How I totally missed out on Woocommerce

Week 10, Monday
How I totally missed out on Woocommerce. Woocommerce came out in 2011. I tried setting up ecommerce sites in 2010 and said, no more! After trying solutions for WordPress, Joomla and Magento. There was just not simple solution available to build a platform myself, so I gave up on it. No more ecommerce for me! Never looked at Woo.

The WordPress platform is evolving rapidly. I was struggling with multilingual sites before, and ecommerce solutions. It was difficult back then, yet now there are so many solutions available that allow easy integration. It even became possible to use WordPress as a platform for application development.

Because of the clear demand for ecommerce integrations on Upwork, and my own need for a billing solution for my hosting services, I dived into Woocommerce today to check it out, and deep dived into payment integration with iDeal, the main online payment method in the Netherlands. Got it all sorted in a few hours and could receive payments in less than 24 hours. An amazing advance in technology.

Tuesday
woocommerceI set up the web shop for my personal finance information site, and prepared products for free distribution and sale. I receive great feedback and many downloads on a few cashflow excel sheets, so I prepared those for this trial. The ability to receive (recurring) payments is just one of the features that a Software as a Service needs to have, but an important one. It is part of the essential infrastructure. I am not sure if this is something that I should be outsourcing according to the lean bootstrap movements, but I think I should do what I am capable off, and outsource other tasks.
The marketing activities, content creation and dispersion on social media, are processes that I am refining and documenting now, to be able to hand these tasks over to an assistant. Step by step moving forward.

Wednesday / Thursday
Set up Facebook advertising against all my principles doing a test with paid advertising. Ironically enough the first paid download came from organic traffic… Time will tell what source of traffic works best.

Beans appeared.

Een bericht gedeeld door Jeroen Houdijk (@jeroen.houdijk) op

Friday:
Paperwork, boring migration stuff I will not bother you with. Lasts day not to detailed logs, but the bottemline is that I managed to get a product out for sale that I created myself and that was just floating around on my (virtual) disks somewhere.

I plan to publish some kind of a faq section on WordPress stuff, coming up next. The coming two weeks will be a bit different because of family visits, so we will have to see when and how.

Ten Sprints a Week

Sunday

10 Improve weekly planning by defining the week into 10 blocks of 3-hour work, perhaps you could call them sprints. An interesting approach to go through a full plan do check act cycle each week, with the 10 chapters of the high level structure in mind.

Week 9, Monday

1 My week starts on Monday. Week 9 of the year. It always bothered me at university when course plans were generic plans, based on the duration of the course in weeks. A non-ambiguous planning connects with real week numbers and actual dates. If I would say this is the third week of keeping a real log, ‘week 3’ would not have any significance in the context of a year planning.

2 Today I am heading for San Jose, a two-hour drive if traffic is forgiving. I need to do some paperwork, and I have an appointment at the ministry of agriculture about the cacoa commission.

Tuesday


3 Wrote some more proposals for upwork and prepared for a workshop Thursday afternoon.

4 Deep dived into the document hierarchies for management systems.

Wednesday

5 Updates and maintenance of site network. I do feel some lack of notes taking during the week, because it is hard recalling what more I did.

Thursday

6, 7, 8 ,9 Four full blocks of time almost fully spend traveling. To be able to have a closing workshop and meeting with the farmers’ association I supported during my graduation project, I had to travel 7 hours by bus, have the meeting and stay over one night, and head back again. Kind of a draining trip it was, but I was glad to be invited to have this closure. Our last planned workshop was cancelled due to hurricane Otto, back in November.

Caldera. On my way to Nicoya

Een bericht gedeeld door Jeroen Houdijk (@jeroen.houdijk) op

One of the busses was equipped with Wi-Fi, which made the travelling much more pleasant. On the way, back I managed to pick up my legalized title, in the middle of the Friday afternoon traffic rush. I did lose a few paragraphs of free writing I did not safe properly, but that’s stuff that just happened some time.

Sunday

10 In some way I managed to stick with the ten-block week planning. Ending this first cycle, it is time for some reflexion and see what could be improved. I had a client asked for my availability, that made me think it would be a good idea to publish my available time slots, and hire a virtual assistant for the blocks that I am not actively replying my mail. Also, I tend to improve the check list I use for the updates and maintenance. This kind of actions should be registered as documented information to be compliant, so it feels like the most natural thing to do now, is to start working according to the principles I preach. Even if at this time I am a single pitter or a solopreneur, describing my work processes, and working on the documentation structure, helps me to be more efficient. I do foresee certification for my own management system at some point, so I better start working on that!

Auditor Training for Management Systems

Monday

Never stop learning. That is why I continue to develop myself and take an auditor training to be able to perform internal audits. The course is following the principles for management system audits as described in ISO 19011 and using ISO 9001:2015 as a reference standard to be audited for.

The local, or as the instructor says, tropicalized standards are respectively INTE/ISO 19011:2012 for audits, and INTE/ISO 9001:2015 for the management system standard requirements.

Most readers probably surfed on after I started mentioning references to standards, but you may understand that I need to get indexed for those and the only way to achieve that is writing about the fact that I am getting qualified for management system audits.

The interesting part is that the principles for auditing management systems, are applicable on other management systems standards than only those for auditing quality management systems (QMS). The difference is a that the set of standard-, legal, and organizational requirements changes.

Tuesday

Getting ready for the second course day. May I complain here about something? I know that maybe a negative vibe and stuff, but I was surprised by the bad service offered from the 5 star hotel were the training is hosted.

I am paying a lot of money to participate, and spend two long days under the hotels roof. It is hotel Aurora, down town San Jose, part of the Holiday Inn chain of hotels. The training uses the catering service of the hotel and a large conference room. When I asked at the reception if they could safe my luggage during the day, they asked if I was staying in the hotel. I said yes, two days. They asked what is my room number. I said I participate in the course on the second floor, I do not sleep here. They said no, clients only. I am curious what you think about that, but I consider myself a client of that hotel. At least a stakeholder, to speak in management terms. Not the luxery service you expect.

To simplify things, here is the ultimate hotel star rating explained;

  • Bed + wifi: 1 star
  • Desk, Chair, Bible, TV: 2 stars
  • Clean room and shower, iron on request: 3 stars
  • Hairdryer: 4 stars
  • The same but gold plated: 5 star

That felt good. I hope I will offer better service to my clients including non paying visitors. If I don’t, please remind me so!

Wednesday

I did not know I had balloon shaping skills. Petty proud of this one:

Balloon dragon… children party fun

Een bericht gedeeld door Jeroen Houdijk (@jeroen.houdijk) op

Thursday/Friday

Working on the prototype of Backbone Management System. I am using realm.li as a neutral domain for the development. My thought for using a neutral domain for document handling, is that the software has to be part of the organization that is using it. A white label solution to host organizations intranet. An intranet that is compliant and functions as the framework for the management system.

There is a lot to do still, so for now it is called the alpha version. At the backbone.ms development page I posted a news item, announcing the backbone backlog to disclosure the development and, the planned release of features.

The management system is starting to get into its shape, and I will use it to define my own ms as well to be able to get certified one day, but most of all, to find outs if all elements are there as supposed to be. It will take me probably 3 or 4 weeks to have the prototype up and running.