If you’ve been following along, I’ve decided to move towards actively promoting my side efforts of writing and discussing taxes. I know at least some of the tried and true things to do, but like they say in Mexico, del dicho al hecho hay mucho trecho.

Honestly, a lot of the reason I haven’t done it before is the simple, lame excuse of not wanting to fail. If it’s just a hobby, it doesn’t matter if it sucks, right? If I’m trying, though, I have to learn from that suckage and get better. I figure if I put everything out in the open on this site, I have a little bit of accountability to what I’m doing.

Changing Domains

The biggest thing I’ve done is change my domain from CreativelyAccounting.com to BackAlleyTaxes.com. I think this had to be done. I followed a guide that said I shouldn’t lose much SEO. Here’s a chart of what actually happened from Analytics:

You’ll see that my hits weren’t exactly astronomical before. That red arrow is where I switched. As my 3 year old likes to say, it’s not great.

SIDE NOTE: When you ask Kella how she’s doing, and she ponders a bit, twisting up her face with “hmms” and “uhhs” before finally settling on “not great,” it’s about as adorable as things come.

There’s been a couple bright spots, but before the switch almost all my hits were coming from Google and Bing, and since the switch it’s been much lower, closer to 50%. So those few good days are from word of mouth efforts rather than search efforts. It should improve over time, though. Just puts a bit of a damper on things.

YouTube

Got my first videos up on YouTube. They haven’t exactly set the world on fire, but they’re long how-to videos, so I wasn’t expecting much. More of a “getting my feet wet” situation. I’ll need to think more about what I want to do going forward, but I figure having something is better than not having anything.

Twitter

I’ve finally gotten over my Twitter anxiety. When I post things online, I typically try to consider if I’d say that to a person in real life. Going through that process has saved me from a few angry posts. However, the downside of that is in real life I wouldn’t approach perfect strangers just to strike up a conversation. Considering that Twitter is an entire platform of striking up conversations with perfect strangers, I’ve had a hard time getting into it.

Now I’m a bit better. I mean, what are they really going to do, unfollow me? Pfff. Though I did get a bit of anxiety when someone added me to their “cool people” list. I think that was her euphemism for “accountants,” which is decidedly opposite of “cool people,” but it still gave me a bit of anxiety that I now had some “cool” standard to live up to.

Then I realized it was Twitter, not high school, and moved on with my life.

I’ve been attempting to follow the 80/20 rule, which is to have 80 percent of your posts sharing other users’ work, and 20 percent sharing my own. I’m probably closer to 60/40 right now, but I think it’s the right direction.

It’s been a bit of a grind with followers, but it’s coming along. I started with about 280 when I decided to give it a go, and now I’m at 393. I think that’s pretty good for two weeks of work, considering that I haven’t exactly been aggressive at picking followers up. If I continue at about 50 every week, I’m more than happy with that. I could probably increase it to 100 a week with a bit of gaming the system, but I haven’t wanted to get into that. Besides, gaming the system gets you a bunch of bots rather than real people.

Book Sales

Where do I stand right now? 24 books sold on Amazon. A few have sold on the other platforms, maybe one or two in total, which is actually more than the zero I was expecting.

I know, that’s really nothing over the two and a half months I’ve had it out, but it’s all about expectations. Like with YouTube, I felt I needed to get something out there just to say I’ve done it. I figured that once I got one done, it’d be much easier to do a second without an ocean of anxiety crushing my chest. And if people buy it along the way, it’s just an added bonus. Considering that 24 sales clearly goes beyond family and friends (most of whom couldn’t be less interested in tax), I’m feeling pretty good about that number.

Plus, it’s kinda cool to say that I’m actually an author. Or at least I’ve fooled 24 people into thinking that (they might change their mind once they start reading).

Now that it’s actually selling, I know book sales is a real possibility. I’ve been planning more books for the future, with more promotion that I think will sell even better. I’m thinking of starting with something more specific, like a guide for people who do Direct Sales, and expand out from just tax and talk about accounting and good business practices. That’s a huge potential market, and I have a bit of an ‘in’ with Amy.

What I Still Need to Do

Newsletter

The one thing everyone’s said I really, really need to do is still on the backburner. I set up a couple e-mail subscription services to kick the tires, but I haven’t actually gotten one set up yet.

Website Logo

I’ve wanted a new one for a long time. Amy is a wonderful designer, but by the time we’re both free from the tyrannical clutches of our brood, we’re both too tired to think about it. I guess I could pay someone, but I still haven’t gotten over that professionalism hump yet.

This Site

Now that I have a better hosting plan, I could finally move this site over to WordPress. Probably won’t happen any time soon, since it’s a bit superfluous, but it would make my life easier. Blogger is kind of terrible.

Future Thoughts

Rumors are swirling that my company (day job) is being bought out, so it’s really made me think about what I want to do going forward. I enjoy some of the daily grind of accounting in the corporate environment, but if I had my druthers, I’d probably be writing and teaching.

If I really wanted to invest my time and energy into it, I could probably make it happen, but it’d come at a cost both time wise and financially. A lot of my thoughts are framed by watching my dad, who has worked in basically every major environment (large corporation, self employed business, teaching at juco, not-for-profit). Each situation has it’s pros and cons. Right now, working at a large corporate environment while writing on the side and teaching Sunday School seems like a good way to touch all my interests without fully committing to one.

But who knows? Maybe a year from now I’ll be out of a job and decide that I want to start my own public accounting practice while teaching part time at a community college and working on the next great American novel. Depending on the day, that ┬ásounds either enticing or like a steaming pile of crap to be avoided.

I’ll leave with some of the parting words of my late Grandpa Doug. First, don’t step in anything soft. Second, if you can’t take it easy, take it as easy as you can.