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You're Ready To Be An Entrepreneur, Are You? [Part 5]

Submitted by Bernard Dreyer

By Pamela Cook Dreyer

This blog post is the fifth in a series of posts I'm writing to show the experiences that entrepreneurs  experience to develop the processes and products that will help their businesses thrive and also have time for themselves. Earlier Posts dealt with the frustration of deciding which technology tools to use,;with learning the tools and gathering information on how to install and use our Mac mini server along with rewriting one of our websites using Ruby on Rails; the details about four dreadful days which forced us into using our home office Mac Mini Server; the process in trying to balance the WorkPool project with the then rapid growth of iktusNETlive.

Back then I was planning to start work on the WorkPool Online project. However so much changed. The main thing that took place was that life happened as always does. My mother was living with us starting in October 2010. She slowly started needing more of my help in late 2013. I still continued to try and develop business projects while being her caregiver until she had to move to a facility in late 2014. She passed away peacefully on August 19, 2015 after living a full life of 95 ½ years.

The next few posts will cover what has happened with different aspects of our business since my last post. This one will cover how our technology tools have evolved from what we were using then to what we are using today. This is a fairly technical post where I mention solutions that work well for our small business that may not be appropriate for your business. The decisions made came from a vantage point of having years of experience with Apple devices (and the lack of use of Windows devices for a good number of years).

We rented a Mac Mini Server as our production server from MacStadium in order to keep my web development work separate from our production websites. I decided to use Phusion Passenger to host our Ruby on Rails websites. At that time I had written one Ruby on Rails application, iktusNETlive. Since then I have developed many more websites, some for clients and others for our projects. They were hosted on our rented production server. Two or three weeks ago I decided to start using Heroku and AWS for our production websites. This decision has cut my deployment time by ⅓ or more and dramatically increased the speed of accessing our websites. I still use Phusion Passenger on our development Mac Mini Server to test responsive web design code that needs a hosted website with a domain.

I set up a private email server on the production server. I experienced a very slow speed of the email sending. Sending emails from iktusNETlive could take an hour since we had a large mailing list. I got so fed up with this I decided to search to see what SMTP alternatives were available. I found Mandrill and started using their SMTP service. Mandrill is owned by MailChimp. Mandrill was a separate SMTP service with similar pricing as their MailChimp email marketing  service. Sometime in 2016 MailChimp started offering Mandrill as a paid add-on service for MailChimp paid customers. We had a decent mailing list but not enough to justify paying a monthly fee to MailChimp just for SMTP service, especially since we were sending ocasional emails. I decided to jump in and start using AWS SES (Simple Email Service). It's a really great service for businesses, especially those sending only transactional emails or infrequent mailing list campaigns.

I used the Server app provided by Apple to help people with server administration. I found it a great help as I was new to server administration. However the more I have learned about DNS, Apache and email sending using ActionMailer in Ruby on Rails I have stopped using the Server app. I was using one of the instances of the PostgreSQL database from the Server app for my databases. I have installed and used my own instance of PostgreSQL for several years.

I have continued to educate myself on the current technology tools and will continue to do so because I really enjoy technology. As of the writing of this post I have enrolled in a scaled down version of Y Combinator called Startup School that is being made available for free to help entrepreneurs with running and scaling their businesses. I also take advantage of other opportunities to learn that will best help with making the business thrive and to help as many people as possible with our business products.

I have been thinking a lot about what has happened the past four years. However I think this post is long enough. In my next post I plan to continue to catch you up on what has happened with our business projects since March 2013. I may include some of what I have learned from Startup School which is scheduled to begin on April 5, 2017.

Until next time..........

Categories: Entrepreneurship

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