Rural Housewife or Tech Entrepreneur? You Decide

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Marketing Software Skills

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If you ask a software developer how to make money writing code, you’ll usually get employment or selling applications as your answer. It’s my opinion, however, that most are missing the boat and need to think of their skills as a marketable service.

The other answers, while not wrong, have to do with point of view.

If I get a fancy box and shelf space in the big box chain stores, then I’m offering a product. The transaction might even present itself as selling of services – like getting the neighbor kid to mow my lawn. But no matter how you look at it, it all starts with a skill.

If I toss Open Source software into the mix, then I usually have to deal with “Yeah, Right. How am I going to make money competing with a free download?”

Here’s the thing, software isn’t the only Open Source industry. In fact, many other open source businesses are very profitable and are generally skills that have been around for quite some time.

Let’s think about Open Source for a moment. The first line of the Wikipedia article states…

Open Source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials.

To me, it’s just the way we’ve always done things.

Software isn’t the only open source skill, in fact I’d say that all of these could be considered open source.

  • Carpentry
  • Plumbing
  • Farming
  • Repair – Automobiles, Washers, Refrigerators, etc.
  • Fashion – Sewing, design ideas, etc
  • And many others

The people who practice these trades might have their own secret sauce, but all can be learned in an open source manner by examining the construction or using freely available information to gain understanding of the process. If I can get a book at the library or search the internet for the information I need, then I consider the industry to be open source.

Let’s now consider what it means to be in an open industry where anyone has access to the tools and materials that you do…

Wouldn’t the existence of prepackaged seeds put farmers out of business?
What about home improvement stores? Shouldn’t that put Plumbers, carpenters and electricians out of business? Does access to scissors put the barber out of business?

With the answer to those questions being a resounding “NO,” then why do so many people within the Free and Open Source Software movement think that there’s no business opportunities for their skill set?

Yes, there is a bit of a vacuum in the consciousness about the use of Open Source software, but I don’t think that it’s going to be too hard to overcome.

What the middle market is missing people with marketable skills who are willing to begin offering their services in various formats. It could be shelf ready products, it could be custom work. FOSS could even be offered alongside commercial options.

The thing is, FOSS has so many advantages and one of them is price. If you are a provider and can offer the same services and functionality, but you don’t have to undercut your profit to be the less expensive option, that’s a big advantage for you and your customer.

So you make more money, they spend less… Talk about bringing value to the table. You’re happy, they’re happy, the computers are effective. How can you loose?

Up next!

To keep this post on topic and in an easy to digest format, how about we stop here for now.

In the next article I’ll talk more about how to position yourself as a service provider and how to set yourself up for a win.

I/O Session II – Lost Bits 1 by Carsten Mueller

Written by Karlie

July 18th, 2010 at 10:52 am

Resumes and Cover letters.

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A few weeks ago, I received a response to a resume that had been floating around Monster.com for who knows how long.

Then, shortly after that incident I had a SCORE client tell me that he’d been keeping his resume up-to-date. It’s not that he feared loosing his job at any moment, but it sounded like it was more of a just-in-case sort of thing.

When the universe keeps telling me about Resumes, it’s probably time to get my ducks in a row. So yesterday, I completed one version of it and then for kicks I uploaded it to CareerBuiler.com and even found a very intriguing little company’s want-ad on Craig’s list and threw my hat in the ring.

Then this morning, the Universe, by way of my trusty StumbleUpon button, told me my cover letter could use some work. While I was thinking it was pretty good and not bad for being out of circulation so long, I see now that I should up my game if I write another one.

One major boo-boo I did know to avoid was the form letter, but that makes me wonder what HR departments are thinking of when they send one to me?

It seemed like moments after I got done reading about great cover letters I received a response to my resume at Career Builder. In it the recruiter said;

“I place qualified individuals in various franchises that fit within the realms of their previous work history and acquired talents ultimately training (and equipping) born entrepreneurs with the necessary tools to take the leap towards owning a business and taking control of their futures.”

With that I’m pretty sure I never even got a read. Because had she even browsed my Resume, she would have seen that I have already taken the leap and do, in fact, own a business.

Written by Karlie

March 26th, 2010 at 8:33 am

Keeping your Facebook Fan Page Perky

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By now we all know that social networking is about attraction and that constant blasts about sales and product updates is not that attractive.

For the On-Disk.com Fan Page I’ve decided to post at least one FOSS or Open Source link per day, since I’m pretty sure that sort of content would be most attractive to our customer base. So far, I’d say it’s working. How do I know it’s working? Not all of the fans are friends and family.  I did put a fan banner in rotation on our website, but other than that I’m not pushing the fan page out to my customers.

So when you’re up to your eyeballs keeping the business running, how do you find the time to keep your Facebook fan page perky?

One answer is StumbleUpon.

For me, StumbleUpon started out as the “Entertain me” button, but by using some of it’s features, I’m also able to find neat content for fan pages too.

It starts off assuming you’re already stumbling content that’s relevant to your industry.

The second step is setting your Stumble bar so that you can stumble for relevant content. If you click the image above, you’ll see where and how to select your topics.

From there, just hit the Stumble! button as needed to find a good page to share with your fans.

As a personal preference, I like to us the linking feature on Facebook status updates. While you can just add the link in the “What’s on your mind?” box, I think it looks better to save it for comments and add the link separately.

Written by Karlie

March 25th, 2010 at 8:11 am