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aha moment Oct 24, 2010

Aha! Moment

What is an Aha! Moment?
I first heard this line from my yoga teacher, but I was told it was Oprah who popularized it. An Aha! Moment is when from out of nowhere, when you're not even thinking about it, a bright idea flashes in your mind. Usually, it's a long sought-after answer to a troubling question. More often than not, an Aha! Moment is a stroke of genius that could have been obvious, but remained unnoticed until that realization.

How do you nurture an Aha! Moment to keep happening?
This is just a personal insight. Act upon it. You don't know where it leads you, but an Aha! Moment begets itself. If followed, it becomes a succession, one followed by another. If you ignore it, it stops. Over the long term, it has never been wrong to me. An Aha! Moment is simply a manifestation of the Flow - that unseen hand that puts you in the right place at the right time. Imagine hitting all the green lights as you drive across the city in rush hour traffic. Sure, you can't see that on the Balance Sheet, but it's hard to deny its presence.

An Aha! Moment Succession
When I first decided to make the 180-degree turn-around from a life of poverty to that of abundance through wealth building, I had been inundated by Aha! Moments, one built on top of the other. Sometimes, it forks taking me to different directions. To keep the momentum accelerating, I follow and act upon it leaving no stone unturned. Ignoring it was not an option. Now, I'm doing multiply major projects, and I feel I'm close to spreading myself thin...and somewhat overwhelmed and exhausted. I practically wake up every morning with a new Aha! Moment - from a simple graphic banner to a full scale website. I can't meditate anymore because my mind keeps racing as soon as I wake up. I fire up my laptop and start working - sometimes until the wee hours of the night, oblivious to the passing of time.

The Genesis
Just like our immeasurably expansive universe starting from a speck of sub-atomic particle with the Big Bang theory, I can go back to when I got my first Aha! Moment that spawned these multiple projects that consume me now. Not surprisingly, it happened almost immediately when I decided I didn't want to be in the poor house anymore.

Aha! Moment #1
While I was looking for a cheap nipa hut to rent for my dwelling, I met this realtor who said she was selling properties but only through word of mouth. Yes, that's the one sentence that started it.

Aha! Moment - I'm a skilled web designer specializing in search engine optimization (SEO) and proficient with GIS mapping. Why don't I develop an SEO enhanced real estate website with embedded live mapping for realtors in Negros Oriental, like her?

Sure, I acted on that. After nearly a month of 24/7 research and coding, I unveiled my latest project. Now, I have to put the word out to realtors and sellers that there's a state-of-the-art realty site in Negros that ranks high on Google.

Result - Negros Oriental Realty

Aha! Moment #2
Given the momentum the Negros Oriental Realty site generated, I got listings from outside Negros as well. While coding the properties, I realized my Negros site was not designed to be scalable outside Negros Oriental. It wreaked havoc on the SEO and the directory structure. I was in a quagmire. Do I now dismantle this state-of-the-art website to accommodate these new properties?

Aha! Moment - I woke up in the morning with a solution. I'll develop a parallel website that looks seemless to Negros Oriental, but scalable to accommodate any property within the Philippines. The challenge was to develop almost a completely new website that almost mirrors the layout, format and look-and-feel of the Negros Oriental site. After a few weeks of coding, I finally nailed it.

Result - Real Estate Philippines (still a work-in-progress)

Aha! Moment #3
The fee-based real estate sites generated some inquiries, some of them offering payment on a commission basis. It seemed like a can of worms involving lawyers, accountants, contracts, etc. I'd be jumping in shark-infested waters. I'm a web designer, not a realtor.

Aha! Moment - Why not fully vertically integrate myself by learning real estate? I'd be the web designer, GIS mapper, SEO coder and now, realtor. Knowledge is empowerment. With this additional skill set, I can navigate the waters of real estate with confidence.

Result - since the web is full of everything under the sun, I started downloading information about real estate in the Philippines. I also plan on attending real estate seminars usually offered for free by developers.

Aha! Moment #4
I've always been frustrated searching online for things in Dumaguete. Sure, there are websites out there about Dumaguete, but not exactly what I would call a one-stop site for all the essentials. None had all the attributes I was looking for. Some are comprehensive but too cluttered. Some didn't have enough info, or too difficult to navigate. If there's a site out there that had everything I was looking for, it didn't rank high enough in Google, which rendered it essentially useless ('coz no one knows it exists and can't find it).

Aha! Moment - again, with my web skill set, this time having the Negros Oriental Realty site as a template, why don't I develop a Dumaguete Directory website that has everything I am looking for - intuitive navigation, comprehensive info, live mapping, user comments, uncluttered interface, etc.

After several weeks of hard work, I came up with a Dumaguete directory that fits my vision to a 'T'. Although it was based on the Negros template, a lot of revisions had to be done to accomodate the new layout and format. Afterall, hotels and restaurants are different from real estate.

Result - Dumaguete Insider (still a work-in-progress)

Aha! Moment #5
With the viability of the Dumaguete Insider established, I thought about taking it national by creating an Insider series - Cebu Insider, Bacolod Insider, etc. But before I could even start coding, a flash came again - why don't I take this international? Afterall, this is the web. There are no geographic limits. The template is in place. Why not create a directory for global niche markets? Even by global standards, my meticulous hand-coding approach to usability, SEO, and mapping has competitive edge. Additionally, I can always vertically integrate myself by immersion into any industry. I like learning new things anyway.

Result - I've started laying down the codes that will serve as foundation to this global brand of Insider series.

Ending Thoughts
As of this writing, my plate is full. I'm soliciting new business for 2 real estate websites and one directory website, plus all the coding entailed by adding new features and posting new properties. I'm also devouring real estate lessons to broaden my knowledge base while I'm tied-up coding my global brand and simultaneously marketing it. I'm drowning in work, but I still can't get enough of it.

Somehow, I know that when I wake up tomorrow, I'd have another Aha! Moment that's even bigger and more ambitious than what I already have on my plate...and I won't say No.

--- TheLoneRider

Oct 24, 2010

Reader Comments:

Allan Rocillo
(Nov 2, 2010) Beautiful! You're amazing! You inspire people who read your stories. I for one is inspired from it.I guess we just have to act on the "Aha Moment"! or else it would just stop. Have you heard of Eureka! - Breakthrough! is another called. Anyway, I guess I am also working on that Aha Moment! and I am working to keep it rolling like a snowball. Keep up the good work!

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