Launched

The story behind launching this new site; an extended About page, if you will.

It's sunny and warm and the surrounding area is devoid of anyone but us. I climb out of a 5 foot deep hole I helped dig and we're cruising along a forest service road near the California-Oregon border with the windows down. Beside me is my college roommate, collecting samples for his PhD program in Soils. I've just finished my Masters studying Soil Chemistry and decided to tag along on his research trip before I look for a job. It's late September, 1997.

"Someday, I'd like to live in a remote place like this, screwing around on the web. All I need is a fast connection."

It's the kind of thing you say when you're shooting the shit with friends. I had spent every bit of free time noodling on the web up until then, but I had no idea what my future path would be. I had no idea that the phrase I just uttered would become a life goal.

Eight years later almost to the day, I called up my boss at work and gave notice that I was leaving my job because I no longer needed it. I had freelanced before but it was a stressful binge-or-starve existence. This time was different; I surpassed my revenue goals on my sites and I was ready to make the jump for good, building my own sites and answering to no one else. To "live the dream" as everyone called it. Thus began my new career in professionally screwing around on the web.

Since I left the working world, things have gone really well. Things have continued to grow in every aspect but I've had to learn a lot in the process. I recently realized there are a lot of people trying to make a living from blogging but there aren't a lot of sites with basic business advice for people doing it. I figured maybe it'd help some people out if I wrote up how to find a good accountant or lawyer, when to start a LLC, and how best to manage advertising.

I'm going to be sharing the things I've picked up along the way here, with a new essay posted every Monday week about some aspect of doing business online. If you're a freelancer hoping to someday ditch your clients, just starting out with a web business, or already have an established blogging empire, I hope you'll subscribe to the feed and enjoy the ride.

April 30, 2007 at 23:01 #
lia

Yay! Congratulations, Matt, you rock star!

May 1, 2007 at 04:47 #
Joel

Advice like this from someone trustworthy is a rare thing. Looking forward to it. The timing for me is...

May 1, 2007 at 05:57 #
Sandor Weisz

This is fantastic, Matt. Your hard work is all of our gain. Looking forward to learning lots.

May 1, 2007 at 07:15 #
jkottke

Nice work, Matt. One small bug: the arrow keys and Page Up/Down buttons don't work on the site in Safari...no scrolling.

May 1, 2007 at 07:20 #
Matt Haughey

Yeah, Jason I noticed that myself, and the NorthTemple.com site I saw this basic layout on also suffers from it. It works fine in every other browser I tested and mouse wheels still work in safari, but I guess mac laptop users are screwed on scrolling.

I'll keep looking into it and see if I can do anything to fix that.

May 1, 2007 at 07:37 #
frisky?

Awesome work Matt. Just subscribed to your RSS feed and I will be here often! Keep up the good work.

May 1, 2007 at 08:28 #
Erik

Thanks for this site, really awesome stuff. You continue to innovate!

May 1, 2007 at 09:58 #
jkottke

Also, with the white-to-clear gradient at the bottom of the page, if you don't scroll far enough down the page, the Preview/Post buttons on this form get "hidden" under the image so that you can see them just fine but can't click on them. Messed with my head for about a minute before I figured out what was going on.

May 1, 2007 at 11:57 #
Frankie

Nice work, Matt, and congratulations.

May 1, 2007 at 12:16 #
Steve Pilon

Great job man -- very cool idea! And I really like the design too.

May 1, 2007 at 12:42 #
alan taylor

Very nice, really glad to see this, thanks. I'm also hoping to see (as your tagline indicates) some of the failures as well as successes. Best of luck Matt.

May 1, 2007 at 13:17 #
Dan Wolfgang

As somebody who dreams of "screwing around on the web" for a job (and working at making it a reality), I look forward to what you have to say!

May 1, 2007 at 14:03 #
Aaron

Congrats. I look forward to reading more fortuit.us. :-)

-Aaron

May 1, 2007 at 15:07 #
The Pageman

how fortuito.us for me to know about fortuito.us! coming here from www.kottke.org! Congratulations on the launch - looking forward to your posts! :)

May 1, 2007 at 15:30 #
Bill Keaggy

Awesome, Matt. Definitely looking forward to reading along on this ride you're on.

May 1, 2007 at 16:27 #
Andrea

Congratulations. There's definitely space for this, especially given how many questions AskMe gets on this topic.

May 1, 2007 at 16:53 #
greg.org

I was stoked when you mentioned this idea after SXSW, glad to see it come to fruition so soon.

staying tuned,

May 1, 2007 at 18:39 #
John Ratcliffe-Lee

All the best, Matt. Looking forward to this.

May 1, 2007 at 19:03 #
david

Excellent, Matt! I've considered (on several occasions) e-mailing you with a few questions about your online success stories, but always chickened out. Fortuito.us will allow all of us to peek inside your mind. Best wishes on another success!

/dave (mefi #4123)

May 1, 2007 at 23:31 #
stavrosthewonderchicken

Congrats on the new site, Matt. I've never been all that interested in PVR stuff, but this I'll be following with interest.

May 2, 2007 at 13:27 #
Ryan ODonnell

God, I can't wait to read your stories. I'm recently in a similar boat - quit the cubicles to do my own thing.

May 3, 2007 at 04:11 #
pauldwaite

Firefox 1 doesn't play nice with scrolling either.

May 3, 2007 at 09:33 #
Grover
when to start a LLC

This will be on the site tomorrow, right? :-)

May 3, 2007 at 12:11 #
DBL

I love this page. It's clean and pleasing, and yet signals it's intentional simplicity with a couple of touches that say, 'I know how to make it bloated - I just choose not to.' Nice work!

May 3, 2007 at 14:44 #
Matt

no support for scrolling by arrow keys, man, nothing can be more frustrating. :-( sorry, but this is ridiculous, how can I take your text serious then?

May 3, 2007 at 14:54 #
Matt Haughey

Yeah, sorry Matt, that's a bug in Safari. You can scroll with firefox, opera and other browsers.

May 8, 2007 at 15:33 #
Trik

I was looking forward to another Monday post since the site and second article looked promising. You probably shouldn't hint at a weekly commitment if you can't keep it. Just a thought.

May 8, 2007 at 16:22 #
Matt Haughey

Yeah, a big event last weekend pushed my schedule back a couple days and threw me off my Monday due date. I'm going to instead make it one new essay every week, so that I gain more flexibility when future stuff like that happens.

Also, this is a new thing for me, and I don't feel too bad having to adjust on the third entry. I do want to get into a good rhythm by say, the 20th entry.

May 9, 2007 at 12:38 #
deb schultz

congrats and looking forward to more great stuff

May 15, 2007 at 12:33 #
Sunfell

It is encouraging to see dreams come true in this manner. Perhaps I can do the same thing sometime.

May 18, 2007 at 17:39 #
phil tadros

i think fortuitous is great!
thank you for doing this, i really enjoy :]

May 31, 2007 at 17:23 #
Matt Haughey

Hey, just a reminder that I recoded the layout for the site and spacebars/scrollbars/cursor keys, etc. should work smoothly in all browsers.

June 1, 2007 at 10:11 #
Russell Heimlich

Wow what a great site. I just stumbled on this from your Dugg article about Advertising and Superfans.

I have an idea for a web app that I wouldn't mind dabbling in trying to earn a few bucks off of it. In essence it is like a JavaScript calculator type application. Do you have any advice on advertising for non-text content?

Your feed is now in my NetVibes page. Thanks!

June 8, 2007 at 10:57 #
Meredith

Thank you for doing this, and for making it so easy on the eyes too! I'm looking forward to reading more.







 


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