Thursday, 31 December 2009

The little blogger that could!

31st December 2009. The end of one journey. The beginning of another! :D

Screenshot of my 2009 pet project, YourShoppingKaki

I was rushing my Shopping Kaki Sale (this big online sale event I organised, with 15 participating sponsors) for the past 2 days - and it was kinda as bad as rushing an assignment for uni. Except assignments in uni reward you for good performance, and I think many people think my sale was a little bit of a flop. But the interesting lessons I learnt: Be picky! Like how the hottest clubs in NYC probably don't allow just anyone into the club, I shouldn't have allowed just any junk into the sale. But I guess I didn't see it that way coz I thought any sale is a good sale, as long as the price slashes were good.

The other thing I learnt: Rushed jobs are usually bad jobs! Not only did I make huge mistakes in the prices after sale, there was also a broken link and really sloppy discount statements. Plus, I made a mistake in describing one of the sale items too.

The third thing: Nobody really knows how much work you put in. Months of planning, 48 hours of blogging, painstakingly arranging pictures, dragging the little corners to resize them to match its neighbouring picture, hyperlinking everything that mattered to make things easier for the reader - and really, you never know if it was ever worth it. Not to mention picking a diverse option of items so that there's "something for everyone". Did anyone care? Did it make a difference? All I can do is hope that it's helped just one person lah. To me, the post still isn't perfect, but I guess I could spend another 48 hours on it and it still wouldn't be perfect. So... I decided to just let it be. :)

If there's a life lesson I've learnt from YSK, is learning to let go.

Plus I'm soooooooooo thrilled that, at least until I graduate from uni, I don't have to deal with:
  1. Difficult advertisers
  2. Difficult sponsors
  3. Demanding readers
  4. Blogshop owners who take it as a personal insult that you didn't review their blogshop
  5. People who act really nice to you just so you help in their business, and then stick a pitchfork in your back once you turn around.
  6. The endless emails! From linking emails to grapevine emails to bazaar emails to reader emails to please-review-me emails to advertising emails to "We've updated!" emails ... I can't help but feel that half of my version of 2009 has been spent just reading emails. And I don't even always reply, and I don't even always read the whole email - more like a quick scan!
But of course, if it was all that bad, I wouldn't have buried myself in YSK work for the past 11 months, would I? :) The positives:
  1. The friends - I've made so many new friends online, and they've actually become my offline friends too! People from all-walks-of-life kinda thing, people I otherwise would never have had the chance of meeting. :)
  2. The money - the fact that you can make money with just a computer, your brains, and a willingness to put in the effort ... it never stops amazing me!
  3. The "assets" - some people call them bribes or freebies (hehe) but they're not! Haven't you heard? Nothing is ever free! It's always something in exchange for something - and only once in a blue moon have I ever truly received a no-strings-attached gift from someone in the blogshop industry. :) Every asset earned is an acquisition, literally earned with hard work. So it's kinda like everything I own now has a few hours of blogging behind it :P
  4. The Real World & Work Experience - I think YSK is like a mini-version of what a real business is like. It's got the accounts department, it's got the publicity & marketing department, it's got the events department, the managing department, and ... I dunno, I'm actually just making it up as it goes along. :D
  5. Knowing you made a difference - I had a couple of contests where I asked readers to email in with answers to "Why do you visit YSK?" and "What's your favourite blog post on YSK?", and some of their answers really moved me. Knowing I made a difference in someone's life ... even if in a small, small way ... that's just beyond cool.
  6. Improved blogging abilities - It's hard to believe that 11 months ago, I couldn't even wrap my head around how to hyperlink a link! :P
  7. Knowing I can set a goal and fulfil it - I wanted to make YSK something. I wanted 500 unique visitors a day (little did I know I would get 1,700 unique visitors a day). I wanted to get noticed, have some sort of proof that I did it - I built YSK into something from nothing, just a blank webpage - and the NST feature delivered that for me.
  8. Being able to move on - I'm really glad 2009 is ending, and that I only set YSK's lifeline to end when 2009 ended. If it was a full-time job that could pay for my survival, it would be fine. But I'm a full-time student before I'm a full-time blogger, and I'm REALLY tired. I feel like I'm working two jobs, and having to deal with both blogger politics and campus politics at the same time. And trust me, there's a bloody lot of blogger politics! It's not just young people sitting behind computer screens, typing words and hitting "Publish Post" ... it's an entire stronghold of ambitious young people who want to get on top - no matter who you have to step on to get there. Some of you may know it by another name ... "The Real World".
Time to go see what else is out there in the real world! :)

Oh ya, and things have been pretty hilariously disastrous lately in terms of tech support:
  1. Last week, my linking button exceeded its bandwidth because too many people were using it. Imageshack "apparently" restored it for me - TWICE - but it still doesn't work. So I had to fix it with a new html code, and also learnt never to trust Imageshack again when every email ends with "If you upgrade to our premium package for only 8USD per month, this won't happen again!"
  2. My mouse's left button doesn't click well anymore :( It's dying from overuse and abuse! So I had to switch my left-and-right mouse clicking functions.
  3. My keyboard keeps switching from English to Arabic! Three times tonight I accidentally hit some magic buttons and nothing I typed came out in the English alphabet. The only way I could fix it was to switch off my entire laptop and switch it back on again! :(
Yup, that exasperating kind of hilarious. :P

Before I hit the sack for some much-needed sleep (pheww!), photos of An Nie and Shaza with their birthday presents! :D

And here's my Farewell, YSK! present to myself :D

Hard PU leather bag, from The Clique
(Update: May 2010 - I sold this bag off a couple of months ago :P)

Nah, I'm just kidding. :D I actually really loved this bag ever since I first saw it in another blogshop a few weeks ago, but they were selling it for RM69 - and I didn't feel like spending the money - so I didn't buy it then. Then last weekend when I saw it at this blogshop for RM55, I decided to email them and ask if they'd like some advertising on YSK. :D

They said yes. :D

Mum thinks it's really ugly. :P I think it looks soooo cool! But she says it's the kind of bag Auntie so-and-so used to carry back in the 1970's. Ahahahaha.

Going to Bizarre Bazaar this Saturday with Mei, because Lee Ann's physiotherapy center couldn't start up on time to greet the new year - so I'm only starting work on January 9th. :D CynthiaTheGuestBlogger says we should drink - like a toast or something - to YSK. Since the bazaar is at some place called "Mist Club" in Bangsar, and drinks are like RM5 specially for the bazaar.

I'm SO EXCITED for 2010 to start! :D And a whole new season of American Idol too! :DDD

When I wake up in the morning, I'm gonna reorganise my shelves and drawers. Everything's in such a mess ever since all I've been doing for the past month is writing like 5 advertorials a day and rushing to meet their deadlines - not to mention redrafting when the client isn't pleased with Part IIIV and so on!

And on Friday, it's time to remove all the ads! :) Ahh, back to the simple, quiet and non-commercal life I leap!