Buying A Website Versus Just Doing It Yourself. Part 1

Sound Hero – coming to Uniquethingsonline.com for Christmas

A website is an integral part of your business, since online buying is such a boom. You have to have a website to grow your business and reach customers. There’s no way around it. The question is: should you pay someone to build you a website or should you roll up your sleeves and attempt it yourself? There are pluses and minuses to both. We tried, or attempted, to do both. Let me explain:

My spouse has no computer experience, but she would stay up late (I mean until 2 and 3am) working on building our website. There was frustration, and I just stayed far away. In other words, that was not my lane and I wasn’t getting involved. I said very little except, “You need to rest.” It went on for days, and I could tell that it was catching up with her. Again, everyone had an opinion, and she chased every one of them. I want to say this right now: listen, but don’t feel that you have to try each and every suggestion that someone shares. This, in itself, will drive you crazy. I understand that people want to be of help, but I feel that, if their idea was so good, why aren’t they using it? That may sound harsh, but watching her go from one thing to another and not saying anything was rough. I will say that you should make your own decisions and stick to them. See your ideas out, because we sometimes dump an idea before it’s had time to mature. Give your gut feelings a chance. It’s not that what she was doing was bad, but she just wasn’t satisfied. We weren’t getting any customers, and she’d change it the next night. This was involved. Even though there are templates that you use, there is still size, style, format, descriptions and it goes on and on… She was taking classes and then using what she’d learned that same night. She would ask my opinion, and most times, I’d say it was good. I was always honest in my reply, because it was my business too, and I wanted it to do well.

My spouse is someone whose attention span is very short. I don’t mean that in a bad way, because it’s not in some things in our lives. When I saw how much time she spent on this, I knew how much this meant to her. It’s not just the money that was spent, but also she felt, and still feels, that we were building something to pass down to the younger members of our family; a legacy. I couldn’t be mad that the website was taking up a lot of her waking hours. I just couldn’t. When you do a website yourself, there are still expenses for domain name, hosting, and support and each company has their own add-ons that you can spend money on. It is cheaper than having someone else do it, but don’t put the checkbook away! You can still go deep in the pocket doing it yourself. She really didn’t ask for any help with the cost of the website, but if she did, I would have given it to her, because I saw a commitment from her that is now always there.

My next blog will be about paying for someone to build you a website. I want to close by saying, if you are thinking about building a website yourself, you should prepare for a lot of patience and time. You should not have any distractions around you, so clear the calendar. You should have a very understanding family, because there won’t be any family time. You should trust yourself, and see your ideas through, before giving up. That’s all I have for this blog. Be safe out there.

My Secret is Out

There’s this concept online called crowdfunding. In basic language, crowdfunding is a group of people that buy into another individual’s/company’s idea. I mean buy as in money and buy as in you like what they are selling. I actually can’t tell you how I got involved, but believe me, it had to be something I saw online that made me say, “Wow!” I was working then, though money was tight, but what I saw made me say, “I’ve got to have this!” The problem was my spouse, who wasn’t my spouse at the time, but we were dating and living together. I knew that spending money on a watch was not going to fly. Yes, the first geeky item I pledged to was a watch. This watch connected to your phone and you got notifications. This was before smart watches were the rage. What I did was to first talk up the watch by saying how it could keep me from missing messages on my commute from New York to New Jersey. Well, that didn’t work, so I did what I knew was fail proof: it was an early birthday present to myself. While I was wheeling and dealing with my spouse on this watch, I went to a newfound website of geek items and saw another watch. This time, not only could I get notifications but I could talk into it. Dick Tracy here I come! Now, I’m talking about two watches. Well, I only have one birthday, so how could I get her to see things from my point of view? Nope, it wasn’t going to happen, so I did the unthinkable and just kept my big mouth shut. The website that had grabbed my attention that I was not mentioning was Kickstarter. 
Kickstarter

Kickstarter
was started in April 2009 by Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler and Charles Adler. The Kickstarter headquarters is located in New York City. Kickstarter is a very user friendly site for project owners and backers. Kickstarter responds to questions and problems about their site very quickly and you can communicate with the project owner by clicking on the comments section or emailing him/her through the website. The comments area is also a place to interact, not only with the project owner, but with other backers, during the course of the project.
Kickstarter has a global community of people from more than 220 countries and territories. Roughly 35% of successfully funded projects now come from outside the United States, as do 45% of backers. Together, these backers and creators use Kickstarter to reach across borders and shape culture into what they want it to be, rather than accepting it for what it is. And as ideas from different cultures collide with one another, they inspire new conversations, creative approaches, and cross-cultural connections.
 

Kickstarter Project Manager 
I will discuss the technology area of Kickstarter; however, there are many types of projects that you can back, such as films, music, and books. The Kickstarter site enables people to discover and back as many projects as they believe will become a reality. When a person, or groups of people, decide to start a project on Kickstarter they must first build a project page, which includes a video with a description explaining their project. The next step for the project owner is to provide information about their budget and a timeline from beginning to end of the project. The project owner must then decide what kind of rewards they will offer backers, such as a choice of item color or engraving the item with the project name and year. These rewards are given when the project funding reaches certain milestones. Project owners have to keep in mind that they pay for all of the rewards offered to backers. When project owners think about the funds necessary to bring their project to fruition, they must consider everything because Kickstarter will not let their project become a reality if the funding goal is not met. A very important part of the project is promotion. A project needs active promotion because a project no one knows about will never get funded. Kickstarter’s fee is 5%, with an additional 3 to 5% for processing payments. If the project owner doesn’t meet their funding goal, they owe nothing.

Kickstarter Backers
There are different tier amounts that a backer can pledge. When a backer pledges early there is usually a perk from the project owner as a way of thanking a backer for coming aboard early. The different pledge tiers not only tell you the item, but an estimated month and year that you will receive the item. The shipping information will also be listed in each tier box, along with any accessories that might be given. Once he/she has met the project funding level, the project owner will give their backers updates as the project develops through each stage. Backers like to know they’ve made a wise decision in backing a project and hate it when shipping has to be pushed back time after time. My experience with Kickstarter is that projects are always pushed back for different reasons. The project owners try to give realistic shipping estimates, but often a project of this magnitude is new to many of them and they are not prepared for the problems that arise. You, the backer, have to be aware that there are also scam artist that will go through the motions of creating a project, but once funding is met and they receive their money, you never hear from them again. There is really no recourse for backers when a project owner takes the money and doesn’t fulfill his/her part of the deal. Kickstarter backing is partially about being first to get an item that no one might know about or have even envisioned. As I stated, not all projects make it to the backers. An example of this was a watch that I pledged for my daughter. It was supposed to be the thinnest watch out in 2013. The company wasn’t able to make the watch because they encountered too many hurdles that they weren’t prepared for. I recently received a letter informing us that after liquidating all of their assets, there was no money to give to backers.

Some might think this is throwing money away because these projects aren’t cheap, and if a project fails you can’t get your money back. I think of it like this: It’s no riskier than the lottery or going to the casino. You never know when you’ll hit the jackpot. There is a certain rush you get as the months go by waiting for your reward to make it from the project owner’s vision to you.