May and then June nearly gone

Over a month since I last posted. The time goes so quickly and I feel as if I’ve lost a bit of focus here.

I’ve been doing some one-off project work, which doesn’t build towards residual or ongoing income but it will bring in a modest amount of fixed income to keep the bank account looking a bit healthier.

Etsy is getting on my nerves rather — I really think I should be selling much more and doing better on the platform but I’m not completely sure what’s going wrong. Here’s my digital collage sheet store anyway, feel free to have a gander.

Of course there’s plenty of competition, plus I still need to do quite a bit of work on the listings, product images and such like.

I am considering getting Shopify on my own web site though, but have to work through plugins to ensure that the digital products I sell won’t fall foul of the EU VAT laws on digital goods (and also will need to apply for HMRC MOSS – it’s all acronyms eh?)

I really want to get into doing more opinion pieces for Family Relationships Magazine, in a bid to boost visitors and readership there, plus some more interesting and quirky pieces for Piano & Synth Magazine. Both have been rather neglected of late though I do see the potential there still if I can get on with some consistency.

As for the rest, well some of the one-off pages do well intermittently – that is  they earn a bit of money from ads one day,  then go quiet for a couple. And so on. I need more of those pages, too, but they do need to be genuinely useful so I have to brainstorm what other subjects I can write decent evergreen articles for.

So that’s me for the moment. School summer holidays are just four weeks away now and I really want to get some foundations in place now so I can ride those six weeks without getting completely stressed at lack of work.

Picking Fights and Focusing on What Matters

Today I spent a painful hour-and-a-half online with two different operatives from British Telecom.

My “it’s the principle” button had been hit, thanks to receiving a number of unsolicited emails and junk post from them.

I am a customer, but I thought I had opted out from these marketing messages. I’d also tried to unsubscribe several times from their emails, but they kept coming.

To cut a long story short – after being told that my entire account profile had to be deleted and reset in order to change the marketing preferences – I wasted a huge amount of time on one small and relatively insignificant issue.

I chose to pick a fight when really I should’ve been focusing on what was really important – my business.

I chose to pick the fight during my core working hours, and ended up getting slightly stressed and then nearly missing the school pick-up time for my daughters.

Even a quick appraisal of the situation – with some guesstimating thrown in for good measure – would’ve told me it was a futile fight. My principles were not being flagrantly abused; I was simply as bit annoyed at receiving the mail.

Suppose I receive one unsolicited marketing email from BT every week (which is about right). Even without automated filtering (which is easy to set up and takes less than 30 seconds) it would take 5 seconds at most to scan the sender and content, then hit delete.

Maybe I receive one piece of physical junk mail every two months. It takes about 10 seconds to see it’s junk and put it in the recycling bin.

My online complaint took an hour-and-a-half — 90 minutes — 5,400 seconds.

BT’s nuisances take up 320 seconds (just over five-and-a-half minutes) a year.

BT would have to communicate with me for nearly 17 years before I got that time back.

It’s now clear how ridiculous this scenario is.

Obviously, if I started being deluged with spam from all over, it could become a serious problem. However, spam is generally under control right now, and it takes far less time (and stress) to just filter and/or delete it, and move on.

I lost sight of what was really important for the sake of fighting a faceless corporation who doesn’t really care anyway.

So it’s time to minimise the distractions, and to only fight the battles which are truly important and have a real impact.

Busy Behind the Scenes

So eleven days after I wrote about flitting, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d disappeared.

In fact, I have been pretty focused working on my Oliopix Etsy store (where I sell digital download images for artists and craftspeople).

Although I’d had some encouraging sales recently, I realised that my listings weren’t anywhere near as polished as they should’ve been – particularly the early ones.

Etsy SEO is a bit of a minefield, to be fair – if you think Google-minded SEO is frustrating, just take a look at Etsy – but some basic principles remain, such as customer-focused titles, multi-word tags (keywords), descriptions, and good photography/imagery.

Quite a bit of that was lacking on early listings and they need shaking up. I’ve also been spending a bit of time on the forums, being helpful where I can. It’s a balancing act between becoming known – and getting some visitors and then sales – and it becoming a time vacuum.

So anyway, the push continues as this is one of my projects which I really think can bring in a decent income, fairly passively.

So that’s been the past week. Going forward I also want to push a couple of my blogs as well as adding more info to one of my mini-information sites.

I’m also aware there’s just a week-and-a-half until the school half-term break. Although that’s just a week’s duration, it’s enough to knock any new momentum if I haven’t planned ahead.

Consistent Flitting on the Way to $100 a Day

I’m a flitter. I can bounce between many different ideas and activities and become bored with doing the same thing for some length of time.

That doesn’t mean I can’t focus, or get “in the zone” when something really takes me. Nor does it mean I can’t stick with a project with at least some degree of consistency (some of my sites are over 12 years old now).

However it does mean I would find it hard to do just one thing, day in, day out, even if it was ultimately profitable.

And in today’s online world, I’m not sure that’s a bad thing.

I don’t  think it’s particularly easy to build just one property – one service, one site, one ‘thing’ – and expect it to bring in a sustainable income to live from. Perhaps it’s not impossible, but  it can be like putting all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak.

Just as it’s unwise to focus upon one or two monetisation options, I think it’s foolish to have only a single gateway online where people can find you, use your services, and ultimately pay you.

Particularly when it comes to building residual income, multiple income streams from fairly diverse sources really does seem the way to go.

This can be useful to the ‘flitter’ like me, so long as there is some degree of consistency in there. And with the power of digital ‘make it once sell it forever’ content and services, plus the ability to schedule content and updates in advance, that’s still wholly possible.

So long as there is good degree of organisation in there, and the dreaded procrastination monster is kept at bay.

What it means is I am keeping my fairly diverse range of projects – which currently includes full-blown content sites, niche content pages, digital downloads, ‘gigs’, plus some one-to-one client projects such as web design, coding and writing – and trying to build their revenue generation independently.

You could argue it’s also a bit like trying to keep many plates spinning simultaneously. Perhaps it is. However, the aim is to get many of those projects to a place of near self-sufficiency, where they simply need monitoring and occasional updates, but continue to generate income.

Multiplying many small revenue streams together into a decent income seems more achievable, and less risky should one falter, than focusing on just one.

It does rather increase the number of tasks on my to-do list though, plus idea jottings for expanding on the things which are working well.

So today I will be focusing on just one or two areas to develop and expand. Areas which are showing the most current potential and have plenty of room for expansion.

Focus, today. Flit again tomorrow.

First Steps to $100 a day

Money in groundWell here we are again, on yet another incarnation of the Andy Merrett blog site.

I’m not going to be so bold as to assume you already know what was here in the past. The Google links to old, now removed, blog content are long gone, which shows how long ago it was.

Shame at one level, as some of those articles were pulling in some decent traffic. However, things changed and it was wiped (voluntarily, I must add.)

And so here I am now in May 2017, offering up the first post on my new, improved road to $100/day.

Yes, I’m British, but so many people talk about $100 a day that I thought I’d stick to dollars. Besides, the pound is flitting about all over the place right now so I’ll stick to the mighty US dollar.

So before I babble on, as I have a propensity to do, let’s cut to the chase.

I’ve been self-employed for well over a decade now. Nearly as long as I’ve been married. Life has been rather a rollercoaster in so many ways for so many reasons. And now here I am again and my little family needs income.

Sure. “Get a job”. We’ve already had that. We’re still hearing it. It’s an option. And for some period of time it might be the only option of bringing in a sizeable amount of money. However, it still doesn’t feel like the way. And not because I’m in some dream cloud land where I never have a boss again (except me), and I think money somehow magically appears in my bank account every day (it so doesn’t – yet…)

This is a dream, but the dream isn’t about the money itself. It’s about the freedom. It’s about being able to take on more ‘worthy’ projects that can’t or don’t pay anything financially, knowing that the finances are ticking along on their own – as much as possible on auto-pilot or with less-than-full-time hours.

It’s about being able to provide financially for my family and get to spend time with them. Quality time. Time that isn’t punctuated by stress about money. Time that really means something. Care free time.

$100 might seem quite arbitrary. Really, though, it’s a nice round number and it brings in an annual amount of money that means a comfortable lifestyle in this part of the world (South Wales, UK to be more precise).

In reality, it can be less and we still get to eat and have a house.

More would be fantastic too, and gets us doing more of the projects we have in our heads and hearts, but don’t have the funds for right now.

As to why I’m sharing all this. You know what, I’m really not 100% sure. I’m an introvert and putting this ‘out there’ is hard. To strangers. To haters. To those who know me. To anyone and everyone. It’s all public.

That’s difficult.

And yet I think there is a bit of accountability by doing it.

I can’t promise I’m going to share every project or piece of income with you. I might bottle it from time to time. But it’s a start. Here.

Added to which there’s also the slight possibility that the things I write about here will have some positive impact on the projects – current and future –  that I hope will raise the money.

And so it begins. Hopefully brief day-to-day updates with what’s going on (which of course I’d love for you to check out and if you love what I’m doing, buy something from me) plus some more in-depth articles, rants, musings, and the like, as and when it strikes me.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy the journey.