Hello World, I’m starting dauntless.co over.

I’ve been making a full time living using WordPress for almost a year, yet it’s been a year of growing pains. It feels good to return to those words that greet every new WordPress blog.

We’ll see how it turns out.

Hello World, I’m starting dauntless.co over.

partly because I love the domain name, partly because I have a story to tell, and partly because I want to build something that can be bigger than me.

This time I want to strip away expectations and write. Write about the things i’m learning, and the ways I’m looking to improve life. Last month I began a break from social media, so there’s no auto publishing to 1000+ facebook friends. There’s really just this website. and a mailing list- if you want the posts, sign up there and i’ll make sure you get them! I still do keep my twitter account, but i haven’t been really active there for some time.

I would expect that the postings here could be all over the place, it tends to be the way my mind works, but lately I’ve had a superb interest that borders on obsession on a couple topics.

Blog-able interests?

  1. Personal Finance. A couple years back I had a pretty huge life transformation, and taking control of finances was a big part of that. I slacked a little big on keeping this up to speed over the last year. I’m intensely interested in the topics of Financial Independence, Investing and Early Retirement. — As far as early retirement goes, however, I take the topic with a grain of salt. I’m not somebody who could sit on the beach for months with no purpose, i’ll always be working, but having more freedom to decide what exactly you work on sounds pretty great.
  2. Health and Nutrition. I’ve learned a few things over the last year specifically about me in regards to my health.
    1. I no longer have as active of a career, so healthy eating exercising is a priority if i don’t want to turn into a balloon.
    2. I really suck at moderation. — I’m not somebody who can just have a scoop of ice cream, one beer, or a serving of a snack. So i actually respond better to a more restrictive protocol like Whole30 better than I do something simple like tracking calories and moderating your carb, fats, and protein levels.

    In 2015, I really took control of my health and lost nearly 100 pounds, but a lot of that weight has come back. It’s pretty frustrating but not unexpected based on my lifestyle choices I had been making the last two years.

  3. Business — Now that 5 espressos is my main gig, what does it look like to spend each work day really pushing the needle as far as it will go. How do we take this thing and make into a real success? How do we serve our clients and our communities the best we can? — These are the big questions i’m weighing right now.
  4. Hobbies. — I love to have fun when i’m not working, but everything you do has an opportunity cost attached to it. Last week was a good long week, and I responded by playing a lot of video games on saturday. I don’t think gaming is really a problem, but there’s a cost attached to it. A day was dedicated to gaming, where i could have been building a side business around an interest. I could have been exercising,  learning from a book, or catching up with a friend I haven’t seen in a while.

I was reading a blog post on the Early Retirement Extreme blog and a few lines in there really stuck out to me.

For financial independence or just health, wealth, and wisdom, I think it is important to keep the following points in mind

  • * Pick a hobby where you can grow as a person. This means that you should get better and better with time passing through the stages of beginner, competent, master, and expert. If improvement stops, drop the hobby.
  • * Pick a hobby that can makes you healthier, wealthier or wiser. If the hobby does none of the three. Drop it.
  • * Get involved. Be productive. If you create something other people enjoy

But what about having fun? I say almost anything can be fun once you get into it if it is sufficiently challenging (except poetry of course 😛 ). If you disagree that’s your problem, it just means that you wont be having fun while getting smarter, richer, or in better shape 😉 .

Ever since reading this blogpost, all of what I do outside of work has been under a cross examination.  Who knows what i’ll settle on, but that uncertainty will be part of the fun of blogging these adventures.

WordPress or Shopify for my Dropshipping Business?

One of the goals I have for 2018 is to build two additional streams of income beyond my web design business 5espressos. One of the business models that is most intriguing to me right now is dropshipping, but one of the first decisions I have to make before I proceed with testing ideas is a crucial one. Do I use WordPress or Shopify for my dropshipping business?

Lets define a few things before we dig in.

Dropshipping

Dropshipping is a style of order fulfillment an e-commerce business can use to deliver goods to a user without actually holding inventory. A customer visits a website, places an order, and then the business owner works with a supplier to get the product sent directly to the customer. This style of business isn’t without it’s challenges, but not having to handle a lot of inventory is certainly an advantage.

Shopify

Shopify is an e-commerce platform that allows users to easily set up an online store and get selling. Because the service is focused around selling online, everything that they include in their service is geared around what you might need to manage your store.

Their plans start at 29 per month for a startup ecommerce platform, but their plans can scale up to fit the needs of a business as it expands.

WordPress

WordPress is a CMS (Content Management Service) that a webmaster can use to build websites. It was initially a blogging platform, but has expanded into a bit of a monster. It’s currently the most popular CMS to use for a website — commanding 60 percent of the market share of websites that are using a CMS for their building blocks.

Simply put, WordPress can do just about anything. But that being said, it doesn’t necessarily do E-commerce better than a specialized service like Shopify.

In order to replicate what Shopify offers for 29 a month, one would need to tap into multiple different resources in order to piece together a WordPress-based Shopify Experience. And before I make my decision on whether or not I use WordPress or Shopify for my dropshipping business, I wanted to give a breakdown of what it would take with both options.

Oh, and primarily I’ll be using services that integrate with WooCommerce- one of the largest e-commerce solutions built for WordPress.

Note: 5 espressos primarily uses the WordPress platform to build websites for our clients, and even though I have experience with building e-commerce solutions for our clients, this is still a helpful breakdown for me to research.

The Breakdown:

 

Shopify

WordPress 

Monthly

29 / mo

This will vary a ton, but for 5-10  dollars a month you can get a reasonable host. Siteground is a host I’ve used and recommended in the past.

Transaction fee for Card

2.9 % + 30c

2.9 %+ 30c (using Stripe)

Number of Products

Unlimited

Unlimited

Staff Accounts

2

The World is your Oyster

File Storage

Unlimited

Based on Hosting Plan

Retail Package

49 per month

79 per year (Woocommerce extension — ~6.58 per month)

Shipping discount

Yes

I’ll discuss this below

Print Labels

Included

I’ll discuss this below

24/7 Support

Included

Support is largely dependent on the quality of your webhost

Fraud Analysis

Included

Included with Stripe Payment Processing

Manual Order creation

Included

Doable

Discount Code

Included

Included

Website and blog

Included

It’s WordPress, yes!

Free SSL

Included

Yes, with Lets Encrypt — most webhosts these days are getting better about offering this to clients

Domain Name included?

 No.

Some Hosting Plans include a domain name, other wise most .coms will run 10-15 per year.

Design?

Free and Premium Themes

Free and Premium Themes, also 5 espressos 😉

Order fulfillment with WordPress —

So this seems to be one of the biggest hangups with using WordPress as you an e-commerce platform. Integrating in real-time shipping costs can be done, but only achievable after investing more money in an additional 3rd party plugin. The same goes for printing shipping labels. One service i’m interested in is called Shipstation that would take care of any of these issues, but at the cost of an additional monthly subscription — starting at $9 per month.

That being said- this all might not be that big of a deal with a dropshipping business in mind, as shipping orders is the responsibility of the supplier!

The Verdict: Will I use WordPress or Shopify for my Dropshipping Business?

So before I started preparing this post, I didn’t actually know whether I would want to use WordPress or Shopify for my Dropshipping business, I don’t necessarily think there’s a wrong choice here.

If you’re looking to scrape by on the cheap, you can likely find a way to make WordPress fit your bill exactly, but if you’re looking to completely replicate all of the things that Shopify offers to you right out of the gate, it doesn’t take long to justify the 29 per month they are charge.

I think if I end up starting two dropship experiments this year, I’ll do one on Shopify and then one on WordPress, but if I only do one, I’ll be giving it a shot on the Shopify platform.

A couple reasons for that.

  1. I’ve never built a website using Shopify, and i’m a ridiculously curious person.
  2. I’m not looking for a robust setup, so I’m confident I won’t be limited by Shopify’s offering.
  3. Where WordPress can offer anything, you have to tap into several different plugins and support teams to achieve your goal, with Shopify it’s all under one roof, and for a side hustle, I’m not sure you can really beat that simplicity.

So what do you think? What did I miss? and are you going to start a new income stream in 2018?

 

uber frugal: one

In Day 1 of the Uber Frugal Month challenge, we’re asked to answer the questions in the original Uber Frugal post.

Why are you participating in this Challenge?

One of my goals for the year is to live within a budget- and to track every dollar earned and spent in the next year. This is a good way to jumpstart that.

What do you hope to achieve?

I hope to take the results of the uber frugal challenge and create a flexible budget that I can carry over into the rest of the year.

What are your longterm life goals?

I plan on continuing the self-employed life, while exploring building multiple income streams. I have some pretty cliche goals like being an awesome husband and dad and traveling and yaddayadda.

Where do you want to be in 10 years?

I want to be financially independent before the next 10 years are up.

What about your current lifestyle might prevent those goals from coming to fruition and what can you do about it?

Right now- I’m not saving enough, and i’ve let some non-essential spending take over. Some parts of achieving Financial Independence is strictly math.  My desire to be both a husband and a dad someday will certainly affect that math. So for today,  I’m choosing to focus on the things that I can control: making more, spending less, and being smart with the difference.

Why does it all matter?

We get one shot at life here on this rock, and many people who are interested in financial independence are looking to retire early, and I’ll admit, that does inspire me. But when i take a step back and examine my life, I don’t think i’d enjoy “retirement” for more than a month or two. However, if i can design my life in such a way that I can find happiness with less, while building a foundation to be very choosy about the way I spend my time- and that sounds pretty incredible.

What do you need clarity on?

I’m in for the Uber Frugal Month

Today is the first day of 2018, but also the first day of the Uber Frugal Month hosted by the FrugalWoods. This is the second time I’ve attempted the challenge, but i’m pretty confident that it will go well this time around.

Uber Frugal Month: keep more money in your wallet

FrugalWoods is a blog about financial independence and simple living: both things I strive for. They last hosted the Uber Frugal Challenge this summer — but it was hard for me to really focus on it in the midst of heavy client deadlines and summer vacations.  So this time around I’m in it for real.

Here’s a couple things that I think are setting me up for success with the Uber Frugal Challenge this time around:

My budget gets a fresh start.  …. it kinda has to. Last year I neglected my budget, which is slightly scary as it was my first year of self employment, and I definitely saw the inside of a restaurant far too often. I actually had a goal of only spending money on half of the days in 2017, but I don’t have to check my bank statements to know that I failed that one miserably.

The ‘Booch: I’ve discovered a couple youtube channels that have sparked an interest in home fermenting, and I can feel that interest spreading to more cooking and ways to be self sufficient. I currently have batches going of Kombucha, Sauerkraut (this might be the first time i’ve ever spelled that right on my first try), and sriracha sauce. Its possible a garden pops up in my backyard this spring, so I’m dreaming up the possibilities.

I’m finding it easier to focus on work at home more than ever. Up until about a month ago, I found it impossible to get any work done at home. I’m not really sure how it changed, but i’m going with it.

and finally.

I’ve never been more interested in ways to save money and attain financial independence.

Ultimately finding financial success is a function of

  1. How much money you make.
  2. How much money you spend
  3. What you do with the difference

In 2018, I am looking to optimize all 3 of these this year. Starting the year with an Uber Frugal Month ought to kickstart it all.

Today at 11.59 is the last chance you can sign up on the FrugalWoods website. If you miss out on it and want to see the updates, let me know and I can find a way to share them with you.