Saturday, January 26, 2008

Computer Illiterate Friends

Many of my friends know that I run online businesses and work with computers on a regular basis. The ones that know me well also know I build computers and actually hold Microsoft Certification. Many moons ago I would build computers and sell them on ebay. Don't do that anymore though I just do my own or for friends and family. I also don't really use my Microsoft Cert much either. A friend and I were considering a small business last year and we both went through the certification program together. Wow did I get sidetracked.

Anyway.....The point was is that many of my friends, while they use a computer at work and at home, are functionally illiterate when it comes to most software and hardware. What happens is that they always are asking me to help with this or that. Come help my kids screwed up the computer Come help I screwed up the computer. Can you make my computer go faster? Hey you know how to set up a home wireless network don't you? The questions never end. I don't mind helping most of the time, but It would be nice if they wouldn't just assume I am going to help. I don't really think they have an understanding of how much money I save them. I'm not asking for anything in return, I just wish that they would appreciate the value of the service.

If you aren't lucky enough to have a friend like me :) then you probably do understand the value of good computer help. You also probably know how frustrating computer issues can be. If you own a small business or run a business from your house it can be even more frustrating. I know a blogging friend of mine had an issue with her computer a while back and it cost her some down time and probably revenue.

Blogging is a small business and you should run it as such. Even if it is just you and your blogs, it is a small business. You have expenses, income, deductions, depreciation, and a ton of other big words. I am not a tax or business expert, I leave that to my accountant. My accountant does though require some things of me. I have to keep good records. Now let me tell I am probably not the best at that. Early last year when I added this blogging stuff into my online business I decided I need some help managing everything. I bought Quickbooks software and started using it for my book keeping. Wonderful software let me tell you.

Even though I am on the high side of the software knowledge curve I had a few issues with the software and knew I could probably get more out of it. No I didn't enlist a friend. I called around and found several places that offered Quickbooks training. I also found a few places online. The training varied from online courses to actual on-site training. I elected the latter that way I could use my computer, my software, and my data. The guy came right to the house and worked with me so that I completely understood the software. he showed me tricks and little tools I didn't even know were available through QuickBooks! It was certainly worth the time and has made managing my businesses way easier.

This incident is actually what prompted my friend and I to seriously look into starting a on-site computer service company. There weren't any good ones locally, the one I used was based over 20 miles away. We actually contacted the company that I had do my training to inquire as to franchise opps. They had a great setup with only $19,500 for the franchise package and another $6,000 or so for start-up and advertising. For around $25,000 we could have had a great business. We ultimately decided against it and instead decided to put a bit more time and effort into our real estate ventures.

later all and have a profitable and productive blogging day

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