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7 months in Negros Oriental Nov 14, 2010

7 Months in Negros Oriental - Swallowing Hard

Introspection
It just occurred to me that today is my 7th month in Negros Oriental. Having lived in 2 municipalities on 4 addresses, being partnerless and broke for that length of time, having shifted my paradigm from a vow of poverty to wealth building, where exactly am I now in the scheme of bigger things?

The Void
My usual day is characterized by pursuing my AHA Moments - creative ideas I'm impassioned to implement on my projects. I'm in the zone as I crank out codes that break my previously-known boundaries, but after signing off, despite the fleeting bliss of a bikeout, or dive, or being with friends, I default back into a now familiar world of void. Yes, a vacuum I can't seem to put a finger on. Despite best efforts to push the envelope and stay real, at the end of the day, I find myself in this state of prolonged isolation - detached from my environment, and with a few exceptions, detached from the people around me.

The Wave Analogy
At this point, this is a red flag. Life doesn't have to be a struggle. If there is a struggle, it means something's wrong. What are the signals trying to tell me? If I'm a surfer and there's no wave, it doesn't make sense to stay and keep hoping for that wave. Somewhere out there is a 50-foot wave with my name on it. I just need to find it.

Valencia
Surely, here in Valencia, I'm at a place most people call paradise - cool climate, friendly people, low cost of living, no air pollution, no congestion, just 16 minutes away from the city, less than an hour away from the best dive spots on the planet, the majectic Mount Talinis in my backyard....I can go on and on. So why is it not doing it for me? What the heck am I looking for?

Backtracking
Again, as I often do, I need to retrace my steps - maybe I missed a fork on the road somewhere.

Going Broke
For the first time in my life, the money dried up and I resorted to loaning money, which signaled me to change my lifestyle into a pursuit of wealth building. The genesis to initiate this headspace came in the way of developing a Negros real estate site, followed by the Philippine realty site, then the Dumaguete Directory site, with each new project being leaner, tighter and better than the last. But I hit a wall after that.

  • I realized the local market cannot support the lowest price I'm willing to do these projects for - and I won't take short cuts into my work just to meet a price point. If I take a nose dive in price, my motivation is eroded - that is unacceptable. How can I break my boundaries with diminished motivation?
  • It's hard to sell search-engine-optimized (SEO) webpages to a market that's still asking if they even need a website (let alone SEO). Just how important is SEO? In a nutshell, Google states that your regulars are only 18% of your potential site users. The 82% are referred by search engines. Without SEO, I take it that for every 18 cents realized, you're actually losing 82 cents.
  • It doesn't help that there are many free websites out there. Even if they just cut-and-paste into a template and I offer state-of-the-art SEO webpages, it's still hard to complete with anything that's free.
  • Also, the culture lends itself to a social convention of doing business with people you know or at least referred to by a common friend. But here in Negros, I'm still a stranger in a strange land. Besides, it's not my style to be kissing babies or rubbing elbows just to do business. I'd rather have my portfolio do all that for me - no offense. Still, no one does business with a complete stranger with an abstract proposal on an email. I can of course, appreciate that as well.

    While I like meeting new people, this is something alien to me as I had been doing business offsite to clients who have never seen me, and will never see me. They don't care how I look or where I'm based, for as long as I can meet my deliverables within the agreed time frame according to specs.

My 100%
As much as I love this town, I was constrained to take my business to a foreign market. I pulled out all the stops leaving no stone unturned to present a portfolio that's got everything I could conceivably muster on a website - uncluttered interface, researched content, intuitive navigation, customized mapping, SEO, squeaky-clean W3C-compliant hand coding, etc. Ranking-wise, it's made it to #4 on Google out of 458,000 search results! I had bragging rights tattooed on my forehead and I thought the market would blaze a trail to sign-up. But nothing. The response rate was dismal. I know it's not my work - it can hold its ground with the biggest major leaguers out there. What am I missing? Somehow, I couldn't figure out the right buttons to press.

50-foot Wave
Either way, it doesn't matter if I pack up my frying pan and gear, or pack my virtual portfolio and oscilliate between the brick-and-mortars world and cyber-realm in search of resonance. I'm a junkie in search of my magical moments. With this big wide world, I know my 50-foot wave is still out there.

»» continuation: 7 Months in Negros Oriental - The Aftermath

--- TheLoneRider

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Reader Comments:

Sheila ZaldivarSheila Zaldivar
(Jan 2011) ...why not try eLance? http://www.elance.com. There are a lot of opportunities. You can easily build your portfolio and it's free. There's also Odesk, but the rates are extremely low - ultra competitive because of the Indians & Pakistans. I'm not sure as to how much you are charging but if you are going the full route, it may be difficult for you to compete. There are tons of subscription templates available to designers now a days that almost anybody can do them. The good news is, given less time on site coding, you can spend more time on the actual site design, copywriting and seo. Not sure how familiar you are of wordpress but it is simple yet powerful. You can download templates to fastrack your development. With your technical skills, I'm sure you can master it in no time! SEO services & social media - also on the uptrend. You have a cool portfolio I'm sure you'll do well!


KramKram
(Nov 16, 2010) I hope ok ka lang dyan. Text-text lang kung may kaya ako'ng maitulong. Ingat man, good luck!

Ferd AguilarFerd Aguilar
(Nov 16, 2010) You sound desperate men. Hope you're eating right. Makaalis ka pa dyan? Uwi ka na sa Luzon. Sige, ingat lang.

TheLoneRiderTheLoneRider
"I hope you won't take this the wrong way, i just want to help out" -- Reina Deacosta
(Nov 15, 2010) Not at all. I'm grateful. Without good-intentioned people like you, I wouldn't know what my blind spots are. Thank you Reina.

Reina DeacostaReina Deacosta
(Nov 15, 2010) I saw this article and I got curious. After reading it, I asked someone who's also in SEO but is working homebased with a company, if she knows any opportunities available related to your line of work. She suggested these websites:
  • http://www.onlinejobs.ph - good pay depending on the clients that you will get. You just have to be good in negotiating. I have no doubt you're already an expert on that.
  • http://www.remotestaff.com.au/ - it's a fulltime homebased business (I'm not sure if you'll be interested in that).
I hope you won't take this the wrong way, I just want to help out. Take care. Hope you get to your 50-foot wave soon.

Bianca EspinosBianca Espinos
(Nov 15, 2010) I'm sorry things are not working out as you hoped they would. I think your work has been great. Maybe you just need to give it a bit more time? Don't feel too frustrated.....even the people who you think have it all, don't. On the positive note, I started reading the rest of your blogs. I was very entertained by your writing and experiences. If all else fails, you could certainly write!

Claire MadarangClaire Madarang
(Nov 15, 2010) Hang in there! Metta metta!

Jom DaclanJom Daclan
(Nov 15, 2010) I hope that you get back to living life, instead of struggling with it, real soon. Hang in there!

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»» next Wealth Building story: 7 Months in Negros Oriental - The Aftermath

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