DaedTech

Stories about Software

By

Content Marketing Strategy with or without an Audience

A while ago, I wrote a blog post containing side hustle ideas for software developers.  A lot of those ideas centered around content, rather than, say, writing software.  I did that on purpose.  Writing software will let you procrastinate.  Get out of your comfort zone instead.

In response to that blog post, I got a reader question, which is below.  But there’s a natural follow-up to that question.

Your ideas in the blog post for side-hustle-ideas-software-developers really inspired me.

Can you give any tips on how to market the content we create? especially for the ones with no audience.

So let’s look at that today.  You’ve got some content that you’re creating.  How do you market it?

Introducing the Marketing Funnel

Now, I should point something out.  The question doesn’t explain whether the content we’re talking about marketing is the paid content (e.g. the side hustle of writing a book or making a course).  It could also mean any content, including stuff you post to your blog.

I’m going to approach it here as if we’re talking about both.  And that’s because you should be thinking about both.

What we’re talking about here is the idea of a marketing funnel.  If you write an eBook or build a video course, that’s ultimately the content that you want people to see and pay for.  But going straight for the metaphorical jugular with your audience rarely works.

How often do you say to yourself, “here’s a person I’ve never heard of — I’ll just give them $99 for a video course.”  Probably never.

You need to build trust by offering value.  Start a blog and post about similar things that you cover in your book.

Read More

By

DaedTech Digest: Vagabonding as the Last of the Big Time Spenders

In last week’s digest post and vagabonding life chronicle, I talked about eating while living this lifestyle.  Today I’ll answer a more blunt question that people often wonder.  Isn’t that expensive?

The answer is “it has been, but it doesn’t need to be.”

Was This Past Winter Expensive?  Goodness, Yes.

I guess if you’re going to do experiential blogging, you have to open the kimono more than you might normally, in polite conversation, the way I did here once, when explaining why it is that I have money.  So, in that vein, let me explain last winter.

To do that, I actually have to start with last summer.  It was last summer that I decided to “retire” from life as a traveling consultant (and, by and large, from the corporate world in general).  Through a combination of business and real estate dealings, my wife and I had created what I’ll call an advantageous capital situation.

Basically, we had enough money in a bank account to start Hit Subscribe and have 6-9 months without income not be a problem.  We were gambling on the business’s eventual success.

What actually happened was that Hit Subscribe almost immediately provided enough revenue to be sustainable as our full time job.  So I spent last summer decompressing from years on the road, working 2-3 days week, and considering myself “semi-retired.”  Then fall came, and we started hustling in earnest to hire and to grow the business.

As our admittedly self-indulgent reward, we decided to live it up for the winter.  Our intent all along was to go somewhere warm.  But we decided to go somewhere warm in style.

And so we spent the winter in AirBNBs that were right on the water.  I mean, literally.  We spent more than 3 months in an Ocean Beach San Diego condo where Pelicans flew right outside our window as if they were commuting on some kind of Pelican freeway.  And yes, this was quite expensive.  It was expensive to live in the places we lived, and in terms of our activities, food, and entertainment, we weren’t exactly price averse.

No pelicans passing at the moment, but here’s me taking in a pretty nice ocean sunset from the back window of the place we lived in San Diego.

 

Does It Have to Be Expensive?  Not So Much.

So last winter wasn’t necessarily sustainable, from a lifestyle perspective.  But that doesn’t mean that next winter won’t be, or that you couldn’t vagabond for a relatively reasonable rate.

There are a lot of travel bloggers out there that chronicle their world travels on a shoestring budget.  That’s not me, and it won’t ever be me — I’m more of an abundance mindset sort of person.  I’d rather spend my time hustling for extra money than hustling to make the money I have go further.  But we will make a different set of decisions on upcoming travel adventures.

If you decide to uproot and go elsewhere, you have the option of going to places that are both warm (or whatever it is you’re after) and not overly expensive.  You could spend $5,000 per month on an AirBNB in Key West.  But you could also visit the gulf shore in Alabama or drive to Rosarito, Mexico and stay in a beach house for $1,550 per month or an ocean-front condo for $1,300, respectively.  This becomes even more affordable if you’re willing to live a life of constant transit and you dispose of a rent or mortgage that was probably comparable to those figures in the first place.

You Can Save Beyond Just Rent

Also bear in mind that these are all-in price tags.  You’re not paying for any kind of utilities, house maintenance, or the general headaches of having your own place.  It’s all someone else’s problem.  Add to that the idea that, as a purely remote slow traveler, you pay almost nothing for gas or wear and tear on a car.  A lot of expenses go away.

And when it comes to day to day life, you don’t necessarily need to eat out or do all the expensive things on the town.  Get a lot of groceries and cook with local ingredients.  Go to places with a lot of natural beauty or otherwise free/cheap entertainment nearby.  Jogging up and down the beach or hiking a nearby trail generally costs nothing.

Slow travel, much like life in general, is as cheap or expensive as you make it.  Last winter we made it expensive.  In the future, we’ll make it less so.

But, if unsustainable, it was fun while it lasted and, in a nod to that, here’s a shot of us taking in the Montana mountains from a hot tub, enjoying a Napa Valley wine.

Cheers!

 

Picks

  • I’m going to pick ASP MVC in general.  I haven’t done any meaningful web development in several years, and now I’m building a little app in my spare time for Hit Subscribe.  There’s a lot of out of the box stuff in Visual Studio that makes it really easy to create starter views pretty effortlessly and then tweak to taste.  It’s great for the business owner who is probably too busy for it to make sense to write code, but who is doing it anyway.
  • This Facebook post about a bot writing an Olive Garden commercial.  You won’t be sorry.

The Digest

And, as always, have yourself a good weekend.

By

Positioning Yourself to Coworkers as a Stealth Consultant

In a nod to yesterday’s announcement, I’m going to demonstrate how just unaltered the DaedTech blog might be, content-wise.  To wit, here’s a both that qualifies in both my reader questions series and my “developer to consultant” series.  This makes sense, since it’s a question about the developer to consultant series.

Today I’ll talk about positioning yourself as if you were an independent consultant, but with the caveat that you’re trying this out on your coworkers.

Positioning Revisited, But Internal to a Company

When it comes to posting on this blog, I love not having to make the caveat that my opinions aren’t my employer’s, or whatever.  The more used to that I’ve become over the years, the fewer punches I’ve bothered to pull.  And so it went with my first developer to consultant post.  In that post, I unapologetic declared that every developer should become a consultant.

If I were writing a book, that post would have been the prologue.  Chapter one, then, would have been this post about positioning.  It’s a long read, but I recommend it for understanding the nuance of positioning.  At the 10,000 foot-iest of 10,000 foot views, your positioning is your plan to ace the question, “why should I hire you, specifically?”

The reader question came in the comments of that post.  And here it is.

For an employed software engineer, what are some of the ways to “signal” your positioning strategy? In other words, how do you let the org/team/manager know what your unique value prop is? I’d love to get your thoughts on this.

This is an interesting thought exercise, because to participate in the standard hiring process is to have the worst possible positioning strategy.  When you do this, you’re saying, “I’m slightly better than dozens of otherwise interchangeable resources whose resumes you’re holding, so hire me.”  To have a good positioning statement as a consultant is to say “I’m the only person that can deliver X for you in exactly the way you need.”

So today’s topic is about how to develop the latter flavor of positioning strategy in the former world.  But who am I to shy away from nuanced topics?

Read More

By

Contrary to No One’s Demands, I’ll Blog about Whatever I Please

Since switching the reader question responses to Tuesdays, I don’t blog on Mondays.  Today I’m going to make an exception to write sort of a meta-post.

Categorizing it as an “announcement” would be a little too grandiose.  Instead, it’s kind of an explanation for my regular readers and something that I may link back to in the future for reference.

I’m reconsidering how I think about the DaedTech blog.

I’m Not Doing Anything Drastic with the Blog

Having said that, let me pump the brakes on any speculation about a pivot.  There won’t be one.  I’m not going to suddenly start blogging about knitting or something.  I’m not going to monetize the blog in a different way (except that I did recently remove the paid ads from DaedTech).  And I’m definitely not going to stop blogging.  I honestly don’t think I’m capable of not writing.

I mean it when I say I’m reconsidering how I think about the blog.  I’m going to start approaching topics differently and writing somewhat differently.

In short, I’m going to back for writing this blog purely for the fun of it.

Read More

By

DaedTech Digest: Grilled Pigeon and Eating Habits on the Road

During last week’s digest post, I talked about an existential issue of sorts.  Do I get home sick or road weary?  And the answer is generally no.

This week I’ll switch gears a bit and talk about something both tactical and mundane (unless you make it otherwise).  I’m talking about eating.  Specifically, how does eating work when you’re in a constant state of transit and shuffle?

So do you go out to eat all the time, or, like… what?

Before my wife and I ever started doing slow travel stints, I did a lot of business travel.  And, we’re talking 100% commuter business travel.  And when you travel like that, you eat out a lot.  All the time, in fact.  There was a year of my life where I don’t think I did anything but eat at restaurants and carry in food.  (Because when you fly out Sunday night and fly home Friday night, it’s not like you tend to spend Saturday night hitting the grocery store to do a bunch of cooking.)

Why am I mentioning this?  Well, to frame my answer to the question as a slow traveler.  Believe it or not, I got pretty tired of never making dinner like folks do.  For one thing, the “traveling consultant 15” is way more of a thing than the freshman 15.  You gain weight doing this.  And secondly, it just becomes sort of depressingly decadent after a while, like eating fettuccine Alfredo for every meal or something.

So when we adapted to the slow travel lifestyle, it was always with the idea that I really didn’t want to eat out all the time.  Oh, don’t get me wrong — I still like a good meal at a good restaurant.  But when we travel, we want to grocery shop, cook with local ingredients, and experience life as if we were locals.

What’s the balance, then?

Let’s get down to brass tacks.  How we eat depends almost entirely on length of stay.  Let me break it down.

  • 1 week or less.  Typically this means a hotel or maybe a short-stay AirBNB.  We almost certainly eat out or carry in every meal.
  • 1 to 2 weeks.  This is probably going to be an AirBNB.  We’ll do some minimal grocery shopping, looking for botique-y local places where we can buy things that don’t require wholesale assembly from raw ingredients.  This place in Ocean Beach, San Diego, for instance.
  • 2+ weeks.  Always an AirBNB, and our grocery shopping becomes more extensive.  It’s still not quite what you do at home — we’re not picking up 10 pound bags of flour and stocking a full spice pantry.  But, we supplement whatever the place’s owner leaves us with a decent amount of local groceries, kind of getting the full local experience.  Bonus points whenever we find farmers markets.

We like to mix it up, since you obviously want to try some of the more interesting local restaurants.  The easiest way to do this is grocery shop more in the beginning and go out more at the end as you start running out of groceries.  This is obviously better than throwing out a bunch of steaks or whatever the next time you move on.

But, whether we’re somewhere a day or 3 months, we’re always looking for interesting experiences.  For instance, check out this menu from a restaurant in Portland, Oregon.  Yes, you’re reading that right.  It’s pigeon.  And you’d better believe I ordered and ate the pigeon.

Why go everywhere, if you’re not going to experience everywhere?

Picks

  • I stumbled on this Youtube channel recently, called SciShow.  It’s sort of like the love-child of Buzzfeed and the Science channel, and it’s pretty binge-able.
  • Here’s something I use all the time and totally take for granted.  But it’s totally indispensable.  I’m talking about the Windows snipping tool.  If you use Windows machines at all and have never heard of this, get familiar immediately.

The Digest

And, as always, have a good weekend!