May 272014
 

I have been thinking a lot about money lately. How to monetize my blog so I can stay home and have enough cash to finish my degree. I am still trying to figure out exactly what to do to make this happen. There are so many different opinions about it. Where do we start?

Of course there are affiliate programs and Google AdSense. I have a few of these but I don’t think they do much good right now. I need more traffic to make them a viable source of income. I also have Kontera and Chitika on my site. I have used sponsored tweets as well. As of today, I have earned a grand total of $.85. I should be excited that I have made any money at all online but it is not enough to be successful.

The good news: I don’t care right now. My blog is still in its infancy and just getting started. I had the most visitors to date yesterday and I am very excited. I have topped 1300 visitors and can count on a few visits every day even before I get something posted. Thanks for that. I amnot keeping hard and fast to the three month mark that seems to be when people give up. I started mid December of 2009 but didn’t start pushing it until January. I consider my blog to be a month and a half old right now. I figure by april I should be cruising along quite well. My exposure has been more than I ever expected to this point. My Alexa raking is rising, and while I am not fixated on this number I do want it to go up and not down.

I know some other bloggers who are working on the monetizing thing too. James over at TheInfoPreneur has a ton of great stuff and is now working on compiling some of it for sale.  His experience has got me thinking about my site as well.  James is a wealth of information on how to blog and how to be a better person.  He posts tons of content and his site has skyrocketed since he started it.  He has been a major inspiration for me (no he is NOT paying me to say this.  Yet. 😉 ) and getting my blog going.

Now, I am basically a cheapskate.  I don’t have money to throw around at the latest make money online scheme.  Kidney transplants and dialysis is expensive, even with insurance.  So, being a cheapskate, I am extremely picky with what I buy.  Like with James, is there stuff I would buy from him?  Yes.  Will I actually buy stuff from him?  At this point I honestly don’t know.  If I was making money myself would I? Yes, most definitely.

This brings up another question.  How do I go about monetizing without driving people away.  I know this is the same struggle that many bloggers get to.  I know that it takes selling your own products to make a bunch of cash.  I have seen several places that will give you exclusive resell rights to certain products.  Can I sell other people’s stuff like this and keep the cash?  Sure.  Do I want to?  I am very lukewarm on the idea.  I don’t want to be another one of “those” type blogs.  Many of these give you “300 products you can resell” for like $15.  How do they make any money for these products?  Sure they get the $15 but why are their products so cheap?  Are they outdated? Are they just rehashes from other sites?  Are they plagiarized from other sites?  Too many questions.  I may put some ebooks up for sale in the future and some affiliate programs but not right now.

The next thing I am trying to figure out is what do I have to offer that would be either of use, or entertaining enough to entice fellow cheapskates to part with their money.  My wife and I have a business that we have been working on selling handmade quilts, table runners and some other crafts at Brenda’s Quilt Shop.com.  It has been doing ok in the real world, selling several to friends, neighbors and associates.  We have even sold several things on eBay, but we barely broke even with eBay and PayPal fees and postage.  I am still going to use eBay over the holidays to sell our stuff but I want to sell with the website as well.  On this website I want to focus on selling my writing.

Now, what can I sell of my writing?  I am not an authority on WordPress like Dave Doolin, or on blogging or on content production.  Anything I wrote on the “how to” front would be rehashes from other places.  Is there a market for fiction?  I am going to make an ebook of my Saturday fiction serials when they are finished.  They will be free for a while at least but would anyone want to spend money on them later?  Maybe send them out for free to email subscribers and beg for reviews before selling it.  I have other short stories that I am going to run on Saturday’s as well.  I am looking at revising some of my old stories that I just love so maybe they can stand on their own as an ebook.

I can write ebooks on simple car repair and maintenence, but that is not something I talk about in more than passing on this site.  I can write about kidney failure and taking a 1 year old through 2 years of dialysis and a kidney transplant.  I have written tons of blog posts on that as we were going through it while not calling it an actual blog.  www.carepages.com page: ameliarosematthews.  Would that sell?  Maybe.  I have seen several things about self publishing on Amazon for both Kindle and .pdf ebooks.  That is always in the back of my head.

I just wonder if anyone would buy anything that I can put out like that.  Or is my ego just not big enough yet to say screw it and just do it.  I figure I have until April and the 3 month wannabe blog hurdle crossed before I have to actually decide and just do it.

For now, I will just write and write and hope like hell people come to read!  Don’t forget to check out my Pre-Writing Challenge page that will start on Friday the 19th!  That will be more writing!  I am also going to work on some guest posts for other sites.  All of these things have to be good somewhere right?

Until tomorrow, I have some thinking to do.

Thanks for being here with me.

Justin

May 272014
 

Hello folks!  Today I wanted to tell you about an organization that we belong to.  It is called HopeKids.  HopeKids is  non profit charitable organization that is all about helping families of kids with terminal diseases and afflictions do “normal” things.  They primarily were founded with cancer kids in mind and have since broadened out to include all sorts of diseases including, heart disease and Kidney disease.

They recognize that all of these diseases affect the whole family.  They are permanent diseases that can be treated somewhat, but in most cases kids can’t do things that other kids can.  Most of the kids in HopeKids here in Utah are immunocompromised, including my daughter.

Please visit http://www.firstgiving.com/ameliaskidney and sign up to be a sponsor for our team!

If you don’t know, immunocompromised means that they are in treatment for especially cancer, or they take drugs to suppress their immune system so that the cancer cells can be killed or, like my daughter, so she does not reject her kidney transplant.  Most kids in this situation have to be very careful where they go because they can get sick very easily.   Even a simple cold can turn into pneumonia because these kids can’t fight the bugs.

HopeKids gives families a place to go where everyone is special because everyone has some disease.  It becomes very close knit and it is great when you go to a place where people understand what you are going through and all of the kids can be treated normally.

I can’t tell you how many people would turn away or walk away from us in the store when my daughter had a feeding tube in her nose.  Or if they caught sight of her dialysis catheter that was in her upper chest wall.  I saw people look in horror as we would give her medications.  And she did not have many things to show.  There are kids with breathing tubes, as well as feeding tubes, or wheelchairs or crutches.   I have seen people avoid all of these type of kids.

HopeKids doesn’t.  No one cares what these kids are hooked up to or what they have in them to keep them alive.  No one cares that some are bald from chemotherapy or that they have to wear a mask to keep any germs out.  I still make my daughter wear a mask about half of the time, and that is over a year out from her transplant.  No one thinks twice about that at a HopeKids event.

What kids of things do they do?  Movies, arcade visits, plays, we have seen the dress rehearsal of the nutcraker from a pro ballet troupe for the past couple of years.  They do a birthday party each quarter for the kids who have birthdays in that quarter, and each kid gets a personalized present from HopeKids.   We got to go to this event: http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700031968/Hope-Kids-offers-a-modern-fairy-tale-for-children-with-illnesses.html.

All of these events are free to the HopeKid and the family!  Which brings me to another point today.  While HopeKids is always looking for donations, we are participating in their yearly fundraiser.  It is a 5K run/walk or an adventure walk if you prefer.  Here are details from the site itself:


Date: Saturday, September 11th, 2010

Time: Registration starts at 8 AM, Races start at 9 AM

Fundraising Goal: $40,000

Come and join us for the 2010 HopeKids Wasatch Adventure taking place at the beautiful This is the Place Heritage Park in Salt Lake City!

All proceeds to benefit HopeKids Utah.
HopeKids is a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization.

Get a fundraising team of up to five together and choose one of four activities to participate in:

  1. The Adventure Walk: Suitable for kids and families, walk the Park grounds visiting each of our Adventure Stations.  You never know who you might meet!
  2. 5K Walk.
  3. 5K Run.
  4. Remote Participant: If you are unable to be at This is the Place on September 11th, feel free to get one or more teams together in your community and walk or run for Hope!

When you walk or run to support HopeKids, you are raising the spirits of hundreds of kids and their families in their greatest time of need.  You are giving them the gift of HOPE!

It’s simple. Use this page to create your team fundraising page. From there, share the team page with family and friends, and spread the word about your WALK OR RUN FOR HOPE. You can walk the 5K or run the 5K.

You can collect “offline” gifts of cash and checks and list those on your fundraising page. Bring those donations with you to the Run/Walk in an envelope clearly marked with Team Name and total enclosed. You can also collect everything “offline” and not use a fundraising page.  (All checks made payable to “HopeKids”)

We hope you will show your support of HopeKids with your time and energy and help raise money when you come and WALK OR RUN FOR HOPE!

IMPORTANT NOTES:

Like last year, there is no registration fee, but we are asking that all teams raise a minimum of $100 for participation in the Wasatch Adventure.  Team sizes are limited to 5 participants.  If you have more participants, consider starting a second team!

Encourage your family and friends to support you! This could be donations to your team, or they could join your team and create their own fundraising page. Or they could create their own team and compete against you!


So Here is the deal, our family is going to participate in the Adventure Walk.  We are going to strap on the hiking boots and get the baby in the stroller.  We are looking for sponsors for our walk!  We are looking to raise $100 or more by the September 11th deadline.  If you can possibly help with $1 or two, I would greatly appreciate it.  All of the money goes directly to HopeKids and helps to fund the yearly activities that we can be a part of.

Please visit http://www.firstgiving.com/ameliaskidney and sign up to be a sponsor for our team!  As a bonus if you do sponsor our team, aside from the gratitude of our family and the satisfaction you get from contributing to a worthy cause, I have some free bonuses for you.

All of these products are very interesting and helpful.  They all come with Master Resale Rights as well.  The products are:

  • Starting your own online business: 96page ebook plus bonuses
  • How to develop the guts to talk with anyone: 46 page ebook plus bonuses
  • 404 Self improvement tips: 119 page ebook plus reseller icons and logos.

Please donate any amount to our cause at http://www.firstgiving.com/ameliaskidney and send me an email to justin@justinsbrainpan.com letting me know that you did.  I will immediately send you all three packages!  I will not even add you to any email list unless you want me to.

Thank you in advance for any and all help that you can give!

-Justin
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May 272014
 

 

Film poster for The Princess Bride - Copyright...

Image via Wikipedia

One of my all time favorite movies is The Princess Bride.  I am not going to summarize it here, but you should watch it if you haven’t.  If you have seen it, watch it again.  It is fantastic.  Anyway, in the movie there is a hidden torture chamber that the albino calls the “Pit of Despairrrrrrrrr” (clears throat) “The Pit of Despair”.  In this pit the hero is tortured and this that and the other happens.

Now, keep that in mind while I tell you this story.  Long time readers of this blog know that my family has undergone some stress in recent years.  A daughter on dialysis, a kidney transplant, a new baby, a new home.  Well all of this has taken it’s toll on my kids.  They have taken it very very well but sometimes things come out that we know is stress related.  We took my oldest son to a counselor to just talk a bit about his feelings.

One of the suggestions that she had for helping him to deal with everything was to pretend to blow up a balloon whenever he was feeling stressed and just let it go.  It worked.  Now we try to get him to blow up balloons when he has too much energy, or is sad, or is mad.  Well, today he was sad.  Some things happened and at the end of it I yelled at him.  The reason is not important.

At bedtime we sit as a family and discuss the day.  This is when I found out that he and my daughter had both blew up several sad balloons, mad balloons and left them on my desk.  So now I have dubbed my desk the Pit of Despair.  And it will be the pit of despair from now on.  Life choices made from this chair of torture, dealings with the world right here from the Pit.  It is kind of fun, and a bit cool to have the pit available.

We name boats, houses, manors and now my desk.  So I ask you good readers, what unusual things do you have names for that are either ironic, silly or fitting?  I want to hear some of these.  I will post a list of my favorites in the next couple of days.  Go on!  Comment!

As you wish, kids, as you wish.

-Justin

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May 272014
 

Is there anything that strikes fear into the heart of the “average” man like the threat of changing diapers???  That gets made fun of all over TV and in homes everywhere.

The truth?  I have never had an issue with changing diapers.  I would just go and change the kids if they needed it.  It was always funny to watch my Dad squirm and my Mom ttry to take the kids to change them.  Diapers no problem.

I do complain about them now, because my almost 4 year old is doing what I was afraid of more than anything when we first had kids.  Potty Training.  There should be horror movies written about potty training.  There should be death metal songs about it.  The end result is fantastic but the process sucks.

The ONLY thing I was nervous about when our first daughter was born 9 years ago was potty training.  And not crushing her with my inept grip.  Potty training time has been the worst time I have had dealing with my kids.  Kind of silly huh?  I would rather do diapers if you must know the truth.  Flip a brain switch and suddenly they are trained!  Woo Hoo!  Doesn’t happen though.

Now, you may wonder why I am talking about potty training.  It is something I have been doing with my nearly 4 year old daughter who is not potty trained.  I have been working with her and it is coming but still…..  Why is she nearly 4 and not potty trained?  I am just lazy.

No seriously, she spent 2 full years without any kidney’s.  She didn’t urinate for 2 years straight.  We saved tons of money on diapers.  She was completely dependent on dialysis (dialysis is a helluva lot more expensive than diapers, in both money and soul.  Not a strategy to save anything) for those years and didn’t have any bladder function at all.

You want a good laugh?  Watch the interns at the hospital digging through the diaper pail looking for the wet diaper that just had to be there.  We would let them go for a while and then remind them that “bi-lateral nephrectomy” (both kidney’s removed) means she will not have a wet diaper….EVER!  The senior Nephrologists love that story too.

So we are here almost exactly 1 year after she received her new kidney.  It took several months for her bladder to stretch back out to where it would hold more than a teaspoon at a time.  It took time for her muscles to be able to hold in some urine.  For the past 2 months, she has been doing well and is fairly normal with her control, if a year behind.  We are not worried, it is the time now to get her trained.  I am sick of diapers and pull ups.

Besides, there will be a whole new round of diapers when the new baby gets here in July.  I will be stuck with diapers for another couple of years and then be done.  And then another round of potty training.  I can do it.  *Deep Breath* I have to, I am the Dad.

Please regale us with your potty training stories below!  I would love to hear them!

-Justin