That’s right — Oakley Studio, LLC is moving to Albuquerque, New Mexico. Along with this relocation, I’m refocusing my business in ways that I’ll describe briefly in this post. But first and foremost I can reassure all my clients that I’ll continue to provide reliable and secure managed web site hosting, domain name email service, and related design, marketing, and webmaster consulting services for your business over the next 10 years or more.
My phone number remains the same, my email address remains the same, and the Oakley Studio web server remains where it is — securely colocated at a Cyberlynk data facility in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. My business name also will remain the same — Oakley Studio, LLC — and the business will remain incorporated in the state of Indiana, but with a new license to conduct business in the state of New Mexico.
For those of you who wish to pay for service via U.S. postal mail, my mailing address has changed. My new address is:
Oakley Studio, LLC
201 Arno St. NE, Suite 304
Albuquerque NM 87102
I will continue to be a home-based business focused on serving other home-based businesses just as I have been for the past 20 years.
Why New Mexico?
My wife Patricia and I have always thought we might someday retire in the “land of enchantment.” Patricia worked for several summers at Los Alamos National Laboratory when she was in graduate school. As a youngster, I vacationed with my family in New Mexico, visiting Santa Fe, White Sands, and Carlsbad Caverns. Patricia and I have enjoyed some wonderful vacations in New Mexico over the years. We’ve taken in the majestic scenery of the American Southwest, traveling on the Amtrak train from Chicago to Albuquerque. We were awed by the annual hot air Balloon Fiesta; soaked au natural in out-of-the-way hot springs in the Jemez Mountains near Santa Fe; and we’ve day-hiked the rugged peaks around Taos just before the snows set in. As new residents, we are looking forward to more of the same.
Our 10 Year Plan
Patricia made a career change in 2011, leaving her teaching job at Goshen College to intern at Clay Bottom Farm. She was learning to be a farmer. At that time we imagined retiring in another 10 or 15 years. In the meantime we’d explore potential retirement locations, and New Mexico was certainly on our short list. That was our “Ten Year Plan.”
That exploration took us back to New Mexico in the fall of 2014.
We spent a week visiting friends in Albuquerque and in Santa Fe. We visited a couple different retirement settings in both cities — specifically Life Care or Continuum of Care communities. Near the end of that trip, we took a day hike up into the foothills of the Sandia Mountains east of Albuquerque, and talked about the places we’d seen. New Mexico was just as appealing as ever, but our eagerness to make the transition led us to shrink our timeline to a “Three-to-Five Year Plan.” We weren’t yet age-qualified to join a Life Care community, but what about one more interesting place to live before that?
In July 2015 we were back in New Mexico, housesitting for friends in Santa Fe. That month-long stay gave us an opportunity to experience the summer climate, and check out real estate too. I also planned to use the month to focus on a work-related “sabbatical project,” which I’ve described in a previous blog post. (See “Pitching the President.” More details about this project will appear in another blog post, coming soon.)
If you are following me on Facebook, then you already know what happened next.
We met with a realtor in Albuquerque to see some condominiums in an interesting development located close to downtown. It’s the historic Old Albuquerque High School, a collection of six brick school buildings on a two-block parcel of property, that had been closed since the late 1970’s and had fallen into great disrepair.
In fact the whole neighborhood was in decline. A turn-around began in the early 2000’s when the city worked with several developers and local businesses to renovate the entire “East Downtown” neighborhood, with the Old Albuquerque High as the centerpiece of the development effort.
And this is where we found the condominium of our dreams. We both literally fell in love with the place the moment we saw it. It was perfect! One of 16 units in a new four-story building designed to anchor a corner of the High School complex, the place had a very appealing layout, significantly downsized from our home in Goshen, with no property for us to look after. And for a price we could afford. We made an offer that was accepted a couple days later.
A lot has happened since that July in New Mexico. We returned to Goshen at the end of the month and immediately began arranging our financing, downsizing, packing, and preparations for the initial move. Our three-to-five year plan had become a six-month plan.
In mid-September we rented a truck, loaded up everything we deemed “essential,” and moved it to our new Albuquerque condo. I stayed for over a month, getting utilities and internet all set, and working at my business from my laptop. In November, Patricia was back in Albuquerque interviewing for teaching jobs at University of New Mexico and at Central New Mexico Community College, and was offered part-time positions at both places.
Shortly after Christmas we rented an SUV and moved our two cats and more furnishings to Albuquerque. (Remember that awful storm that blew through Goshen just after Christmas? We were driving through it for two days. That’s a whole ‘nother story.) Patricia started teaching classes in January, and I returned to Goshen to prepare our house for sale.
Goshen this year is a sellers market, and we got a full-price offer on our home actually several days before the listing went up, and the sale was closed a month later. I finished downsizing by mid-March (lots of Oakley Home stuff went to The Depot, and to Adec Electronics Recycling), held a “Final Good Buys” furniture tag sale to move the remainder of our things out into the local community, and with the help of friends and my dear sister-in-law Victoria Waters I packed up a small U-Pack container and was out of Goshen by March 18th.
These past several months of 2016 have been a whirlwind of activity, and I feel like I am just now kind of catching up on things, especially concerning the business transition. But my home office is now set up again, and my business is all registered with various licensing and assessment offices here in Albuquerque and registered with the state of New Mexico, and my 1st quarterly taxes are all paid up.
Referrals and WordPress
Through this momentous period of transition, I have continued to operate my small business, working from both locations. I’ve even been able to work with clients while traveling back and forth on the Amtrak train. All I need is my laptop, my phone, and wifi on the train. (Actually this blog post was written in parts on the train.)
The Oakley Studio affiliates program (my sabbatical project last July) is now partially implemented. Two of my clients are enjoying the benefits of the program, earning ongoing 35% commissions by referring new clients to Oakley Studio, LLC. This serves to offset the cost of their own monthly web site hosting. And one client has already converted their monthly hosting cost into a net positive revenue stream.
Now and then I’ve mentioned WordPress in previous blog posts. Since building my first WordPress site for one client back in 2007, I have watched WordPress continue to evolve and become a very robust and versatile platform for all kinds of small and large businesses and organizations on the World Wide Web. Today, approximately 25% of web sites all alround the globe are built on the WordPress platform.
The affiliate program is a new phase for my business and I expect it will attract a number of new clients to Oakley Studio, LLC over the next several years. In some ways I feel like I am in “startup mode,” implementing, and testing new financial & accounting structures, new functionality on the server, and new client logins so that each client can review their referrals and earnings. All built with WordPress, of course. These are exciting new developments, and it has given me a renewed vision for the future of my business.
As it happens, our new home in Albuquerque is located right in the midst of “tech startup central” in the city of Albuquerque. Our neighborhood has been designated as an Innovation Zone, the site for lots of new economic development through collaboration between the City of Albuquerque, the University of New Mexico, interested private investors, and a host of young entrepreneurs with fresh ideas for new kinds of internet/technology businesses.
Across the street from our Old Albuquerque High, a new technology incubator facility is preparing to break ground where an old Baptist Church once stood. And around the corner is Fat Pipe, a collaborative office space for new startups. Each Wednesday is “Startup Wednesday” in the neighborhood. I’ve been attending weekly 1MillionCups networking gatherings in the morning at Fat Pipe, and there are similar types of sessions throughout the day.
The environment here is ripe with cross-pollination, and it’s been a fantastic opportunity to get to know other small business owners, designers, social networking specialists, various kinds of consultants, coders, and service providers.
At 60 years of age, I’m a bit older than the young entrepreneurs who are just starting their businesses now. I’m not doing as much design or programming work as I once did, but I am not yet ready to retire either, and I thing my business is ideally positioned to help some of these startups get situated and oriented on their own piece of internet real estate.
I love the work I do. Helping you make the most of your web site and achieving your goals brings me immense satisfaction. I will continue to be your coach and cheerleader, a strategic partner in your ongoing success. I look forward to what we develop in the coming months and years.