As of the end of week 8, I am two-thirds of the way through the JuniorBiz Project Charter. Last week was also supposed to include the second and final milestone of this semester; to publish and post for sale the Official JuniorBiz Lawn Mowing Guide. Due to some publishing setbacks, this milestone has been postponed for a few days.
Accomplishing the milestone a couple days late isn’t a big deal, considering this was planned out 8 weeks ago. I should still have my proof for the competition later this week.
Obj. 1: Finish Guide
As some of you know, the first objective of the project charter is to finish the lawn mowing guide. In the previous weeks I wrote, edited, edited, edited and edited the guide. At the beginning of the week my editor-in-chief, Nick Scheidies (a senior majoring in English at CSU), was editing the guide for a final time. I went through and made changes based on each of his 195 comments and considered the guide sufficient for publishing. Emil Motycka read over the guide one last time and after making one last change to the copyright page it was ready for publishing.
On Tuesday night I filled out the description forms and submitted the PDF files (the cover and the content) to a self-publishing service, CreateSpace.com. Then I waited a day for them to review the guide and I was ready to order the proof. But there was a problem. According to their site, even with 2-day shipping the guide wouldn’t be expected to arrive until April 28th, almost 3 weeks later. And I needed the guide to arrive in a maximum of 8 days so I could present it at Venture Adventure. After exchanging a few frantic messages with Create Space Support, I think they pulled a few strings for me and it should arrive in the next couple days.
Meanwhile, I received a pleasant surprise in the form of an email from a 13-year-old named Jordan. I met Jordan’s dad in January after presenting JuniorBiz to the Northern Colorado Entrepreneurs Network. Jordan requested a copy of the guide and I was happy to give it to him. He told me (via email), “The reason I want the guide, is that I want to earn some money this summer and earn it by mowing lawns. I want to know how to do it right and well and so that I can make the most out of my time this summer. I also think that your idea for helping young people turn their freelance work into legitimate businesses is a most wonderful thing to do. Teenagers are capable of earning their own money from out of the house very well and I plan to do just that.” I’m excited to see how well he does with his lawn mowing service!
Obj. 2: Increase Traffic
The second objective is to increase traffic. The last few weeks I have been slacking on this objective to focus on other objectives, and week 8 was no different. However, I did accomplish two of my goals under this objective in week 8.
- GOAL: To have Alexa.com and Compete.com rankings in the top 1 million most popular/trafficked websites. At the beginning of the semester, JuniorBiz.com had an Alexa ranking of 5.7 million and was not ranked on Compete (they only rank the top million). I broke the Alexa 1 million a couple weeks ago but hadn’t ranked on Compete until this week. Currently, JuniorBiz.com has a rank of 621,267 on Alexa.com and a rank of 792,061 on Compete.com.
- GOAL: To have a Website Grader rating of 80 out of 100. At the beginning of the project charter, JuniorBiz.com had a rating of 59 (equivalent to a 59% on a test) which is failing. Throughout the semester I have been completing tasks to improve this rating and JuniorBiz.com finally cracked 80 this week. Currently, JuniorBiz.com has a rating of 85 (equivalent to a solid “B”). I’ll continue to work on improving this rating in the coming weeks.
My only task under this objective in week 8 was to leave a comment on an influential blog with a link back to JuniorBiz.com. So I found an interesting article on TheUniversityKid.com and left a comment with my name “Nick Tart” linking back to JuniorBiz.com.
Obj. 3: Boost Online Presence
Boosting JuniorBiz’s online presence is my third objective. To do this I have utilized a few social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Technorati, Digg, eHow, etc.) but have primarily focused on Twitter. In week 8 I continued my regime of following 20 people a day coupled with at least 1 update per day. In one of my updates I mentioned that Maine, Connecticut, South Dakota, Idaho and Hawaii were the only states yet to visit JuniorBiz.com. 33 minutes later I received a Twitter reply from Claire Scholz (@iktomi) saying, “just took care of the South Dakota absentee problem.” And she did. Just 4 states left. I had 826 followers at the end of the week.
Another exciting moment for the week was when I received a personalized email (assuming “personalized” emails even exist) from the Marketing & Events Manager of Inc. Magazine, Catherine Daake. I know she was only contacting me hoping I would promote their new game but it’s still kind of cool to get an email from a company like Inc. Magazine. Catherine found JuniorBiz.com from OnlineCollegeDegree.org’s article, “100 Best Blogs for Young Entrepreneurs” (JuniorBiz is #15). By the way, I was able to get 13 of the 30 companies in their new game, The Great Garage Hunt.
Obj. 4: Add Content
The fourth objective was to add new content to JuniorBiz.com. Besides the little promo article I wrote for Inc. Magazine, JJ Entry #8 was the only additional content to the site. Earlier last week I read an article explaining different aspects that make blogs successful. One of them was articles with a personal writing style, instead of the objective, detached content in most forms of media. I realized that I wasn’t doing a very good job of this so in JJ Entry #8 I started focusing more on adding personal subjectivity and charisma to my writing.
Additionally, I started adding links to other articles on JuniorBiz.com within the content. This will ultimately make JuniorBiz.com easier to navigate.
Obj. 5: Expand Local Awareness
The final objective for the week was to increase local awareness. With Venture Adventure rapidly approaching I started working on my presentation. For the most part I will use my presentation from the end of last semester but there are a few updates I made and will continue to add this week. After sitting down with my current professor, Jeff Lewis, I have a pretty good understanding of the form my presentation needs to take..