Second-Hand Store Inspiration

January 30, 2016

OK, I should probably work on my blog post titles (at least you might think so if you’re an SEO (search engine optimization) purist, but pfft! I’m going with this one for this post.

Wife and I were at a local second-hand store today (Goodwill, if you’re curious). She was looking at clothes and I was looking at books. I did get a first edition copy of Sue Grafton’s “B Is For Burglar”. Somebody recently said (hi, Ryan H!) that the “A” books are going for a lot so I thought it would be worth a roll of the dice to see if the first edition “B” book was also in that category.

Unfortunately, her publisher apparently figured out that people liked her “A” book pretty well and decided to print a lot more copies for the first edition of the “B” book. As a result, you can pick up a copy of the first edition of the “B” book for about $5 on Amazon Oh, well… I guess I’ll wait for “Z Is For Zero” or whatever she calls it (but according to Wikipedia, that’s going to be the title).

On the outside chance that she may actually read this blog, I wish you the best, Ms. Grafton, and I will read your “B” book. Now that I own a copy… 🙂 I’m also very happy that you’ve made it almost all the way through the alphabet and are still going strong. You’re amazing!

But I’m getting off-track again.

As I was going through the books at Goodwill (for the record, I also bought a Mitch Albom book that I don’t currently have; I’ve been “hooked” on his books since “Tuesdays With Morrie” — and I also bought a book about the logic of Sudoku because quickly solving Sudoku puzzles is going to be my superpower some day!), a thought suddenly hit me.

I’m making things way too hard for myself. There’s a much simpler way that I think will add even more value to what I’m doing.

Simplifying Things

So instead of mapping out an entire series, then creating blog posts as I create the “premium content”, I’m going to go ahead and create my outline but will create short “here’s how to do this” type posts. I think that will help people more because (I think) lots of people go online to find out how to do some little task right now. They don’t want to wade through a book (literally!) to figure something out.

In addition, this will help me in a few ways:

  • I can write faster blog posts. Using my writing system, I can knock out a 1,000 word blog post pretty quickly.
  • Since I’d probably be diagnosed with ADHD if I were a kid (as some say I still am), it’s better if I work on something short, then move on to some other short task. Or three. This suits my personality style a lot better.
  • I can still put the materials into premium content if I want.
  • I can write about other stuff that comes to mind that may not be part of a give piece of eventual premium content.
  • It will allow me to take advantage of shorter blocks of time.
  • It will help ensure that I can post more often to this blog, which I hope will be a help and inspiration to others.

So I’m going to do it and we’ll see what happens.

Oh, I’m all about simple. Here are a few examples of what I mean by “simple”:

  • This website has an ugly theme at the moment. Why? Because it came with WordPress and by using it, I don’t have to look around for another one. Instead, If I see a different one that I like, I’ll simply figure out which theme they are using and start using it here.
  • My new posting system. I can get an idea, write, then figure out where it’ll fit in my overall premium content strategy (if it fits at all; if it doesn’t, that’s OK as long as it adds value). Or if I’m stuck for ideas, I can simply go to my master outlines, choose a topic that looks good, and go with it.

God, The Universe, Or Coffee?

On the other site (oh, forgot to tell you where it is; it’s The Business Protector — more on that some other time. Maybe…), I’m going to write that I got feedback that caused me to change my mind about how I’m going to do stuff. Except you get to know about what I really mean by “feedback”.

As I was going through the books (and putting back all the good ones that Wife thought were a bit too far “out there”), it’s as if I suddenly had a revelation. I want to say that the title of a particular book put the idea in my head, but after I wrote down the idea in Google Keep on my phone (a must-have app for capturing these ideas), I went back over the shelf I was looking at to see which book triggered the idea.

None of them seem to have done it.

So who gets the credit for that great “feedback”? Or the blame, whichever you want to call it?

  • God. Guess he has to get the credit since he certainly gets blamed for a lot of stuff that isn’t his fault!
  • The Universe. If you don’t believe in a traditional god but acknowledge that there’s a higher power, I’m OK with that and you can say the universe did it.
  • Goodwill coffee. It’s free. It’s not my favorite but I still get a cup every time I go. I almost always regret it. But maybe not this time.

Have a great day, night, or whatever you’re currently experiencing. More soon.

January 28, 2016

There. The date is in big, bold print (actually Headline 2 for you tech geeks).

This is the day that I decided what I want to do when I grow up.

Oh, I was born before 1960, so there’s probably hope for you, too. 🙂

I first became aware of the fact that one could make money online via a small business back in 2003. But I’ve been happy working in a job as I buy various business and marketing courses. I’ve learned a lot and made a lot of great contacts, but I didn’t do much with what I learned about business.

Then I happened to stumble across something that Steve Pavlina wrote back in 2012.

Steve Pavlina is a self development “professional” (I hesitate to call anybody an “expert” or “guru”, including myself) who has had a blog since about the time that I learned that you can make money online. He’s written some very good stuff. He’s also written some stuff that I’ve chosen to ignore as I focus on the stuff that has been helpful to me. I think it’s important to focus on what you have in common with others instead of nitpicking over the little things you can’t quite agree on.

The series of blog posts he wrote in 2012 is about earning a living making passive income online. You can get started in Steve’s passive income series by clicking here, then moving forward through the posts (it’s the link at the top right of the blog post, at least at the current time).

Business By The Blech

Oh, goodness, I’ve just made mistake #1; I sent you to somebody else’s site. And not just anybody’s site, but a site that is full of great posts written by somebody with a great deal of education and experience in his field.

I’m OK with that. If Steve’s site holds a greater attraction to you at the moment, that’s fine. Please go there, learn, implement, and then come back here when you’re ready. Or not. It’s up to you.

You see, a lot of things I’ve learned about business just don’t suit me, but thankfully people like Steve Pavlina and Pat Flynn have put this crazy idea in my head that abundance is out there and it can be done by giving away value. This interests me because pursuing wealth isn’t my style. Instead, I want abundance, a lifestyle where I can do what I want without having to worry about how to pay for it so I can focus on other things. Like helping others (and sleeping in until 7:00 AM!).

I dislike people that say stuff like:

  • You’re leaving money on the table.
  • Give people the “what” but not the “how”.
  • You have to have a sales funnel with 17 upsells after a 45 minute video sales letter.
  • Hammer your list until they unsubscribe, then get more leads and repeat. Churn and burn, baby!

Ugh. Not my style.

Granted, that may mean that I’m not going to succeed with this new effort. I’m aware of that, and by hitting “Publish” on this post, I’m accepting that risk.

What’s the worst case scenario for me? I continue working as a certified computer security pro in a job until I’m no longer able to work or until nobody wants me to work for them. I also have an Army pension (or 58% of it; long story), enough retirement money to give me a couple thousand a month for as long as I want, and I’ll be able to draw Social Security in a few years.


In other words, I don’t really have to fear anything. And that’s one of the big keys to deciding — finally — what I’m going to do first.

Really, what is there to be afraid of? I write. I like to write. I don’t make any money from it. I still have a roof over my head and food on the table. And I still have that commute to work every morning and afternoon (it’s not so bad where I am).

What’s the big deal? What’s to fear?

And if I do succeed… Well, I won’t succeed if I don’t get started. That commute won’t go away if I don’t at least try. Being able to send my wife to visit her mother in Europe when she feels like it won’t happen if I don’t get started.

The only thing I really have to fear is not getting started!

The Plan

I’m going to give away high quality content on one of my security blogs (The Business Protector) while writing about it here. I’ll sell some things and make money in other ways, but I want all of my stuff to be freely available to anybody that wants it in some form. I think that security is too important to hide it behind a paywall.

I also want as much of my income to be passive income as I possibly can so I can focus on creating more content that helps people.

And since I’m a certified computer security geek, computer security is where I’m going to start. To be specific, I’m going to start with WordPress and cPanel security as I teach the true core of security, which is risk management.

(Incidentally, cPanel is a trademark of the cPanel people. I’m not them and this isn’t their site. If they ever read this page, they will probably roll their eyes, let out a deep breath, and mutter something about yet another of the unwashed hordes trying to teach their stuff. But hopefully it’ll make you buy web hosting that is run by cPanel so they make some money. Ah, legal disclaimers…)

As I like to say, there are a zillion people (OK, probably not that many, at least on this planet) that can show you how to make money online, offline, etc. Truth be told, I could probably do that if I wanted to.

But what I also see is a lot of confusion about what security really is and how to do it in the context of a business. I hope to be able to change a little bit of that.

And in the process of creating value, I expect to get value in return. That’s the way the universe works. Keller Homes here in Colorado Springs didn’t give me a free house, so I have to pay the mortgage every month because wireless connectivity isn’t that great when you live in a cardboard box under an overpass.

Value for Value. Don’t be a Value-sucking vampire.

The Passive Income Series

Getting back to the subject at hand, here are a few things that I’ve learned from the passive income series so far that has changed my mindset:

  • Having a job is active income. It’s also a bit selfish in a way since the value you create is, in most cases, only consumed by one person or entity. Personally, I’d argue that my job helping to defend military networks helps a lot of people but I do concede that…
  • You only get paid once for what you do. If I go to work and write a report about some group that’s trying to hack into military networks, my paycheck will show up on Friday, right on time, just as it has for the past 2.5 years. That’s nice. But I can’t take that report home and sell it on my web site because I’ve already sold it and no longer own it. For that matter, I never owned it in the first place.
    • If I don’t write a report, my paycheck will still show up on Friday. That’s not always good (although a large part of my job is to herd cats and smile pretty when high-ranking people ask tough questions).
  • Since I can’t sell my reports to more than one person, I can’t make more money by selling it to several people. In fact, because I’m a salaried employee, my paycheck rarely changes, regardless of the hours I work or the amount of value I produce.
  • Somehow, I’ve always accepted all of this as “normal”.
  • Steve Pavlina, if he knew me, would probably think I’m not normal because I have a job.
  • I want Steve to think I’m normal. LOL…

Incidentally, that last linked article was one that got my brain going when I read it this morning.

And it’s what made me decide to just create value and act as if the abundance I want is already there. And to be honest, I know it is; I just have to open my eyes and see it and realize it.

Give You, Give You, Give You

So I’m going to give it all away. I have some ideas about how to make passive income from it but that will come a bit later. For now, I just want to create helpful content that provides value and helps small-small business owners and solopreneurs better protect the assets they’ve worked hard to create.

One other thing. After a long-ish day at the office, I don’t mind coming home to work on my stuff, but I have to work on stuff that interests me, stuff that gets me excited. Writing for my website does that. That’s another reason why I decided to pursue this model.

If my model interests you and you want to see how I’m doing with it, I’ll post here to let you know what I’m up to and how it’s working out. If you’re just interested in the security stuff I’ll be teaching, I’ll include the link in an upcoming post. If none of this interests you, that’s OK too; there are billions of other pages on the Internet and one of them should make you happy.

Hope to “see” you again soon.

Product Launch Formula 2016 Bonuses

Product Launch Formula 2016

Jeff Walker just opened the shopping cart for Product Launch Formula 2016. It will only be available for a few days, until September 25, 2015, so if you’re reading this before then, you can still purchase the product and benefit from it during your next product launch. If you purchase using my affiliate link, you’ll also be able to take advantage of my bonus offer (keep reading for details).

As he almost always does, Jeff Walker has released three videos this year that can help you decide if Product Launch Formula is right for you. Here’s the link to this year’s videos (again, these are “raw” affiliate links):

You will need to provide an email address, but from personal experience, I know that Jeff honors unsubscribe requests, so you can give your email address and unsubscribe after you get the links to the videos.

If you’re ready to order, use this link (again, this is a raw, direct affiliate link):

My PLF Bonus

Rather than write a long post about my bonus, I invite you to read the post I wrote when Product Launch Formula was available in 2015. If you do purchase using my affiliate link, I’m offering the same bonus I did last year (with the same conditions) — but with one addition. I am now offering proofreading services and you can use your 12 hours of my time for that.

I’m getting tired of paying money for books — especially Kindle books — that contain spelling, grammatical, and other errors that a good proofreader could have easily corrected. So I’ve expanded my consulting services to include proofreading. Poor spelling and grammar can detract from great content and your customers and readers expect the best!

You can get all the details about my bonus (which includes the aforementioned proofreading services this year) by clicking here. After you purchase using my affiliate link (, you can file your bonus claim at the world’s ugliest contact form, which you’ll find at:

NOTE: All purchases will be verified and the refund period must expire before bonuses are offered. As I did last year, this bonus is limited to the first 25 people that purchase via my affiliate link.

One last thing: You’ll be getting a professional to help you. I’ll tell you what you need to do. I’ll even do it for you if there’s time. But I’m not going to discuss it with you; if you don’t want to do what I say you should do, that’s your business, but I’m not going to waste time “discussing” it with you. If you want an amateur opinion, there are plenty of Internet Marketing forums where you can get that. If you want professional guidance, buy via my link.

Now keep reading to see what you need to do.

Get Product Launch Formula Plus My Bonus

Thanks again for considering my bonus offer. If Product Launch Formula is right for you and if you want a bonus with real value instead of a bunch of electronic junk you’ll never read, much less use, then you’ll want my bonus.

Again, here’s the order link:


How To Scan Two-Sided Documents With A Single Sided Scanner

I recently purchased a Brother MFC-7365DN laser printer to replace my inkjet printer. For whatever reason, inkjet printers simply don’t perform well for me; it’s like the ink keeps drying out and my printed documents are unreadable. This could be due to the high altitude and arid climate of Colorado Springs. I’ve been quite happy with laser printers in the past, I can live without having a color printer in the house, and the price was right on this one at Sams Club.

Another advantage of this new printer is that it also serves as a scanner. Since I want to get rid of shelves full of binders, I was quite happy to see this additional feature — until I realized that it will only scan one side of the page.

Le Sigh.

I looked for some kind of add-on for the printer that would enable me to scan both sides of documents at once but could not find one (Brother, if you’re reading this, it would be a nice little addition that I’d gladly pay a few bucks to own!). So I went out looking for other solutions.

Enter PDF Split and Merge (PDFSAM).

This is free (open source) software that does exactly what I want, i.e.:

  • I scan both sides of my document.
  • The scanner puts each side into its own PDF document.
  • PDFSAM merges the two documents, taking one page from the first document, then the second document, etc. until all of the pages are in one PDF document in the proper order.

Problem solved!

As always, if open source software solves a problem you are facing, I encourage you to compensate the creators. In this case, there is a paid version that allows for additional features. I don’t think I’ll need the features, but the creator is only asking for 8 Euros (somewhere around $10 at current exchange rates), so I’ll upgrade to show my thanks.

How It Works

Here’s how the software works. These instructions were tested on PDF Split and Merge Basic Edition, version 3.0.2:

  • Scan both sides of your document into PDF files. In my case, the Brother MFC-7365DN automatically saves the documents to my computer, making it easy.
  • Check your PDF documents to ensure they look OK. Not that you would do it, but I have a bad habit of scanning pages upside down… 🙂
  • Note which document contains the first page. This is important because you want the final document’s pages to be in the right order.
  • Open PDFSAM.
  • When you first open it, you’ll see several options on the main screen:
    • Merge. This does a basic merge of PDF documents.
    • Split. Takes a single PDF and splits it.
    • Split by Bookmarks. Splits a PDF based on pre-defined bookmarks.
    • Alternate Mix. Merges two PDFs, allowing you to select varying merge options.
    • Rotate. Rotates the pages of multiple PDF documents.
    • Split by Size. Allows you to specify a destination size, then the software will “roughly” split a PDF into files of that size.
  • Click on “Alternate Mix”.
  • Click on the “Browse” button to the right side of the top text input box and browse to the first PDF you want to merge.
  • Do the same for the next field – except this one will be for the second PDF that you want to merge (e.g. the second side of your documents).
  • The second document will be in reverse order (or at least it will be if you’re lazy and simply flip over the pages like I do). That’s OK; PDFSAM will reverse the order of the pages in the second document (very thoughtful!). Just ensure that the “Reverse Second Document” option under “Mix Settings” is checked (it is checked by default).
  • Click on “Browse” next to “Destination File”, navigate to the folder where you want to save the output document, give it a name (i.e. “output.pdf”), and click “Open”.
  • When everything is set up, click on the “Run” button at the bottom left corner of the window.

When your document is ready, you’ll hear a funny noise from the software; that’s about all the warning you’ll get. A little popup would be nice, but that’s a feature suggestion, not a complaint.

One last tip: My document consisted of a combination of slides, which were landscape oriented, and a transcription, which was portrait oriented. I scanned them into separate PDF documents just to make it easier to read the final output.

With a little bit of creativity, it looks like PDFSAM will do quite a bit to help me reach my “almost paper free” goal.

Final Action Steps

In conclusion, I’m using PDFSAM to scan lots of paperwork into PDF format so I can get rid of the paper, and PDFSAM lets me merge two sided documents even though my scanner can only scan one side of a document. It is going to allow me to use a decent quality, low-cost printer / scanner to get rid of a lot of paper and can do the same for you.

Got questions, comments, or suggestions to do this better? Please leave a comment below!

Update: May 2016

I updated this post on May 8, 2016, to reflect software updates.

Which leads to a funny story… I had forgotten about this post and wanted to scan some documents two-sided. When I searched Google, I found my own post.

Blogging is good for you. 🙂