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  1. #1
    Senior Member mafunk's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
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    3277
    A warning for all you newbies. Learn from my mistakes.

    I'm mega-cheap, and have tried to get everything dones as inexpensively as possibe. Cheap hosting, cheap coders, cheap. cheap. cheap. I've also cut too many corners when it comes to admin.

    DON't DO IT!!!!

    CHEAP HOSTING = BAD HOSTING
    To get a good host you need to do your homework and be prepared to pay fair market price. Way to research your host:

    netmechanic
    Go to net mechanic and monitor a host that you are considering for 8 hours for free. It well tell you about their response time, load, and if they go down. There are also software program that will allow you to monitor hosts for a longer period of time, and the cost isn't too bad. $30, I think (you own the software and can monitor as many hosts as you like).
    dnsstuff.com
    SamSpade.org
    Go to dnsstuff and/or SamSpade.org and you can find out TONS of information about your potential host. Find out EVERYTHING that you can about them. Don't just limit yourself to a domain name search.

    Ask your host lots of questions. Even if you already know the answers, ask anyway. That way you'll know if you host is honest and/or if your host knows what s/he is talking about. Potential Questions:
    1) How old are you?
    2) How EXACTLY do you handle tech support? Support ticket? email? phone?
    3) Ask who your host is a reseller for? Then find out who that host is a reselelr for, etc. until you trace it back to the original source. That way you will really know what is going on.
    4) Suggestions from others: Make sure your host is over 18!
    5) There are Tons more helpful hints on how to find a host on this forum. Just do a search. I believe the key is that you can ask all the questions you want, but you have to double check everything. Use the sources above, and direct questions to do so.

    CHEAP PROGRAMMER = BIG HEADACHES
    In hiring a sub-contracted programer rf web developer do not, I repeat DO NOT, go for the cheapest one. You may find yourself actually losing money on a project because of all the clean-up work that you have to do on their shoddy work. To find a good programmer. I suggest:
    1) Ask for three good references to PROFESSIONAL companies. Don't settle for references from their buddies!
    2) Give them a small assignment at first. Better yet, have the "interview" by doing a small assignment for free. Don't use their work unless you pay them. They key is only to see if they know what they are doing, and if they can follow directions. I did this for a slicer/dicer that I hired. I didn't do this for a oscommerce programmer that I hired. Let me tell you the slicer/dicer still works with me, and overall does awesome work. The oscommerce guy was awful, and cost me lots of money in lost time.
    3) Get a contract - make sure that it is EXTREMELY specific

    A few other tips:
    1) Contracts are a must. Get it in writing or don't do it (even it the client is your best friend or a relative) proposalkit.com is a good resource for that.
    2) Require 50% up front.
    3) Use your gut to decide weather you even want to bid on a job. There are times when it is better to say no-thankyou.
    4) Backup everything - all the time
    5) Don't take shortcuts! Do it right the first time or you'll be sorry.
    6) Use these forums like a fiend - you'll learn tons. You can also learn lots at vtc.com or lynda.com. VTC.com is cheaper, and actually has more to offer in my opinion.
    7) In terms of the forum. Give as much as you take. Asking questions is great. But look for opportunities to contribute to the forums as well.
    8) If you work out of your home, don't get obsessed wtih yoru work and turn into a fat-***, reclusive, web-head-geek. Be sure to get out - be active - and be around others. Don't work yourself ragged. If you live in an area supported by craigslist.org you can even post there looking for busy like-minded folks to be active with.
    9) Secure your system. www.spyinfo.com is a great resource for that.
    10) Don't forget about taxes!! Tax planning and financial planning are essential if you want to get ahead, and don't want to get screwed by a big government tax bite at the end of the year.
    11) Don't get your feelings hurt if/when your work is slammed when you ask for a review. It will help you get better.

    Books that I reccomend:
    1) Smart Couple Finish Rich (even if you are not a couple_
    2) Inc. & Grow Rich (for USA companies)
    3) Alpha Teach Yourself Business Plans
    4) FInancial Basics for Business Managers (by John Tracy)
    5) Doing Business Tax-Free (by Robert Cooke)
    6) "Tax Guide 2003" - CCH Business Owner's Toolkit (for USA companies)

    My favorite Sources for Graphics:
    istockphotos.com
    clipart.com
    photos.com

    My favorite templates when doing a quickie site:
    boxedart.com
    helendesign.com

    I hope that this little list helps you. Good luck to you.

  2.  

  3. #2
    Senior Member splufdaddy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Boston, MA
    Posts
    4,488
    Member #
    735
    That's a lot of advice. Good advice too, nice post.


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