Monday, April 28, 2003
Great day today. A realtor came to look at our house and she told us a realistic price that would easily pay off all mortgages and loans and give us at least $75,000 in our pockets tax free. That means we can buy an RV and a tow car (both used) and put $30,000 in the bank. That works for me! We should certainly be able to live on a lot less money. So, if we can stick around and do the same amount of work for a while - we can save some more - while we learn how to make a living from the RV. Jim is now leaning toward establishing wireless 'hotspots' as the way to go. Sure seems like a win-win-win proposition to me. We incur all the expenses to establish a high-speed wireless internet connection at a campground. Campers with their laptops get to connect to high-speed internet and we automatically collect a percentage. The campground owner gets to advertise that high-speed internet connections are available and draw more customers. We continue to collect the connect charge percentage for the foreseeable future. I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. The realtor says that our house will sell quick - so we'd better be ready to go when we put it on the market. Perfect! So, we buy the RV and park it in the driveway. We outfit it with all our stuff. When the RV is completely stocked ... that means everything else in the house has to go! I still think 28 foot class C is the way to go. A little small for living, but still manageable for driving. The best compromise. Just be sure it has a full bedroom and a place for an 'office'. Our work phone number needs to transition to our cell phones. And, I'd like to receive my email on my cell also - for those times when we don't have high speed internet available.
Friday, April 25, 2003
Fear. That gnawing feeling in your stomach when you think ... "what are we doing?" "why are we doing this?" "Why are we getting rid of our comfortable home?" The answer is "why not?" We are so conditioned to seeking greater comfort in our lives ... to work hard and make money so we can relax and take it easy. Why do we want to 'take it easy'? What fun is that? It just breeds lethargy. The more you 'take it easy', the more you lose your ability to be active. It's easy to get so complacent that even going away for a weekend seems overwhelming. You hear so many times that folks at the end of their lives have only one regret ... that they didn't take enough risks. Life is for living. Why are we doing this? Because we want to. It really can be that simple. We don't have to wait for external factors to push us into making changes. We can be proactive. Ok, I feel better now. I just needed a pep talk.
Wednesday, April 23, 2003
Another good website with lots of info about the RV Lifestyle. I can see that these folks are retired but still making some income by writing books and giving seminars. They say their most popular seminar is about receiving your mail, paying your bills etc. while on the road. I'm sure it's a no-brainer that books and seminars on using your computer on the road won't be far away!
Monday, April 21, 2003
OK, so Jim works from our RV being a campground computer hero and connecting them to broadband internet connections ( see CNET article on Broadband choices) What am I going to do? I will have some clients that I support over GoToMyPC - but that's really not much. I'll continue to build our website and join affiliate programs. That's still not bringing in much income. What are people asking me for without my even trying? Websites. They don't know how to do it ... I do. They want me to do it for them. Register their domain, set up a hosting account and a couple emails, build a simple website, and be available for making changes. It's not a very novel idea for a business - seems like everyone and their cousin is into it - but it's something that people want, and are willing to pay some money for. So, I need to pursue it more fully. And, with hosting sites like catalog.com at $25/yr - people's $500 budget can go to me - rather than to the host.
Yes, I felt really comfortable in Rusty's RV, and it DOES look like it's in great shape. Rusty and her husband Lee wanted to chat about their life and all sorts of stuff. It was good to just sit in the camper and absorb the feeling. Something that hit me was how inviting the bedroom area loooked ... no I didn't feel like using it right then, it just seemed so clear that a separate bedroom area was important for a full-time living space. I didn't want to get rid of it in favor of an office. hmmmm - so, can the couch come out and make an office space?
Sunday, April 20, 2003
Looking at the Coachmen Catalina was fun. Nice rig. Clean and comfortable. Created more questions than answers. Like how to have an office and living space in a RV? Price may be the deciding factor. A slide-out would be nice. Should we get the Good Sam ERS? Probably. Posted by Jim
Thursday, April 17, 2003
Wednesday, April 16, 2003
There's another site out there similar to Lynda.com - maybe I'll try that next. It's called Apex. Same ideas with the movies and the $25/month. They have more variety in their titles - lots of Office apps like Excel, Word and Access, lots of Photoshop and even Adobe Premier. They also have Dreamweaver titles all the way up to and including programming with .asp, asp.net and cold fusion. I don't see an affiliate program tho.
I am hooked on Lynda.com! It is a web-based training site that uses Quicktime videos for training on Dreamweaver MX and many other graphic-related products. I am finally starting to get somewhere with designing our website www.CampgroundComputerHeroes.com. I also have www.guldsystems.com redirected here. It's watching the training movies at Lynda.com that has given me the capability to work with the website. I have lots of other work to do, but I find myself sitting down at the computer and watching another movie! They have a complete "Learning Dreamweaver MX" course, as well as an "Intermediate Dreamweaver MX". Each course is broken down into 5 - 15 minute segments, so I can go directly to a topic I need to work on - or - I can settle in for a group of lessons. I've been doing both. I am watching the complete course for both levels AND, as I work and have questions, I am reviewing some lessons I've already watched as well as jumping ahead to something I want to know. The material and the presenters are wonderful! They speak clearly and specify every detail of what they're doing, yet they don't 'talk down' to their audience. The examples they use are very intelligent and the web pages they create are very nice looking - so, I am learning something about good design as well as the mechanics of using the program. And the value! Wow! These movies started out as video courses produced on CDs. Each course costs about $180 on a CD. But, you can 'subscribe' to the entire library on the web for $25/month. What a bargain! I find myself thinking ... gee, if I were living in our RV now, I could spend ALL my time at the computer learning stuff cuz I wouldn't have to get up and do the laundry ... no house to clean ... no clients to visit. Ha! That's not what RVing is supposed to be about is it? It's supposed to be about living a rougher life than in a house. Back to nature and all that. Not having all the same comforts or work capabilities as at home. But, with a computer and some kind of high-speed access, it's just not true anymore. We're taking SOHO (small office, home office) to SORVO!
Tuesday, April 15, 2003
Monday, April 14, 2003
Wow ... things just keep falling into place. Jim had an appointment today (arranged by Tom F) with a company that installs electric meters in RV parks. Jim pitched the idea of providing fast internet access thru the powerlines and they liked it! We gotta get our website going good, make business cards and brochures for this new business, cuz this company is going to help get us started! I've spent most of the day working on web stuff. I'm still so uncomfortable with Dreamweaver. But, I found a GREAT site to help me. It has training movies specifically on Dreamweaver MX and they're wonderful. Really helping to get me over the hump.
Saturday, April 12, 2003
Thinking about computers for the road. My old PII 266 is on it's last legs. I just moved the important stuff to Chris' Gateway laptop. A small improvement. Now I need to make some room on it. Looks like we will configure a nice desktop for Chris that will stay in the "office". I just hope she will share. Still looking at rigs and floorplans. Haven't seen anything better than the Spirit. Chris put her limit at 30'. I need to lose more weight, anyway. New lifestyle can help. Talked about clothes this morning. Gonna be lots less. How do FTs do it? Looking forward to checking out Rusty's RV. Posted by Jim
This week, while Jim was at a client's office, he got to talking with the admininistrative assistant there. Come to find out she owns an RV park near Okeechobee AND she has a 28 foot class C RV for sale!! We were looking at 24 footers, but this might be good. It would cost over $60,000 new and she is asking $32. It's a 2000, I believe, they are the only owners and they haven't used it much. We're going to drive up to look at it tomorrow.
Friday, April 11, 2003
So, if we're going to do this .... I want to go ahead and DO it. I don't want to wait until we have all our ducks lined up. I don't want to make a business plan and check out that we will find enough campgrounds that want our services. I want to sell the house (and everything in it), buy an RV and move. So, what if we don't go very far? If we also had a little vehicle we could still support our same clients - they wouldn't even need to know that we don't live in a house any more. If we set up camp somewhere that we could hook up to DSL I could continue my same work. And, if we did this, I'll bet I'd spend more time developing my web apps sooner than if we stayed in the house. I've always been a proponent of taking the leap before you know where you're going to land. Things will just naturally fall into place then. Even if you wait and plan everything - it's going to be different than your plan when you actually do it - so just skip the planning part! Inspirational quotes help me keep on track. Here's my latest favorites: "Only in growth, reform, and change, paradoxically enough, is true security to be found." -- Anne Morrow Lindbergh "To try is to risk failure. But risk must be taken because the greatest hazard of life is to risk nothing. The person who risks nothing does nothing, has nothing, is nothing. He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, live, and love." -- Leo Buscaglia
Sunday, April 06, 2003
Gotta write about website stuff too. We've hired a graphics person to help us make guldsystems.com more professional looking. His first step was to outline the Site Map. Then, he kinda liked our hero graphics and said he might be able to design something around a comic book theme. hmmmm, we kinda like that. But, can it still look professional? And, I want to be sure to somehow incorporate our affiliate links in a way that works also. Maybe just a page of 'links' of all sorts of stuff, just categorized. And, could I use our Guld Systems web site for a lot of historical, memorobilia type stuff that I just want to have somewhere? We threw more stuff out this morning and I'm hesitating over Computer Savvy memory stuff. .... Take pictures and put it on a website! ... Check out Dan Bricklin's web site. Lots of personal and computer industry history there, in addition to his weblog. I think I'd like to do something like that.
Went to dinner at friend's house tonight. During discussion Jim and I mentioned our idea of going on the road and helping RVers get online at campgrounds with DSL and Powerline. Just wanted to see how the idea 'floated'. Not only did it float ... I think it sailed! Rejoined Good Sam club today. Got online and checked out the message boards. Found one on 'Workamping' for people who are fulltime RVers and work as they go. Cool. Really liked the info on www.1tree.net/adventure. Lots of practical information about life on the road. And, would you believe that there is a week long conference every year all about fulltime RVing? See Life on Wheels
Spending the day researching RVs and Internet access for campgrounds. I like the Powerline products by Speedstream/Siemens. Picture a turnkey solution. Camp office gets DSL service installed. I install a Powerline Router. Campers have a choice of USB, 802.11b, or Ethernet Powerline adapters. Test coverage and configure. How should it be packaged and sold? Posted by: Jim
I find myself looking around the house and thinking about what it would really be like to take off. TVs, stereo equipment, framed photographs, shelves and shelves of books and memorobilia. Old clothes, not so old clothes. How do you get rid of it all? What would it feel like to not have it?
While researching the ways that RVers are connecting to the internet I don't want to forget about Joline's sattellite connection. She uses www.motosat.com. $5500 for purchase and installation, $80/month for internet service is what she says she paid.
Yesterday I registered the website: CampgroundComputerHeroes.com! We've recently been promoting our image as Computer Heroes with a great little cartoon image. See www.guldsystems.com. And people love it - I got a call for MS Access help from a client the other day - she had to give a report to her boss that afternoon and she couldn't figure out how to do it. "Here I come to save the day!" She said she'd get me a cape. This morning we visited a local RV campground to check out what they offered for fast internet connection. Interesting. Each camper who wants DSL has to sign up with BellSouth individually. They can contract on a month to month basis, but obviously this doesn't work for the one or two night visitor.
Saturday, April 05, 2003
I'm a vagabond at heart. As an only child I learned to be self-sufficient. My family traveled a lot and I grew accustomed to a life of change and challenge. I continued to travel after I left home. At my 10 year high school reunion I got the prize for coming the furthest and for having moved the most times since High School! At my 20 year reunion I got the prize for traveling the shortest distance to attend the party. You see, I had since moved 'back home', started a business and become a very stable, workaholic, 'pillar of the business community'. That lasted about 14 years till I got burnt out and sold the business. Then I got married, inherited a stepson and became an even more stable 'pillar of the home'. Was the vagabond life just a figment of my past? Is there any way to scratch that itch on my feet? My husband and I often speak of our 'someday' plan of buying an RV and living on the road. We've rented one a few times and just love the way it feels to go wherever we want and have our home with us wherever we go. We are both computer consultants and know that there are multiple ways to make a living these days using your computer - and it doesn't matter where you are as long as you have a good connection to the internet. So we spend some time honing our web-development skills in between visits to clients putting in our billable hours. And we browse the RV websites and dream about our 'someday' plan. A week or so ago, my husband casually mentioned that maybe he could help campgrounds with installing DSL connections and making them available to individual campsites using powerline technology. That sounds great! Don't figure out how to make enough money to support a life on the road. Use the fact of being on the road to make money. Boy! Did this start something in my head. A paradigm shift. I had been thinking that I was just joining the evergrowing crowd of people who were taking to the road in their RVs. We were going to face overcrowding and rising costs of a fad. Now I'm thinking - "Find a need and Fill it" - People taking off in RVs IS a growing trend. And lots of them take computers with them. Jim and I have 20 years experience supporting computer users. I'm sure we can capitalize on this if we just do it. An RV show came to Fort Lauderdale last weekend and we eagerly attended. We had always been partial to the Roadtrek camper van. We thought that we wanted something small. The Roadtrek still looked good but when we walked inside an Itasca 24 ft. class C RV - we felt at home. This is something we could live in, not just go on trips with. When Jim mentioned that the bed in the back could be taken out and put desks, computers and an office back there, I was hooked! Last Wednesday we met with our 2 friends we call our "Board of Directors" and told them a little of our 'someday' plan. They asked, "what is your timeframe?". hmmmmm .... well let's say 2 years. But, I've been thinking about that question almost hourly ever since. What are we waiting for? If we sell the house, we could pay for the RV and have some cushion for living for a while. We could even just live in the RV at a local campground while we still service our local customers and learn about the campground market. My little vagabond heart is just racing with the possibilities.