Not WordPress related.

Yes, I have an Aviation history. From a young age, I had a huge interest in aviation, well aeroplanes mainly.

From that young age, my dad would would take me to mascot, near the old air control tower, and we’d sit, watching the aircraft take of and land. I loved it. The smell of Jet A1… addictive to say the least.

I couldn’t afford to learn how to fly myself, but that didn’t stop me being around aircraft. I used to travel to Bankstown Airport and ‘hang around’ different places. The people I met were the nicest you could ever meet. Everyone was enthusiastic about, and loved aviation.

From memory, I was about 14 when I started going to Bankstown Airport on weekends, normally a Saturday. During this time, my dad would often take me on ‘Mystery Flights’. As the name suggests, the flight is a mystery, until you arrive and check in. The flights were with East-West Airlines in their old Fokker F27’s, or if you were lucky enough, you’d get a flight on the Fokker F28. I had, and still do, have a soft spot for the old F27. I love them.

Yes, there were the odd holiday flights with Ansett, flying on their Boeing 727’s 737’s and 767’s, or with TAA, on their Airbus A300’s, but it was the East-West F27 I looked forward to.

I did start flying training in my late teens, but it just got too expensive.

When I left school, I found a job in a cane shop, called Cane and Things at Macarthur Square. I’ve got no idea how long I worked there, but it wasn’t long before I made my way to Bankstown Airport. I made my way to a hangar, looking for a trades assistant / engineering job, and asked to speak to the owner and spoke to him for about 20 minutes. He said he’d call to let me know. I didn’t bother seeing anyone else. By the time I got home, he’d called and told my mum to let me know I could start Monday.

Working on the aeroplanes, being around others that loved aeroplanes, made me one happy guy. Then the recession hit. The business was sold.

At the time, I’d owned a hire car and did work with Astra Limousines, the old Gazebo Hotel in Parramatta and Bankstown Pacific International.

In the mid to late 90’s, I did manage to work at Bankstown again, but it wasn’t the same. The guy I worked for skipped the country owing a ton of money, me included.

Fast forward to 2010ish, and I kickstarted flying again. It took a few years, and approximately $130,000, but I managed to attain a Grade 3 Instructor rating. Now, I never ‘dreamt’ of becoming a flight instructor, but given my age at the time – early 40’s, I was content on this, as long as it enabled me to fly.

Attaining this Rating was a personal achievement. People / friends / family, considered (I believe) too stupid, but in the end the joke was on them. I passed all of my exams with flying colours (pardon the pun), and achieved the highest score in 3 of the subjects, where the average age of the students was about 23. Yes, I did fail 1 exam, but passed it the second time/ resulting in 3rd in class for that exam. From memory, there were 8 or 9 of us.

All the fun began when it was time to get a job instructing. This is where my disillusionment in aviation really started, and when I realised how awful the general aviation sector had become.

Now, I don’t mind a business owner making money, I am one. I understand there are costs involved. But when you hear them waffle on about how hard things are, but at the same time they are buying another property investment, buying new aeroplanes, upgrading their cars… you really start smelling bullshit.

Basically, my net income from instructing was a tad more than $30,000. Out of this, I had to pay for my own medicals, pay for my own flight tests to stay current on particular aircraft, and provide a number of other items, so I could do my job. It wasn’t cheap being employed, working fulltime hours.

Well. That only lasted a few months. I toyed with it for about a year after I left, and finally decided that it was good while it lasted.

I achieved what many people never will, especially given my age at the time.

If you are 15, and want to fly, go ahead. Get your parents to beg, borrow and steal if they need to, but be aware that to build your hours, you’ll really need to live on the poverty line for a few years – and if you can keep living at home where you have no expenses, do that.

My concern, is that younger instructors will, at the behest of owners, cut corners, do the bare minimum, to get new students to keep paying. This, unfortunately, may lead to more incidents in the future. Young instructors are only there for the hours, they don’t really care about the student, or how much they spend.

I had been lucky enough to be in a position where I could continue flying, plus own my own aircraft. We’ve bought and sold 2 aircraft since, and we had built a hangar at Wedderburn, south of Sydney, but have since sold it. One of the aircraft was hangered permanently at our property in High Range – I had put in place an airstrip prior to building the hangar and it really was good while it lasted. The airstrip is still maintained, and I’ve since built a studio apartment in one section of the hangar – there’s still enough room to park a Cessna 172 comfortably in it. We’re still happy with what we built on the property, as it has added considerable value to the property.

Obviously, my commercial medical was let lapse, given that I had no interest in instructing again, and my private pilot medical is due later this year – I think I’ll let that lapse as well, I haven’t flown for almost a year now, and only did so to take a friend over Sydney and down the coast.

Aviation used to be almost ‘romantic’, but now, it’s driven solely by the dollar. The days of taking your kids to your local airstrip, encouraging them to want to fly, is gone. That is sad.

Have you ever considered becoming a Freelance WordPress Professional?

Maybe you’ve been thinking about a change of pace, wanting to work hours outside of ‘the norm’, with the intent of creating a better work/ life balance?

A few years ago, one could be forgiven for thinking that the likes of SquareSpace would be the end of WordPress, but like me, you’d be wrong.

There was a period, after a massive push on YouTube [ sponsoring creators ] to try and grow their market share, and one could argue it hasn’t worked how they hoped.

Depending upon a few factors, you can enter a certain niche [ within WordPress ] and if you’re good, and if you can build up your Brand Reputation, you can do extremely well – remember, your Brand, is YOU.

For some, working from home is a non-starter, they just cannot handle working from the same place they eat and sleep, or because of children running around etc. But, if you have an old shed, make it your space – convert it into your work office and ONLY enter it DURING your work hours. I mean, even cleaning – that’s work, so incorporate that into your work cycle. Don’t think to yourself that for every minute on the computer, is a paying minute. You need to stay ahead of updates, learn new things and generally stay on top of trends.

I’ve set myself a target of 25% of my working day into performing everything else that isn’t work, but work related. For example, 40 hours of a working week consist of 10 hours of non-billing work. Thirty hours at my hourly rate, isn’t bad, but the tax… a nutshell, set up a Trust. Make YOUR money work for you. I’m quite content only pulling $18K PA in a salary.

At my current pace, now, remembering that I really only wanted to come back as a ‘casual’, if I currently wanted to, I could be working 70 hours per week, the work is there. I’m turning away quite a lot of work, for several reasons, but mainly because I want a life. I’m at that age where balance is more important, and we don’t need anything.

Your Reputation Is Key To Your Brand

If you’re interested in becoming a Freelancer, do your research and be sure it’s what you really want. I have friends that own ‘bricks and mortar’ businesses where they employ people, have huge debt, but take home less than me. They have massive burdens and stress in their lives, whereby I don’t – and I earn more than them.

Options are there, it’s a matter of whether or not you prefer to be a slave and live week to week, or decide to make your own way, at your pace.

My biggest decision today, is whether I want pasta or grilled fish for lunch. What’s yours?

Your future is yours to make. Decide well.

Feel free to give this post a share or seven, it would be appreciated :)

Here at CrainWP, I specialize in WordPress Security, and WordPress Website Auditing.

Recently, I’ve been ‘auditing’ my life. I made a point 53 weeks ago today, to stop using social media and become more private.

Over the past week, I began deleting most of my websites, email addresses, iPhone apps, stored photographs and videos, I’ve marked furniture, clothing and tools for disposal, and basically anything else I no longer need, that I can throw away.

We all have things in our life we don’t need. They hold us back. They give us too much choice. They ruin our lives. We don’t need so much.

In most part, I originally began winding back from ‘showing’ too much, because I want a more private life. In doing this, I found that I have too much in my life that I don’t really need. It kind of begs the question, why did I bother in the first place? It’s a question that I simply cannot answer.

As part of my winding down / back, I disposed of my domain names. I don’t want or really need them. I registered a few .com domains, this being one of them.

With regards to email addresses, I had more than a dozen and I’ve wound that down to 3 now. When building websites for people, I’ve always recommended they use a free email address and stick with it, because domain names come and go, and if you use an email address from your domain name, then end up not renewing it, you cannot be certain that someone else will not register the domain, and all your dirty little secrets and private information will be viewed by strangers. There’s a function in cPanel, that allows all unrouted emails to be discarded (it’s called a black hole).

My ‘personal website’ is now deleted, so there’s absolutely no pressure to add content, update it or worry about putting something up that I may later regret, for privacy reasons.

Don’t get me wrong, one of the best things you can do, is have a personal website – you can post what you like without worrying about being banned, or people posting stupid comments.

I think I’ll keep this domain name, until such time that I want to also walk away from it as well. I’m pretty sure I’ll have it for another 10 years, we’ll see.

Scrolling through my phone contacts and messages last night, I kept coming across names of people that haven’t actually called me in years. I have ‘bumped into’ these people whilst out and about, and they all say the same thing – ‘you haven’t called for ages’!!. Seeing it takes two to tango, I saw no point in having their number, so I deleted them. Wasn’t only friends though, family were included in the mass deletion.

When I look at everything, all I see is clutter, and I want to clear it.

We now live in a world where we must have something due to FOMO – Fear Of Missing Out. Trust me, you’re not missing out on anything.

In fact, Vicki and I sat down at Lake Alexandra Reserve in Mittagong the other week and had a coffee. Near us was a mother and her four children, and on the table was about $10 of hot chips. The mother pulled out her phone and began taking photos. I looked at Vicki and said ‘those were the days’, she grinned, then we started a conversation of when we were kids. I miss the ‘old days’.

Everybody needs to take a step back and go back to basics, so they can really enjoy what is important.

I’m probably just getting old, or it may very well be that I’ve now discovered what is most important in life, and I can tell you, it’s not ‘things’.

I’ll try to not put up much [ on this website ] that is not related to WordPress, but this is the only place I have now to voice my opinions, and let people know what I’m doing – well, those that are interested anyway.

Do you need A Life Audit? 

Perhaps your WordPress Website does, contact me.