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Author: ecsouza

bluebonnet

bluebonnet

While driving the kids to school this morning (Spring Break is over – back to your regularly scheduled programs) I saw the first bluebonnets of the season!

As all Texans know, bluebonnets are the state flower, and only bloom in Texas.

What this means, basically, is that spring is officially here. I suppose I could have looked at the calendar to see that – today is March 21, after all … but there is something special about seeing the long stretches of these beautiful blue flowers along the sides of the long country roads.

In a couple of weeks when Emi is not on service (4-week periods of intensive work in the NICU – she has one more week on this stretch) we’ll take a drive down highway 37 toward Corpus Christi and spend a day with the kids among the wildflowers. There is a rest stop about an hour from here with a wide open meadow and a zillion flowers. That’s kinda like a dream for a narcissistic dad like me. And besides, what good is having the most beautiful children in the world (and a good camera) if you don’t take full advantage of the opportunities that mother nature provides?

OK, enough of this … I have a lot of work to get done. Working on expanding our mortgage traffic this week, along with getting home security leads moving stronger. We have a couple of sources for traffic, but need to get the buyers set up to receive them. We are doing limited Loan Mods and Debt Settlement leads as well, but mortgage is our main focus at this point.

Also, a huge thumbs-up to Mike Greene for getting the mobile MyDeltaLeads set up and sized for mobile viewing! AWESOME WORK, MIKE!

It’s been a while since I’ve made a new music playlist … at least, once that doesn’t include kids music.

OK, that’s not necessarily true – I made a pretty nice road-trip mix for when we drove to Albuquerque … but it was more of a classic rock / road trip compilation. Tonight’s is a little more current and a little more varied. Starting out with John Boutte with Treme Song … love it. Great series on HBO, and I love this title track.

Anyway, it’ll be nice to have some good music to work to this evening. Emi is on call, the kids are down, and I am hoping to knock out a couple of hours of work and organization … should be good!

 

When GreenPoint Mortgage closed, I wasn’t sure which direction to turn. I had worked for the company for a long time, and had worked from a home office for 7 years. Emi was completing her intern year of  her pediatric residency and was pregnant with William.  Eric Anthony was four and Anya wasn’t quite yet two.

We had become used to the rhythms of my having the relatively flexible schedule that working from home allowed. It became clear fairly quickly that I was going to need to start freelancing … and so EC Creative Solutions was born.

It was a big help that I had numerous contacts from GreenPoint, and all of them (well, many of them) had moved on to other opportunities. 2008 was a pretty terrible year for the economy, and I was pretty worried.

However, jobs led to other jobs, and I hooked up with the Mortgage Lender Implode-O-Meter (yeah, it was booming for them!) and they funneled a lot of work my way, introducing me to a whole new client base.

Over the past three years, I’ve continued to try expanding … I joined up with some different guys who were trying to build their businesses and accepted equity shares for my work … some of them paid off, and some of them still might. Others fizzled. But all throughout, I have been making my own decisions and having a lot of fun picking my projects and trying new things.

The most interesting thing I have been doing is definitely lead generation and learning the ins and outs of affiliate marketing. I opened Delta Leads with a couple of partners and have been getting internet leads for different “verticals” and selling them to companies in need of clients. Also, I’ve been developing web sites to promote products as an affiliate marketer. This has been a huge educational experience for me. I’ve been to a couple Affiliate Summits and have been awed by the potential earnings from this industry.

So … who knows where this will all lead, but I do know that I am really enjoying the ride. I’ve been lucky enough to make some good friends who I work well with, and we’re really making some headway to achieving our goals.

And all throughout, I get to work from home, and have a flexible enough schedule to be able to be the dad I want to be. It really makes it more like a fun challenge than a job.

OK, that’s it for tonight … just hadn’t written for a little while, so here we go.

Just a bit of time between birthday parties and family gatherings … thought I would drop a note to mention I saw the first blooms of spring on the trees on our street. It’s been warm the past few days – beautiful weather – and it’s kick-started the trees into gear.

I love this time of year, when the days are getting longer and the world is getting greener.

On that note, I’m off to take out the lawn mower (initial typo was “loan mower”!) and on to the next.

Okay … while it’s still not completely finished, the new site for Delta Leads is live!

This is of course a work in progress, but we wanted to get something posted before I go to LeadsCon in Las Vegas next week.

I haven’t really talked about Delta Leads yet … we generate internet leads for a variety of financial “verticals”, including mortgage, debt settlement, home security, auto warranty and others. We then provide those leads to lead buyers. Basically, we’re like a smaller Lending Tree. When companies compete, you win!

Let me say that my good friend, Mike Greene, is a technical GENIUS. He saved my ass today … all I can say is, thank GOD for backups!!

So … on to the next step … editing and fine-tuning and making this grow!

I remember the first weekend I went to college pretty clearly. The rest of college, not so much, but I do remember the welcoming address, where a popular English professor told us to “Measure twice … and cut once.”

I didn’t know at the time that this was a pretty well-known expression. It was new to me … and it sank in. There are lots of ways and cliches to say the same thing, but the gist of it still resonates with me. Plan. Prepare. Then accomplish.

I’ve been planning and practicing and learning and throwing tons of virtual spaghetti against the metaphorical wall to see what sticks, and I’ve been measuring a lot more than twice. So watch out … here come the scissors …

I’ll wrap this up with a couple of other quotes I remember from school (Humboldt State University in Arcata, CA, Class of 95, since I know you were wondering).

Mac MacLeary: “A journalist is like a fine chef … he’s only as good as his sauces.”

And finally, when someone in my class asked journalism professor Howard Seemann how long to write his article, the reply was this: “Write it as long as a skirt. Long enough to cover everything, short enough to keep it interesting.” Another standard answer to this question was “How long is a piece of string?” Howard was also the wonderful man who also told me it takes as much talent as thick skin to make it in the world. Rest in peace, Howard, you are well remembered.

I know what we’re gonna do today.

OK – yes, I’ll admit it. I love this show. Having three kids helps, but I suppose I’m easily amused enough to enjoy it on my own. With an envelope of Lick-Em-Aid or maybe a 10-cent box of Lemonheads, like when I was ten and would ride my bike to Paradise Pharmacy for baseball cards and candy.

Seriously, though, the kids in these cartoons are awesome, and would probably come up with some killer marketing campaigns. After all, these were the two that came up with “Perry the Inaction Figure” … better than Heinz Doofenschmertz’s “Antiozoninator” …

Yes, this is a slightly random post.

So, to get this a little more back on track, I am working on updating the Delta Leads website. It still needs content, but it’s coming together. We had a basic presence up before at www.deltaleads.com but it’s in need of something with a little more OOMPH.

For all of you out there reading my blog (“Hi, sweetheart! Please remember to bring home milk.”) you can see this work-in-progress here, at www.leadsdelta.com … it will be my first time using jquery and extensive CSS. I also set up twitter and facebook accounts for Delta Leads and will be looking to expand with that.

Basically, I’m trying to harness my inner Phineas and Ferb.

I’ve spent much of the past week setting up new sites in WordPress. There are loads of benefits to this … SEO not the least of which. I’ve signed up for numerous offers on ShareASale and Commission Junction and have been receiving datafeeds which flow into a table on my database. Then I can access them in the content on my different pages … pretty cool stuff! Of course I’m still getting used to the whole thing, so there is a bit of a learning curve, but I have enough experience with pages to make it work. Plus, I have been working with some great partners, Mike and Jordan, so that’s a huge benefit. I’m also lucky to have found a great resource at Share A Sale … Jason will be getting a nice MacAllan and a carton of Newport Shorts for his help so far. 🙂

SO here is something I need to figure out … the narrower the niche, and the hotter the product, the more likely I am to find success. For example, I wouldn’t want to make a site to promote “kids’ clothes” … it would be better for me to focus on one specific subset, like Infant Girl’s Onesies and dedicate a site specifically for that. I read a blog post recently about a man who made a site specifically for custom checks with images of dogs. An interesting read.

I’m working on a couple of things … I’ll have them posted as soon as I have something worth sharing.

I remember when I was little, playing Star Wars with Adam Hokensen … he lived a couple of doors down from us, and had this awesome garbage scow that would crush the action figures with little blue pieces of styrofoam. I can’t imagine what that would be worth today on eBay, but I do know this … here we are, 30 years later, and my kids are as obsessed with Star Wars as I ever was. More, probably because they have been inundated by Media on Demand. They have the DVDs, toys, Clone Wars lunchboxes, Clone Wars TV seasons one and two, and of course, the Lego Star Wars. And the books! The Visual Dictionary.

All I can say is … way to go, George Lucas. You’re a Jedi Master of Marketing. You’ve created characters and built a universe which, despite being often silly and eye-rollable to my adult perspective, still entrances young minds. You present idealist themes and appeal to the sense of Good versus Bad. And you do it making strange aliens, droids and things with cool names like R2-D2, X-Wing Fighters and Jar Jar Binks. Oh, and the Death Star. I remember back in the late 70s, watching the original Star Wars and Empire Strikes Back. But even more than that, I remember the Arcade game over in Paradise Shopping Center in Corte Madera. My friend Adam and I would ride bikes or walk there and plug in the quarters. And that is still happening today, but only instead of quarters, parents raised on the original series are plopping down $15 and $20 at a time to buy their kids the Lego sets and action figures that we wish we had when we were kids. Who knows, in 15-20 years, we might have the final three movies come out in the planned nine-part series. Why not? If it continues to generate as much money as it has been, it would be foolish to think that the Force wouldn’t live on.

When I set up Eric Anthony with his own blog a couple of weeks ago, it got me thinking … I have had this domain name for quite some time, but I haven’t done anything with it. For a while, I had a link to my facebook page, but … well, this seems like an interesting long-form thought-purger.

I expect this will be a place where I can make notes, observations, etc, about family, work and whatever else comes to mind.

At this point, I just wanted to get something on the page, since it was new and pretty empty. I’ll try to get this updated fairly regularly, but in the meantime, I can give a couple little updates …

I made some pretty nice project on a directory web site that Mike Greene and I have been working on. Pretty exciting. Also, I’ve been consolidating all of my domains … it’s pretty staggering to realize how many domain names I have. Some of them are pretty darn good, too … I’m wondering if I should try selling some of these. Might be an interesting blog piece by itself at some point.

It was pretty cool having snow this morning … the kids loved it! It was barely an inch, but it was enough to cover the ground and stick until noon. I heard it was the first time it had snowed in San Antonio in 25 years.

Emi is on call tonight. It sucks, but whatchagonnado. The kids are fast asleep, and I’ve had a pretty productive evening work-wise.

So with this inaugural blurb blurbed, I am about to wrap this up and call it a night.


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