In my “How to keep busy” blog I mentioned some things I’ve done to keep me overly busy in the past 4 months… So I thought I’d quickly give an update on each of them…
1. Get Married
Well, for pics check out my brother’s site… (I take no responsibility for the content or views expressed there, they are his views and not necessarily the views of his family – a.k.a <#include “std_disclaimer.h”>) Disclaimer aside, its got some good content. 🙂
Married life is fun… challenging, but fun… I never knew how “set in my ways” I am, or how childish I can be sometimes… But I also didn’t know that I could love as much as I am… 🙂
2. Start leading a home group (a.k.a bible study)
This is lotsa fun… the old group had about 30 people regularly attending… so it was decided that 12 of us would move to a new group. Leading a group is a challenge, and leading one where everyone has gotten used to “how things were done” just makes it all the more interesting… So it took a while to settle into how I like things to happen… (more social and interactive than just a “teaching”) I think we’re getting there, and everyone’s kinda settling into things (and still learning – I hope)
3. Start leading a choir (and doing admin for a bunch of muso’s)
For someone who’s not the most outgoing/confident person in the world, I certainly chose to start doing a lot of leading. (Home, Home group, and Choir) This is kinda fun, they’re a great group of people but leading is not always “fun”… And since they’d not been lead by me before, there was some clashing over leadership style. But that’s ok, we’re all good friends now and we’re doing quite well.
Regarding “doing admin for a bunch of muso’s”, that was interesting… Our church has 4 music teams and 2 choirs. The regular admin people went to the UK for 2 months, and then to Natal to help produce a CD, so I volunteered to help out. Being ever the lazy developer, I built a quick .Net app that linked into a SMS service (using a Web Services API). This was then used to send out quick reminders of music practices or changes to the schedule… Unfortunately the service provider had a very shaky system, and even worse support. (Everything was somehow always my fault – even when one of their databases was offline, causing their web service to kinda throw an exception, but still listing the SMS’s as being sent, charging me for them, but not actually sending them) Anyway, aside from the service provider (who is being replaced as soon as I can find a decent alternative – both in terms of price and the API’s they offer)… everything went kinda well. 😀
Also being ever the lazy person, I got tired of trying to organise songs for the choir (don’t know why no one was keeping their music, or remembering the words too well), so I gave them “choir files” (one for each section in the choir) and kinda made sure that the music was kept there, and that nobody took them home – coz invariably, being muso’s, they’d forget to bring them the next week. Last week the regular admin people came back, so I’m hoping I kinda left the admin a bit better off than when they left.
4. Do a whole bunch of house sitting (3.5 weeks in just under 3 months)
Christie’s boss and his wife do a lot of traveling. Their son was in Australia for the last 6 months, and their 16 year old daughter needed someone to “look after her” (not that she needed much looking after, but I think it was the thought that counted)… So we spent 2 stints house sitting (2 wks and 1.5 wks)… I was shocked at how much that threw any routine we’d started settling into… After the 1st set of house sitting, we had just over a week at home before the 2nd set… so we had over a month of no routine, which was kinda “frustrating”…
5. Start a business by mistake
I have lots of friends who either want a website (but can’t afford it) or have a website and hate paying too much for hosting in South Africa. A friend of mine (Charlie) recently started working as a freelance programmer. After talking to him about his clients and his brother’s clients I realised that they both have to sort out hosting at various local providers, so I offered to sort it out for them with my provider which would save them lotsa cash. They were both kinda interested, so I kinda looked into getting a Reseller account with my provider. That was it… it was just a brief look at what might be, with no plans on when it would be implemented…
Then suddenly John (Charlie’s brother) MSN’ed me one morning to ask how serious I’d been about organising hosting for him because he had a client that needed a domain name, and a website. I was kinda taken by supprise, but gave him a quick cost estimate. In a few minutes he’d accepted it, and I went ahead with registering the domain and setting up the website. (Took all of an hour, since I had to quickly re-learn the processes for registering a .biz domain)
The next day, I get another MSN message – “Nick will call you”. I type back “Who’s nick?” and before I can get a reply, my phone rings… Nick, so it turns out, is organising hosting for another of John’s clients. He had organised to host the site with a local company. He’d been under the impression that it was going to be a ASP.Net hosting account, but in actual fact they’d quoted him on a PHP hosting account. (Don’t ask – I did’t…)
Anyway he sounded really suprised that someone could actually host ASP.Net for under R100pm – and so I got my second hosting client.
Currently I’m not using a “reseller” account… (I’m not making enough to cover it) but if I host another 3 sites I’ll have enough to be a “real live re-seller”, which means all sorts of better perks for my clients (and me)…
Now, I know that I’m not going to be making my millions off re-selling web hosting but its a “means to an end”… There are 2 sides to this… One is to grow the number hosting clients until I can setup my own box and start doing my own hosting (which, once the startup costs are paid for, would be far more profitable than re-selling space on someone else’s box). The other aspect to this is that while I’m currently doing this to help friend’s businesses get started, it will also eventually help me with mine… You see, even if a small (tiny) percentage of the people who host with me need some development done as well, then I have a door into that business that I didn’t have before. Also, I now have connections with a great graphic designer and a great developer who (if needs be) can call on me if they need a hand developing something for their clients. (Of course, I’d charge them for that work) And even Nick could be a good contact – it seems like he does “media” type work (from movies, to presentations, cards, etc), and he seemed keen to host some more sites with me. I know he’s not a developer, so I’m guessing that he could need someone to do the development for him. So while its not anything big, its a “lead”.
So while none of that is awesomely mind blowing money-making business, its a tiny start. I’m currently employed full time, and I’m not looking to turn this into a full time occupation right now. So its “extra pocket money”… and I don’t know anyone who’d complain about that. 😀