Living by Doing

I'm a single founder working on improving my business and myself.

15. October 2014 21:59
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Working while on vacation feels wrong

15. October 2014 21:59 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I am currently on vacation. Five days together with my wife and daughter having friends over for dinner and arranging play dates for the daughter.

One thing that always happens when I am on vacation, when it is weekend or Christmas is that I get inspired to do new things for my TSR business.

The act of relaxing, not having to juggle a gazillion queries, customers or employees leaves enough brain cycles to spare that my idea part fires up and start generating ideas to implement.

I guess it's part of what is necessary to be an entrepreneur, to always be inspired and get ideas by reading, talking, walking and even sleeping.

The problem is that not long after I start getting these ideas I become unhappy and sad, not that it is not okay to have those feelings (it is okay!) but it has been annoying and frustrating for me for a long period that I could not just relax and enjoy my family and the company of friends.

Today I figured out why I get those feelings, it is because:

I am ashamed that I would rather work than being together with my family.

I am ashamed about not being present enough.

I am ashamed because I have high expectations for myself and my role as a husband and as a father.

My expectations demands me to be present and ready to play with my daughter all the time while also being ready to talk to my wife and of course cook dinner clean, be the perfect host etc. etc.

Did I ever mention that I am an overachiever?

Did I ever mention I run a consultancy business with 5 employees?

But I like to work on my TSR projects, they give me energy and happiness - they give me the energy to keep on, they give me a place to try out crazy stuff and to be me 100%

the next problem is that whenever I open my computer, I am assaulted with 'important' messages and problems that needs to be put fixed. So to use an hour or two on my TSR projects, and myself, implementing a new idea or trying out a new feature feels wrong.

Very wrong.

However, I have to work on taking this time for myself, because taking this time off for myself while on vacation (and at work) is what keeps me happy and free from stress and depression.

Getting ideas and testing them out is what motivates me internally, as much as much as being a good husband and father does.

Doing work that is internally motivated makes me happy, relaxed and much better at being present when my wife & daughter wants to show me their latest drawing/invention/idea/etc....

8. September 2014 17:24
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

As you probably have noticed, I have not blogged for some time.

8. September 2014 17:24 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

First it was because I was on vacation, then I thought it was because I had taken a break, but now I believe it was because I was unsure what the reason for this blog was, why did I write?

If it was to get readers I am doing a lousy job since I get around 1-2 visitors every day, and I have been doing zero to get more, even though some part of me wants to have a million readers the part of me that has to write the blog couldn’t really care.

This made me wonder what the part actually writing got out of this; some of the answer is a place to let thoughts get out of my head. The process of writing and rewriting a blog post helps me get some of my thoughts straight and document where I am and what I am doing.

I have slowly come to the conclusion that I am writing this blog for me, to help me find my way in this strange world, and to document what I am doing. Then you might ask why blog, why not just write a diary, but the accountability of a blog is necessary for me otherwise I skip it too easily.

Since the last blogpost I have gone through some major internal and external changes that has taken some time and energy to getting used to, this has drained me for energy to the extent that blogging was a task that slipped out of my “must do” list. The fine about this is that it made me reconsider blogging and made me realize that I actually got a lot out of blogging that I otherwise might have missed.

I feel like a different person now compared to who I was before the vacation. My motivation is more internalized now and for the first time I have noticed that it really pisses me off that what I have created might not survive. This has made me fight for our survival in a much fiercer way than I have ever done before, but it is taking its toll on me.

The real life panda update had roots going deeper than I initially thought. It was not only a question about money but also a question about the work we do and the way we deliver this work to the end customer. Luckily, everything is something that is fixable, and the fixes are simple, hard but simple.

31. March 2014 22:05
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Who I am and what I love

31. March 2014 22:05 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

As you might have guessed, if you have read more than one post on this website, is that I suffer from the imposter syndrome in conjunction with self-questioning and self-doubt.

I apparently come out online with the vibe that I might be depressed, and even though that might be true. I also told recently that I was the most optimistic person someone had met, go figure.

One of the reasons for my struggles is my insecurity about who I am and what I love doing.

So one of my mentors recently told me to figure out what I am not, so here goes.

 

I am not a programming geek.

I am not an OOP geek.

I am not a gadget geek.

I am not a Linux geek.

I am not a computer hacker nerd.

I am not an App nerd.

I am not a website designer

I am not a website frontend full stack developer

I am not a copywriter

I am not a SQL nerd.

I am not a C++ hero.

 

I am a tinker, inventor and builder of stuff. I also am a human booster and integrator with I high level of rightness and fairness.

This means that I love to read some Hacker News articles, but find many uninteresting, I love solving problems by creating software or building website, although I am not interested in “building fantastic technical website using the latest technology” ™.

So there you go

That is who I am, nothing more and nothing less.

Status

So as promised I did little last week, but my main employee working on the new website got a lot done and I got most of the copy moved over, still a day or two until release, but getting there!

Revenue was up, this was because I got some higher price point sales.

 

24. March 2014 16:04
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Accepting myself

24. March 2014 16:04 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

Between my day job, mastermind, taking care of my daughter and managing my father’s house I have done close to nothing on my TSR business this last week.

It tears at me and stresses me, because I really want to succeed in this field too. I do not even know why, it’s just some inner drive to be better, and do something, more than nothing and something that other will say “that is cool” about.

One thing I did get to use some time on last week was attending a meeting arranged by an advisory board group. I joined the group by invitation from its creator after having had an advisory board arranged by them.

And while eating and talking to those I was assigned in group with I realized that I am an interesting person with an interesting story, and my world view and the way I run my consultancy business is interesting.

So maybe I should work on accepting myself instead of (still) trying to be something I am not.

Status

This week and last

Not much, and probably not much this week either

Status

 Detailed information here

 

7. March 2014 11:10
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Live

7. March 2014 11:10 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

I was writing a post about how bootstrapping a company is like running a marathon.

But it sucked.

The meaning disappeared and the words were all #%¤%.

What I wanted to warn you about is that when you reach your goals, when your dreams comes true; be prepared.

The best way to be prepared is to slow down and live while life is available.

That is more important than winning, than pushing, than reaching goals.

Live.

Status

So looking at my numbers I get a big surprise. I thought everything was going great, but it looks like it is going worse - the conversion rate is really low and the average order value is going down.

Damn.

Last week

I discovered an error in my build script, so i fixed that and made it so the dll's needed for the software is embedded into the software.

This week

Still working on the new share feature and the new website

Status

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%
7 276% 369% 87% 319%
8 259% 381% 96% 269%
9 271% 371% 85% 318%
10 218% 299% 93% 235%

3. March 2014 20:41
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

How to do a reality check when you doubt your abilities.

3. March 2014 20:41 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

When you live in a world comprised of hacker news updates and tweets/articles/podcasts from high profile thinkers and entrepreneurs like James Altucher, @Patio11, Seth Godin and Swiss Miss it is easy to lose some perspective on reality.

You might think that you have nothing to offer to the world. That everything has been made before and that the stuff you are dreaming about is useless and not worth making.

Second reality by Future Crew

I certainly think like that from time to time.

This happened (again) last week after I released the new higher price point versions and after the initial high over my accomplishment, I started to get some mental jitters again.

Small bubbles of worrying started to creep in asking if anyone really needs my product, I worried if anyone needed the new features, and questioned if it really works.

At the same time I have been working on a new upload feature, and since the documentation for the API I am using is [redacted] it has taken and astonishing long time to get it to work(ish).

All in all a lot of doubt and uncertainty has been creeping into my brain.

I believe this is all normal.

Being a single founder and entrepreneur is a hard and bumpy road.

The thing that helps you get through this kind of mental obstruction is

  1. How normal you realize this is
  2. How little you fight it
  3. What tools you have at your disposal to help you work through it.

I am getting pretty confident that it’s totally normal to get these kind if thoughts – and if you don’t take my word for it, go read some of James Altucher post’s – he is the master of “normalizing” the “not normal”

I am still a beginner at not fighting it, but I am (painfully) aware of the importance of this point.

This time I ended up relying on one of the essential mental-realigning tools when being a single founder, my mastermind group!

I went to a mastermind meeting and one of the other attendees said that he thought i was a success and that i had “made it” and that he thought of me as a success.

The thing that really made me realize that my “problem” perhaps was a little off scale was that I actually is looking up to this guy because he has taken the leap and has built a SaaS web app and is making recurring revenue (= the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow)

So I have had my mental energy return to normal levels and started moving forward once again.

Status

Last week

I worked on the new sharing option (and made a little progress) and tweaked the website a little, most notably I added a price slider to see if I could bump up the sales of the Share and SecureShare higher price point versions.

The last thing I did was reaching out to three (3) sites that had articles about windows tools for WordPress, and the result was amazing – I got two (2) responses the same day that they would review my software!

Next week

Work on the new sharing feature, hopefully launch the new website.

The numbers

I had higher hopes for the revenue and even though it is high I had hoped (dreamed) of beating the record.

 

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%
7 276% 369% 87% 319%
8 259% 381% 96% 269%
9 271% 371% 85% 318%

24. February 2014 15:43
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

The sound of crickets

24. February 2014 15:43 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

As an entrepreneur, you have to push changes to your product, homepage or business all the time, and the better you are at adapting changes the more fun you are going to have.

Sometimes the changes are small and easy (or at least trouble free) to push out and sometimes they seem a bit harder.

When I moved my free version away from the most prominent place on the download page, this was a small change that involved a lot of worrying.

Worry because I was afraid what my user would think of the change.

Last week I did a small(ish) change again, and again I worried if it would blow up in my face.

I introduced a higher price point of the TSR Watermark Image software - two new versions with some new features and some new pricing (29/69/139)

The result was absolutely nothing, or actually it was better than that because it was “the sound of crickets” I got zero complains and no hassle only some more revenue!

The lesson is, it is ok to worry, but not more than you still pushes out changes!

Status

Last week

I release the new 3-price point layout of the download page.

I released a new version with support for uploading the watermarked images to WordPress after watermarking.

Added WordPress, Facebook and FTP logo to the download page.

The Conversion did go down some, but the higher price point orders made the revenues go up – three cheers for the higher price points!

Next week

I am working on a version with the option of uploading to eBay that I am having some good progress on and will release this during the week, also the new website design are almost ready – hoping for a release this week.

 

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%
7 276% 369% 87% 319%
8 259% 381% 96% 269%

10. February 2014 09:01
by Anders Thue Pedersen
0 Comments

Insecurity (or why I'm never going to write a compiler again)

10. February 2014 09:01 by Anders Thue Pedersen | 0 Comments

Once upon a time, I wrote a GOL compiler using lex/yacc for a CS course, luckily for me I did it together with a good friend and that made it possible for me to complete the course.

The thing is, I'm insecure about my own abilities at programming. So insecure that i strongly believe I'm a lousy programmer.

The insecurity even makes me so insecure that I don't have the courage to ask anybody else for help or for an opinion on my programming.

Only when I am together with someone who ignores my insecurity I'm able to find the courage to do stuff I believe i cannot.

Being a single founder makes it quite hard to get anything done this way since I’m usually working alone on my projects. The other thing is that the insecurity usually pushes people away after one or two projects so in the long run I tend to be alone with the project again.

So this is basically what is holding me back from doing a(nother) compiler (and of course that it do not interest me and I cannot see how to make a living by itJ).

But the thing is, that it is really not something I'm losing sleep over, but the insecurity is making me losing a lot of opportunity to do great stuff because I will often choose procrastination over actually doing stuff that matters.

At the moment I need to create two new versions of the TSR Watermarker, these will become higher priced version that hopefully can raise my average order value and do a x or two more.

But my insecurity makes me watch some half decent tv show on netflix while I make up all kind of excuses why I cannot program at the moment.

Excuses like, I'm too tired, my kid needs me, I must clean this, I don't have the component I need, etc. etc. 

So how do I cope with the insecurity, well I have many tricks in my book, but the one I have found to work best again and again is to set a deadline, so this time I have promised two of my mastermind groups I will have this done within two weeks.

So as so many other times, the deadline will (hopefully) save my ass.

10 ways to handle insecurity

  1. Keep track of your accomplishments
  2. Look at what you thought you could not and compare it to 1.
  3. Be open about your insecurities
  4. Relax and let go of unrealistic goals
  5. Sit down in front of a task you are insecure about, then imagine you are about to do it and notice all your feelings until the dissipate
  6. Meditate
  7. Look at who you are IRL and who you innermost believe you are - then align these two images
  8. Use tricks to get things done, but only to learn/survive not as a life strategy
  9. Admit you are insecure
  10. Accept you will always be insecure about something

Status

Last week

It has been a good week - my decision to ignore the order flow on an hourly/daily basis has improved my motivation and momentum and the progress on the new website + higher price point is good.

Last week I even rewrote a basic part of the TSR Watermarker and the result is a much faster and much better quality of the resulting images – yay!

Next week

I am still working on the higher price point version. I want the first test version ready wednesday.

Status

Revenue is a bit up, but continues to hover at around 3x, my average order value is around 20-22 USD hopefully this will become much better when I get the higher price point versions live.

 

 

Week Orders Revenue Visits Conversion
40 147% 181% 109% 135%
41 212% 275% 111% 190%
42 141% 185% 105% 135%
43 206% 254% 113% 182%
44 171% 215% 107% 159%
45 229% 285% 104% 220%
46 247% 313% 109% 226%
47 300% 395% 106% 283%
48 312% 413% 96% 323%
49 300% 423% 96% 312%
50 271% 349% 93% 291%
51 218% 303% 85% 256%
52 171% 209% 75% 228%
1 259% 315% 86% 301%
2 282% 382% 98% 288%
3 247% 333% 93% 266%
4 241% 288% 96% 251%
5 218% 273% 91% 239%
6 247% 311% 91% 271%