Work

“God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is.” – Martin Luther

A Major Setback

Last night and today were bad days. Actually, it’s been a bad 3 weeks – I just didn’t realize it. About 3 weeks ago the data feed that powered the website running subscriptions stopped working…permanently.  Without the feed it renders the website impotent, as the entire site is built of the fact that people have up to day information. But it wasn’t until last night that I learned not only that our website wasn’t refreshing current data, but that it was never to be refreshed again.

When I first read the note from our developer, I don’t think the full implication hit me. The idea of the site not working just doesn’t register. I’ve been working on this site for literally years. To one day wake up and find that it is no longer working and won’t for the foreseeable future just doesn’t compute.

But within an hour my brother also saw the note and said, “This looks like trouble. Do you see a way around this”, to which I replied, “Nope, we’re screwed.”. That’s when it set in. That’s when I allowed the consequences of of what happened to hit me. As is usually the case with emotions, I am more aware of how I am responding emotionally than actually feeling immense emotions about it. “I should be really upset about this. This is something to be upset about. Can you just walk away from all the money and energy you put into this?”, were some of the things going on in my internal dialogue. I was and am upset about this. I’m not ready to quit on this. The time and money I’ve spent cannot end here.

And yet…

I have feelings of potential relief. Doing entrepreneurial means that you are never doing enough for your own business. You can’t just leave your work at the office. It means that the wonderful time I get to spend with my family always has a nagging question with it – should I be working on the business? And of course, it goes both ways, when I’m spending time on the business, there’s a nagging question in my mind – should I be spending time with my children? Often for me this means that I tend to do neither completely well. I struggle to be fully engaged with my family and I struggle to be fully engaged with my business. So the potential relief is that maybe I can fully engage with the other things in my life like my family.

But I’d be super non-self-aware to think that not having my business to make me feel guilty about my priorities. That’s just who I am. That’s my M.O. Whatever I’m doing right now is always brought down by what I could be doing instead of what’s to come. Why is it that when I have an appointment in an hour, I can’t get any work done? It’s not like I’m prepping for the meeting. If that were the case then good on me, but I’m so caught up in the fact that I have a meeting soon that I can’t focus on what else can be done. And once I get in the meeting? I’m thinking about the meeting or what I could be doing instead of that meeting.

Anyway, the question I’ve been asking myself is whether or not I’m depressed. (Again with the self-awareness, I know.) But I think the answer is no. Honestly, I tried to convince myself that I should be. But depression would only come if I’m actually going to walk away from this project. And I’m not. I may have lost my early adopter customers and may lose my business partners, but I’m still not giving up. No way. I’m going to find a solution to get the data flowing again. I’m going to pay for it and I’m going to continue investing in the business. I’m convinced the site can and will be successful. Up until today, we had 5 really consistent subscribers to the service who were paying faithfully each month. I paid a lot of money to get those subscribers, but we had them. That means that the platform was doing something. It was on it’s way to being profitable. I may be a glutton for punishment, but I’m absolutely convinced the idea is going to make me self-sustaining. And that is my goal – to be self-sustaining.

So, yes, it’s been a bad couple of days, but I will carry on. I will rise above this. I will double down and make this thing work.

New Staff Meetings

It’s been several weeks since the year started and it’s time that we reconvened with our new staff to see how they’re doing. The last time the core of this group came together like this was when we met for the first time in New York as they were preparing to make their way here.

We had a great time sharing and hearing and giving them a bit more information about what’s happening in the year to come.

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Welcoming New Staff

On Saturday we held our annual Welcome Dinner. It’s a time that we kick of the year with a party and especially focus on getting to know our new staff.

This year we played a gameshow-like game and gave out lots of prizes. It was quite fun.

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Meanwhile, the children played on a bouncy castle and did crafts and other fun things.

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Getting Organized

While we were in the States we made many purchases to stock up on supplies we knew we would need when we came back. One of the things I’m most excited about is my calendar. It’s going to be a key factor in helping me to be organized this year. 

CPR Certification

Today, in my first day back to work, I participated in a full day of CRP, AED, and general safety certification. I feel like one of the few thing my public school education afforded me was a general understanding of first responder knowledge about such things as CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. But, I can’t remember a time where I actually got hands on training.

Today was that day. I compressed, breathed into, shocked and resuscitated a dummy numerous times. It was a fun time together with my colleagues, as well.

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Small Group

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We’ve recently started a new small group in our home. One of the things we were involved in quite a bit back in the States was leading a small group and we’ve missed our times together. Coming in late into the year last year, we didn’t join a group. It was a good decision for us so we could settle in a bit, but by the time this year rolled around, we were ready for it.

We’ve only met a few times this year, but we’re starting to get in sync. In addition to doing a study, we also snack or eat together. This was our first meal as a small group. Jacquelyn cooked a great meal and we had a great time. We’re looking forward to the future of this group.

Trip to Yantai

We had the privilege to go down and see our organization’s newest project in Yantai! While we were there we also spent some quality time with leadership in our organization. Being that we’re in 7 different cities, we’re usually just connecting over Skype. It was great to be able to connect face to face and work together.

PREP Test

Both Jacquelyn and I got to see the results of our PREP analysis. PREP is a personality test meant for understanding how team members can best work together. We really enjoyed this time not only learning more about ourselves, but also about our fellow leaders. We’re looking forward to integrating this with our team.
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School Opening

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the brand new school that was just opened this school year. We can certainly see how His hand in this project. We are overwhelmed by His provisions. We dedicated this project back to Him.
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Business Leaders’ Panel

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Sitting on a Panel

I was very honored to a part of a recent panel hosted by the Qingdao International Business Association (QIBA) in August. The topic of the panel was “Childbirth and Childcare in Qingdao: What are the options for expats?” I was invited to be a part of the discussion because of the website Jacquelyn and I created called, havingababyinchina.com.

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For me to be sitting on the same stage with the head of a huge hospital, heads of departments at a well-known international hospital in the area and a my friend Ruth who has been a part of many births in training to be a Doula was pretty mind-blowing. When I looked down the stage of very important medical people, to be honest I felt a little out of my league. On the stage I imagined myself as the crazy wanna-be blogger who’s trying to be relevant. But once the questions starting rolling, I remembered the purpose for creating the website in the first place – so that people can have accurate information from the perspective of the one actually having the baby in the foreign land.

The panel discussion proved to be very excellent and I hope helpful to everyone in attendance.

For more about the topics discussed, click here.

For a few more pictures, click here.

Checking in on Qingdao

20th Anniversary

The last time we were in Qingdao, we worked at an international school. It was so great to be able to get back there to celebrate with them their 20th Anniversary. The school has grown and changed immensely over the years and it was great to catch up with our old friends and make some new ones!

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The event ended up being huge! There were over 600 people there and it was very cool to hear about the different stories of how He has worked in this place.

Starting Well

Immediately after the summer camp we took the entire family up to Beijing and attended the “Starting Well” conference. It was great week-long seminar that we not only got to help lead, but also got to learn a bit more about how best to transition overseas! We were especially excited to learn how to support our own children, as transition and living cross culturally can be quite tough on them. We’re praising Him that much wisdom was gleaned both by the new staff and ourselves!

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Summer Camp

This summer we got to be a part of the summer camp that was being hosted by the international School. There were over 100 kids who came the camp from the district where the school is located. We took the kids on a road trip through the US. Jacquelyn and I taught the kids about the Northeast.

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It really was alot of fun. It actually made of remember our early days in China when we were teaching children about this same age English.

Because the grade levels were quite different, the English levels also varied quite a bit. But we had fun with the children.

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We’re hoping that the relationship with these kids will continue on!

Learning to Coach

Coaching Dance

Did you know a coach doesn’t give advice? The coach is simply there to help the coachee discover answers in his/her own heart and mind. In fact, the coach should operate under the mindset that…

This is what I learned at the coaching seminar recently attended. It was really a great seminar and really helped to correct some misconceptions that I was holding on to about what coaching is. I have to say it was a bit hard to change the paradigm I had going on to in my head.

When first presented with the idea that I wasn’t supposed to give a advice, I asked, “Then, what’s the point? Why are we coaching, then?” What I actually had going on in my mind was “counseling”, not coaching.

But the more I participated in the exercises, the more I saw just how powerful coaching can be. Wherever a person is, he or she has the ability, and if they are believers, the Spirit, to answers their own questions. Often times, it just takes a focused time of reflecting on what the real problem is and action steps moving forward.

End of Year Celebrations and Goodbyes

Though we’ve only been here about 3 months, we’re already celebrating the end of the year. Each year, our office takes out the department we’re responsible for. In addition to the Team Director Staff, we also oversee the Chinese teachers to the staff.

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In addition to celebrating a great year, we also are saying goodbye to people that we’ve already grown to enjoy. One person in particular is going to be a big loss for our company. Bruce and Grace have been apart of the work here for quite awhile and have made a great impact on our staff.

Since they’re leaving us, they got to pick the restaurant and they picked their favorite Malaysian restaurant. It was great! In my mind, it seems like it’s the best foods of all of Asia. Curries, rices, marinated meats, etc.

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Affirmation Cookout

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We know what it’s like to leave and know what it’s like to be left. Whether it’s your friend moving to a different town (or country), a loved one dying, or packing up for a new job, this is the reality that everyone in the world faces at some point or another. And it’s something that people living overseas are all too familiar with as a regular part of life. It doesn’t matter if you are leaving or if you are the one being left, honestly, it just plain sucks. The comfort and love you feel to the people your are departing with is suddenly gone and you are left scrambling to replace it.

Your life is turned upside down.

You feel abandoned.

It’s chaos.

It’s reality.

The natural inclination is to run away from this. But that’s not the right thing to do. The right thing to do is embrace the tears and give praise where praise is due.

That’s why every year we hold an “Affirmation Cookout” to do just that. It’s an opportunity to affirm those who are leaving in a public place. Being that we live in such close community with these people – we work, we play, we grow together – it would be a disservice to all involved if there wasn’t a time to share a bit about what we all mean to each other.

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Jumping in Head First

Well, it wasn’t exactly the plan, but I was thrown in to leading several important events and situations over the last couple of weeks. I was eventually going to get to do these things anyway, but it wasn’t supposed to be for another 3 months. The person who is training me had an emergency that sent him back to the States for 2 weeks. There were quite a few things that happened during those two weeks, not the least of which was organizing our team meeting.

The team meeting is a chance for all the team to get together for the purpose of unity and/or sharing vision. I was really thankful to everyone who helped me pull the meeting together.

Leading a Team Meeting

(Sorry, we didn’t get a better shot.)
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Eloise playing before the team meeting.

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Another huge event was a seminar that we hold annually to help prepare the staff who will be moving back to their home countries in the coming year. This is such an important conference. We know firsthand what’s it’s like to move back from living overseas and how you can really feel like a fish out of water. The biggest part of this conference for me was the logistics and coordination of the day. Thankfully, there were a ton of people who were able to help out and the day went off great.

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Some other unexpected things happened as well during the week, including three different staff children being rushed to the hospital for different reasons: a seizure, a scary fall, and a dog bite to the face requiring stitches. My role here is to be able to help out in crisis situations like these whether through emotional support or coordinating medical attention/transportation or an evacuation from the country if needed. In these cases, the children were rushed to a nearby hospital and I provided support and followup.

This past month has been a reaffirming month for us. We feel confident that He has led us here to be a support to this wonderful team who are doing doing great things.

WP-content to Excerpt Plugin

A friend of mine was looking for a bit help with his website. Quite simply, he wanted to show excerpts instead of the entire post for his blog.

Now, the way to do this in WordPress is to properly set up the theme when you build it. But that’s not really useful. He’s not going to switch the theme that he otherwise likes because of this one issue. And, to go into the theme files and change the wp-content to wp-excerpt is a bit of a stretch for non-developer.

So, I did some internet searching and found a function and filter, made a few tweaks and then bundled it up into a little plugin and now my friend can simply upload this plugin to his site and it’s done. If he decides later he doesn’t want it, he can just deactivate it.

Here’s the description:
Changes wp-content to show an excerpt on all archives (blog listings) and search listings. It also strips out any pictures or shortcodes in the listing view. This plugin allows you to change your website to show excerpts without having to change the functions.php file or any other php file in WordPress. There are no settings with this plugin. Simply activate to show excerpts or deactivate to show the entire post. This plugin is based on the contributions of http://justintadlock.com/archives/2008/08/24/replacing-wordpress-content-with-an-excerpt-without-editing-theme-files.

Here’s the file:
jnc-contenttoexcerpt.zip

Hope it works for you. Let me know if it doesn’t.

Getting to Know the Team

Coming in late to a working environment that is based entirely on the school calendar means we have a lot of making up to do. One of the ways that I’ve been trying to do this make-up work is by creating some flashcards to study.

Flashcards almost never let you down. They’ve worked well for me for learning Chinese. So, why not give them a try with people’s names and faces?

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One of the harder things about the process was compiling all the names into a format that would be easy to print off and cut up. I actually tried before we came to TJ, but I had a really hard time with the meet the staff website page loading and the copying and pasting of the names and pictures.

But upon my arrival, I was given a printed directory of all the staff, which I promptly cut up into flash cards. With over 200 staff, that sure made my life easier!

But now comes the hard part…actually learning all the names!

Videoing a Local Farmer Segment

A few weeks ago the owner of the company asked me to go on location to a local apple cider producer for our store and put together an interview-style video of the process of making apple cider. I have to say, I was a bit intimated by the idea of it. Up to now all of these types of videos have been made by an award-winning videographer who does incredible work for us. But after I set some expectations for everyone, I was excited to do this project.

Scouting it out.

The first step for any project like this is to scout it out. It’s important to get an idea of the following things:

  • Location & Facility. Where will the filming take place? What different angles can be imagined? What are the limitations of the location? How many different operations need to be captured?
  • Interviewees. Are they talkative? Do your questions need to be general or more specific to spur up the conversation? How many people should do the talking on camera? Are they flexible enough to go with the flow? Or are they annoyed that you’re there in the first place?
  • The process. What is the basic process that you’re going to be capturing? How many steps does it take to make the product?

Filming the interview.

Even with scouting out all of the above, I still didn’t quite have a complete picture of how everything was going to mesh together. I knew I wanted to grab the interview first so it could guide me in how the process worked. Plus, I wanted to get out of the owner’s hair as soon as possible so he could get back to work.

I filmed with my Cannon Rebel T1i using a zoom lens close in on the face of the person speaking while my colleague used the camcorder mentioned in this post, to get the fuller body shots. His camera also captured the audio parts.

My choice for the location was just ok. I really liked that we captured the apple trees and the house in the background. I thought the house just screamed “local”. If I were to do it again, though, two things I would do differently are:

  1. Get a light reflector. It was a nice sunny day, but I really needed to get some light on their faces. The shadows really hurt the quality.
  2. Keep the cameras closer together. Really, I think the cameras should be from almost exactly the same spot so the person speaking is looking right into the camera. On this one I went with more of a side view with the zoom so the speaker was not looking directly into the camera. It still turned out ok, but I think it could be better.

Filming the process and facilities.

I really messed up here. I completely underestimated the amount of different footage I would need of the process and facilities. What I realized was that I was going to be really bored just watching a guy talk to a camera about a process. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize it until I went back to the office to start editing it. When I went back I watched some of the videos produced by professional guy mentioned earlier and was simply amazed by how seldom we saw the person being interviewed. In his cuts, when the person being interviewed was on screen, it was literally for 1 second. Then we switched to something else – usually exactly what he is describing with words.

So, I called and asked to come back and get some more footage. Thankfully, the owner was gracious and let me come back for another half day the following week.

Editing

I’m still only using iMovie for these edits. That’s fine. I like iMovie. But I’m really starting to want something more advanced. I bet I’d be able to do alot more with a more professional software.

Like in my previous experience, the most difficult part was cutting. My 1st cut was almost 4 minutes. That’s just too long for the typical viewer. So, I started clipping out scenes. I was able to get it down to 2 minutes. I’m still keeping in mind that a commercial on the TV is only 30 seconds. I’m not sure how in the world I could get it down to that.

I’m happy with the way this came out. I think it accurately shows the process in an interesting way and genuinely helps both the vendor and our store.

Harvest Fest Time Lapse

Every year Adams has an extremely popular Harvest Fest at each of the store locations. It’s a huge production that takes weeks of preparation. The best part about it is that most of the activities are free. And the ones that cost money are really low in cost.

So for the past couple of years, I’ve put together a Time Lapse to show the vastness of the event.

I’m also proud to say that my 9-year-old daughter is the featured artist for the music! A couple months ago she was playing around with Garage Band on our computer and I impressed with what she was coming up with. I told her I would feature her work on an upcoming video that I was working on. And this is what came of it! Check it out.

Videoing a Food Seminar…Update

A few weeks back I mentioned that I got to get my feet wet with videoing a food seminar. I’ve been working on these videos and am pretty happy with the result.

The Videos

Seafood Summer Salad

And here’s the longer form of it.

Local Cheeses

There are a few more videos left to do, but these are a great start.

Things I Learned

Make quick cuts.

People have short attention spans. Cut as much as possible from the video. A colleague of mine saw my original cuts and advised me to cut it down…way down. So that’s what I did. I could probably have cut it down even more, but I didn’t want to lose any of the content. After cutting it down, I’m much happier with the work.

Keep it to 2 cameras, max 3.

For most of the seminars I used 3 cameras. One directly in front, one slightly to the side and a GoPro up close on the hands and cutting board. This was plenty. Since I’m only using iMovie for the edits, it can only handle two lines of video at a time. Getting three camera views on only two lines was at times challenging, and certainly tedious.

For a few of the seminars I had a friend bring in an extra camera. I’ve found the 4th camera to be just a bit too much. Perhaps if I had a more advanced software it would be a bit easier, but using only iMovie, it’s just too much.

Capture in the highest quality.

For the first seminar I videoed in HD, but it was the lowest setting of the HD options. I was very disappointed with the quality of the video. This was exasperated by the fact that my other cameras captured a much higher quality video. For the subsequent seminars, I cranked up the quality to the max and that had a serious effect.

Double check the Mics.

Ugh. There’s nothing worse than filming an entire seminar only to find out in the editing room that the mics were messed up. That’s exactly what happened with one of the seminars. The problem was that there were four people speaking and only two microphones. That meant we had to continue rearranging microphones depending on who was speaking. With all the setup and planning that it required, I think it just got too confusing. In the end, I accidentally disabled the microphone of the person speaking and activated the microphone of the “on-deck” person. For the entire video! What a waste.

Have backup equipment

I mentioned in my last post that I bought the ePhoto Pro Studio Video 4500W Digital Photography Studio 3 Softbox Lighting Kit Light Set and Carrying Case H9060S3 off of Amazon. I am very happy with what it did – especially for the price, however two of the head clamps actually stripped out on the second day of shooting. The heads are just too heavy for the clamps. I was able to get them replaced by the company, but I had to scramble to try and get the lights to stay pointed in the right direction. I’m not sure what I’m going to do about this in the future as I think it will just continue stripping out, but at least I have some backup pieces now.

All in all it was a great experience. I’ve already got another photo shoot scheduled. This one isn’t a food seminar, so it’ll be a whole new experience again.

Videoing a Food Seminar

Videoing a Seminar
Today I expanded my horizons a bit by videoing a food seminar. Having taken pictures at this location before, I knew it was going to be a tough place to video. The lighting is horrible and the sound…oh, the sound. The ambient noise from the neighboring science exhibit alone was enough to drive a sound man crazy. But when the boss says take a video, a video is going to be created one way or another.

Lighting

My first task was to find lighting. I’ve had success with setting up a mobile studio for products shots by just looking around Adorama’s website. But I needed a bit more help with this since I haven’t had much experience with continuous lighting. So, I did a quick YouTube search and found this awesome video giving a great rundown of continuous lighting options.

So, here’s what I ended up with:

I bought it on Amazon for about $165. Not bad at all considering what you get. There a few quirks with some of the equipment, but I think it’s with the cost.

Sound

As mentioned, sound at this location was a pain. Remember, this is in a very busy venue with lots of different vendors. The only solution was to individually mic the person giving the seminar. This would mean that she would actually be wearing two microphones – one for speaker system and one for the recording.

My colleague had already done the research on this for a different project. So, I used it. This is what we used:

Video

Again, my colleague had already researched and bought a camcorder. He bought this along with the before-mentioned microphone kit. Because of that, it worked greatly as the main audio source.

On the side I used my trusty Canon Rebel T1i DSLR. It was one of the first DSLRs to do video. It doesn’t have auto focus which can be a pain, but it’s great for taking short clips or using it as a secondary camera. I would provide a link, but it’s not in production anymore. But if I were to recommend a similar product, I’d recommend this one:

Just to throw in one more view, I also setup a GoPro for an up close shot. I have the Hero 3. There are newer models now, but the Hero 3 does the well enough.

We Need Your Support!

Bushel Boys Early Years

Dear Friends and Family,

It’s always been a dream for each of us to start a business, but my brothers and I never thought that we’d be starting one together. Well, that’s just what we’ve done! As of July, 2015, Jeremy, Nathan, and Matthew Carman are now the Bushel Boys, LLC!

About a year ago I was doing some testing with some entrepreneurial ideas and websites when my brother came for a visit. I showed him what I was working on and I could tell he was interested. Then, when I mentioned it to my other brother, there was no looking back. We were all hooked on the idea of starting a business together. Fast forward about a year and we now have a full-fledged idea, designs for a website and are now in full-on development!

The idea is this: Create a platform to allow people interested in trading commodities to practice risk free. With our platform, users will be able to mock trade commodities using real, live conditions, such that if it were a real trade you would have made (or lost) the money invested with a broker. Having experience in trading commodities ourselves, one of the most essential aspects of trading commodities is what is referred to as “paper trading”. Paper trading is simply pretending you’re in the market and tracking your progress based on real market conditions.

Thus was born papertrademe.com! Papertrademe.com will allow aspiring and professional commodity traders alike a place to practice and test out trading ideas and theories. All at no risk to losing real money! We’re really excited about this and think it will be a well-received platform once we get the word out. And that’s where we need your help.

So, how can you support us?

  1. If you’re remotely interested in trading commodities, look no further. We’re glad to help you.
  2. Chances are, though, that you have no idea what the last two paragraphs mean and are kinda just staring blankly at the screen. That’s cool – we know it’s niche – but we still need your help. We would love it if you would help us spread the word about this to everyone you can think of.

Here are some ways you can help us spread the word:

So, with many thanks and much appreciation, thank you for your support! Please stay in touch and share, share share!

Jeremy, Nathan, and Matthew
The Bushel Boys

Ecwid Tutorial – Local Delivery

Local Delivery

Step 1 – Define local delivery zones

Ecwid as a very developed system for defining zones. Zones can be defined by Region, Country, State or Zip Code. In your Ecwid dashboard, just navigate to “System Settings” –> “Zones”. In my store, I had a very well defined set of zip codes to which we deliver. In fact, we actually broke it down even further to 3 sub zones, depending on the distance to the store.

Here’s a screenshot of what my Zones look like in Ecwid:

Ecwid-ZonesAs you can see, I’ve broken down the zones by store and sub-zones. The number represents the store and the letter represents the sub-zone. So, for example, Zone 1A presents “store 1, sub-zone A”. You can name these zones anything you want. The customer will not see your zone names, so you can be as descriptive as you like.

To create your new zones, just click the “New Zone” button. Name it to whatever you like and decide how you’d like to define these zones. Region? Country? State? Or Zip/Postal Code? Just remember that that options are “inclusive” rather than “exclusive”. Or in other words, it’s “both/and” rather than narrowing down to a specific location. For example, if you select United States as your country, all of the US will be included no matter what specific State or zip you might also include. So, for our case, because we only wanted local delivery to specific zip codes, I only entered in the zip codes and left the Countries and States empty.

Here’s an example of why you might need to use multiple options: Let’s say your brick and mortar store delivers to all of Connecticut, but only few specific areas in New York. In this case you would select Connecticut as the State and then list out the specific zips you also deliver to in New York.

Step 2 – Set up your shipping method

Once you have your shipping zones set up, the next step is to set up your Shipping Method. The “Shipping” tab is located right next to the “Zones” tab.

Go ahead and click the “New Shipping Method”. You are presented a popup window to help you customize this shipping method.

Ecwid-NewShippingMethod

1. “Select shipping region.” Use the drop down to select the Zone that you just created in step 1.

2. “Select how you calculate shipping?” Select “Flat rate”. Then click the blue button that says, “Shipping rate and delivery speed”.

3. “Set a shipping rate.” On this screen, select how much you’d like to charge for delivering to this zone. As mentioned above, I have 3 sub-zones setup for each brick and mortar location. So I created a new shipping method for each of the sub-zones that I have created. Here’s how are sub-zones are broken down:

  • Sub-zone A (close-range): $10
  • Sub-zone B (medium-range): $15
  • Sub-zone C (far-range): $20

4. “Set delivery speed.” Set the approximate amount of time it will take to deliver this product. Only a number or a range (e.g. “1-2”) is allowed here. It is possible to leave this field blank if you prefer. Click the blue “Name shipping method”.

5. “Name shipping method.” Remember, this name is for the customer. It will be shown on checkout. Here’s how I’ve named mine:

  • Local Delivery – Zone 1A
  • Local Delivery – Zone 1B
  • Local Delivery – Zone 1C
  • Local Delivery – Zone 2A, etc…

Repeat this for each of the zones you’ve created.

That’s it! You’ve just created local zones! Now, when customers enter in a zip code, they will only see the shipping option(s) for that particular shipping zone.

Here’s a screenshot of my store with different zip codes corresponding to the correct price.

Ecwid-Method Example

Have questions, ask below!

Creating a Web App

Most recently I’ve been quite busy with starting a new venture. I’m excited to be working with my brothers on this particular project.

The name of the project is PaperTrade Me. The basic idea behind the project is a platform to allow for commodity traders a place to practice trading on the real market. One of the fears of going into the commodities market is the fear of uncontrollable loss of money invested. While it is true that loss is a possibility and even an expectation when trading on the commodities market, one can learn how to control the losses and eventually have more wins than losses. That is where PaperTrade Me comes in. On this platform commodity traders – novice or experienced – can come together and log their practice trades and see just how well they could do.

At this point we’re working with a designer and are starting communication with a developer.

Updates to come later.

I’m a Featured Customer for the Ecwid Shopping Cart

I was recently featured in a newsletter as a Customer Spotlight for the ever growing Ecwid eCommerce software. Ecwid, which is combination of “ecommerce” and “widget” allows you to add an online store to basically any site out there.

Having inherited a very outdated and ugly looking ecommerce software that did not integrate at all the branding of our website, I took the lead in finding a solution that would allow us to firstly vastly improve upon the aesthetic, but also scale the online business. Indeed, that’s exactly what moving to Ecwid has allowed us to do. The move and a focused effort on growing the store has increased revenue approximately 250% over the last 2 years! And this year we’re already performing another 50% percent better on average during the same period as last year.

People from Ecwid reached out to me to discuss some of the benefits I saw in the service. The attached screenshot is from the March Newsletter highlighting the ease of use.

I love Ecwid and you will, too! Click here to Sign up for free today!

Ecwid Billing Check Button Default to Off for WordPress Tutorial

How can I change to default behavior of the “My billing address is the same as shipping” check box to off?

I’ve been using Ecwid as a my shopping cart for several websites and clients. It’s such a great shipping cart that’s fully integrated with basically the whole internet. I love the flexibility of it. There are a few issues that I’ve had a problem with, however. They haven’t been major problems, but annoying just the same. One of those problems has been that the billing box is checked automatically by default.

For people who might want to sell gift items for delivery, it is important to accurately collect both the shipping and billing information. The problem is that the “My billing address is the same as shipping” checkbox is checked automatically and the vast majority of people checking out, for whatever reason, do not uncheck the box to allow for a different billing address. Perhaps they’re just not seeing it, or perhaps it’s just a bad design/workflow. Needless to say, when a user fails to uncheck this box, it can cause extra time confirming with the buyer the correct information rather than just fulfilling the order. So, what I needed to do was make it so that the shipping information was not automatically passed through to the billing address unless the user checked the box. I needed the billing information to be blank, as illustrated below.

Ecwid Default Off

Ecwid Billing Button Default Off

 

Ecwid Default On

Checking the box will auto fill the content from the shipping address.

 

So, here’s the raw code for how to turn this button off by default. You’re going to want to put this code just after the Ecwid implementation code on your site. (If you have jQuery already enqueued on your site, you won’t need the 1st line.)

<script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.8.2/jquery.min.js"></script> 
<script>if (typeof(Ecwid) == 'object') {
  Ecwid.OnPageLoaded.add(function(page) {
    if ('CHECKOUT_PAYMENT_DETAILS' == page.type) {
$('input[type=checkbox]').prop('checked', false);
$("input[type=text]").prop('disabled', false);
$("input[type=tel]").prop('disabled', false);
$("select[name='country-list']").prop("disabled", false);
$("select[name='state-list']").prop("disabled", false);
$("select[name='state-suggest']").prop("disabled", false);
$('input[type=text]').val('');
$('input[type=tel]').val('');
$("select[name='country-list']").val('');
$("select[name='state-list']").val('');
$("select[name='state-suggest']").val('');
        }
  });
}
</script>

Unfortunately, this code will not work for you if you’re using WordPress. So I’ve packed up a file with a full explanation of how to implement this code on your WordPress site. Just click the “Download the Code!” button and you’ll receive an instant download. Please consider paying for the product if you think it will help your store. Many thanks and much appreciated!

Included in this file:

  • WordPress friendly code
  • Full explanation of where to implement this code
  • Screenshots of the code implementation
  • *Bonus: My explanation on how to clean up Ecwid code impentations

Download the Code!