“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction”

The title of this post is a quote by Winston Churchill.

Image by ColdSpire

This blog is close to four years old and, since starting it, my interests have shifted.  In college, I was maniacal about the stock market.  Classmates were making money day trading, one even owned a late model Corvette.  I never got too involved in day trading,  instead preferring place by bets on stocks I expected to shift over 6-12 months.  I went through periods where I traded heavily, suretrade and scottrade enjoyed these periods of my life. I remember filling out my tax return at the end of the year and regretting my prolific, yet unprofitable activities over the course of the year on more than one occasion.

I eventually drifted into real estate, buying my first home at 25 and eventually another from family at 28.  Real estate is interesting to me, but to be profitable over the long haul it eventually means landlording in one form or another. Not something I’m very interested in.

Image by LemonadeDay

Over the last two years, my interest has shifted in the direction of entrepreneurship.  Both of my parents were great role models for me growing up and I always had an entrepreneurial bent as a kid.  My dad being self employed, at times with a hand full of employees, in the construction industry.  My mom often worked for others but generally did it with a direction of getting joy out of her job rather than focusing solely on the paycheck. 

Over the last few years, I’ve worked at a great internet startup in Seattle where several of my coworkers either have left to pursue their own opportunities or worked for themselves for a time then came back to the corporate setting for security, family or opportunity to work on unique technologies that may not be possible at a small business.

I’ve decided to shift the focus of this blog onto my new focus of small business and entrepreneurship.  With my technical background and interest in business, I’m looking to put my knowledge and skills to good use either in my own venture or in helping small business owners grow their businesses and be successful in this new, technology-driven marketplace.  Even local businesses need to blend ecommerce, social networking, targeted online marketing campaigns and the new wave of location based services into their businesses to give themselves maximum potential in their market. I think there is a huge opportunity to help small business owners bridge that gap and take their businesses to the next level.

I hope you’ll stick around as a reader, I’ll do my best to keep it interesting!

Woot! A fresh blog face

I’ve had a nasty, outdated wordpress blog theme for a very long time.  As it got more and more out of date, it got more and more broken.  The “Previous” and “Next” links on the home page broke at some point so I pulled the excerpts off and just was showing all of the post titles on the home page instead.   It was hideous.

I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to the latest version of WordPress (after doing the requisite backups of course) and even picked up a spankin’ new look and feel in the process.

Its kind of like my blog hadn’t taken a shower in 14 months or so and it was getting a bit stinky.  Now its clean so, its okay, you can come a little closer.  The fleas are gone…

Predicting future AdSense revenue with Excel

This is the first of what I hope are a few posts to help people take control of their blog or website earnings to generate some interesting statistics about where their blog revenue may be in the future, metrics about where their earnings currently are, and information on how to track true success metrics on your blog to drive future revenue.

This is a somewhat technical tutorial so please leave a comment if you have questions or if I’ve made a mistake!  (I’ll suppress your comment if you want me to, its just the simplest way to make sure I get it and respond to it!). 

How to predict future Google AdSense revenues on your blog using Microsoft Excel’s FORECAST function:

  1. Generate an advanced Adsense report using “Aggregate” as the report type and “All Time” as the date range
  2. Once the report is generated, click the in the upper right of the generated report that says “CSV”
  3. Open the CSV file in Excel
  4. Save the file as an xls file
  5. Insert a column in front of the first “date” column
  6. In cell A1, enter 0
  7. In cell A2 (first row with data), enter “=A1+1” and press enter (that should give you a 1
  8. Highlight cell A2 and choose “Edit” -> “Copy”
  9. Highlight all the cells in the “A” column after A2 and go to “Edit”->”Paste” to paste in the formula
  10. You should now have a column of incremented numbers up to the last value in your “A” column
  11. Find an empty cell to the right of your data where you’d like to paste the Excel forecast data
  12. Lets assume your “All Time” data includes 365 days worth of data (a full year)
  13. To figure out how much money you’ll likely be making a year from now, enter the following in the empty cell: “=FORECAST(730, G2:G366, A2:A366)” where “730” is 2 years out (365 days/year * 2), “G2:G366” is the data range that includes your earnings for each day of the year and “A2:A366” is the data range that includes the day number. 

What this exercise does is basically tell excel to take the first 365 days of earnings you have in column G and forecast what that number will be on day 730. 

You can vary the formula to predict earnings next month, 3 months from now or even several years from now if you’d like by changing the value from “700” in the formula to x number of days past the end of your data set.  To see the earnings for a month from now, if you have 365 days of data in the report, choose “395” as the first value in the forecast function (30 days past the end of your data set, 365).

Keep in mind the projections are basically average estimates.  I hope you’ve found this helpful and, again, please leave a comment if you have feedback or have questions on the process!

Learning to blog – taking a new approach

I’ve been writing on this blog for a year and three months now.  I’ve had some popular posts and some not so popular posts, but I’ve realized that I think I’m taking the wrong approach to things and am going to make a concerted effort to change my approach over the new month. 

Over the last 15 months, I’ve realized that blogging is time intensive.  While I don’t spend a lot of time proofreading my posts for proper grammar, spelling, punctuation, etc, I do invest a lot of time in writing the posts and thinking about topics that would interest others.  As I look around at other successful personal finance blogs, I find a common trend.  The authors of other blogs post much shorter posts on a much more frequent basis.  I realize that I myself prefer to read those types of blogs as well. 

Posting short posts with interesting and, more importantly, timely content creates a loyal readership and will encourage future visits.  Some users will naturally dislike my writing style or choice of content so I realize that I can’t change that.  By posting more posts with greater frequency, I think I’ll get more first time readers (due to posts showing up on digg, stumbleupon, reddit, pfblogs.org, technorati, etc) and at least some of those readers ought to turn into return visitors.

I’m excited about the new approach and even more excited about checking results in a month or two.  I have reporting set up through wordpress, Google Analytics, and a variety of other tools via my web host so I should have a pretty good historical record to compare against. 

 I’ll try to post results in a few more weeks and we’ll see how things go!