An E-Commerce Journal Part 1

By Joe Burns

As of this writing, my wife and I have spent the past year working to create our own e-business. I made a point of keeping a journal of all that happened during that year so that when our site finally went live, I could write about it.

The purpose of this journal is to give you a glimpse into what it took to get our Web business up and running. Hopefully you can learn from our experience and take the steps necessary when you decide to go live with your own business. In this three-part journal, I will discuss everything that happened, steps we took, costs, pitfalls and roadblocks.

Don't believe the commercials that proclaim that starting an e-business is as easy as signing your name. To do it right, you need a lot of time, a lot of patience, and the ability to surround yourself with good, smart people.

Now, let's start where it all started...

Part I: The Idea

Since our marriage in 1988, my wife and I have tried numerous business ideas. We ran a mobile disc jockey service for a while. We had a small business scanning images and making digital video. We had a small local business installing software. I created HTML Goodies. There were others, but they failed a little too quickly to mention here.

With that in mind, we also decided early in our marriage that we would not spend money on "things." We would spend our money on memories. To that end, we have become rather active travelers. We take at least two vacations each year. Each vacation must take us to a different country, a place we never thought we'd see.

We've been traveling now for close to twelve years, but we don't have one t-shirt to show for it. You see, we decided that instead of buying tourist's trinkets, we would buy one piece of original art from every place we went. Our house is simply full of original watercolors, oils, sculptures, clocks, rugs, and crosses. What ever the local art, we bought one of the nicest pieces. Pity the poor visitor who asks where we got some of our artwork. We can pretty much bore them for the entire evening.

In the summer of 1999, we took a basic trip through Europe. It started in London, moved down through Paris, through Lucerne, Switzerland, Venice, Florence, and finally Rome. By Rome we had purchased five or six pieces or art. One of our last nights in Rome, we made our way to the Piazza Navona to pick out our "Rome" piece of art.

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