someone to buy. You have ZERO control of how they buy, or if they’re even looking for your service really. Let’s move on to the real communication issue, the only way to communicate with your client is by text and upload. ANY contact outside of Fiverr is against TOS, and I’ve been yelled at about it in the past. Asking someone to call you via Skype to sort out a project, Against TOS, Hangouts, Against TOS, better project management and communication platforms, against TOS, EVEN E-MAILS, against TOS. So, they’re taking 20% of all of your sales, for a forum. On the project that I did get in trouble for this on, we’d already even sorted out that payment through Fiverr would work with the clients budget, WITH the 20% increase but, I needed to have some instant contact and feedback from the client to work through the project for a minute. We ended up moving off of Fiverr after we got the big scary message and the entire thing went great, so their big scary message and their communication issues actually cost them probably $400 last year alone.

The End

All of these things, and I’m still on Fiverr … Again, I will not design your logo on Fiverr, and I will not do ANY subjective service through Fiverr but, I will do your small project, your simple crops and whatnot … If you’re after Logo Design, Stationary Design, Magazines or even Web Design. Contact me here.