Over the past month I’ve been doing a bit of research on Internet Marketing.

Thanks to ProBlogger I’ve found some great sites. One such site is Itty Biz.

Itty Biz is run by Naomi Dunford. Naomi has great practical advice for small business marketing and her writing is easy to read and often very funny.

Even though Naomi targets small business I think she could teach Skype a thing or too about Barriers to Purchase.

I sell on eBay. I use Paypal, exclusively, to receove payments.¬† I put some of the moneyI make into my bank account and leave some in Paypal. I then use the money in Paypal to purchase online services, books,etc…

Apparently eBay owns Paypal. Apparently eBay also owns Skype. Apparently though neither Skype nor Paypal know this.

I’ve been using Skype for PC to PC calls for a year now. I’ve also encouraged some of my clients and suppliers to use Skype so we can contact each other easily (read “for free”).

Last week I decided to put call credit into my Skype account. I’d been using Gizmo5 for PC to phone calls but wanted to, using a Credit Crunch term, Rationalise my Voip process. So Skype would now be used for all calls from PC and who knows I might have even bought a Skype phone or used Skype on my Three mobile.

But that’s when the wheels came off. Skype requires my Paypal account to have a credit card associated with it. Since I don’t have, or ever want again, a credit card then I’ll have to look elsewhere to spend my hard earned cash.

I don’t need a credit card to sell or buy on eBay. I want to buy Skype credit. That’s all, just “pay as you call credit”. If there’s no credit, then no call. If I’m in the middle of a call and no credit – cut me off. I’m a big boy I can take it, just cut me off. No need for guarantees then, so why the need for a credit card?

I’m not alone:

http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=102646

http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showtopic=109511

http://en.onsoftware.com/why-have-skype-changed-paypal-payments/

It seems this issue started about a year ago.

You can use Moneybookers. I haven’t used them but I think I’ll start using them now… with my Gizmo5 account.

Cheerio Skype!

I’ve been sidetracked for the past few days.

I finally decided it was time to learn (properly) some PHP.

http://devzone.zend.com/node/view/id/627

I’ve tinkered with PHP in the past. Plus Visual Web Developer, Ruby on Rails, C++, etc… But as part of my New Year’s resolution I’ve committed to finishing what I start.

This tutorial has to be one of the best I’ve come across yet. It’s well written, informative and engaging.

I managed to go through it in about 4 days. I think I’ve grasped most of it fairly well. Even managed to put together a mind map of the core points covered in the series. If anyone wants a copy let me know.

I’ve a dilemma now – Where to next?

I feel I’ve got a handle on the basics but I’m not confident that I can develop my own web apps yet.

I suppose I’ll start with some simple widgets and the like, and gradually build towards some meatier projects.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

CRM? SCHME.R.M!

January 12, 2009

I’ve just spent the weekend deciding on a CRM solution for my business.

That’s a lie.

I started out trying to setup a simple client database, but then decided – “Wouldn’t it be nice if this was online?” and then “OOh, OOh, what about integration with Thunderbird!” and “But it’ll need to be run on my own server…” or “Maybe it’d be better being hosted…” what about “A system that is hosted but with the option to move to my server in the future should the need arise!”

Well, there are hundreds of choices out there. But most of them are far to complex for my needs.

I eventually opted for SugarCRM. It got the best reviews, and seemed like a very nice, capable, web-based app (that runs on my server), and it’s free (community edition). But it doesn’t play well with Thunderbird, is very complex¬† and won’t even export your calendar.

So, I ended up spending half of the day today finding an alternative and finally returned to one of my earlier choices – Highrise by 37Signals. An excellent web app but at $29/month for the personal edition I decided against it.

I have to say it wasn’t the best online solution though. That goes to WBP System’s HEAP CRM. Not as good looking or intuitive as Highrise, but priced right ($9/month) and lots of cool features. My favourite being the Event Template, would be handy for billing letters and reminders about client contact.

Ultimately though I wasn’t happy. HEAP CRM’s interface is clunky in comparison to Highrise. They do offer a “Host-You-Own” option, but at $1000 I probably would never be able to justify buying it.

I’ve settled on Thunderbird with Lightning and a few other extensions. A few features are missing like linking mails and contacts to events but it plays well with Google Calendar and Remember The Milk and it’s fully under my control.

Maybe I’ll try and write an addon to allow categories in Lightning be used to categorise contacts or messages but I neither have the skills or the time to learn the skills. If someone is feeling generous out there and would like to develop a very useful feature for this app I’d be eternally grateful. Until then I might try and cobble together something with Open Office Base and Thunderbird. If that’s even possible!

Why Blogging for money?

January 9, 2009

This is the easiest question for me to answer.

QOL.

Normally I don’t like acronyms like – ASAP or ROFLAO (or whatever), although FUBAR is good. However one day a friend told me he needed to get some more QOL and I was momentarily stunned. I figured he meant Quality Of Life almost straight away but the thing that really knocked me back was that this simple phrase now had an acronym!

It said a lot to me about life, had time become such a rare commodity that we now needed abbreviations for simple phrases? It seemed so and from that day I decided to work at getting a high QOL so I’d be able to find the time to say simple phrases like Quality of Life and avoid horrible phrases such as – “Going Forward” and “Core Competancy”.

So, I’m moving. I’m leaving my land of birth, Ireland, for a life on the other side of the world – Thailand.

Sounds good to me but how am I going to make money out there? I’d lived there for two years before and did OK teaching English. But if I’m being honest I don’t like teaching English. For a few reasons, it’s hard work, the politics does my head in, I’m not particularly good at it and it can be very stressful for me. There are good aspects of teaching, it’s very rewarding, the kids can be great, the parents are genuinely friendly, in Thailand you’re seen as doing a very important job and accorded a lot of respect, and many more reasons.

So with English teaching ruled out as a job the rest of my options for earning an income in Thailand are limited. That’s when I came across ProBlogger.

I’m still not convinced it’s a viable way to make a living, but it can’t hurt to try. At the very least I’ll learn a bit about web marketing and improve my writing skills.

I’m about four chapters into the book now so I’ll give a brief overview about what I’ve done so far in my next post and after that I’ll make regular posts about my progress.

Thanks for your time.

p.s. Read more about the book here