Revenue Streams

I have been working as an employee since 1994 and also doing business at the same time since 1997. Business has been paying pretty well but not really the big bucks yet. Just enough to get through life. Then sometimes in an instant… these revenue streams pop into your head. They seem very promising. You feel very positive you will make it big. Earn big bucks. But then again… wasn’t this the exact same feeling I had when I just started my business? A computer shop that is now closed down. Full of enthusiasm and optimistic. Like nothing can go wrong, and everyone will love your product and service. You feel the urge to work every minute, knowing that every second counts.

I have been doing business since 1997, some businesses failed, and others went on. And some of those that I was very optimistic about in the past, were also the ones that died down, and the ones that continued to go on were the ones I least expected before hand, not until I was experiencing the work already.

I haven’t felt such enthusiasm and optimism in a very long time, since I always reserved these feelings in anticipation of the “anything can happen.” Things may go on right and things may fail. And by experience, things of such great feeling of enthusiasm and optimism don’t really work quite well I believe they supposed to be.

Ideas come and go, ideas come in a split second. And sometimes ideas just hit me, thinking of how great this idea is. Eversince the start of this year, business is doing good and revenue stream ideas keep pouring in. And I have never felt such enthusiasm and optimisim to work once again like there is a bright light at the end of the tunnel that I have always been travelling and finally, the light is really in sight. It is in proper range to reach.

But then again… maybe not. Well we will just have to see how it works out.

Changing Direction

After attenting the Internet Marketing Seminar by Sean Roach, it also changed the direction of how I will run my business marketing-wise. I just know my plan of action is to fix a lot of stuff on, then I will make my killer hosting plan that I will promote so well.


My business is currently not a corporation but another business entity. I do not sell good, but non-tangible services and the Internet has always been a companion in my business success.

After hearing Gary Sutton in Robert Kiyosaki’s Investor Workshop in LA whom the former is part of the Rich Dad Advisors who acts as Robert Kiyosaki’s legal advisor whose specialy is corporate law, has expressed the importance of having corporations as business entities for asset protection. Sharon Letcher, also a Rich Dad Advisor and CPA is Rich Dad’s Accountant. And one thing they stressed out is business is a team sport, and get your proper advisors. And some mistakes some people do is to get legal advice from their accountant, or get accounting advice from their lawyer. This is a big no and they said it is best to put them together if the situation calls it.

Last Christmas, I was in the Philippines and while I was at National Bookstore, I saw some Rich Dad Publications, and deicded that I wanted Gary Sutton’s Own Your Own Corporation. Just like the orginal Rich Dad, Poor Dad book, it flows in a way with stories, real life stories, cases while teaching the lessons, and not the boring approach of mostly denifitions then explaining later after all terms are defined. I found this book very very good. I gave me all the reasons why I would want to register a corporation and not any other business entity. And most of the reasons were from the point of view of a lawyer, Gary Sutton, from a legal perspective.

Two nights ago… I decided to attend a seminar by The Learning Annex in San Diego. I attended the How to Setup Your Own Corporation and the speaker was Mr. Jerry Dixon. Mr. Dixon was very, very knowledgeable in what he was discussing on very business entity, advantages and disadvantages. What can be done and what cannot be done, and what others do that is not good doing. I haven’t finished reading Gary Sutton’s book yet but I have read fairly a lot that I already knew some of the stuff being discussed. But the main difference in what Jerry Dixon was teaching, was he was teaching in the view of an accountant. So his focus were on cost, tax obligations, tax expemptions, federal, state and IRS fees, prices and frequency of payments. He also show to us each form and where to file them as well as give many tips on filing and precautions to make the process faster.

In short, Gary Sutton’s book and Jerry Dixon’s Seminar were very good. I feel happy with what I have learned the past week.

Now, my next step is to incorporate. 🙂

The Money Tree

My wife gave me a Money Tree for my business while I was in the Philippines last December.

The business scene in the Philippines is heavily influenced by Filipino-Chinese. Nearly all of the biggest companies are being run by the Filipino-Chinese. Many businesses from big corporations to the small sari-sari stores* has Chinese business good luck charms from the Chinese Feng Shui Bagua, the waving cat, the frog with a coin in it’s mouth and other good luck charms. These are said to be lucky if given to the business and not bought for the business.

The money tree I got was made of plastic in a gold shiny finish. I guess signifying gold itself. As instructed by Marcia, my wife, I placed rice, chocolates that are wrapped in gold foil, and some money inside of the vase of the money tree.

As I was putting this money tree together which is made of not finely cut platic, I needed to occassionally file down some parts of it to make them fit well into the holes of the trunk of the tree, when it came to the base of the trunk going into the the golden pot, it would not fit well it just cracked open a larger hole and the tree would not stand anymore.

I checked my toolbox to see what I could find useful to fix it up. I found a metal plate from an old PC casing with holes for motherboard ports. This came from my old casing which was good as trash since it had no other use.

The holes for the audio ports were good enough to tightly fit the plastic plug for the tree base and I just bent the plate to make it fit in well inside the cover of the golden pot. And it worked out well.

Thanks babe for the money tree and hope it does bring good fortune to the company.

*In the Philippines there are sari-sari stores everywhere. Almost every home is a block or less away from their the neighborhood sari-sari store. A micro-business where sari-sari means something like “all sorts of” or “different kinds of” signifying the store sells all sorts of stuff that are most of the time food groceries, snacks and other consumables.

Philippine Web Awards

I have been fortunate in the past to be part of the web awards in 1999 and 2000 as a finalist and won in the People’s choice awards. And in 2001, 2002 I was a chosen judge. In 2003 was my first time to go to the awards not as a judge nor competitor. Everyone’s skills just stepped up and getting in the finals is not as easy as it was before. 2004 I felt totally unknown in the web awards and I still went there to watch. 2005, at least they contacted me to be a semi-finals judge again. My company had three entries this year and only one reached the semi-finals.

The Philippine Web Awards posted our profiles and they mentioned my blog. Grabe kakahiya. lolz. Puro problema lang ng buhay ko nilalagay ko sa blog ko. hahaha.

Anyway, I did ask them to take it off the site. Pero hindi na matatanggal sa printed materials.

Thanksgiving na dito sa US, so Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. A long weekend from now to Sunday. A good time to catch up with pending work.

Pero right now… inaantok na ako. Sleep muna… zzzzzzzz

Pare, walang pera sa hosting…

I still remember these words from a friend of mine. We were partners in an old company before I got tired of the company. I got tired making websites. Designing and even more tiring, a bunch of web development projects. The price tag was high, but the work was hell. I was a Zombie everyday due to lack of sleep. That is why I got tired of working as a web designer/developer that time. I felt the price to amount of work ratio was not proportionate since I just got so tired that the money was a small value that I would give up for getting more sleep.

Those early days… I already proposed to concentrate on hosting alone and not to concentrate on designing and development. And I still remember my partner’s words… “Pare, walang pera sa hosting, ang pera sa na development.” (Man, there is no money in hosting, the money is in development) Well only in web development have I experience closing a P1Million deal, as well as a P600,000 worth deal in a single year. Mysteriously… if you get paid in small chunks for the deal… and expenses always come… you never get to hold that large amount of money. And the projects that were targeted for 3 months often turn out to be 1 year. It was not worth it for me having no sleep for these big one-shot big deals. I was so tired… I gave up on the whole company.

I decided to work in the academe teaching computer subjects. And decided to give business another shot… this time concentrating on hosting and domains alone.

As my partner once said there was no money in hosting… I believed otherwise, it may be small, but it was a regular payment. It was passive income in a way. Like a vending machine, like a pinball machine, like an arcade video game machine, not much to maintain. No need to have an employee at the place of business and people pay money. You just go occassional check ups that everything is running fine.

Last week I had 109 websites on my server. Today I already have 117. And I still have tons more of inquiries or hosting and domains. Most active countries are the Philippines and the US, but clients also exist in Australia, China, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Riyadh and Romania. Although good things may be happening… hack attempt happen more often since more websites are exposed, and serve as more known target places. Even if there is no such thing as 100% security, I always try my best to get nearer to the 100% secure with the help of the opensource communities online sharing knowledge. Not an easy task, but for technical people, opensource is still cheaper than commercial software. But for the non-technical people, the time needed to learn opensource softwares or high extra help to manage an opensource server may cost them more and might as well get commercial software with good customer support.

My company is still not earning a significant amount to depend on my company alone, but it is doing better than my company before than concentrated on web design and development deals with a steady amount of income. Not really really big, but still a steady amount. Keep everyone happy, and you keep everyone on the server.

Today, I am still like the way I hated it several years ago, having no sleep. But the no sleep today is more worth it.

Clients who do not know who to blame.

Clients come in all flavors…

The type of client that makes life colorful, are those that do not know who to blame. those that does not know where the mistake is. But no matter what the problem is, your fault or somebody else’s or sometimes their fault, it will all be your fault.

But I am a pretty patient person. Tell me all you want to say. You may be mad, irritated or a flaming hot screaming client. And I will just listen and find out what the problem is… fix it if it is a problem of my service, and if not, simply point out what is causing the problem.

But I still, do not leave the client in the dark if it is not a problem with my service. The best I can do is calmly point out the problem and lead them into the right direction to get their problem solved.

Now with a growing number of clients, having more than 100 websites on my server, this is just a beginning. I know it will be tougher as the number increases. Bring it on!

Fill up my server more so I can hire a full time techsupport personnel. To the point that every 5 to 10 minutes, a new client will have a problem because they do not know what they are doing, and will call up, email or chat with the company.

As more clients come in, I am taking this challenge. Give me more so I can hire a call center to handle you all when you get to 500 maybe.

I feel bad, I feel good

I feel bad…

…so many projects, so little time.

…some delayed, way delayed.

…so many clients, so many customer support inquiries, so little sleep.

…Philippine Web Awards, still need to do judging, so little time.

…program on registration, database, etc for the San Diego Taekwondo Championship on October 29.

…Pritchon, Martal, JLM, Some work on Mansmith, Waters coming soon…

…so many clients wanting to resell, waiting for my go signals on many matters… Lex’s signup forms, JL’s plans.

…Server administration… *&&@#$%^^&#@!% you hackers. You make life harder.

…YDS Website, forever under construction, PayPlus+ integration, trouble ticket, FAQs, billing system…

…Hosting clients with super delayed payments. Don’t worry I am not going to mention who you are. Your domains are going to get stolen.

…Computer problems, still some important files on my hard disk fried by the Sept 20 San Diego lightning storm.

…two YDS websites out of competition at the Philippine Web Awards.

…zero money, bought plane tickets.

I feel good…

…my family loves me.

…I am going home in the Philippines in December. Vacation approved. Leave at Dec 3. Come back on Dec 27.

…First salary after my increase, (but does not mean i have more money, it means I can pay the bills easier.)

…New Domain and Hosting Client, Gema just paid for her domain transfer.

…One YDS website got into the semifinals of the Philippine Web Awards., please vote for her site. Visit, register and vote.

…Amor helping out the company

…Wifi at North Olympus home on Monday. #@#$%$&^# that DSL. Never came to us.

…100+ clients, I can’t memorize them anymore, I remember in 1999, I know each and every domain, I even know configuration settings of each one. I can easily login remembering everything. Clients never got more than hmmm… 30 I guess. Today 100+ clients paying on a regular renew, just make them happy so they do not go away.

…I am alive, clean living. God is alive.

…I am starting to learn more about my Dad’s decision making.

Life is Good… Life Sucks… But still good… But still sucks.

Things I wanted to talk about but did not have the time to…

It’s been a long time since my last post because I’ve been so busy lately. And bad things happen to make things even harder.

My PC Problems

As usual PC problems never go away. One time my PC kept rebooting and at first I thought it was Windows, but even before it enters Windows, it reboots just a few second after POST. So it can be a hardware problem. I check some CMOS settings and everything looked fine and the weird thing was even within the CMOS settings it was rebooting. And I checked the system health within the CMOS setup and noticed the fast climb of the temperature. Once it reaches 96o centigrade, it reboots. Imagine that, just 4o less than boiling point at STP. The processor fan was still running, but the problem was mainly it was just a bit loose and the heatsink was not sticking well to the processor.

After that was solved… there was a recent lightning storm in San Diego that woke up the whole neighborhood where I lived. There was one big strong one that lit up my room and my lights blinked even if they were off. And my PC was on during the night. What the lightning broke was one phone line splitter, one DSL line filter, one 56k intenal PCI modem and a bunch of bad sectors on my hard disk. The PC was totally unoperable. Although I had a Celeron Windows PC hanging around and a laptop, a lot of needed files were in separate places on my AMD PC that was struck by lightning and the hard disk had bad sectors everywhere.

I can use an external USB/Firewire hard disk casing but my data was in two different hard disk and I have only one external casing. Taking them in and out of the casing was a tedious task to do. Aside from that, two of the partitions on one of the drives were in NTFS and not in FAT32. And the other hard disk was all NTFS. I got a Mac Mini Recently and even if it can read the NTFS drives, it is read only. MacOS can only write to the FAT32 file system. My only hope is to do a Partition Magic, but the drive must have enough space to be able to do the non-destructive partition changes, or else, I need to copy everything to my other drives and reformat the NTFS partitions to FAT32 and put the files back. And I need to do that on my Celeron PC.

Opening and closing the PC, putting on and removing the hard disk, moving files from hard disk to hard disk all consumes time. But if not done right away, more work is going to catch up on me. So far chkdsk was already done on my 120GB hard disk and was able to retrieve most files. I can do partial work but thework files are on the NTFS partitions. My other 80GB hard disk is currently undergoing chkdsk and when that is done I need to copy my billing statements to my clients and other papers like invoices, proposals and contracts. It’s October and I need to send out October billings.

The Mac Mini

I got a Mac Mini. Only 512MB memory since I will upgrade the memory myself to 1GB. Also got a Hyundai 17″ TFT LCD Panel Monitor. Kensington Wireless RF keyboard and mouse. Mac runs fine, pretty fast and everything how a mac should be, so generally it is great. But what do I do not like?

I am a keyboard shortcut person on the Windows PC. I use the keyboard a lot in many ways that many people will use the mouse instead.

I bodies of text in anything, in word processors, spreadsheets, browser text boxes, anything with text, I use these shortcuts very often:


In the Mac, it can also be done. Like instead of Home, you use Alt-Left, and instead of End, you use Alt-Right. No problem, I can train myself with the changes, but the problem is in some applications it does not work. It works on MS Word for Mac, in the text in Adium, it wants the Home and End, and in Dreamweaver code view, it does not work at all. Yes I am trainable to new conventions, but each application in the Mac does not follow the same conventions. And I am forced to use the mouse.

Another thing… In Windows… many applications have keyboard shortcuts, but not everything has a keyboard shortcut. But everything that does not have a keyboard shortcut, I memorize the “Alt” key sequences using the menu bar underlined letters.

Common ones I use often are like

Alt>I>I = Image Size
Alt>I>S = Canvass Size
Alt>I>P = Crop Selection
Alt>I>A>C = Adjust Contrast/Brightness

Alt>O>C>A = Auto-fit column width
Alt>O>R>A = Auto-fit row height
Alt>O>C>H = Hide Column
Alt>O>R>H = Hide Row
Alt>O>C>U = Unhide Column
Alt>O>R>U = Unhide Row

Alt>F>U = Page Setup

These are just a few of them. And on the Mac, the only shortcuts I seem to be able to use are the shortcuts given and cannot activate menu items with the keyboard alone. Unless there is something I really do not know yet and I still need to figure out how to do them on the Mac. So right now, I am forced to use the mouse.

I still picture myself using the Windows PC as my main general all around computer to use. And I will use my Mac Mini for work specific things that is related to graphics, audio or video. For coding I will still use my Windows PC mainly because of the keyboard shortcut convenience and speed and for websites, the Mac will be used for view testing. And of course Linux still powers my server. Stable, economical, perfect for a server, but will not use it for general all around use.

Investor Workshop

One of my favorite books on my shelf is RIch Dad, Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. Although this is not a book only for business people, most business people like it. The book mainly talks about Robert Kiyosaki’s two dads. One rich, one poor, and how he learned from both, but followed the advice of his rich dad when it came to the topics about money.

Robert Kiyosaki recently had an Investor Workshop at the LA Convention Center last October 1. Being on his mailing list, I received an email about the event. It cost $150, in Philippine Pesos that is more than P8,000, but it was really worth it. It looked like there were 2,000 people there and he was really great. His knowledge shared will really charge a lot in the way you think. He also tells you about the common pitfalls people do why they never really succeed. He talked about taxes and other problems with the government laws that you have to watch out for. Knowing the rules to take advantage of the rules and not fall into the wrong paths. He talked about 3 top investments and he had excellent speakers on every type of investment. He talked about inflation and currency and investing off-shore. And although he talks all about money and how to gain more money and get rich, methods he used himself by using real estate, gold, silver and gas. He did not promote nor was trying to sell any real estate, gold, silver or gas shares. He was just sharing his knowledge. And it is very nice to know that he also has a foundation that is helping out schools integrate into some lessons as early as grade school just to get students better equiped with financial knowledge. It is his social responsibility to help lessen poverty. Since he does believe that war, divorce, illegal aliens, and other problems are really money problems. So his foundation is to help educate the people learn more about financial knowledge to make a change in the world.

And the things I learned and changed some of my thinking was… I like gas, I am not going for a sole proprietorship and will register a corporation, I am not getting my 401k or IRA. But I still need to save up and earn more so I can invest more and make money move and work for me so I do not work for money.

Unexpected Growth

I have been running a small business since 1997. First a computer shop, then a web design company that became a web-based application service provider because of the demand. Competition made prices go down, and development time shorter. Companies were killing each other in the market in the Philippines. Concentrated only in Metro Manila, and with so many web design and development companies around, the work was just too much already for the amount of money received. Many people started to concentrate on receiving off-shore outsourced projects trying to compete with India who is known to be the highest ranked in sales of these kinds of IT projects.

I took a different route, with a my company, I decided to go to the US. Working at a company doing the same thing I have always been doing, making websites. And still maintaining the business I run after working hours.

Being in the business world since 1997, I have faced basically all the challenges a business encounters. But since this is a small business, the problems I encountered were at a small scale. I already know the challenges of growing too fast, and not growing at all. Sometimes it is more comfortable growing just at the right rate.

Right now, I am growing at a faster rate than I expected. This is a good problem though since more earnings are coming in, but I still have a little fear of not being able to deliver all the responsibilities I may have. But I have already learned my lessons in the past.

And from these lessons, as a counter measure, I decided to stop selling anything. And I need to streamline all operations, from billing, project management, customer support, sales, everything. But if the clients come to us, we do not turn them down. It is still a manageable amount of clients. But we only do passive selling, only selling to those who come to us and not going and seeking clients. And so far we are still selling based on client referrals alone.

My server was a home to less than 30 websites when I came here to the US in July 2004 and I have been in the business on serious web hosting starting 1999. Today I have more than 90 websites hosted on the server when I started selling in Dec of 2004. It is not even one year yet, and my clients have already tripled. I decided to sell hosting actively when I did a server upgrade last September of 2004. Both sales in the Philippines and US picked up. 2/3 of the earnings are still from the Philippines and 1/3 from the US.

I advised the company to stop selling in August 2005 so we can streamline all operation processes. Right now there is no serious problem. But once 3, 4, 5 or even more clients need customer support all at the same minute and are the impatient type who may have some temper on the phone, this will be a big problem already.

Since last Friday, September 9, 2005, I have been having less sleep just doing some damage control. Fixing everything there is to fix before the real action comes. I am currently fearing the potentiality of events that are not even happening yet, but I have experienced similar situations in the past and I never liked that situation. So I am trying to build up my sand bags before the flood comes. The earlier I start, the better, the faster and harder I do, the more comfort I will get when it becomes hard.

I do back ups more often now than before. Information management is also a must process. I really got a lot of data to manage that look totally unmanageable, but I am slowly getting there. Just a little more time, things will be ready.

Many thanks to my all around office manager, sales manager, assistant web support, customer support, billing, accounting, everything assistant Amor Lopez. She gets many task out of the way.

Thanks to my wife who has been doing good as a presenter of out business. Just like a pro IT professional.

Thanks to my backup people, Mike Lopez, excellent backend skills, good logical thinking. LAMP opensource advocate. John Kelly, who is helping out in a design right now.

Thanks most of all to my clients who believe in my business as I work very hard to give you the best service possible. Thanks for referring even more clients.

Now it is back to work for me. Less sleep again and let’s get all of these things done. And have a good night sleep again a week after.