My Notes on Payment Gateways

16 Jun 2012

I wrote a book. I needed to accept money in exchange for said book. How did I do that? This post goes into how I did it. This isn't a surefire way to make sure you won't get scammed, won't get your account locked, or can make millions by following a few easy steps. Like my notes on writing an e-book, these are my notes on what I did and why I did it and how I did it.PayPalI started off with a PayP...

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Death of an Ad Network

28 Apr 2009

SidebarAds is shutting its doors. After almost a year, this little pet project from Sidebar Creative is calling it quits. Originally conceived as The Deck "Light" but focusing more heavily on the designer/developer crowd, it would grow to more than a million ad views a month. Too bad the advertisers didn't come join the fun. It was great fun to put together and a learning experienc...

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SidebarAds Expands

01 Dec 2008

It has been over six months since launching SidebarAds and there have been recent changes. The past six months have been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride when it comes to the success of SidebarAds. Now seems as good a time as any to provide a status report. For those unfamiliar with my ongoing saga in online advertising, be sure to read the announcement post from June, along with my previous disc...

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An Evolution of Advertising: SidebarAds

08 Jun 2008

It's been over a year since I've last talked about adding advertising to my site. It has come time to provide an update and fill you in on how things are changing. Automation Once again, my biggest downfall was the lack of automation. Campaigns would end and I'd fail to do a followup. In one particularly awkward case, I double booked a spot because I had forgotten that an advertiser had prepaid....

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Socializing for the Freelancer

21 May 2008

As a freelancer, especially working from home as I do, you might find yourself a little detached from the world. If not for my wife and kids, it might be entirely possible to go days without ever leaving the house and experiencing any in-person social interaction. However, even with family forcing me out into sunlight on a daily basis, I still find myself separated from a larger community. Here ...

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Are Freelance Developers a Recipe for Poor Software?

02 May 2008

I recently read the Fast Company article, They Write the Right Stuff, and instantly began thinking of my situation as a freelance developer and what that ultimately means to my clients. The article talks about NASA and the quality control that goes into the software that drives the shuttle. It's fascinating and impressive stuff. “Consider these stats : the last three versions of the p...

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Sidebar Creative: State of the Union

09 Apr 2008

An idea was spawned over two years ago to form a small collective of freelance developers to have the opportunity to work on larger projects. What's happened since then? A number of people have looked at the collective to see if the idea would work. Could you bring together four people, each living in different cities, and have a system that works? Client Work ... or not The original idea wa...

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Review: PSD2HTML

18 Mar 2008

I got the opportunity to try out the services of PSD2HTML. They're one of the larger design slicers around and was interested to see what I would get. Full disclosure: PSD2HTML advertises on this site and offered up their services in exchange for this review. I'm always hesitant to outsource work but luckily when it comes to HTML/CSS I've had one or two people that I can rely on. So I was a lit...

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Can running your own advertising be worthwhile?

04 May 2007

The short answer is yes, running my own advertising has been worthwhile, and it's been a good learning experience. In talking with those that advertised, the response has been good with many saying that it resulted in additional business. Let's take a look at some of the lessons I've learned. Good design Running your own advertising gives you the benefit of having ads fit into the overall look ...

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Tracking Project Profitabilty

30 Apr 2007

With today being the last day to file taxes here in Canada, I had the enjoyment of going over all my financial information for last year. It's been enlightening to say the least and has reinforced the fact that I really need to get this under control. First and foremost my biggest mistake is not keeping track of things. For each project, this is what I should be tracking: Time. All hours on ...

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How I Found My Niche

15 Apr 2007

On running your own business, an interesting piece of advice that I read was to market to a niche audience. Considering myself a jack of all trades, I decided to ignore that advice. In the beginning When I first went freelance, I tried to market myself as a man of many talents. "Everything you need in one package," as the tagline on my site said. I've developed projects in a bunch of ...

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Abundance Mentality

29 Mar 2007

Something that I was reaffirmed by at SXSW was the community of sharing that exists. It's a really powerful force that makes the web a great place to be and makes me happy to have a career involving the web. I just finished reading the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and one of the things the author talks about is the abundance mentality. As explained in the book, it's understanding that ther...

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The Remote Worker

22 Mar 2007

It's great to be able to work from home. The Internet gives us a great deal of flexibility to do that. What with webcams, voice over IP, email and IM, we're almost as connected as when we work in the company office. In fact, even in an office, we usually just IM'd each other anyways. No need to get up from your desk to see if something is done. And yet, many companies are reluctant to allow their...

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Building English360

16 Mar 2007

For over just a year now, I've been working on an e-learning application for English360. You may have heard of them as the site made it into Stylegala having been designed by Cameron Moll. I had originally intended to only work on the project for a few months to work on designing the application. However, once we got to the development stage, I decided to stay on board to develop the applicatio...

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Agency: the new four letter word

28 Feb 2007

Nobody seems to want to run an agency anymore. Many see it simply as a means to an end: running a software company. "Do what you can to do what you love." Many point to 37signals as a successful example of a company who has managed to transcend the traditional agency model of client work and been able to sustain themselves off the revenue generated from the services they offer. I,...

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Sidebar Creative

25 Jan 2007

A new collective is born: Sidebar Creative! Sidebar Creative is the combined talents of Steve Smith, Dan Rubin (aka Superfluous Banter), Bryan Veloso (aka Avalonstar) and myself. We put the Creative together as a way to pool our resources on larger projects and to have a company from which to expand our reach. It's nice to know that I have a great team who has my back and whom I can readily r...

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Finding Business

02 Jan 2007

A common question I get is, "Where do you find your clients?" The fact of the matter is, I don't. They find me. That's right. I invest no money in sales or advertising. I don't even have a portfolio. Yet, it's not uncommon to get a couple requests a week for work. I believe that there are three good reasons why this is: I network I have a blog I write in places other than ...

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Advertise on

30 Dec 2006

To launch off the new year, I'm introducing an advertising program for The program is designed to offer a great deal of flexibility for advertisers to target a particular audience in a practical and effective way. My goal is to ensure that the ads are relevant to the site while not detracting from the usefulness of the site. Why ads and why now? This was not an easy decision to come...

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Project Checklists

19 Dec 2006

It's time to take a page from the "painfully obvious but never do it" chapter. Project checklists are something that I used to do all the time when working within an agency. Half the time, I felt they were as useless as timesheets. As a freelancer, however, neither could be farther from the truth. In the beginning Normally, checklists are good at the beginning of a project and at the ...

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09 Nov 2006

It's official. I have incorporated the business. There's something strangely satisfying about having done so. I felt the same giddyness when I registered for tax numbers (so that one can collect taxes on behalf of the government, something I take no joy in). But this feels better. I own a corporation. Having gone freelance back in January, I probably should have done it sooner but felt that runn...

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Web Developer Found

28 Aug 2006

Suffice it to say, hiring is never easy (oh, but believe me, a whole heck of a lot better than firing someone). I was pleasantly surprised by the number of truly qualified individuals, especially considering how risky it is and also surprised by the number of people who had actually used CakePHP before. Anyways, without further adieu, I'd like to introduce Adam Thody. He's been running his own de...

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