Featured In TheMaverickPaper.com

I was featured in TheMaverickPaper.com recently. The site is the brainchild of my internet marketing friend, Dylan Loh, who wants to  highlight (little-known) young entrepreneurs in Singapore who are successful in what they do.

He believes these people have a wealth of knowledge to share and  wanted to unlock these insights so that aspiring entrepreneurs can learn from them.

The site is pretty new and I must say I am honored to be featured inside. Seriously, I don’t think I am that good or successful. Nevertheless I am happy to share my story and I hope it could be an encouragement to other young people.

Here’s the link to the interview below.

http://themaverickpaper.com/internet-maestro-alex/

maverick paper alex yeo

Dropbox: It’s More Than Online Backup and File Sync

Dropbox is basically an application for online backup, file sync and sharing. It stores your data in the “cloud”, so you can access your files anywhere (PC, Mac, Smart phones etc) as long as you have an Internet connection. It’s free and comes with a basic 2GB storage space.

I know Dropbox exists for quite some time but it’s only recently that I started using it. You know what, the main reason I am using it is not because I want to backup my files. I use it for “silent communication” between me and my writers/assistant.

I just hired a part-time assistant recently to help me do all the article submissions and data entries. I want the work process to be simple, fast and efficient.  I find sending emails and attachments too much of a chore and the way Dropbox works is just perfect for me.

I create a shared folder between me and my assistant. If there is any work to be done, I just “drop” the files into the folder. She will get notified automatically and I don’t have to send her emails or through instant messaging. When the task is done, she will just edit the file name. For example from abc_task.doc to done_abc_task.doc. Just a simple change in file name, I will also get notified. In that way, I will know that she had completed the task.

All the work done without me “talking” to her. Fast and efficient.

Of course, I do backup and store some of my files in Dropbox as well so that I can access them anywhere (sometimes I work on my girlfriend’s laptop too!). It’s really that good and most importantly – FREE. There are paid upgrades available if you need much more storage space. But I guess most users should do fine with the free option. By the way, you get additional 250MB space every time if you refer somebody to use Dropbox.

Here’s the link to get Dropbox:

http://db.tt/p0JdWMH (shortened referral link)

Lead Generation – Some Thoughts

Recently I encountered an interesting issue regarding lead generation.

You see, I have a friend who is working as a budding wedding videographer in a certain company. Let’s call it Production X. So, I was thinking since my friend is working there, maybe I can help Production X to generate leads for them. More leads equal higher probability of closing more deals. More deals mean more income generated. And if the leads I gave them generated into sales, I get a cut of it. Simple as that.

In my opinion, it’s a win-win situation. There is absolutely no risk for them. Production X doesn’t has to pay me anything at all up-front. I do up my own site, generate my own traffic, SEO, content –   all done by me. All the expenses are from my own pocket. Well, it seems the risk are on me… not them.

I told Production X it will be easier for me to work exclusively for them. In a way, I act like an agent. Any leads that came to my site will be forwarded to them. They will take care of the customers’ enquiries. So, my job is solely on helping them to generate leads only.

However, there is a problem. They feel uncomfortable of me (my site) representing Production X. They feel that I may mis-represent them, their company image might be affected, quality issues of my site etc. They also feel it’s “not right” for my site to generate leads exclusively just for them. They think it’s better for the leads to have more choices to make my site less biased.

Seriously, I don’t understand the rationale behind it. It’s not like I am scamming the leads and say that I am from Production X. I just pass the raw leads to them. Period. When they answer to the customers’ enquiries, the customers will know that they are dealing with Production X. Your branding is still there. At the end of the day, the couples who engage you as their videographers will know Production X rather than my site.

Well, in my opinion, it’s the same analogy as a financial advisor/insurance agent who is representing Prudential. The agent can ONLY sell Prudential products (life, term, travel insurance etc). Even though the agent can only sell Prudential’s products, that doesn’t mean Prudential’s products are no good or the agent is biased. As long as the customer’s needs are met and is well-covered under their various insurance plans, it’s good for every party isn’t it? Prudential gets more business, the agent gets his commission, and the customer is well-insured.

Production X then suggests that maybe they can put a banner on my site or I can write reviews for them and some other videography companies as well. Both are not good alternatives. First of all, the CTR for banners are low. Secondly, I don’t know how much they are willing to pay to put the banner. My site hasn’t generated enough traffic at the moment. Putting a banner is useless and I can’t command a high price. A lead who fills up the contact form is far MORE valuable. Writing reviews? That’s even worse. A review should be non-biased and not getting paid for it. I don’t want get into another fiasco, like the food blogger who demanded free food for a food review. 🙂

In fact, some SEO companies have approached Production X. The charges are not cheap and they aren’t guaranteed a #1 listing on Google. So, they didn’t hire a SEO company and I understand their reason. Side tracking: If an SEO company claims that it can guarantee you a #1 spot… run away as far as you can from that company.

So, Production X is not willing to a hire an SEO company and they don’t like the idea of me generating leads exclusively for them. So what can they do: Post ads on magazines, directories and offer their services through wedding forums and of course through referrals.

From what Production X says, they are getting about 4 projects a month on average. They have 3 wedding videographers and I think they can get more business than that. Of course, words of mouth (referrals) is the best method. But before they can become viral, a critical mass (read customers) is needed. A small pool of satisfied customers can only do so much and it will take a long time for them to spread the words out.

That’s where I feel my site can come into the play. Get more leads, more business for them. In turn, let the new customers spread more good words about them through word of mouth. At the end of the day, if they feel they are getting too many customers and they don’t need any of my leads further, that’s fine for me. That’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it? I can then say I did a good job helping them. But right now, they are not in that situation.

Any thoughts?

Buy Cheap Books Online – You Won’t Buy In Stores Again

I love to read. It has become a habit for me for the past few years. 🙂

The topics I read are very wide – ranging from business, social economic to self-help. If you ask me to spend money and buy new clothes, I will think twice. But if you ask me to buy a book that seems interesting to me, I will just buy straight away.

Previously, I will head to the local bookstores such as MPH or Kinokuniya. But recently I discover an online site where I can buy cheap books. Best of all, it comes with free delivery worldwide! The site: Book Depository

Comparing it with the local bookstores, most of the book I want are either similar in prices or even cheaper. I really wonder how they make a profit. I ordered a book recently and it was sent from the UK. I made another 2 purchases yesterday:

  • The Power of Less by Leo Babauta
  • The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely

But who cares, as long as I can get them cheaply, shop in the comfort of my house and get it delivered straight to my mailbox for free. LOL.

Ever since I discovered Book Depository, I seldom paid a visit to my local book stores already. If you are like me – into buying and reading books, check them out.

How to Get a US number – Legally and Free

There is a service from Ring2Skype which allows you to obtain an US number for free and legally.

All you need is to have Skype, and the call will be forwarded to your skype account. Here’s a screen shot below:

As you can see above, all you need is your skype userid. You can even choose the region where you want your number, for example, New York City, Florida, Manhattan etc. You will get a landline number plus your private extension.

For example, if you choose Manhattan, your number will be something like this: +1 646 1234567 ext 123. If you choose Florida, it will be something like +1 305 1234567 ext 789. You get the idea.

As long as you are logged in to skype, people can actually call the number and reached you. It is as if the person calls you locally. This is especially great if you have family members or friends who are residing in US and they call you via their mobile phones. It will be convenient for them and they don’t have to chalk up high phone bills.

The only downside? This Ring2Skype is in beta service. If the site shuts down, your number will be gone as well. So use it while it is still in service. 🙂

How to Use Your Hobby and Create a 2nd Income Stream

Are you happy with your monthly paycheck now? Ok, I know most will shout that money is always not enough for you!

But have you really sat down and thought of creating a 2nd income stream? No… I am not asking you to start a business.

It’s more like doing what you love and getting paid at the same time.  Let’s just say that you make USD$200 from it. It’s not a lot, but I am sure it helps to pay the bills, extra money for your shopping needs, have a good meal with your loved ones. Who knows you can even earns thousands? It is possible.

So, how can you do it?

1. Article Writer

I know of friends who can write pretty well. You can be a part-time article writer! Where can you find your customers? Simple, just head over to GetaFreeLancer. It’s a market place for the skilled freelancers. Writers, web designers, graphics designers, programmers are all in demand. There are tons of projects there, just sign up for an account and you can bid for work.

Normally, the articles range from 250-600 words and you are paid between USD$2 to $10 per article depending on the article length and topic.

Again, let’s assume you are just paid $3/article for a 300-word article and you got 20 articles based on a 1-week deadline.  You earn $60. If you had 4 such projects, you get to earn an extra $240/month. If writing is your forte, this is really easy money. Some may think the money is too little, but think about it… you are working part-time at the comfort of your own home and at your own pace. No selling, no talking to customers, no customer service. 😛

2. Sell Stock Photos

Did you realized that more and more Singaporeans are buying dSLR cameras and into photography? Just take a walk on the streets, many people are hanging their dSLRs on their neck, as if it’s an accessory for the clothes.

If you are really a good photographer, you can try selling stock photos. By definition, they are photos which are available for rental or purchase for commercial use.

Head over to iStockPhoto and take a look. To know how they pay you, click here.

Of course, they don’t accept every Tom, Dick and Harry photos. Your photos must be of quality and follow certain rules and guidelines.

For photos only (they accept stock audios as well), you are paid between USD$0.30 to $8.40 per photo per download.

If your photo happens to be popular and assume they are downloaded 1000 times based on the lowest $0.30 royalty earnings, you earn $300! This is even easier money! You take the shoot one time, but you are paid over and over again.

It is definitely possible. Check out this simple stock photo here. It’s a random search by me and it’s already downloaded more than 1000 times. The photographer has 80 photos submitted. You go and figure how much he earns.

And yes, I hire writers and I do buy stock photos myself. That’s why I know about such stuffs. 🙂

You see… there are opportunities for you to earn good extra income. You just need to look out for it, open your eyes big.

LG Netbook? Forget About It. It Sucks

*Disclaimer: A long post for my grumble on LG. Either you read it or leave.*

Recently there are a few incidents that annoy the hell out of me. The latest is on my LG Netbook X120.

I bought it during the recent Comex IT show. So it was only about 2 weeks ago. However, my girlfriend realized that the netbook’s hinge is a bit loose (when you open or close the LCD). Thus, when you carry it at a slanted angle, the screen will “topple” or “slide” down, if you understand what I mean.

If this is a 14″ or 15″ notebook, I can gladly accept it because it will be more bulky and I will carry around less often, so it shouldn’t be an major issue. However, a NETBOOK will be a different story. It is meant to be PORTABLE.  We carry the netbook around here and there, hence it’s kinda of irritating when the LCD just “slide” downwards.

So, I paid a visit to LG notebook service center at Alexandra Road, hoping they can make the hinge tighter. I thought it would be a simple job.

But I was wrong. When I told the customer service representative what’s the problem. She told me flatly, “It’s like that one.”

Then I proceed to tell her that I checked out other retail stores that carry the netbook and it wasn’t LIKE THAT.

As usual at customer service center, she asked me to hold for a moment while she went to the back-office and compare it with other same model netbooks and discussed it with her colleague (I could see them).

She brought out 2 other identical netbooks and still insist that “It is like that one”. WTF. I was starting to boil. Of course, I inspected the other netbooks and clearly their hinges are tighter and I even demonstrate the difference between my netbook and others.

All the yada-yada… and then, a guy came out to serve me instead. I guess he was the technical person.

He said quite a number of people had encountered this problem and said it is a common issue.  YEAH…SO? HOW CAN YOU SOLVE IT? C’mon, I just bought the netbook 2 weeks ago. It is as good as new. It’s not like I have used for half a year and then complained about it.

The guy then said that if I insist on having the hinge tightened, they can do it for me but I have to accept the condition after the “repair”.  Because he said that the hinge is under the motherboard and they have to dismantle the whole thing before it can be tightened. Even doing so, the hinge may just be slightly tightened only.

WTF! Dismantle the whole thing? Then it will not be a newly manufactured set like before. Who knows what will happen later on when they dismantle the whole damn thing?

So, I said I wanted a new set. Because it IS a defective product. It’s not a wear-and-tear issue, not due to user carelessness and most importantly, they CAN’T guarantee the problem will be solved if it is sent for service and I have to accept the outcome.

The tech guy then said the service center does not do 1-to-1 exchange and I have to direct my concern to the “sales” team, which is the retail shop which I bought my netbook from.

Again… WTF. Do you think the shop will give me a new set?? It will NOT! I worked in IT retail sales before. The shop will definitely push the problem to the service center. So what am I supposed to do?

The LG service center cannot provide me the “service” when it is called the “service center”. I left the place angrily. Clearly, there is something wrong with the product and LG didn’t take up the responsibility.

You know what? I happened to buy a defective blood pressure monitor a week ago at the Bukit Batok Polyclinic NHG Pharmacy a week ago. The machine itself is alright. But the arm velcro is torn after one use. So, I went back. The people there just changed for me on the spot and I got a new arm piece and they didn’t even request for a receipt. This is what I call a good after sales service.

C’mon, LG… Do you think I purposely “destroy” my netbook, so that I can demand a new set? Do you think it’s fun to take public transport all the way to the service center and get a non-satisfactory solution? Or rather NO solution.

1st hand experience is very important, especially for a new customer. This is my first LG product. However, this will be my last as well. So what if the laptops/mobile phones look chic and cool? The after sales support is terrible.

There is NO way I will buy a LG product in the future. The brand is tarnished in my heart.  You just lose a customer. Yeah, to you… I am just ONE of the million customers. No big deal.

But my blog is read by my friends and search engine visitors. Their buying decision for LG products  may be influenced by such a negative post. You may just lose 1 customer for now. But it may be potentially hundreds or thousands in the near future.