I began this website in 2006. At that time, I'd owned a computer for about 6 months. The only work experience that I'd had involving computers was filling in invoices at the music store. I didn't have an e-mail account and could barely surf the web.
But I decided that I wanted to write a book about how to buy an acoustic guitar. I wasn't involved with guitars other than my own practice. I felt like I had a good bit of knowledge that could benefit other people interested in guitars.
Plus, I've always enjoyed writing. I come by that honestly. My Dad had written and self published a book about growing up in small town Louisiana.
He'd had 500 copies or so printed. That's a lot of books to have on hand. Especially when you've only written the book to give to family members (fortunately, it became a local favorite and he sold all of those, plus a re-print).
But, while I thought that my book would benefit others, it was still a gamble. I could have it printed myself, and end up with a garage full of them. That's when I read about e-books.
An e-book is a computer file. With an e-book, I could write the book and email it to the buyer. Brilliant! One problem, though.
Of the millions of e-books on the Internet, how would mine stand out? Simple, the experts said. You build a website and attract traffic to it and the visitors buy your e-book.
Swell. I've had a computer about a year now. I've gotten pretty good at surfing the Web and now I'm supposed to build a website. That attracts traffic.
At this point my brain was starting to feel a little mushy. But, I'm not a quitter. So I started investigating how to build a website.
I saw things about site hosting, writing code, Search Engine Optimization, adding graphics and video... The list went on and on. It was a little discouraging, even for an optimist.
Then I came across some information about SiteBuildIt! The information that I read was pretty encouraging. So then I began searching the Web for people who'd had problems with SBI!
You know, "...they're a rip-off. I hope they burn in Hell!" kind of stuff.
I didn't find any of that.
So, I thought, why not? They offer a money back gaurantee. Nobody's filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. So I told my wife what I'd found.
She responded with an enthusiastic "Really? Have you checked them out? Are they legit?"
After I'd assured her that I had, I went ahead and subscribed to SBI!
I'd like to tell you that, overnight, I became fantastically wealthy with my new website. All of my financial worries are over. But that would be a big lie.
What I can tell you is that I acquired a lot of great tools and technical support when I began using SBI! And I was given a clear cut set of procedures about how to go about building a website that would attract visitors.
There's one other thing that SBI! gives you access to. That's it's forums. If you get stumped or have questions, the people using the forums will help you figure it out.
It may be someone that has had the same or a similiar problem. Or you may have your question answered by a forum user who is really a pro with computers.
Overall, the process is simple. But that doesn't neccessarily mean that it's easy. Remember learning to play an F chord down at the first fret?
For most people, that's a tough one. But it's not all that complicated, especially now that you've played it a million times!
You just have to practice. Not think about doing it, but actually do it.
So, how am I doing now, 3 years later? I'm light years ahead of where I was when this journey began. I've learned a ton of stuff about creating a website.
Besides the writing, I've learned to create videos (an ongoing process), and graphic images to use as teaching tools. And I feel like I've just begun to scratch the surface of the tools that SBI! provides.
I've added my first two forms to serve as surveys this week. And there's a lot more.
Remember the job that I took to replace the job that I had with all of the travel? Well, I was laid off there when the downturn in the economy affected them. So guitar related things are all that I've been doing for the last year or so.
I earn some income from Adsense ads (those little ads that you see on webpages) and affiliate links. If someone links through my site and buys something from the merchant that the link leads to, I get a small commission.
I've had modest success with my e-book (remember that?) and am about to publish another one. My Craigslist ad for students links to my website and I've acquired students through it.
My income isn't where I want it to be yet. But I'm building a business that will create that income, if I just continue to work at it.
One of my goals is to have my website serve as "hurricane insurance". I worked a lot in south Louisiana right after Hurricane Katrina. Seeing the aftermath of that was truly frightening.
People had there homes and their employment destroyed. Can you imagine? You go through your savings and then - nowhere to live and no income.
I continue to work as much as if I had a "regular" job. But the big difference is that I'm doing work that means something to me.
I'm not alone in this. If you would like to learn more about Solo Build It!, there's a lot of information available. You might like to start by looking at some other people's stories.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go practice.