Tag Archives: failing at your own business

Failing at your own business–Buy Me A Coffee Crowdfunding

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So you know I like trying out different ways to make a bit of cash. And here’s my latest find. Although I warn you, I can’t imagine how this particular setup will make millions for you.

Buy me a coffeeBuy me a coffee

Here are the basics.

Buy Me a Coffee is a crowdfunding platform for creators, artists, and writers. I’m a writer now with actual books, so I qualify! Fancy that. In case you didn’t know, you can find my currently available books listed here.

Here’s my Buy Me a Coffee page.

The idea is that instead of buying that overpriced Mocha Cappuccino Caramel Frappe today, you donate $3, $4, or $5 to the creative genius of your choice via Paypal.

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You can also “purchase” exclusive material for the cost of the donation. Right now I have one section of the book I am working on available here.

I’ve set up a low-level goal of $15 just because I never seem to have any luck with crowdfunding efforts. And I’ve added the button to the sidebar on my page and Tumblr.

And that’s pretty much it. I know my current writing endeavors aren’t nearly as important as say the Guatemalan volcano survivor assistance project Genesis is doing here, but nothing ventured nothing gained right?

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Failing at your own business–Product Reviews

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Over the last couple of months, I have been trying to eliminate the affiliate ads on my site that didn’t generate any money and clutter up my page.  However, there were some sites that I felt strongly enough to apply as a direct affiliate rather than through sites like Shareasale or FlexOffers. Therefore, I was delighted when one such company sent me an email asking if I would be interested in one of their products in exchange for a blog review.  

I accepted and received additional instructions. Instead of buying the product directly from the company’s site, I should purchase it through Amazon Mexico in order to leave a product review there as well.

I wasn’t able to find the product listed on Amazon Mexico, so the company representative sent me a direct link.  I ordered the product and sent the receipt for reimbursement. While I waited for that, the product itself arrived and I tried it out and wrote up my post.  Then the company representative wrote to tell me that supplier that sent the product was not authorized by the company and that I should send the product back and get a refund from Amazon Mexico.

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I was a little peeved at this.  I had already used the product. While Amazon has customarily been good about refunds, the supplier that sent the product stipulated on their terms and conditions that the product must be returned in the same condition it was sent in order to receive a refund.  Furthermore, Amazon Mexico said that the supplier had done nothing wrong by stealing the manufacturing company’s ads and photos and reselling the product on the Amazon Mexico site at double the original price. Doing a little investigating on my own, it appears this supplier orders things on the US side of the border, transports them south of the border and then ships the items throughout Mexico both on Amazon Mexico and Ebay Mexico.  While this is something I would expect on eBay, I had previously believed (naively) that Amazon had more legit selling conditions.

Since the company representative had sent me the link himself, he agreed to the original terms of our agreement and reimbursed me the full purchase price of the product in exchange for the product review on my site and on the company site.  Fortunately, I loved the product and was able to give an honest, positive review despite the hassle with Amazon Mexico.

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I decided that reviewing products would not be my new side-gig after all.  I also am more diligent about checking the suppliers on the Amazon Mexico site.  I now only order items that are delivered directly from the Amazon warehouse in Mexico City.  That way refunds are no problem with the guarantee that Amazon provides. It limits the already limited products available on the Amazon Mexico site, but I’m ok with that.  It curbs my internet shopping spending somewhat.

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Teaching Kids Online

 

Camille OnlineMost of you already know that I became a virtual teacher sometime last year in preparation for my transition away from private and elementary classes. (See Transition Year) While the pay was so much better being in US dollars, the hours were random.  Sometimes I had 15 hours of classes, sometimes 9. That being the case, the final transition wouldn’t have been possible had not the company I work for expanded their reach to include children ages 7-14. (See Online Teaching)

I wasn’t part of the pilot program, but when the request went out in mid-June for teachers to switch platforms, I submitted my application and soon enough I was one of the first official teacher group for the junior English component.  

The setup is a bit different from the adult classes in that it uses Zoom rather than Adobe Connect.  Zoom is a bit easier to manage with drawing and writing options for all participants (both student and teacher).  There were some technical bugs to work out, however.  When enrollment reached a certain point, Zoom did some crazy stuff.  It would kick the teachers out of classroom saying they were already signed in somewhere else.  My theory is that some of the newest teachers didn’t have their own Zoom accounts yet and ended up signing in under another teacher’s name.  I took matters into my own hands and created my own free Zoom account so that when the unceremonious ousting occurred, I could sign in to my own account and teach the class without issue.

Class length for the juniors is 25 minutes and one-on-one (student/teacher).  Private classes at the adult level are 20 minutes and group classes are 45 minutes.  I believe 25 minutes is just right.  That gives the teachers 5 minutes before the start of the next class to send feedback, recommend advancement or repetition, and set up for the next class.

As the program was launched before all the classroom levels were completed, all students go through the same classes no matter their initial English level.  That is supposed to change soon though and students will be slotted into levels just like the adults.

Most of the students are from Colombia with a handful of students from Peru, Argentina, Chile, Venezuela, and Mexico.  Typically students take their classes after they arrive home from school and on weekends, which means that’s my availability as well so I get the maximum number of hours permitted.  

Most of the students are delighted to be in class and we have a good time progressing through the lessons.  On the other hand, there are the reluctant learners.  They fall into two categories, those that are sullen in class and those that have parents feeding them the answers, so basically are not learning a thing.  The poopy students usually loosen up after I acknowledge their lack of enthusiasm for the class and make faces at them.  

The parents are another story altogether.  I’ve tried addressing the student, who denies anyone is giving them the answers even though I can hear it myself.  I’ve also tried addressing the parent, who denies giving the answers.  Frustrated I brought the topic up in the company group chat and requested a letter be sent out reminding parents that their interference is impeding their child’s learning.  We’ll see if that happens.

Another more recent issue is the hiring of a Latin crew of English teachers.  Reading the teacher feedbacks (Student taked his time.  Him and his father were disappointed.) makes me doubt the wiseness of hiring non-native English speakers to teach English.  It’s not that I think the company should hire U.S. citizens only because there are definitely some positions that are more suited to Spanish speakers.  For instance, sales, technical support and responding to student’s questions about grammar or course issues are certainly better done in the student’s native language.  However, as this is an online English course, parents pay the big bucks to have native English speakers teach their children.  If they wanted Spanish speaking English teachers, well, they already have that at the schools in their area.

So, I’m working 3 evenings a week and all day Saturday and Sunday.  It’s the first time in years that I actually have a “weekend” even though it is in the middle of the week.  I’ve been enjoying the days off, the teaching experience and the better income.  All is not smooth sailing, however.  Last month something happened with Telmex (the only internet provider in my town) and there was no internet for hours, right in the middle of my shift. (See Internet service back after 3-hour outage)

Then I was worried that the recent hurricanes and earthquakes might cause connection issues, but that didn’t happen, at least to me.  Quite a number of teachers were affected though.  So it’s a bit nerve-wracking being so dependant on such an unreliable service.  Well, I guess I’ll ride this wave as far as it will take me.

Meanwhile, I bought the tile for the entire second floor of the house with my earnings.

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Prepper Me

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So awhile ago, I came across a website looking for writers.  I clicked the link to investigate.  It turned out to be a Prepper site.  You know… the end is nigh, prepare now to survive and so on.  I thought to myself, well, maybe I could write stuff like that.  After all, I did complete the A to Z Why La Yacata is the best place to survive whatever disaster series.  So I asked my blogging group.  Did they think I could write Prepper stuff?  And yep, the ladies convinced me that I definitely could.  So I applied.

Several days later, I received a response.  I was super excited.  After several emails back and forth, my trial topic posts were Cooking with Cast Iron Cookware and The Medicinal Use of Garlic which I was subsequently paid for and were published on the site.  Go ahead and check them out!  I’m pretty proud of them!

Bare OrganicsMe- I got accepted to write for that Preppersite. Son- Does that mean we have to move to a military compound- Me- No, but we need to get those zombie deterrents up.

Then I submitted several other topic ideas, including Lessons Learned from Mexico’s Recent Earthquakes, and received positive replies from the post coordinator, but no dockets to write any articles on the topics I submitted.

Well, I guess I’m not a Prepper after all.

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