Monthly Archives: July 2008

Doing Much Better With Only One Blog

I dumped them. Just let them go completely. They are still out there lurking in blogland, but they no longer make me feel guilty when I don’t update them.

One I started to promote classes. Seemed like a good idea at the time, and given the name of one of the classes, it was suitable. Didn’t get used much though, and I quickly ran out of topics – I think I’ll eventually open this one to other instructors.

One was for SEO. A friend said she wanted to do an SEO Blog. So I set it up. She posted once, and left me holding the bag. I kept it up, posting every other day for several months. It is a compendium of SEO commentary that has value. But I’ve run dry on the topic, having tackled it from almost every angle that applies to small business. So I walked away. Eventually, if I think of something that needs to go in it, I may update it occasionally, but I no longer feel obligated to do it.

The third was for a blogging community. It will eventually sustain itself, so I let it go also. I’ll post if I feel the desire, but otherwise, it can just fend for itself.

This blog is me. I jokingly say of Frumpy Haus Frau, that it is the one place I can completely be myself online. That the header is really ME, and in fact it is, because my son drew that. I usually have more kids lurking in the background than that, but even that is declining all the time (sniff!). This one deals with the topics that I most like to write about though, and I can pretty much go off in any direction and it still fits.

The weight really lifted. Now I just have two major sites to keep rolling forward with, and six more in various stages of development. Much more manageable!


I can mostly keep up with just one. Sometimes fall behind though.

Life Begins With Just One Thing

It is the key to getting out of under a mire of dreaded tasks. It is the trick to crawl out from under too much to do. It is the antidote to panic, and the retort to confusion.

Just one thing. Just do the next thing, the hard thing, the most important thing. Dive in and do.

When faced with a pile of yucky tasks (why do we always let them pile up?), just do one. If you do one a day, they evaporate rather rapidly, and the list is usually only long because we’ve procrastinated for weeks!

When life overwhelms you with more things to do in the day than you can possibly do, then select the most important thing, and get it done, then select the next most important. By the end of the day, it may not all be done, but you know the critical stuff has been taken care of.

I’ve talked to many business owners and moms who have felt like that. I’ve counseled them to select the most important task, and get it done, then select again. Many have come back later to say they DID get it all done after all, just by getting rid of the paralysis and doubt and doing it. Sometimes we also need to relieve ourselves of the burden of never measuring up, in order to achieve more than we know we can. Just focusing on the task at hand, which we know we CAN do, lets us move forward without worrying about the other stuff that doesn’t matter while we are doing THIS.

We can only really do one thing at a time anyway. So all that other stuff doesn’t matter until the time comes to do it, at which time it becomes the center of our focus and efforts. One shovelful at a time, you can move a mountain, but only if you focus on hefting each load, and not on the size of the mountain.

Just do what comes next.

Networking Vampires

On every forum or networking venue, these people lurk, waiting for fresh victims, new groups to attack. Then they swoop down, and blast their ads all over any space that is made available for them to do so, effectively attempting to suck the blood out of the other members. There for what they can TAKE.

They feel that any forum is there for them to advertise to. Every post an opportunity to self-promote, every spot they can leave a note, nothing more than a place for self-serving purposes.

Nobody loves a vampire. Online, this kind of person inspires boredom, disgust, a sort of gloomy dread, but never admiration. No one bothers purchasing from them, because they give nothing to make anyone feel the desire to do so!

Networking WORKS, when you GIVE first. You give kindness, encouragement, advice (when you are sure of your information), resources even when they are not your own, and you develop truly respectful friendships. Therein lies the power of networking.

I had three experiences this week that let me know that giving is what does it.

I was selected as the Member of the Month for an organization. Many people who chimed in to congratulate me, were people I barely knew the names of – but they felt they knew me, simply because I’d posted something of value that they’d appreciated, and because I volunteer for the organization in a visible capacity.

I also finally decided to try out another networking venue. When I did so, I was amazed at the number of people that connected with me, whom I had no idea felt that they knew me, and who put notices on my profile saying so. They had read my posts for years, and I had no idea that anyone had been influenced by them in the way they said.

The third instance consisted of someone who needed a web designer in a hurry. This person said that when they knew they needed one, they knew they wanted to work with me, because of something I’d said, and because of other exposures they’d had to what they felt was good counsel from me. I did not know the person, but they felt they knew me, just because I’d been there, and I’d said something good.

I’m no champion networker. I’m often selfish and don’t get it right more than I do get it right. But by a consistent desire and effort to better the lives of others on the forums in which I participate, people feel they know me, and many respect what I say enough that when they have a need, they come to me first. If I’d splattered ads, they’d feel that I was selfish, and only there for what I could get. I want to help people though… that is what I put as my first goal in networking, and the business comes from that, because in my line of work, helping people is what it is all about anyway.

It isn’t that hard to find ways to say something nice. Sometimes it takes some thought or practice, but it DOES pay you back in time, and when it does, it is surprising how it does so!

The Ebb and Flow of Feeling Harried

Periodically, I realize I’ve taken on too much. Then I go through a phase of decluttering where I reassess my priorities and reorganize the demands on my time. It usually takes about six months before I’m back where I started because the natural result of decluttering is to see lots of empty space just waiting to be filled – and work just seems to fill it easier than timewasters do.

Is that a bad thing? Some would think so. I’m not so sure it is. Yeah, it isn’t nice to feel harried. But when I’m juggling a lot of things, I get more done. Really. I am at my best when sprinting. And those extra things I take on temporarily sure teach me a lot. They broaden my experience in ways that give value back to my clients.

We listened to a presentation by a bootstrap expert a few months ago. He said that to be successful, a bootstrap business pretty much had to run understaffed. Everybody had to meet their potential and then some, and there was no room for overstaffing, for anybody to have to fill time. We find that this is true. We have to juggle work, and we all have to stay busy. If we don’t, then we run into a deficit really fast, because payroll ends up being the largest single expense for a small startup.

It is often very hard to balance all the business needs – marketing and networking, client work, product prep for the future, presentations and teaching, development of our own sites, development of client resources, etc. Client work of course is the most important, but those other things have to be done also, or the business runs into a wall later.

I’ve come to understand that for me, I’ll probably always wash in and out like the tide between too busy, and not busy enough. And I’ve come to understand that it isn’t bad – it allows me to experience many things I’d not experience otherwise, and it helps me to learn how to prioritize when necessary.

Hidden Roads and Unseen Futures

There are two kinds of people in this world:

  • Those who look at the past, and understand that if a road has always lead to a specific destination in the past, that it is likely to lead there again, and again, and again.
  • Those who look at the past, and assume that because of their personal charm, unrealistic desires, or ignorance of the facts, that the road will lead somewhere else for them than it did for someone else.

Now, I’m not talking about creativity, doing it different, or taking a failed idea and changing something to make it different.

I’m talking about historic, social, moral, political, familial, and business patterns that form rules within which we must work. And if we step outside those rules, there WILL be consequences just as there have been for every other person, society, or group, which tried it.

It is like looking at a Map of the US, and heading North to get to Mexico. You won’t get to Mexico, you will get to Canada. To assume that just by “believing”, or sheer bull headedness that you can get to Mexico by heading North, is purely illogical unless you want to circle the globe. And that, my friend, is taking the long way, and is more likely to end in failure, and CERTAIN to involve unnecessary pain and hardship.

There is all kinds of flexibility for individuality within the rules, but if you want to reach a certain destination, you do not head off blindly or contrarily in the opposite direction. If a certain road has always lead to a certain destination, the wise study it out, and follow the road that goes there. The foolish wander off in other directions, scratching their heads, wondering what went wrong.

The real problem is figuring out what the rules really are – where the map really is pointing. There is a lot of conflicting information on all subjects in this day and age. Which is the real map? Which guide is telling the truth about their experience? Because it takes a lot more than believing to get somewhere. You have to believe in something that is actually true, and you have to act in a way that carries out the required steps to achieve what you want to achieve, whether it is a monetary goal, a spiritual goal, or a personal goal.

Adjusting to Yet Another Laptop

I bought a new laptop in November of last year. Used to Dells, the HP was not quite up to speed – in more ways than one.

Within 6 months, the trackpad had a hole worn in the surface, apparently built more to be a toy than a heavily used tool. It did have a nice feature or two, as well as some things which bugged me regularly, like the CD drive that was on the right side, which required that I move the Wacom tablet every time I inserted or removed a disk. A real issue when burning stacks of CDs for an event.

The computer was woefully under supplied in the resource department also. It wasted my time every day in ways I could count, and for which there was a very real cost. So we reluctantly concluded that another laptop was in order, and back to Dell we went.

The new one arrived today. A nice slot loading CD drive, discouragingly located on the right side! But at least they did not locate the earphone plugs in the region of my navel like the HP had – made recording instructional videos a bit painful! The HP did have two charming features which I was loath to part with, so I ordered them on the new one as well – the built-in webcam (easier to cut in bits for training videos), and the twin hard drives. I also ordered a new frill – the fingerprint scan lock. We shall see how THAT works out, but we do feel a need for more security given the amount of confidential information that a website designer is required to store on a computer.

I also ordered a copy of PC Mover, with the hopes that it will speed the transfer of all my STUFF between computers, and shorten the setup time. It is two hours into the massive data transfer via USB cable, and tells me it has 6 hours to go. Of course, 3 hours ago it told me it had 14 hours to go, so we can hope that it will be done before bed time tonight.

In our business, we do end up having to replace laptops about once a year, or every two years at the outset. It is our corporate policy to use laptops instead of desktops to encourage mobility. The one time killer is the switch over to the new one. Usually it takes days to finally let go of the old one. I’m typing this on the new one while the transfer goes on in the background – they discourage this kind of behavior, but I cannot do NOTHING while two computers just talk to each other. I have too much to do, including blog posts for four blogs.

So I am killing time, doing the only things I can do while it moves my files – Catching up on the writing.

Grow a Garden!

Gardening doesn't have to be that hard! No matter where you live, no matter how difficult your circumstances, you CAN grow a successful garden.

Life from the Garden: Grow Your Own Food Anywhere Practical and low cost options for container gardening, sprouting, small yards, edible landscaping, winter gardening, shady yards, and help for people who are getting started too late. Plenty of tips to simplify, save on work and expense.