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Every Friday, I post a small insight into running Curio City and/or Blue Hills Editorial Services. My most recent posts are directly below. You can also start with the first post, or use the subject labels to the right to home in on particular topics. Feel free to comment on anything that interests you.
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Friday, May 15, 2009

The 150

Remember how I once said that Curio City is too small to fail? Well, here’s an angle I hadn’t considered. Advanta, the number one credit card issuer for small businesses, is reportedly cutting off all of their million customers effective June 10 (they haven’t notified me yet). I use my Advanta Mastercard for all of my merchandise purchases -- $26,000 last year – because I like getting the 1% cash back. Now I’m left with only my Amex Platinum Business card. I consider myself lucky – a lot of businesses my size lack any fallback.

I broke down and applied for the Visa business card that UPS keeps pitching me, month after month, but I’m skeptical that I’ll be approved in today’s tight credit market…especially with 1 million other small business owners suddenly looking for credit.
Carrying a UPS-branded card will be bittersweet anyway, given my feelings about that company (see the Reasons to Hate UPS tag). But feelings have no place in finance.

Incidentally, remember how I said last week that I could theoretically finance my modest expansion plans with credit card advances? Uh, not any more. Losing Advanta cut my available credit by more than half.


I finally sifted through a lot of SCORE member biographies and found four whose backgrounds might be helpful. I’m going to approach the first of them this afternoon. I don’t know why I have such a mental block about involving outsiders. I am not bound by their advice.


Four years. That’s how long it took to reach Google AdSense’s $100 payout threshold. My check arrived last week. Today the repair estimate for my nine-year-old wristwatch came in at a cool $100. Thanks for clicking on those ads, readers. Now let’s see if we can reach the next $100 in less than four years. You know what to do…clickety click click!

Google changed their AdSense placement routines recently so that readers’ browsing habits now determine the ads that you see on my blog. When I look at Curious Business on my desktop gaming machine, I see much more interesting ads than the boring banky things that appear on my work laptop. That ought to generate a lot more clicks.


My wife, who is learning about using blogs and social networks for business, tells me that I don’t post often enough. Now, I think that once a week is plenty. It takes me that long to polish a post, and after writing 150 posts (as of today!) I don’t have much more to say. So she suggests that I start a second blog aimed more at casual readers than business people. I guess I’d be spewing my endlessly fascinating news commentary, economy observations, and political opinions. Or something like that. The secret agenda, of course, would be pimping my products and my store.

I suppose I could give it a try. It’s not like it will cost me anything, and it might expand my little online empire. She’s trying to convince me to revisit Twitter, too, because all of these things are supposed to reinforce one another and ultimately feed me customers. I don’t know how that’s supposed to work; it seems like I’d be spending an awful lot of time writing about work instead of actually, you know, working.

Not that I’m doing a whole lot of that. May is not going to be one for the record books. Sales are slow and there’s no money to spend, so I don’t have a whole lot to do.


Dayclocks did start selling again after I marked them down to what looks like their new prevailing price. So I’ll keep carrying and advertising them despite the reduced markup...at least for awhile. Who knows, maybe they’ll go back up to their rightful retail price eventually.


OK, so that's all I've got for post #150. Sad, huh?

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