(Date Line: November 28th, 2015) Apparently, I purchased this domain, buildingmoxie.com, eight years ago today. I really don’t recall just what I was thinking just when I clicked – “Pay”.

Building Moxie v1 website

Okay, I do know I had been noodling a hokey idea that there might be some sort of space in the home improvement niche called, idk, let’s say – Do-it-Together.  The thought – maybe there was a market of people ready and willing to do more, well, themselves, if they had more professional support. That, or maybe I simply fell spell to the Holiday Shopping Season.

Eight years later, I can say I’m no closer to figuring out whether that market in fact exists.  I mean – how do you connect homeowners with pros, in a non-threatening way, such that pros (the keepers of the knowledge) are willing to share their knowledge – their life blood?

Home Improvement Helpers on the Web

Okay, we’ve witnessed the foundations for this type of professional support being built.  With matching services like Angie’s List and Home Advisor maturing; online portfolio-based directories like Houzz blossoming; and even ask-an-expert engines like RedBeacon (more on this in a bit) coming of age, homeowners have some really solid options for connecting, communicating and engaging for service with real-life contractors (in their real-life area) quickly, easily and in a repeatable and well-funded fashion.

Over time, the homeowner becomes more confident and skillful, moving the dial of their DIY ability. The thinking was, and despite the first glance, that this would not in the longer term remove the pro from the home improvement equation (ka-ha!), but rather allow them instead the ability to offer more meaningful and higher quality, consistent work. And perhaps we’d see more contractors working less by way of “job-based” and instead, longer-term contracts.

Yeah, I know, I was drinking at the time.

*pause for reaction*

What I did figure out during this time – there is an unbelievable amount of home improvement content on the web. And it grows as we speak.

That then begs the question –

Why DIY?

Some would argue it’s easy – to save money. Yeah, sure that’s great, but for me, it’s more the sense of successfully overcoming a challenge, completing a project. Engagement with, and investing time learning about your largest investment. (Yeah, kinda like managing your 401k.) Even beyond that, it’s about being a man (ha!), it’s about doing work on my house on my own schedule. Not someone else’s. Period.

Right, So … ?

That was the First 6 1/2 Years; Here is the Last 1 1/2

Those that know, know that Building Moxie was pretty regular from 2010 to 2013. We (okay I) slipped in 2014 and if you’ve noticed, we haven’t posted nay a single word in 2015.

What? Why?!

I was Laid Off from my Day Job

Well, short answer – my career went whack. You know – the day job.  I went through a year long up and down, through the hell of a merger, only to end up fully out of work this past summer.

It sucked!

It took me three and a half months to find a new gig. For those that don’t know, I have worked in Quality Assurance for Web-Based & Mobile Applications since 2007. First, and for a long time in the PR industry. Now, the Event industry. Do I like it? Well, yes.

Bumper Sticker ->> Would you rather be producing Home Improvement Content? Hell, yes!

The largest part of the reason it sucked – it took me out of the good relationship, the rhythm I had worked so hard to establish here.

“Right, JB, we’ve all been through it; at least you got some time to get acrushin’ on your house.”

Ha! Well, not so much. During the merger, I was pretty overwhelmed. I was able to finish up (mostly) the skirting I had been working on around my patio and I had enough time to build a storage box for my patio furniture cushions.

Salvaged Cedar Storage Box

The unfortunate part of that, and though I enjoyed this project, I tackled it as part of an assignment. I ultimately missed my deadline for it, resulting I think in a less than stellar first impression.  Oh, and I did I mention that I interviewed with a few companies in the home products space that happen to headquarter in my area. Anyway, here’s that link >> https://web.archive.org/web/20160224161036/http://www.blackanddecker.com/ideas-and-inspiration/projects/build-a-cedar-box-for-tool-storage.

Mrs. Moxie Completed a Very Challenging Flip

I supported Mrs. Moxie, and while it took considerably longer than the others, she completed and sold Flip #3. She’s currently in the process of looking for #4.

Mr. Moxie's Cape Cod Flip

Mrs. Moxie's Cape Code Kitchen

I set up a new site at webconent-jb.com, a portfolio site, and I even began work on that, well, that “non-blog” I have been warning about for some time.  I even did a quick redesign on this site. The funny part of that; it was completed way back in June and I hope you like.

If anything, the silence has given me plenty of time to reflect. Of course, I’ve been trying to force myself to come up with some common thread across the 700 or so posts on Building Moxie, a million + visitors in.

The Internet is an Imperfect and Noisy Medium

I often maintain that the internet is an imperfect and noisy medium. It’s very good as a communications tool and perhaps for information management, but less efficient (to some degree) for the purposes of information gathering. And as someone set out to help i.e. support people, I wonder from time to time if random babblings and/or posts about a unique 19th century farmhouse do anything other than simply add to that noise.

At its core, I still want Building Moxie to be about decision making and problem solving, about building confidence and skill specific to the former but as it relates to and helps us execute home improvement projects.  Areas that I seem to learn a little more about daily. And okay, of course, I have had my hands in a few other projects around the house. Unfortunately, none have really fit a new “editorial standard.” ha!

Urinal Out of Commission

The points with all this: I am really hoping to get back to the regular, regular, a little less noisy and posting on projects that fit that mission statement – maybe 1 or 4 a month. I mean – I’ve got ideas, right?; whether they are any good or not …. well ….

And okay, I do know what I was thinking when I clicked “Pay”, I just didn’t know what it would take to get there, or for that matter, where exactly this domain was going to take me.

With that, Happy Holidays my friends.

RedBeacon - Home Improvement Writer :: JB Bartkowiak

I want to share a current freelance gig I have been working – Home Guides for the Home Depot-owned site RedBeacon. (http://www.redbeacon.com/hg/author/jb-bartkowiak/)

Thanks. ~jb

9 thoughts on “An Old, New Post: Change is Inevitable; Growth is Optional

  1. JB, great to see a post from you come through my inbox this week. What a year! I hope that you are settling in at your new gig, and I wish you the best! Happy Holidays!

    Paul Hamtil

  2. cheers Paul. It’s been a tough 18 months for so. But I am nearing the point where I have cleared my head and I’m ready to get back into the game. Hope you guys are doing well. ~jb

  3. Hey Jb, nice to see that you kept up your site. I looks like the kind of site that would be very helpful to the average homeowner. Speaking of Home advisor and Angie’s list I have read about how these sites have saved some small contractors from going out of business. I myself specialize in door and window screen repair and custom builds and home advisor is a perfect fit for me to get work that may otherwise been lost to other big time contractors that don’t even want to be bothered with the kind of work that I do.
    Happy New Year To All

  4. I want to buy wrought iron nail for my house project on reclaimed lumber from the decking Please let me know how to use this site to do so ?

  5. This blog started with home improvement then took a root to opening a website and working on it so on. You have represented your journey and ups and down you have faced in past eight years in an incredible way. It was interesting to read and know about your journey and mistakes were done and learning from them.

  6. “Change is inevitable, growth is optional”. Just reading that line made me think that this post will be open and insightful… and it surely delivered. :)

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